Most people look forward to exploring luxury island destinations with breathtaking landscapes, beautiful sandy beaches, and an abundance of rich wildlife. However, the list of ideal island destinations to choose from is not totally endless- it is in fact limited. In many places of the world, there are mysterious islands no one can visit. Many of these islands are unexplored or uninhabited. Visitors are strictly forbidden from setting foot upon them. While some islands are off-limits because of their potentially hazardous nature, others are kept away from visitors for other reasons.
Even if you have a thing for the forbidden, visiting any of these islands could get you into trouble…or worse, it could get you into fatal circumstances. What makes these islands so forbidden? In this article, we’ll explore 7 islands that no one can visit. Keep reading as we unravel all the mysteries behind the islands that should never make it to your travel list!
1. North Sentinel Island, India
Located in the Bay of Bengal, this mysterious island often piques the interest of explorers. Perhaps the hardest place to visit on Earth, North Sentinel Island is home to the Sentinelese, an indigenous people with no contact with the outside world. The Sentinelese are violently hostile to visitors and may attack with spears, bows, and arrows. For this reason, the Indian government has made it illegal for anyone who is not a resident to go within three miles of the island, and it is heavily patrolled by the Indian Navy. The Northern Island is not one to put on your list of places to visit because the Sentinelese have existed in isolation for more than 50,000 years, and they want it to stay that way.
2. Niihau Island, USA
Niihau Island is situated approximately 18 miles northwest of Kauai. It is considered to be the seventh-largest island in Hawaii and home to the largest lake in Hawaii. Known as “The Forbidden Isle,” Niihau Island is not a place you should consider visiting because it is off-limits to all outsiders. This is for no other reason than the fact that it is owned by private individuals, Keith and Bruce Robinson. The Robinsons are committed to the promise they made to a former Hawaiian king to protect the island’s proud Hawaiian heritage. One thing is for sure, you have to be invited by the Robinsons to visit Niihau Island. The only other way is to get a special invitation from a permanent Niihau resident.
3. North Brother Island, New York
The North Brother Island is one of the two small islands located in New York City’s East River. With several abandoned buildings, sidewalks and streets shrouded in wild vines, no mammals in sight, and signs of previous habitation everywhere, there is undeniable evidence that North Brother Island has a dark history. It was once a site for Riverside hospital, a quarantine hospital for people (including the famous Typhoid Mary) suffering from highly contagious diseases like smallpox, typhoid, tuberculosis, and polio. The island was eventually abandoned after a failed attempt at converting it into a rehabilitation center for heroin addicts. North Brother Island is currently designated as a sanctuary for water birds. What remains of this eerie place are crumbling buildings ready to collapse at any moment. The government has declared that no one is allowed to visit the island.
4. Poveglia Island, Italy
As with many deserted places, Poveglia Island is another place with a troubling history. Located in Northern Italy, the island is considered to be one of the most haunted places in the world. The dark history of Poveglia began thousands of years ago when it was used as a quarantine station for decades. Thousands of people with symptoms of the Bubonic Plague were sent there to die; burned and then buried in mass graves. The horror story of Poveglia didn’t end there, there’s more! Poveglia island was also converted into a mental hospital in the early 20th century, where heinous and inhumane experiments were performed on patients (some witnesses even say you can hear their screams till today). You may not believe in tales of ghosts and haunted places, but Poveglia Island is certainly marred by the tragedies that have taken place there over the centuries. The government has made it illegal for anyone to visit Poveglia.
5. Snake Island, Brazil
Snake Island is also known as Ilha da Queimada Grande. It is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Brazil. As the name implies, Snake Island is home to the largest population of deadliest snakes in the world – as many as 2,000 to 4,000 species. In fact, there’s about one snake to every square meter! Snake Island is the only place you can find the critically endangered species, venomous golden lancehead pit viper (Bothrops insularis), whose venom is enough to melt off human skin and kill a person in less than an hour. Doesn’t matter if you’re an adventurer or a curious explorer, no one is allowed to visit Snake Island. This is not only to protect visitors from snake attacks but also to preserve the endangered snake species from modern-day pirates who attempt to risk it all to capture these deadly serpents for money.
6. Surtsey Island, Iceland
Surtsey Island was borne out of volcanic eruptions that took place over the course of 4 years, starting on November 14, 1963, below sea level. Following the emergence of this young island off the southern coast of Iceland, scientists started to observe as forms of life – including plants, insects, seals, and birds – gradually establish themselves on the originally barren island. USA Today reports that the Island “serves as a rare and unique laboratory for researchers who have studied the development of the land’s ecosystem over the past 50 years”. Surtsey Island has been restricted exclusively for scientific research to allow natural ecological development to continue without outside interference. It was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008 – public entry is strictly prohibited.
7. Heard Island, Australia
A long way from anywhere, Heard Island is located more than 4,000km southwest of Fremantle, Western Australia. It serves as a habitat for penguins, sea birds, seals, beetles, and flies – but not a great place for humans to live. The island’s active volcanoes make it uninhabitable for anyone. According to a member of the National Regional Reporting Team, “you have to be very aware of the potential danger you could be in and how unlikely it is that you could be rescued if something goes wrong”. Hiding beneath thick clouds for around 360 days a year, the mountainous island is covered by glaciers with lava flows bubbling up through its violent core. The most frightening fact about this? The wind across the island is reportedly vicious; a Category Three hurricane force. Heard Island was added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List to protect its unique natural ecosystem. The Australian government has made it illegal for anyone to visit the island.
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