Planes shrunk the world – and helped us reach the tiniest, most remote specks of land faster than ever before. There’s still a handful of places left in the world that are cut off, and too treacherous to reach by sea all the time. Here are some of our favourites.
The Galápagos Islands
These remote Ecuadorian islands are home to the adorable Galápagos penguin and the marine iguana – a unique creature made famous in the heartstopping opening scenes of Planet Earth II:
As well as being an incubator for some of the most unique life on Earth, the Galápagos serve as a natural hub for migrating birds and water dwellers as they navigate the ocean for feeding and breeding seasons.
And if you’ve got a taste for adventure, there are two airports and a small airfield serving the islands – and flying is really the only viable option for travel. The largest, oldest and most often used airport is Seymour (GPS).
It’s famous for those carved heads, but did you now that Easter Island is one of the most remote places in the world? It’s a dot in the ocean, somewhere between New Zealand and Chile (actually, it’s a little closer to Chile, and is classed as a Chilean island). Curiously, it’s the same shape as a Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit!
It takes six hours to fly from Santiago to Easter Island. You can see the only airstrip on the island in the image above, located to the south west.
Greenland is an enigmatic island nation, and the closest landmass to the north pole. It dwarfs most islands – it’s bigger than Mexico, Saudi Arabia – in fact, most countries in the world. For all the land it boasts, Greenland is almost completely uninhabited. It’s not an easy place to live. The environment is cold and hostile, with little to eat but whatever you can pull from the sea.
The little village of Ittoqqortoormiit is even harder to get to – the seas and rocks around it are notoriously dangerous – so supplies don’t come in thick and fast. If you want to travel to Ittoqqortoormiit (and you should – it’s achingly beautiful), the only real option is by air – Nerlerit Inaat Airport is around 25 miles away from this gorgeous, colourful place.
This major island off the coast of Mozambique is home to some of the most beautiful wildlife in the world. Having evolved in almost complete isolation, many of the native species are unique to the island.
It’s not exactly physically remote today; around 40 commercially accessible airfields on the island make travel quite easy – but the mystique and incredible variety make it one of the most inviting places on the planet.
While you can reach the fringes of this unbelievable landscape by sea, venturing into its heart by any other means than air is suicide.
Antarctica is savage and beautiful – easily the most extreme environment on Earth, where only the most rugged and well-adapted creatures can survive. It’s not quite a tourism hotspot, but travel for scientific research is fairly regular. There are roughly 1,000 people on the Antarctic continent at any given time, experiencing temperatures as low as -89ºC and months of constant daylight (or darkness).