The Falkland Islands

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Some places in the world have that certain “aahhhhh!” factor—a simple, wholesome and timeless quality that lets you abandon your troubles for a time, and lose yourself in its unspoiled beauty. The Falkland Islands are such a place—seemingly stuck in the 19th century and content to remain that way!
"Loved being land-based on the Falklands. Especially great on Sea Lion Island where so much was in walking distance and you could be truly independent. Would have loved to have had a lot longer time in the Falklands. "
- C. Bull
Lying 300 miles east of southern South America in the nutrient-rich, cool waters of the South Atlantic, the Falklands are a wildlife magnet. The scenery is often reminiscent of the Scottish islands with the added flavor of the tempestuous Southern Ocean.
A visit to the Falkland Islands provides wonderful photography opportunities for shooting the archipelago’s verdant, bucolic landscapes, as well as numerous sub-Antarctic and temperate zone species of birds at the energetic height of their breeding season. Images of throngs of rockhopper and Magellanic penguins feature among the many trip highlights.
Some of the best bird photography in the world is found in the Falkland Islands because of the unusual variety of species and their highly unwary demeanor. There is little to compare with the excitement of sitting next to a lively penguin colony, waves crashing against rocky cliffs, while envisioning compositions galore—with no time pressure. Action photography is outstanding as penguins launch themselves from breaking waves and scramble ashore. And just when you think it can’t get any better, you find yourself engulfed—point blank—by these curious and feisty birds in their tuxedo-like plumage! 
Striated caracaraIn addition to the photogenic penguins, we photograph nesting black-browed albatrosses; kelp, upland, ruddy-headed and ashy-headed geese with their young in tow; Falkland flightless steamer ducks; crested ducks; rock and imperial cormorants; striated caracaras; variable hawks; southern giant petrels; Magellanic and blackish oystercatchers; several species of plovers; beautiful white-tufted and silvery grebes; kelp and dolphin gulls; black-crowned night herons, and a variety of songbirds. Our trip participants typically photograph as many as 25 species of birds, and many can be effectively captured with only a 300mm lens! At this time of year, most birds have newly-hatched chicks and wildflowers are in bloom. Southern elephant seals and South American sea lions are the most noteworthy mammals we photograph—but orcas regularly patrol these seal colonies within photographic range! 
All of this comes with the convenience of staying in comfortable and cozy lodging within hiking distance of the best photography—and without throngs of other visitors. Here we have the option of either being dropped off by Land Rover at a remote location and walking back to our lodge or walking from our hotel to close-at-hand photo opportunities. Long late-spring days allow flexibility for personal photography well into the evening. 
Few travelers have experienced the 5-star photography of these southern emerald isles. Come with us to the rolling heath and rocky headlands on this Falkland Islands photo tour. Sit awhile in the company of penguins, gaze at a roiling seascape from atop an oceanside cliff, or take a stroll on a wild beach where whale bones are more common than human footprints.

Be sure to check out John Shaw's trip report from our latest Falkland Islands tour

For Trip questions or to enroll give us a call at (206) 463-5383

Tour Itinerary

Day 1
Depart from home.  

Day 2 (Nov 4, 2022)
Arrive in Santiago, Chile. Overnight at our Santiago airport hotel—hotel included in tour fee. (D)

Day 3
Fly to Stanley in the Falkland Islands. Overnight in the quaint, English-style village. Fly to Bleaker Island early on the second day. (BLD)

Steamer duck with chicksDays 4–14
We fly between five islands during our stay. 
  • East Falkland Island is home to the capital of the archipelago—Port Stanley.  In addition to its charming harbor,  classic architecture and flower-filled gardens, the island has a wealth of birds including the largest colony of king penguins in the Falklands. (BLD)
  • Bleaker Island, characterized by wide sandy bays and sheltered coves, is home to three species of penguins, including a large colony of rockhoppers—only a short walk from our cottage. Imperial cormorants, southern giant petrels, and rare flying steamer ducks are a few of the dozens of bird species that can be observed here. (BLD)

  • Saunders Island, just off the northwest coast of West Falklands, is our next stop. An hour’s drive from the airfield is The Neck, a site known for its high concentration of wildlife, including four species of penguins—gentoo, rockhopper, Magellanic and a small colony of king penguins. Other wildlife includes a bustling colony of black-browed albatrosses. Here we stay in a unique, rustic lodge created from shipping containers in the middle of a truly spectacular wildlife location—and one of the best places in the Falklands for photography.  (BLD)

  • Sea Lion Island is the most isolated of the Falklands’ inhabited islands. Exploring this fantastic place on foot (or you can be dropped off by Land Rover at distant locations and walk back to our lodge), we photograph three species of penguins, cormorants, grebes, nesting gulls and terns, shorebirds, caracaras, southern ducks and geese, an abundance of elephant seals, sea lions and, with luck, killer whales—a 5-star experience! (BLD)

  • Pebble Island’s network of ponds and wetlands are home to many species of waterfowl, including Chiloe wigeons, silvery grebes, black-necked swans, and yellow-billed pintails. The landscape varies greatly from pristine beaches and rocky peaks to moorlands and dramatic coastal cliffs. All of these provide vital breeding habitats for some 42 resident bird species including thousands of gentoo, rockhopper, and Magellanic penguins. (BLD)
Black-browed albatross posing for photographersDays 15–16
Fly back to Stanley. Depending on our flight schedule there may be time this afternoon to explore the town and its wildlife-rich harbor. Kelp and dolphin gulls are easy photo subjects, as well as Falkland steamer ducks, crested ducks, cormorants, and oystercatchers. Explore the architectural details and gardens of this homey village with your camera. The second day we drive to Volunteer Point, where grassy banks border an extensive white sand beach at the edge of turquoise waters. This wild location is the ideal habitat for gentoo, Magellanic, and king penguins, which are in abundance. (BLD)

Day 17 
The morning is free. We leave for the Mt. Pleasant airport in midmorning and fly to Santiago, arriving in late evening. We stay at our familiar airport hotel—hotel included in tour fee. (B, Lunch—pre-made sandwiches—for purchase at the airport departure lounge on your own, Dinner snack on the flight)

Day 18 (Nov 20)
Depart Santiago for home. (B)

Day 19
Arrive home.
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Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris Enrollment Information

The Falkland Islands

Nov 03, 2022 - Nov 21, 2022


A deposit and completed and signed Registration Form are required to reserve a place for you on a Joseph Van Os Photo Safari.


All prices are quoted in US dollars and all payments must be paid in US dollars. For deposits only, we accept Visa or MasterCard. Final payment of the trip fee must be paid by check or bank transfer. Trip deposits are non-refundable and non-transferable.
A deposit of $1,000 per person is required. Full payment of the trip fee is due 150 days prior to departure date. We must receive written notice of your cancellation, at which time cancellation fees in the following amounts apply:

If Written Cancellation is Received:                                          Cancellation Fee:
122 days or prior:                                                                          100% of deposit
121 to 91 days prior:                                                                      50% of entire trip fee
90 or fewer days:                                                                           100% of entire trip fee
Emergency evacuation insurance is REQUIRED for this tour. As noted in Section 3 below, we send a brochure for trip insurance to US and Canadian residents. The policy offered includes the emergency evacuation coverage required for this trip. Participants purchasing trip insurance on their own—that is, not through our office—should confirm that emergency evacuation is included in their policy.

No partial refunds are made for unused portions or services of a trip for any reason whatsoever. Trips are sold as a package only. This policy also applies to tour extensions and independent travel arrangements. Cancellation fees are not transferable.

Protect your travel investment and purchase a trip insurance policy that includes emergency evacuation coverage. A trip insurance brochure will be sent with your enrollment confirmation. A CANCEL FOR ANY REASON policy is available.

Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris are within the capabilities of average people in good health. Some of these trips require the capability of walking for several miles over uneven trails, stepping from a small boat to a wave-washed rocky beach, flying in small planes and helicopters, and occasionally hiking at high elevations—all while carrying an assortment of camera equipment. If you have concerns about your own capabilities and/or fitness as it relates to a trip, please inquire with our office before reserving a space. By forwarding a signed Registration Form and trip deposit, you certify that you do not knowingly have any physical or other conditions of disability that would create a risk for you or other trip participants and you agree to inform our office in writing if changes in your health occur any time prior to the tour. We reserve the right to request a doctor's statement of good health. The company's or trip leader's judgment shall provide the ultimate determination of an individual's ability to embark upon or to continue a trip. Once a trip has been confirmed, medical circumstances will not be considered as exceptions to our cancellation policy. We assume no responsibility for medical care or for special dietary requirements. “Meatless” meals are normally available at most locations. Due to the remote nature of many photo locations, and the growing diversity of today’s dietary trends, participants requiring special food items are encouraged to bring their own.

Tour members are asked to refrain from smoking with or near the group.

Participants will receive three emails before the trip departs: 1. Initial Tour Information sheet confirms the deposit and provides pre-departure information. 2. Invoice/Practical Information provides clothing and photo gear recommendations, climate data, applicable health advisories and reading list. Visa information will also be included (if applicable). 3. Final Tour Information includes arrival instructions, itinerary revisions (if any), hotel addresses, trip telephone contact information and participant list. We provide the trip leader's telephone number(s) and/or e-mail address with final documents so you can inquire about special photographic questions you may have regarding your trip. We welcome your calls or e-mail messages to

Information supplied upon enrollment describes the specific costs that are included in your trip fee. Generally these costs include lodging in double room occupancy, all meals (specified in the itinerary as BLD denoting breakfast, lunch or dinner), ground transportation during the trip in vans or small busses, air transportation as specified, meal and baggage tipping, and guide services provided by the trip leaders. Not included are airfare or other transportation from your home to the trip staging location, airport departure taxes, insurance, alcoholic beverages and bar expenses (plus bottled water and soft drink expenses on international tours outside of North America), tips and gratuities to local guides abroad, phone calls, passport or visa expenses, laundry or items of a personal nature. Gratuities to Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris trip leaders are optional and always appreciated. Rates are based on group tariffs; if the trip does not have sufficient registration, a small party supplement may be charged.

Single accommodations are available for a supplemental cost in many locations; see the pre-departure trip information or call our office for details. You will be charged the single supplement fee if you desire single accommodations or if you wish to have a roommate, but one is not available. In some remote locations, clients with single rooms are infrequently compelled to share a room due to circumstances beyond our control. In such cases, appropriate per diem refunds will be made reflecting the direct cost of the single room at the facility where clients are required to share. There is no additional single supplement fee on ship-based cruises, if you request a roommate and one is not available.

Cost increases may occur unexpectedly due to rising costs of airfares, ground transport, fuel surcharges, accommodations and currency fluctuations, among others. Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. may be compelled to amend prices, and we reserve the right to do so without prior notice. An increase in trip prices shall not be sufficient grounds for any refund of funds paid for the trip other than as determined by the terms of our cancellation policy.

Whenever possible, our trip participants are lodged in comfortable, modern hotels. We select among the best available accommodations, but refrain from extravagance. Some interesting photographic destinations are far removed from modern amenities, however, and where necessary we will be accommodated in rustic country inns, cabins or tented camps.

Meals are always a special part of our trips for the camaraderie they engender and the opportunity they provide to try new foods from different areas. Depending on the trip and specific locale, participants order restaurant meals from the full menu or, less frequently, table d'hôte. Some trips include picnic lunches in the field. Fruit juice for breakfast and coffee or tea are included with the meals. Soft drinks are included with meals on tours within North America. Participants are responsible for their own bar tab (including bottled water, soft drinks and alcoholic beverages on tours outside of North America) at restaurant lunches and dinners.

Our itineraries are intended as examples only. Participants should allow for flexibility due to changes in weather, natural history or cultural events, or other logistical arrangements deemed necessary by Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. or our leaders.

The second tour leader (and any subsequent additional leaders) listed for each trip on the website will be added as the group size warrants. If only one space remains on a trip, and logistics permit, we accept two persons traveling together, even if it exceeds the trip maximum.

Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. and/or their Agents act only as agents for the passenger (trip participant) in regard to travel including, but not limited to, sightseeing, meals, lodging, transportation, and all other services whether by railroad, motorcar, motor coach, boat, ship or aircraft or other conveyance, and they assume no liability for injury, damage, loss, accident, delay or irregularity which may be occasioned either by reason of defect in any vehicle or for any reason whatsoever, or through the acts, bankruptcy or default of any company or person engaged in conveying the passenger or in carrying out the arrangements of the trip.

They can accept no responsibility for losses or additional expenses due to delay, cancellations or changes in flights or other tour services, and by force majeure including sickness, weather, strike, war, volcanic eruption, terrorist acts, political unrest, quarantine, epidemics and outbreaks, or other causes.  All such losses or expenses will have to be borne by the passenger, as trip fees provide for arrangements only for the times and locations stated. Baggage is at the owner's risk entirely.

The right is reserved to 1) substitute hotels of similar category for those indicated and to make any changes in the itinerary or transport where deemed necessary, or caused by changes in flight schedules or equipment substitution; 2) cancel any trip prior to departure due to low enrollment, in which case full refund of the paid trip funds will be given, but Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. is not responsible for any other trip preparation expenses such as penalized or non-refundable air tickets, visa fees and medical related expenses; 3) At the company’s sole discretion, suspend or postpone any trip due to force majeure in which case the trip may be rescheduled, or a refund issued less any non-refundable deposits paid to tour component providers on behalf of the passenger, or a travel credit given, but Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. is not responsible for any other trip preparation expenses such as penalized or non-refundable air tickets, visa fees and medical related expenses; 4) substitute trip leader(s) for the leader(s) originally specified, in which case the substitution is not a basis for participant cancellation or refund other than provided by our normal cancellation policy; or 5) accept or retain any person as a member of any trip.

Trip prices are based on tariffs and exchange rates in effect at the time of publication and are subject to adjustment in the event of any change therein.

A Registration Form including the Enrollment Conditions and Release and Assumption of Risk sections must be signed by each participant prior to the commencement of the trip. Participation by any trip member will be declined in the absence of the signed Registration Form including the Release and Assumption of Risk section, with no trip fee refund. No modification to the Registration Form including the Release and Assumption of Risk section will be accepted.

Should Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc., or anyone acting on their behalf be required to incur attorney's fees and costs to enforce this agreement, the enrolling trip participant(s) agree(s) to indemnify and hold them harmless for all such fees and costs. In the event a lawsuit is filed, the enrolling participant(s) agree(s) to do so solely in the County of Lewis in the State of Washington. Certain ship owners require the use of pre-printed ticket forms that limit the ship owner's and operator's liability. When such tickets are used, the passenger is bound by the terms of these tickets with respect to the passenger's legal relationship to the owners and operators of the ship, their agents (Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc.), and the ship's crew.

The Falkland Islands: Moderate Activity Level

Small commuter aircraft between islands and occasional 4X4 vehicle.  This is largely a walking tour with daily hikes from island lodges to areas of significant wildlife interest.  Average walks over uneven ground and sandy beaches covering a distance of one to two miles per hike at your own pace.  Reside on one island in a self-catering bunkhouse (all food supplied) in the middle of one of the Falkland Islands most spectacular wildlife concentrations.

Trip Details
Nov 03 - Nov 21, 2022
Fee: $10,995 from Mt. Pleasant, Falkland Islands—Plus airfare from Santiago, Chile
Deposit: $1,000
Limit: 6 participants
Activity Level: ModerateModerate
  • One of the best seabird photography locations in the world rivaling Galápagos and Iceland
  • Seclusion, spectacular wildlife and an absence of tourists
  • Photograph four species of penguins—king, gentoo, rockhopper and Magellanic—during the height of the nesting season
  • Walk to nearby beaches, ponds and cliffs for fantastic wildlife and landscape photography
  • Meet the hospitable landowners living on these remote islands in the Southern Ocean
  • Explore five different islands during our stay
Tour Leaders
Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas

“Falkland Islands were outstanding.  Excellent photo opportunities every day.”
A. Parker
“My expectations are pretty high since Van Os tours are always fabulous.  The Falklands exceeded my expectations.  There was more opportunity to interact with and photograph wildlife in the Falklands because everything was so close at hand.”
K. Parker