5 of the Most Remote Islands in the World!

Written by Jennifer Gaeng
Updated: April 9, 2022
Image Credit D. Ribeiro/Shutterstock.com
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Some people are more comfortable with the idea of creating a home base and staying there for a while. Other brave folks opt to travel to the most remote parts of the world. Although temporary, this manner of life can provide a sense of freedom as well as breathtaking natural beauty. In this post, we’ll explore 5 of the world’s most remote inhabited islands, perfect for those with a sense of adventure!

5. Easter Island

Easter island
The ancient moai on Easter Island, 2,000 miles off the coast of Chile.

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Easter Island is an isolated volcanic island off the Chilean coast. It is here that the early Rapa Nui people erected almost 1,000 massive monuments known as moai. Their culture thrived, as demonstrated by the island’s numerous giant stone moai and other artifacts. However, agricultural clearing and the Polynesian rat led to gradual degradation. Diseases and emigration to other islands like Tahiti further reduced the population. In the 2017 Chilean census, 7,550 people registered on the island, with almost half identifying as Rapa Nui.

A total of 887 iconic “Stone Heads” of Easter Island have been found on the island and in museums. The statues feature torsos, most of which finish at the top of the thighs; a few are complete figures that kneel. Shifting soils buried several upright moai to their necks. Almost all were carved from solidified volcanic ash or tuff found at a single spot on the side of the extinct volcano Rano Raraku. The native islanders utilized only stone hand chisels to carve them. A single moai took a team of five or six men around a year to complete. Each statue represents a deceased lineage head.

4. The Kerguelen Islands (Desolation Island)

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The Kerguelen Islands are a collection of islands in the sub-Antarctic. A vast igneous province primarily submerged in the southern Indian Ocean, they are part of the Kerguelen Plateau. This island cluster is among the world’s most remote. The Kerguelen Islands are 2,051 miles from any civilization and have no natural residents, although they are regularly occupied by up to 100 French engineers, scientists, and researchers each year.

Kerguelen’s main island, Desolation Island, is ringed by around 300 solitary satellite islands. It’s roughly 100 miles long and has mountains that reach 6,445 feet high. Across the island, there are a series of massive glaciers.

The islands are so isolated that even if an airport existed, the harsh freezing environment and snowy terrain would deter tourists. The only way to and from the island is by ship, but a cabin costs several thousand dollars, and the ship only leaves four times per year, so plan accordingly.

3. The Keeling (Cocos) Islands

Keeling island
The Keeling or Cocos Islands are between Australia and Sri Lanka.

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The Territory of Cocos (Keeling) Islands is an Australian external territory in the Indian Ocean, comprising a small archipelago between Australia and Sri Lanka. The territory’s dual name reflects that the islands have historically been known as either Cocos Islands or the Keeling Islands. The territory consists of two atolls made up of 27 coral islands, of which only two – West Island and Home Island – are inhabited. The population of around 600 people consists mainly of Cocos Malays, who mostly practice Sunni Islam and speak a dialect of Malay as their first language.

Small local gardens and fishing contribute to the food supply, but most food and most other necessities must be imported from Australia or elsewhere. Although it is an Australian territory, the culture of the islands has extensive influences from Malaysia and Indonesia due to its predominantly ethnic Malay population. There is a small and growing tourist industry focused on water-based or nature activities. Cocos Island is admired by scuba divers for its populations of hammerhead sharks, rays, dolphins, and other large marine species. There are many ways to travel to the exotic Cocos Keeling Islands, including flying, using a private jet, or the more traditional way, sailing.

2. Niue

Niue Island
Niue Island is actually considered an island country.

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One of the tiniest countries on the planet and home to one of the world’s largest elevated coral atolls, Niue is a Pacific Island paradise unlike any other. Samoa, Tonga, and the Cook Islands form a triangle with the island. There are 100 square miles of land and a 65-meter elevation above sea level. It may be the world’s smallest independent republic, but the Pacific island dubbed the ‘Rock of Polynesia’ has plenty to offer the adventurous visitor.

Between June and September, humpback whales nurse their calves in the protected, warm waters of Niue. To explore the sites that line its amazingly picturesque perimeter, you’ll need to hike, climb, and occasionally swim. Tourists can also go kayaking, fishing, caving, and on guided hiking expeditions. Alofi (population 1600) is the capital of Niue and runs several kilometers down the west coast. It boasts a broad selection of budget and mid-range guesthouses, as well as villas, lodges, eateries, and a resort.

1. Tristan Da Cunha

Tristan da Cunha
Tristan Da Cunha Island is extremely remote.

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Tristan da Cunha is the most remote inhabited island in the world. This isn’t your typical island vacation destination: Tristan da Cunha offers a unique experience. There are no food establishments, no hotels in this area, no credit cards, and no swimming. There are between 17 and 26 rainy days every month. Electricity is generated by diesel generators. Bungalows, potato fields, and cows line the only road on the island. The nearest major landmass is 1,732 miles to Cape Town, South Africa. Boats take seven days to reach the island, and there is no airport to fly into. Edinburgh of the Seven Seas, Tristan da Cunha’s only settlement, is home to all 269 island residents.

The 8-mile-wide British overseas territory is the most isolated inhabited island in the world. It’s also not your typical island. A stratovolcano, the entire island is comprised of lava and pyroclastic material and thus is classified as a volcanic island. At the end of 1961, the entire population was forced to flee to England via Cape Town due to landslides and an eruption from one of the north vents of the volcano. Most returned to the island two years later, after geologists gave the all-clear.

Tristan da Cunha’s new way of life necessitates preparation and foresight. Groceries must be ordered months in advance to ensure delivery, but there is a food store in the area. It is impossible to land on the island when the weather is terrible. Patients must be flown to South Africa or the UK for more specialized medical treatment.

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About the Author

A substantial part of my life has been spent as a writer and artist, with great respect to observing nature with an analytical and metaphysical eye. Upon close investigation, the natural world exposes truths far beyond the obvious. For me, the source of all that we are is embodied in our planet; and the process of writing and creating art around this topic is an attempt to communicate its wonders.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What are some of the most exotic islands in the world?

If you’re looking for more exotic islands than remote ones, you could consider Kangaroo Island in Australia. The island has a native kangaroo population and is famous for its wineries. Other options could include Gozo in Malta, Taha’a in French Polynesia, La Digue, and Ambergris Caye in Belize.

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