Jim’s Accessibility Comments:
The Falkland Islands is one of over 700 islands in the very South Atlantic Ocean. It’s the middle of summer here on January 26, and it’s a toasty 47 degrees and somewhat windy. After our Princess cruise ship circled Cape Horn Island, we cruised over to the Falkland Island capital city port of Stanley. This is a British territory, which is located on the windswept tip of the East Island. The Falklands long served as a way station for ships, particularly whalers, bound to and from Cape Horn. And it’s another anchorage port so the Cruise ship uses ship Tenders. Our Tender arrived at the Stanley pier about 15 minutes from the ship. It’s a beautiful fun ride over to the dock. The islands’ rigorous environment is immediately apparent.
The general public can catch the tour buses and touring 4×4 vehicles directly from the pier. There were no regular taxis, shuttle buses or sedans available and none of the vehicles were wheelchair accessible. And neither Tours by Locals or Viator offered wheelchair accessible vehicles. The good news is that this very small town of Stanley, with a population of only a couple thousand, is located directly at the end of the pier. And then it’s an easy level stroll of several blocks (perhaps 3/4 of a mile) along the very scenic waterfront.
As I mentioned, the Falklands and Stanley are under British control and much of the waterfront and museum touring centers around the 1982 Falkland War between the United Kingdom and the invading Argentina. Don’t wear your Argentine hats or T-shirts here.
Other than large penguin colonies, there are 2 main attractions in town, the Anglican Christ Church and the Dockside museum. The Anglican Christ Church is the southernmost Anglican cathedral in the world. It was consecrated in 1892, is beautiful and reasonably accessible. Since there are multiple front steps from the street you’ll have to roll up the side street sidewalk toward the rear of the church, then come back down to the front entrance past the whalebone arch where there are 3-4 small easy ramps to enter. And it’s a beautiful cathedral.
The Dockside Museum is located right off the main street. It’s excellent and very wheelchair accessible. It covers the early days of settlement, the 1982 Falkland War, wildlife, maritime history, and much more. There are no steps at the entrance and there’s a large wheelchair accessible hydraulic lift (large enough for all size chairs) to take you to the 2nd floor. The museum fee is US$10 and it’s worth it. It’s very well done.
There is really no wheelchair access to the various penguin colonies. The tour vehicles are not wheelchair accessible, but even if you could get to the drop-off spot, the walk or roll to the beach is narrow rough terrain and not wheelchair accessible. I like an adventure but I was told by several residents (and my wife who did visit the penguins) that there’s really no accessible entry path or viewing areas.
Regarding restrooms: there are several large wheelchair accessible restrooms along the main street. And in the Dockside Museum.
Overall it’s a bit cool with a bit of wind but we had an invigorating day strolling around Stanley. Frankly there’s not too much to see or do here, especially if you can’t visit the penguin colonies. So I ended up at the Falkland Globe Tavern a block from the pier which was a good time (one large step at the entrance). The Falkland Islands is a long way from civilization, and we had a great day!