During our time of isolation, we have been reminiscing about all the incredible isolated places we’ve been on this planet.
Places during our travels where we felt completely cut off from civilization allowing us to appreciate the beauty of the earth.
Isolation can be a positive thing.
Being alone can give a person time to look inward and reflect on how we have been living our lives.
We are merely guests on this planet.
Perhaps when we come out of isolation, we will all learn to appreciate the world a little bit more. Pollution has nearly disappeared in some cities revealing mountains and landscapes that have been shrouded in haze.
At my family’s home in rural Ontario, we are witnessing hawks soaring overhead, squirrels coming out of hiding and deer grazing freely in the grass. The natural world is thriving as the human race goes into hiding.
Remote Places and Beautiful Destinations
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It is a scary time right now. We are all unsure of the future, our finances, our jobs, and our health. But isolation can also be used as a moment to take a breath and to appreciate being alive.
So, in honor of being in isolation at home, we are celebrating the most beautiful isolated places on earth – that we’ve been to.
Greenland was one of the most remote country’s we have ever visited. There aren’t any roads connecting cities and villages in Greenland.
To get from one settlement to another you need to fly or take an expedition ship. When we stopped in the picturesque village of Itelliq, it was truly like stepping back in time.
There are more sled dogs in places like Illulisat and Itelliq than people, and communities hunt and fish as they have for centuries.
Read more about Greenland:
- Greenland – Where Ancient Culture Meets the Modern World
- Kayaking in Greenland – Exploring Uncharted Fjords
- Incredible Greenland – The Final Frontier for Adventure Travel
Deception Island – Antarctica
Visiting Antarctica was a dream come true. There are no permanent settlements on Antarctica. The only people that live there are scientists and researchers.
It was while visiting Deception Island that we felt the true isolation of what early explorers must have gone through. This volcanic island was once an old whaling station that had an eeriness and sadness to the land.
Whalebones still scattered the beaches from slaughters that happened at the turn of the 20th century when people used whale blubber for oil.
Today, hunting is illegal in Antarctica and the wildlife has thrived. It is a glorious place to visit with millions of penguins scampering on its shores and whales, seals and seabirds stopping by to say hello.
Read more about Antarctica:
- 11 of the Best Things to do in Antarctica
- Amazing Antarctica in Photos
- Sea Kayak Antarctica – The Adventure of a Lifetime
Ivavik National Park – Canada
As you scroll through this post you will see that we have included a lot of Canada when rounding up the most isolated places we’ve been on earth.
We truly feel that Canada is the best place to travel off the beaten path. Nothing was more remote than traveling to Ivavik National Park in the Yukon. It took several flights on small twin-engine planes and several days to get there from Ontario.
Once we reached our destination, we spent our time in tents surrounded by fencing to protect ourselves from Grizzly bears that roam this territory. We were the ones in cages as bears went about their business outside.
Mongolian Steppe and Gobi Desert
Taking part in the Mongol Rally from England to Mongolia was the adventure of a lifetime. This overland trip took us through 15 countries and two continents.
Places like rural Romania, Moldova and Kazakhstan felt remote, but it wasn’t until we reached Mongolia that we felt truly isolated.
We would choose one of many dirt trails while driving East and hoping for the best as we camped in the middle to the Gobi Desert or the incredible Mongolian Steppe.
The only people we saw were nomads who would visit our camp from the middle of nowhere offering us fermented mares milk and cheese as a welcome gift to their land.
Read more about Mongolia:
Bhutan is one of the least visited countries in the world thanks to its tourist fee implemented to keep tourism low. Only 250,000 people visit the country each year.
While most people stay to the well-trodden tourist loop, a trek into the Himalayas showcases just how isolated the people of Bhutan Live.
After driving for a day from Thimpu and overnight in Gasa, we were dropped off at the trailhead for a two-day hike to the Himalayan village of Laya.
It was here that we experienced one of the most remote settlements in our travels. Located at 3800 meters (12,467 feet), Laya is surrounded by massive Himalayan peaks creating the most beautiful setting for a village that we have ever seen.
Read More of our time in Bhutan:
- We met the King of Bhutan – Searching for Happiness at the Highlander Festival
- Bhutan Trek to Laya
- Things to do in Bhutan
Hershel Island – Canada
Before visiting Hershel Island off the coast of Northern Canada, I didn’t even know it existed. This island was an old whaling station sitting in the middle of the Beaufort Sea.
At one time, 1500 people lived on the island, but today it is run by Park’s Canada and people can visit to see the museum and relics left from another time.
The people who live on the island today seem to thrive in isolation. They still dry salmon and keep an eye out for muskox and bears. Like Deception Island in Antarctica, it is a slice of history reminding us of a different time.
Read More about Canada:
The Nubian Desert – Sudan
Cycling the continent of Africa offered many isolated opportunities. We cycled through some of the least visited countries on the continent and were well off the tourist path.
But it was in the Nubian desert of Sudan that we felt most alone. Cycling through the deep sand for hours on end, we’d go without seeing a soul.
Nomads still herd camel caravans through this desert to market and roads have yet to be built between tiny villages dotting the landscape. How have people survived these harsh conditions for so many centuries?
Read More from Sudan:
Boz Uchuk Lake Kyrgyzstan
When people ask us where to travel in 2020. (well, people did ask us before the pandemic) we always answered Kyrgyzstan.
This country reminds us of our early days backpacking through South East Asia from 2000 to 20003. The tourism infrastructure is just starting and there are many places that people can travel off the beaten path.
It was during our horse trek to Boz Uchuk Lake in Jyrgalan that we had one of the most isolated treks in all our travels. We didn’t see another trekking party or local for two days of our trek. It was just us, the mountains and herds of wild horses.
It wasn’t until coming down from the mountains that we crossed paths with nomadic tribes herding cattle from the mountains to the valleys. They smiled as they rode by, barely giving us a second glance.
Read More on Kyrgyzstan:
Hudson Bay Canada
Flying into Nanuk and Seal River Lodges on the Hudson Bay of Canada, truly brought us to the most isolated places in Canada. Churchill Wild owns land in this remote area of Manitoba to bring intrepid travelers face to face with polar bears.
A small plane let us off on a dirt landing airstrip where we hiked to a lodge surrounded by fencing to keep the wildlife out while we were locked in.
Polar bears are known to walk right up to the fences at Seal River Lodge and while at Nanuk, we had wolves and black bears stop by to take a look.
Jumping on Tundra vehicles, we drove along the Arctic tundra in search of wildlife while being completely cut off from the world.
These experiences were the most memorable wildlife viewings of our entire lives.
Check out More Hudson Bay Adventures:
- Walking with Polar Bears – The Greatest Arctic Safari
- Kayaking with Beluga Whales – A Paddler’s Dream
Embera Tribe – Darien Rainforest
We had heard scary stories of the Darien Gap in the past and while on a small ship expedition from Panama, we were surprised to find out that we were smack dab in the middle of it. Visiting the Embera Tribe was a privilege.
They picked us up in dugout canoes and transported us through a mangrove rainforest to their isolated village in the middle of the jungle.
We had a glimpse into life in their traditional village where the outside world has barely touched their daily lives.
Cycling from Khartoum Sudan, to Adis Ababa, took us through some of the most remote places in Africa.
I’ll never forget crossing through an isolated border where the border guards sat in a shack looking up our names on our visas in a giant old book while we sipped beer sold to us by local children waiting to make a buck as we came out of a “dry country.”
People were fascinated by our cycling shorts and high tech bikes, and children ran alongside asking for bon-bons and birr (Ethiopian money)
It was climbing to the top of the Blue Nile Gorge, that we’ll never forget. The ride was rigorous and the view was outstanding. And yes, we felt very far away from anywhere.
Growing up in the 1980s during the Cold War, we knew a thing or two about Siberia. We knew it was a place that prisoners were sent to and that it was cold, stark and scary.
But while driving through Siberia during the Mongol Rally, it reminded us a lot of Canada – save for a few relics left over from the arms race days.
We camped alone in fields and mingled with locals riding by on sidecar motorcycles giving us cheery wave hello.
Siberia felt completely foreign and as far away from home as we could get in our little Nissan Almera packed to the brim, but it was an extraordinary experience.
Missianabi Arctic Watershed Trek
It was the toughest adventure we ever did.
After driving six hours north to Sudbury Ontario and then hopping on a CP rail freighter train another 14 hours North in the dead of winter, we were let off at the headwaters of the Missinaibi River.
For the next 10 days, we trekked over frozen lakes and rivers while pulling sleds loaded with gear. We chipped through meter thick ice, chopped down birch trees for firewood and gathered spruce bows to sleep on at -45.
People have asked us how we managed to do this and our reply is
“We had no choice”, the alternative was calling in the army to send a rescue helicopter to pick us up.
Pinnacles of Borneo
It was 2003 and we followed some fellow backpackers to Malaysian Borneo. We didn’t know the first thing about it, but when we got there, we had the greatest adventure seeing Orangutans in the wild and climbing to the Peak of Mount Kinabalu.
But it was hiking the headhunter’s trail to the Pinnacles of Gunung Mulu National Park that we felt truly isolated.
We hired a boat to take us up river where we were let us at a jungle trail and began a day-long hike to camp 5. After spending the night, we started another harrowing journey up to the pinnacles.
We honestly didn’t know what to expect, but when we got there, it felt as if we were looking down on a giant painting.
It was extraordinary.
Coiba National Park, Panama
When we pulled up to Granito de Oro in Coiba National Park, it reminded us of Gilligan’s Island.
This tiny slice of Paradise sits off the coast of Panama smack dab in the middle of the largest marine reserve in the Eastern Pacific.
We had the un-inhabited island to ourselves for the day as we snorkeled around in its pristine waters spying on sea turtles and reef sharks. If there is one place to be marooned on an island, this is it.
Dempster Highway – Canada
We love a road trip. We’ve taken a road trip on every continent (except Antarctica). When we had a chance to drive the legendary Dempster Highway in the Yukon, it was a dream come true.
Leaving from the remote northern town of Inuvik, we spent 2 days on this isolated stretch of highway where we saw nothing but moose, mountains and endless skies.
This road is so remote, it is also used as an airstrip. That’s right, you share the road with airplanes.
Read more from the Yukon
One of the advantages of taking a South Pacific Cruise is having the opportunity to go to places that are too remote and isolated to visit on your own.
It was never our dream to visit American Samoa, but it was pretty cool to be able to say that “we’ve been there.”
This tiny American Territory is far far away from the United States and a lovely spot to visit. We hired a car to take us around the island exploring and strolling along deserted beaches on the main island of Pago Pago.
Fiji itself is a well-traveled South Pacific Destination with a thriving community of local tribes and a strong tourism infrastructure.
Home of the Headhunter, ancient caves, and traditional Kava ceremonies, Fiji is exotic. But it is when you go out to explore one of the 330 surrounding islands that you truly feel that you in a remote and isolated land.
Crystal clear waters surround islands and atolls and by hiring a boat or even staying on a private island, you’ll have a quiet vacation walking along the endless secluded beaches de-void of any people at all.
Read more about Fiji:
Inuvik – Canada
Inuvik in the Northwest Territories was once a thriving oil and gas settlement. The industry collapsed in the 1990s and today it continues to be home to the Inuvialuit and Gwich’in Peoples.
Inuvik is located 200 km above the Arctic Circle and is just 100km from the Arctic Ocean making it a truly isolated destination in Canada.
Wilpena Pound – Australia
It was a toss-up for us when choosing an isolated place in Australia.
There are certainly more remote locations in this country such as places in Western Australia and the Northern Territories, but we haven’t personally been there.
Wilpena Pound is an incredible 17km long rock formation is nestled within the Flinders Ranges of South Australia. It reminds one of the Grand Canyon, only without all the tourists.
We took a road to nowhere, five hours north from Adelaide to the heart of the Australian outback and were mesmerized by this incredible landscape filled with wildlife.
A scenic flight over Wilpena Pound Truly showcased its majesty.
Read More about Australia:
Located off the coast of Ecuador, the Galapagos used to be as remote and isolated as it gets. It was so isolated, that Isabela Island was used as a Spanish penal colony in the 1950s.
Today it attracts cruises and tours to see its unique wildlife and landscapes. Even though it is a popular destination, we barely saw another tour group during our time exploring the Galapagos Islands.
We had beaches to ourselves and interacted with sea lions, Galapagos sharks and turtles with nobody else around. In the Galapagos, you can still have an isolated vacation.
Read more about the Galapagos:
We had never felt so isolated in the Amazon as when Dave broke his back four days into our Amazon Cruise.
It was then that we realized, “you can’t simply call 911 and have an ambulance rush you to the hospital”. We waited four hours for a floatplane to come to the rescue and it was another 10 hours before we reached the isolated town of Iquitos.
There are no roads to Iquitos. The only way in or out is by plane or ship.
We waited in the small town for 9 days for an air ambulance to come to the rescue, but looking back, I am so glad that we had the five days on the Amazon to interact with isolated tribes, to see the cute and cuddly wildlife and to witness the power of the Amazon River.
The White Desert of Egypt
Driving out towards the Siwa Oases from Cairo is the most impressive desert we have ever seen.
The White Desert of Egypt was our first ever encounter with the Bedouin. We camped overnight in the middle of this Lunar landscape with clear starry skies overhead. It is only a six-hour drive from Cairo, but it feels worlds away.
Read more about Egypt:
And there you have it, the most isolated places on earth that we’ve visited.
Sure, there are definitely more remote places to visit on this earth than in this post.
Other articles mention, Easter Island or Tristan da Cunha, the most remote inhabited places on earth located off the coast of South Africa, but we decided to write only about all the places we’ve been to.
We hope that this gave you a little escape from your daily isolation.
And these are the most isolated places on earth that we’ve been to. Where have you been that is completely isolated and away from everything?
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