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“You need to see them but once is enough!” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Volunteer Point

Volunteer Point
East Falkland, Falkland Islands
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Book ahead on Viator
$11,795*
and up
Type: Nature/ Wildlife Areas, Outdoors
Attraction details
Palm City, Florida
Top Contributor
51 reviews 51 reviews
32 attraction reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
“You need to see them but once is enough!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 27, 2014

Estancia Tours to Volunteer Point- The use of the term “tour” is a misnomer as this tour company, the renowned Patrick Watts tours or any other Volunteer Point tour company really just provide transportation from the port in Stanley to Volunteer Point in 4-wheel drive vehicles that could comfortably seat 3-passengers but are crammed with four people so take pity on the middle passenger in the back seat. The vehicles are owned, maintained and driven by locals who only have “OJT” training as tour guides and off road driving skills. All have regular “day jobs” that they are taking a personal leave day from to take you to/from Volunteer Point.
Your experience will be “luck-of-the-draw”, hopefully getting a driver who has done this for many years who is knowledgeable with a well maintained vehicle. Our driver was very friendly and talked thru the entire journey but has just started doing tours beginning this year and had only 5-prior trips to Volunteer Point in his recently acquired fairly old Toyota 4-wheel drive vehicle. The ride to Volunteer Point takes 2-hours with the first hour of travel over paved and gravel roads which later you will appreciate. When you reach Johnson’s Harbor you will stop for a bathroom break before spending the next hour traveling extreme off-road navigation to Volunteer Point. The driver described a lot of the scenery as we drove and it is interesting to see the massive rock slide areas created from centuries of freezing and thawing. After Johnson’s Harbor it is slow going 4-wheel drive through and around mud holes and ditches with the vehicle constantly moving left & right then up & down as you navigate the difficult track (or lack of). It is a fun and interesting off-road journey for the 1st 5-10 minutes but remember while the vehicle is moving left & right then up & down, so are the passenger so by the time you reach Volunteer Point you feel somewhat beat up and are ready to get out of the vehicle. Our driver was the 1st of our group to get stuck in the mud and we were pulled out by another vehicle which is common. Over their radio we heard of 4-5 other vehicles who got stuck as well.
At Volunteer Point All Drivers, regardless of the tour company, point you in the direction of the penguin colonies and you are on your own to explore for 2-hours as the drivers congregate in each others vehicles. No one takes you to the different areas are to explain the types of penguins or anything else about them. In spite of not being guided, the penguin colonies are an incredible sight to see. At Volunteer Point we saw two varieties of penguins which numbered about 1,000.

Visited March 2014
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Montreal
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
13 attraction reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
“Incredible Tour with Jimmy Curtis from Volunteer Point Tours - Once in a lifetime experience.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 20, 2014

Wow. That's all I can say. THANK YOU JIMMY!

Volunteer Point is an exceptional place for any animal lover, however, I think it is only a part of what visitors to the Falkland Islands should experience. Thanks to Jimmy Curtis and Volunteer Point Tours, our time in Stanley and at Volunteers was exceptional from the moment we stepped off our tender until we returned.

Getting to Volunteer Point is not for the fait of heart. The travel there and back is mostly "off-roading" and for the four of us in Jimmy's 4x4, he ensured to make it a memorable experience. While there are a number of ways one can traverse the hills and fields to and from Volunteers, Jimmy promised and delivered a wild ride, which should be a shore excursion in itself! Of course, there are calmer ways to get there, and we had those options, but we asked for some excitement - and he delivered!

Upon arriving at Volunteers, we were able to spend nearly two hours walking amongst thousands of King and Magellanic penguins. While you can't, nor don't want to, disturb the penguins, they are nonetheless walking amongst the tourists, living their lives. You can head down to the beach and see them go for a swim, and just follow them everywhere. Unlike other colonies, there are very little restrictions as per what you can do. This place is incredible.

But one of the most important things for us, when having limited time at ports-of-call, is really trying to get a taste of the culture and life and I have to say that our day with Jimmy really made our time at the Falklands special.

Jimmy has lived on the islands since he was 8 years old. He actually immigrated there only six months before the war with Argentina, and he shared his memories with us as well as really gave us a peek into daily life on the islands. There were a number of tour options available (City tour, battlefield tour, etc.) and I think in just talking with and spending 4 hours in the car with Jimmy, we had everything rolled up into one.

Upon returning from Volunteers, Jimmy pointed out some important battlefields and wreckage along the way (satisfying my interest in the war) and gave us a tour of Stanley, allowing us to see all the highlights: government buildings, schools, memorials - and even his mother in law's house!

Everything was timed perfectly that we even had some extra time to grab a pint, with, you guessed it, Jimmy (and his wife, Tanya), before heading back to our ship!

While it is true that the Volunteer Point excursion, whether booked with the cruise ship or on your own, is not cheap, however, for the penguins alone, it is worth every penny. But when you get to spend your time with someone, it makes the experience definitely one you will never ever forget.

We read a bunch of reviews for other guides, but we are so so so happy we found Jimmy. We urge you to send him an e-mail at: curtis@volunteerpointtours.com. If you're heading out there. You'll thank us later!!!

Visited March 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes 10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York
Top Contributor
111 reviews 111 reviews
42 attraction reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
85 helpful votes 85 helpful votes
“King Penguins galore”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 9, 2014

Our final stop during our three weeks on the Falkland Islands was Volonteer Point. Located about 2 hours drive from Stanley, it is close enough for a day trip; however, we were fortunate enough to be able to spend the night with the Warden and his wife, in a tiny house heated by peat fuel, sharing their meals. A 15 minute walk from the house is the King Penguin colony. There are over 600 couples and, at the time we visited, dozens of small chicks, safely ensconced between the legs of a parent, protected from skuas and other birds of prey. This was the only location where we had to share the spot with others -- Land Rovers filled with day visitors. However, once they left, the beach was ours and we were able to spend several hours at sunset and sunrise watching the king penguins, gentoos, and magellanics walking down to the ocean or coming back. We spent hours watching gentoo chicks chasing their parents to get something to eat. It was well worth the off road experience of getting here.

Visited February 2014
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Ontario, Canada
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“A must do!!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 6, 2014

We went there with Estancia Excursions. Our driver was Nyree's mom. We really enjoyed this tour and she provided a lot of information about the islands. This tour was actually the highlight of our Celebrity Antarctica cruise last month. Nyree books up really quickly so if you know that you are going to the Falkland Islands, book with Nyree ASAP.

Nyree was great to deal with both prior to our cruise and during. Our cruise had a change in itineary and Nyree worked really hard trying to accommodate us with the date change so that we could still take the tour.

Visited February 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
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Bromsgrove, England, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
6 attraction reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
“A tropical beach with penquins”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 24, 2014

Difficult to get to but incredible. Most of the journey is 'off road' on account of there not being a purpose built road out to Volunteer Point. The journey is quite bumpy over fields and peat bogs covered with he and a terrain not unlike the Scottish highlands. Volunteer point consists of miles of white sands and various breeds of penguins including the Kings. There are also sheep and many other types of birds in the area. The creatures have no fear of man and you can walk within a few feet of them. It was a truly amazing experience.

Visited March 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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