Full Guide to Visiting Sea Lion Island, in the Falklands

Sea Lion Island, Falkland Islands

If you’re in the midst of planning your Falkland Island itinerary, then let me give you a clear tip right off the bat… do not miss the opportunity to spend the night on Sea Lion Island!

One of the most impressive islands thanks to its incredible wildlife, fantastic lodge, plus the ability to walk around the island rather than drive (due to its size), there’s no question Sea Lion was one of my favourite destinations across this archipelago.

Honestly, as soon as you reach Punta Arenas (if you’re flying to the Falklands with LATAM from Chile), you’ll start realising there are other people heading to these amazing islands too and will likely discover that more than a few of them have been before!

As such, the topic of discussion inevitably turns to your travel plans and where across the Falklands you’re heading and staying.

And time and time again, when I mentioned Sea Lion, peoples’ faces lit up!

In fact, if I took a straw poll and asked frequent Falkland travellers where they’re best Falkland memories come from, I bet it would be Sea Lion!

So in case you’d needed any more selling on Sea Lion, or you’re already sold and want to learn more about getting and staying here, here’s my full travel guide to this amazing Falkland Island…

Falklands, Sea Lion Island, Gentoo Penguin in Sand Dunes


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Why Visit Sea Lion Island?

Falklands, Sea Lion Island, Magellinc Penguins with Seals

Low-lying and filled with sandy beaches, tussac grass plantations, striking cliffs and open plains, there’s no question that the highlight on Sea Lion Island is the amazing wildlife encounters you can have here.

Boasting the usual colonies of penguins you can find across the Falklands, including Rockhoppers, Magellanics and Gentoo, you can also spot King Penguins on Sea Lion Island, as well as a huge amount of Elephant Seals.

In fact, Sea Lion Island is the most important breeding site for Elephant Seals across the Falklands and over 2000 can be found on this small island during the main mating season in October.

Elephant Seals are the world’s largest pinniped, with adult males growing up to 4.5m long and weighing up to 3.5 tonnes, which makes 2000 of them quite the sight!

There’s also a good population of Southern Sea Lions here (which the island is named after!), as well an abundance of ground-nesting birds, including the endemic Cobb’s Wren and Imperial Cormorants.

56 species of flowering plant can also be found on Sea Lion Island, including the Fuegian Violet

But the real trump card here has to be the chance to spot orcas!

Visible from the beachside, there’s a pod of orcas that visit Sea Lion’s shores to catch a special feast – namely young seals.

Spotting them hunting so close at dawn was not only a highlight of Sea Lion Island, but indeed my whole time in the Falklands!

The other highlight of my time in Sea Lion Island was spotting Rockhopper Penguins at sunset and in general, enjoying the stunning landscape of this lovely island.

Being small, it’s easy to explore Sea Lion Island on foot, which makes it a lovely change from many of the other Falkland spots, where you really need a 4WD vehicle to explore.

Travelling on foot allows you to experience the wildlife here in a more natural way and, even more so than in other spots on the Falklands, it seemed the animals on Sea Lion felt very unthreatened by the humans – quite amazing!

Given only around 5 people permanently live on Sea Lion Island, it’s easy to see why!


How to Get There?

Falklands, Sea Lion Island, FIGAS Plane, Me and Landing Strip

Sea Lion Island is very much on the Falkland Island tourist trail.

Along with Pebble Island, Bleaker Island and Carcass Island, it forms part of what is locally known as the Penguin Trail i.e. the tourist route around the archipelago.

But as always with the Falklands, this needs to be put in context! Because when we talk about a “tourist trail” here, we’re really only referring to around a thousand people a year!

Indeed I read a stat that only 1,500 people head to Sea Lion Island annually!

And all 1,500 of these people arrive on Sea Lion Island care of the local FIGAS service – a domestic flight and freight network that connects the archipelago’s islands with the capital, Stanley, on East Falkland.

You can learn more about how to book, pay and plan your FIGAS journeys across the Falklands in the article I wrote about flying to and around the Falklands.

In general, however, at least 1 FIGAS plane a day arrives and departs Sea Lion, taking passengers to and from Stanley on a 40 minute journey.

In the peak tourist season in the Falklands (November to February), this can be up to 3 flights a day.

You should book these flights in advance and expect to pay around £70 one way.


When To Visit?

Falklands, Sea Lion Island, Seals Playing

The best time to visit Sea Lion Island, as well as the Falklands in general, is during the islands’ spring and summer season between October and March.

Within this period, October is the best time for elephant seals breeding.

The orcas are best seen between mid-November and mid-December, when the sea pups (the orca’s prey) are learning to navigate the ocean for the first time.

And the Southern Sea Lions are best spotted in October and November.


Where to Stay on Sea Lion Island?

You’ll need to book your accommodation in advance. Like way in advance!

There’s only 1 lodge on this island, which sleeping under 20 people, fills up quickly!

Owners Micky and Sarah, who are also the caretakers of the whole Sea Lion Island, said people regularly book 2 years in advance to stay at their lodge and, if you’re keen to get exact dates (which is highly likely given how much planning a Falklands trip can take), you’re really best to book a minimum of 12 months ahead of time!

You can book Sea Lion Lodge and learn more about the facilities on their website.

But I thought it also worth giving my feedback; after all, this was one of my favourite spots to stay in Falklands.



Located just a few minutes’ walk from the Sea Lion landing strip, you can easily stroll the 50m to the lodge, while your bags will be transported in a little golf buggy.

On arrival, you’ll usually receive tea and cake in the lodge lounge, while owner Micky takes you through the basics of the lodge and also gives you a map of Sea Lion Island, talking you through exploring it unguided.



After this, I was able to check into my room in at Sea Lion lodge, which was a delightfully comfy, ensuite double room with an amazing window view out over the north of the island.

I’d only been there a few minutes when a troupe of Gentoo Penguins wandered past my window – talk about setting the epic wildlife tune!



As you’ll quickly learn on Sea Lion Island, it’s easy to walk from the lodge to all the main wildlife sights across the island, but if you plan to be out for a while, you can get a packed lunch, which you can then enjoy with a penguin or seal view!

Dinner is served here nightly around 7pm in the dining room, so make sure the team know any of your dietary preferences well in advance.

Breakfast is also served communally, normally at 8am and, in between, there’s tea and cake readily available in the lounge throughout the afternoon.

There’s even oak milk for vegans!


Lounge and Bar

With its comfy chairs and warm, cosy vibes, the lounge at Sea Lion Lodge is delightful.

A great place to come in from the cold and refresh, the glass fronted windows here give stunning views across the island and of course, there’s also tea and coffee, or a drink from the DIY honesty bar to enjoy too!

If you have some of the Sure wifi cards, you can also use wifi in the lounge here.

For more information about wifi connections in the Falklands, check out the post I wrote about the 21 things to know before you travel here.


What to See and Do on Sea Lion Island

Falklands, Sea Lion Island, Map

Sea Lion really is an island of 2 halves.



The north of the island, where the lodge is situated, boasts an incredible array of wildlife, including orcas, seals, penguins and caracara.

You can wander around here for hours – Micky and Sarah have an adventure trail that’s great for kids to follow too.

It’s very safe and easy to see the wildlife all around you, just be careful not to trip over any seals hidden in the tussock grass, or walk across the landing strip when a plane is trying to land and or take-off… apparently it has happened!

In the north of the island, I recommend heading towards North Beach first, then up the sandy strip and across to South Beach, where you’ll spot Elephant Seals and penguins (especially Gentoo and Magellanics) galore!

You can then finish at the Orca Pool, where you’ll had back in the morning.

And that’s because the best time to see the orcas is at dawn.

Even though I saw them here in the daytime as well, these amazing creatures usually they enter the shallow rock pool where many of the young seals play, to hunt at dawn.

This means you’ll want to set the alarm for 4am, and then walk the 10 minutes from the lodge to the Orca Pool to see this spectacle.

Sometimes the orcas appear right away and sometimes it’s over an hour until you see them, and sometimes they don’t arrive at all – because this is nature in all her wild and wonderful glory, you just never know!

One thing you don’t want to do however, is miss the chance to see them entirely, so set the alarm early and give yourself the best chance possible.

The orcas seen most regularly from Sea Lion Island belong to Puma’s Pod – named after the matriarch of the pod, Puma. 

First documented in 2004, Puma has learnt to access the narrow entrance to the Orca Pool on Sea Lion to hunt elephant seal pups and is now teaching her calves this incredible skill.

This behaviour is seen most frequently once the weaned seal pups are learning to swim in the shallow pool in late spring / early summer months.

Other orca pods spotted off Sea Lion Island include Lola’s Pod, Baba’s Pod, Trippa’s Pod and the male pod comprised of bachelors Pinnne and Tapone.



The south of Sea Lion Island is more remote and wildlife viewings are more spread out compared to the north.

If you have 2 days in Sea Lion Island, I’d save the south for the main part of your second day, as it takes longer to explore.

Here you can walk down to see sea lions, caracara and cormorants, as well as Rockhopper and more Magellanic penguins, especially around Rockhopper Point.

There’s also a memorial to HMS Sheffield, which was sunk 40 miles offshore during the 1982 conflict, at Rockhopper Point too.

You can spend at least 3-4 hours down in the south here but, if you’re short on time, you can pay Micky to give you a lift instead or just concentrate one spot in the south.

If you need to pick just one spot, I recommend Rockhopper Point, as you can see plenty of rockhoppers and cormorants here, plus maybe a Macaroni Penguin or 2 as well.

These are the 3 species of penguin not generally found in the north of Sea Lion Island, so it does pay to visit the south too for the full wildlife experience.

So full of character, the Rockhoppers shouldn’t be missed and I headed down to their point at sunset to get some stunning snaps.

If you’ve haven’t seen Southern Sea Lions elsewhere in the Falklands, such as on Pebble Island, then you can also spot these on your way back from Rockhopper Point as you return to the lodge.


How to Get Around the Island?

Falklands, Sea Lion Island, Rockhopper Penguins at Sunset

Walking is the best way to get around Sea Lion Island – you can easily access all the north of the island, plus the Rockhopper Penguins in the south – via tracks and trails that lead from the door of the lodge.

If however, the weather is too inclement for walking to the south (as it was when I visited Sea Lion Island – it was literally so windy, I couldn’t walk!), Micky the lodge owner can also give you lifts to spots around the south for £10.

Book these at reception on arrival.


How Long to Spend on Sea Lion Island?

Falklands, Sea Lion Island, Orca

I really recommend a stay of 2 nights on Sea Lion Island, because it’s such a special place.

I only had 1 night there, but wished I’d had longer to really soak in the amazing wildlife spots.

If you don’t see the orcas on the first morning, then you’ll definitely want another opportunity to do so as well!

That said, Sea Lion Lodge is not cheap, so if you’re budget limits you to only 1 night, it’s definitely still worthwhile.


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Mini Travel Guide to the Falkland Islands

Falklands, Sea Lion Island, Rockhopper Seal Face


How Long to Spend in the Falkland Islands?

I recommend 7-14 days across the islands.


Where to Stay in the Falklands?

In Stanley, choose from Malvina House Hotel or Tu Guesthouse.


Recommended Falkland Island Tours

If you’re keen to travel to the Falkland Islands, check out these amazing tours!


Top 5 Packing Items for the Falklands

Windproof Coat Merino Base Layers UV Sunglasses 30+ SPF Face Sunscreen British Adapter

For more info about what to pack for the Falklands, check out this post I wrote that includes a complete list.


Travel Insurance

World Nomads offers simple and flexible travel insurance. Buy at home or while travelling and claim online from anywhere in the world.

Alternatively, if you’re a long-term traveller, digital nomad or frequent remote worker seeking travel health cover, check out Safetywing’s Nomad Insurance policies.


Travel Money

There’s only 1 bank in the Falklands (in Stanley), so it pays to have some British cash on you, as well as a debit and credit card.

All the island lodges allow you to pay on card, which is what I did, using my Wise card.

The easy way to spend abroad with real exchange rates, no markups and no sneaky transaction fees, my Wise card works just like a debit card… and it links easily with Google and Apple pay – sold! Grab yours here.




So there you have it, my full travel guide to Sea Lion Island on the Falklands.

I hope the info was helpful, but any more questions you have about visiting this amazing place, don’t hesitate to drop them into the comments box below…


My trip to the Falkland Islands was sponsored by Falkland Islands Tourism but, as always, all views are my own.

This page contains affiliate links meaning Big World Small Pockets may receive a small commission on any purchases at no extra cost to you.


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