All over the planet, places of isolation, reclusion, and obscurity fly under the radar. Whether they’re separated by thousands of miles of ocean, protected by indigenous residents, or they require specific modes of transportation, many of these secluded environments and communities are once-in-a-lifetime journeys made by the bravest of adventurers and forever itemized on the bucket lists of others. Read on to find out more about the most remote locations scattered around the globe.
Tristan da Cunha
Sitting in the middle of the South Atlantic Ocean, Tristan da Cunha is the most remote inhabited island on the planet. A British overseas territory, Tristan only has a population of 245 people. Without an airport, and only accessible by boat from South Africa, this tiny island is just over seven miles in diameter, with an active volcano in the center of the secluded piece of land.
Located above the Arctic Circle, reclusive Barrow, Alaska, is the northernmost city in the United States. Barrow has no road access into town, meaning arrivals come by air or sea only. Known for having about two months of darkness in the wintertime, Barrow makes up for the extremely lengthy nightfall with more than 80 days of all-day sunshine from May through July.
With more than 1,200 miles separating Easter Island from the nearest populated island to its east, and set more than 2,200 miles west of Chile, this is one of the most isolated places in the world. Though it’s set far out from continental land masses, many people know about and can identify the moai statues carved by Polynesian settlers, showing the extended reach of the culture, even from its distant location in the South Pacific Ocean.
McMurdo Station, Antarctica
Situated below the Ross Sea, on a peninsula poking into McMurdo Sound, McMurdo Station is one of the final places reachable by ship in Antarctica. With a rotating population that reaches around 1,200 people in the summer, and drops dramatically to about 250 once harsh winters return, McMurdo Station is inhabited by both scientific researchers and civilians who keep the tiny town moving, even when everything else is frozen.
Javari Valley, Brazil
In order to preserve their way of living and governing, several indigenous Amazonian tribes are concentrated in the Javari Valley. Though the Javari Valley encompasses close to 33,000 square miles in Brazil, it shares a border with Peru, edged by the Javari River it’s named after. This part of the Amazon is considered an exclusion zone and often observed through footage captured by air.
Though the Hawaiian Islands are a highly visited archipelago, the island chain is 2,390 miles away from mainland USA and nearly 4,000 miles away from Japan. Made up of eight main islands, the state of Hawaii has more than 1.4 million permanent residents, most of whom live on Oahu, making it the most isolated center of population in the world.
The Yemeni island of Socotra is so remote, visitors can only only access the wonderland by hopping on a flight that leaves weekly from Cairo, Egypt (and includes a layover in Seiyun, Yemen), or via a two- to three-day voyage on a cement ship from Salalah, Oman. Because of the limited accessibility, Socotra has escaped much of the devastation of Yemen’s civil war and is on UNESCO’s World Heritage List for its unique flora and fauna, much of which does not occur naturally anywhere else in the world.
The only British Overseas Territory located in the South Pacific Ocean, the Pitcairn Islands have a year-round population of less than 100 people. Without an airstrip, hopeful visitors have to first fly from Tahiti, which is nearly 1,400 miles away, to the French Polynesian island of Mangareva, then finally take a cargo ship to reach the subtropical paradise of the Pitcairn Islands.
Icy Greenland is already the least densely populated inhabited country on Earth, but Ittoqqortoormiit is one of the most solitary cities on the whole land mass. Perched at the edge of expansive Northeast Greenland National Park and looking out onto Scoresby Sound, the little village of Ittoqqortoormiit has no cars, buses, or trains. Instead its residents are transported between colorful buildings by foot or dogsled.
With elevations reaching up to four miles above sea level, the Changtang Plateau (sometimes spelled Changthang or Qangtang) is part of the Tibetan Plateau but also extends into Ladakh, India. Nicknamed “The Roof of the World,” most of this vast highland consists of the protected Chang Tang Nature Reserve, including endangered species that benefit from the remoteness of the location, as well as the Changpa people, nomadic pastoralists who call Changtang home.
As the coldest inhabited place on the globe, Oymyakon of Russia’s Sakha Republic is as isolated as it is freezing. Just a few hundred miles away from the Arctic Circle, the extreme cold of the region is also due to its high altitude, sitting more than 2,400 feet above sea level. To reach this tundra of a town, travelers have to fly into Yakutsk or to Magadan and drive, with both towns more than 550 miles away from Oymyakon.
Cape York Peninsula, Australia
At the tippy-top northernmost point of Australia, the remote Cape York Peninsula hosts unmarred wilderness. Pressed between the Gulf of Carpentaria and the Coral Sea, Cape York Peninsula is lined by the Great Barrier Reef exteriorly, with tropical rainforests filling the interior land. Though visitors can take a road trip to reach Cape York Peninsula, the journey is an arduous one, with many adventurers having to replace tires and find mechanics because of the rough route.
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