What kind of vacationer are you? Do you prefer to go to the popular Instagram hot spots? Or are you the type who likes something more undiscovered and unspoiled? If you’re the latter, then you’re going to love these five truly remote places that you should put on your bucket list. Before you stress over how to reach these treasures, we’re going to outline the best way to travel to these off-the-beaten-path locales.
Socotra Island, Yemen
Are you ready to visit an island with flora and fauna so unique that a third of it can’t be found elsewhere in the world? If that’s a yes, then Socotra is the place to visit. Located in an archipelago off the coast of Yemen, the island is also affectionately nicknamed Alien Island because of its unique wildlife.
The island has long been a popular attraction for archeologists, scientists, and anthropologists because of the island’s unique biodiversity. But now, tourists are able to visit the island. Before you book a trip, be sure to apply for a visa through Yemen. To reach the island, flights are the only option, although there are two possible routes. You can connect through Sanaa—the Yemeni capital—or via the United Arab Emirates in Sharjah. If you opt for the UAE, an added bonus is that you can apply in person for a Yemeni visa and receive it in about 15 minutes.
Fancy a trip to the coldest inhabited place on earth? Oymyakon took the world by storm a few years ago with beautiful photographs of local citizens sporting frost-covered eyelashes. Depending on when you’re feeling brave enough to venture to this Siberian town, temperatures can dip as low as 88 degrees below Fahrenheit. But in addition to making words like “frigid” seem inadequate, Oymyakon is also a town that creates an adventure just by trying to get there.
For best results, go with an established tour company rather than a solo adventure. Your trip to Oymyakon begins in Moscow with a seven-hour flight to Yakutsk. Official tours offer a five-day round-trip experience with ground transportation that includes a few days spent in Yakutsk—a neighboring town of Oymyakon—and day trips to Oymyakon and other nearby villages. As of now, there are no hotels in Oymyakon as it is a truly small town with a population of 500 residents.
The Pitcairn Islands are located in the tropical South Pacific and are a UK overseas territory. For those who want a “desolate” feel, you can’t go wrong here. Only 50 people call this place home, with the British government desperately asking citizens to relocate to the tiny island chain. But the archipelago is a snorkeler's paradise that isn’t overrun with tourists. To reach this remote spot, you can only approach the islands by sea via three sailing options.
If you’re not sure that you want to spend your entire vacation on the island, you can search for cruise ships with itineraries that will bring you through the island chain. But if you do plan on spending a few days here, you can arrive with your own private or chartered yacht. Or you can book a berth on the dedicated passenger vessel, MV Silver Supporter out of French Polynesia or New Zealand.
Remote is the perfect description for the Kerguelen Islands, a French territory so undiscovered that only a small collection of scientists live here. The islands are located in the Indian Ocean and were initially uninhabited before researchers arrived. Kerguelen can get a bit chilly since it’s so close to Antarctica. However, getting here can be challenging.
There are two official options for reaching the Kerguelen Islands by sea. If you do your research, you might find Antarctica-bound cruise liners that will make a stop in this archipelago. But the most common option is to book passage on one of the four sanctioned research voyages each year that leaves from tropical French territory, Reunion Island.
Tristan da Cunha
Tristan da Cunha is probably the most remote island archipelago on this list. Located more than 2,000 miles away from South America and 1,700 miles away from South Africa, this island chain is sparsely populated and a lush oasis in the sea. The islands are accessible only via sea, and careful planning as far as a year in advance is recommended. First, you can’t just come to these islands on a whim. While their official tourism site doesn’t explicitly state that you need a visa, you do need the Island Council’s approval before arriving.
Once approval is granted, you will need to book passage on either a cruise ship or research vessel out of Cape Town, South Africa. However, do note that research vessels might “bump” your reservation in favor of higher priority passengers like scientists, medical personnel or government officials. Travel insiders recommend booking your trip during times when multiple vessels are scheduled to travel to or from the island to avoid being stranded if a high-priority passenger is traveling during your scheduled trip.