Humanity has colonized much of the world. It’s hard to find locations completely untouched by man. Although, there are some locations where, despite humans possibly having been there before, the area is completely uninhabited by people. And it’s probably all the better for it. Here are a few abandoned, yet beautiful, islands around the world.
Aldabra is one of the outer islands of the Sychelles. It’s 700 miles from Mahé and is the largest of the islands in the Seychelles, closer to the coast of Africa. After Kiritimati, it is the second largest atoll in the world. It’s been virtually untouched by humans and retains a population of 152,000 giant tortoises. This is the largest population of this reptile anywhere on earth. Not only does it house the world’s largest tortoise, but the world’s largest land arthropod in the coconut crab.
Located in South Andaman, India, Ross Island was once the home of the British administration for the Indian Penal Settlement in the Andaman Islands. Nowadays, the remains of the structures are covered in a number of plants and animals. It was first abandoned in 1941, following an earthquake and an invasion from the Japanese. Although, the Indian Navy took over control in 1979, with a museum being established in 1993.
The Rock Islands are the remainder of coral reefs that surfaced hundreds of years ago. They form 250 to 300 island in Palau’s Southern Lagoon. They’re most uninhabited, known for their beaches, blue lagoons, and peculiar shapes. They also house Jellyfish Lake, a lake filled with jellyfish with weak stings. They allow people to safely snorkel and observe the jellyfish up close.
Also known as the “Island of Tears”, Spinalonga is located in the Gulf of Elounda in Crete. It was once the home to a colony of lepers during the 20th Century. Tourists now visit the island headed through the same location the lepers once entered, “Dante’s Gate”.
The Mamnuca Islands are an archipelago of 20 islands located in Fiji. They’re one of the most popular vacation destinations in Fiji, with beautiful islands resorts and white sand beaches. However, several of these islands are also uninhabited, generally because there is no natural source of fresh water.The most famous of these island is Monuriki, which was the location of the the 2000 film Castaway.
North Brother Island
North Brother Island in New York City was another island once populated by sick people. It was where quarantined patients were kept in the 1960s. One of the most famous patients there was Typhoid Mary. Nowadays, people rarely visit and the island is primarily occupied by birds.
Located off the coast of Venice, San Giorgio first became inhabited in 1000 CE. Much later, it served as an operative station for Nazis and a base for the monastery reformation. But, shortly after World War II, it was abandoned. Now the only thing that stands there are dilapidated buildings.
Suakin Island Ruins
Suakin was a popular trade destination in the 10th Century BCE. It had a heavy population thanks to the spread of Islam. However, in the 1800s, the island became a hub for the slave trade. And when slavery became less popular, its population declined. It’s been abandoned since the 1920s.
Located in Venice as well, Poveglia Plague Island received a part of its name from its history. People that suffered from the plague called this place their home. It’s even believed that half of the island’s soil is comprised of human remains. Nowadays only the psychiatric hospital remains on the island. To anyone who wants to check out these claims, however, the island is barred from tourists.
Part of the Solomon Islands, Tetepare is the largest uninhabited island in the South Pacific. It’s covered in an untouched lowland rainforest and has coral reefs on its fringe. Its original inhabitants lived in scattered villages throughout the island and spoke a distinct language. But for as of yet unknown reasons, the island was deserted 200 years ago. That settlements’ descendants now live in other parts of the Solomon Islands.
No Man’s Land
This island, located in Nettlestone, England, is aptly named No Man’s Land. It once served as a bae for multiple military strongholds during World War I. After the war, it was made into a resort destination, but no one came to visit. Probably because of the contaminated pool water giving people Legionnaire’s disease. The hotel owner ended up locking himself in the tower on the island until he was evicted in 2009.
Hashima Island in Nagasaki, Japan was once the base for a coal mining facility. It was home to thousands of workers, but was abandoned in 1974. It’s still open to visitors, and guided tours actually started operating in 2009. The ruins of the island were actually inspired the lair of Raoul Silva, the antagonist of the 007 film Skyfall
The Dry Tortugas are located in Key West, Florida, off the coast. A shipping corridor had been established in 1513 by Juan Ponce de Leon. However, the island soon gained a reputation as ship trap, with many becoming wrecked en route to the island. The fort on the island is abandoned now, but it still does welcome tourists. Most often, people visit Fort Jefferson, an incomplete fort that construction had begun on in 1874.
McNabs Island was named after its first settler, Peter McNab. Him and his family lives on the island from the 1780s to 1934, abandoning it after World War II. Nowadays, the island remains full of ruins.
Herschel Island in Canada was once a whaling station in the 1800s. It was inhabited by the Thule people and served as a major hub for fishing and whaling. But when the whaling industry went south in 1907, the inhabitants decided to leave. And in 1964, it was fully abandoned.
The Auckland Island are an archipelago of Sub-Antarctic Island in New Zealand. Possibly dating back to the 13th Century, traces of a Polynesian settlement were discovered on Enderby Island, one of the archipelago’s islands. It ended up being the farthest south settlement made by Polynesians to be discovered. The Auckland Islands, themselves were rediscovered in 1806 by a whaling vessel, completely deserted at the time.
Disney’s Discovery Island
Discovery Island was a Disney attraction in Bay Lake, Florida. It was where they kept all their exotic animals. However, the attraction shut down in 1999 and the animals were moved to the Animal Kingdom park. The remnants are considered off-limits and have been slowly deteriorating over time.
Cocos Island is located about 300 miles off the pacific coast of Costa Rica. It’s mostly uninhabited, covered in jungle. Tourists are allowed to visit if they have permission from the Costa Rican Park Rangers, who are the only ones allowed on the island otherwise. It’s a popular diving destination, with people going there to look for treasure. Supposedly, pirates buried their treasure there in the 19th Century, including the Incan gold from Lima that was taken by the famous pirate Benito Benito.
The remnants of Stilt Village are located on King Island, just off of Alaska’s coast. It’s made of stilts and huts originally constructed by the Inupiat people. In the mid 1900s, the villagers were forced to leave to return to Alaska’s mainland. And they simply never returned.
Mu Ko Ang Thong
Mu Ko Ang Thong is a breathtaking archipelago of 40 islands in the Gulf of Thailand. The direct translation of the archipelago’s name translates to something like “a group of islands in a bowl of gold”. Most of the islands are covered in tropical forests and have many bizarre rock formations. With the exception of the island Ko Paluay, all of them are uninhabited. And the last island is inhabited by a strange group of people that live off of fishing.
Deception Island in Antarctica was another island known for its whaling. It also was a safe harbor and had plenty of interesting scientific research happening there. After all, it was located on an active volcano. However, that same volcano erupted twice in two ears, destroying much of the island’s research centers. It was completely abandoned by the 1960s, but soon became an attraction for travelers. It has some pretty popular hot springs.
Ball’s Pyramid isn’t just an island, but an 1,844 foot high rock. It’s 13 miles southeast of Lord How Island in the Pacific Ocean. It’s the remanent of a volcano that formed around seven million years ago. The first successful climb of the mountain was in 1985 by a team of Australians. And a year before that, another team of rock climbers had rediscovered the Lord Howe Island stick insect. Before that, it was thought to be extinct, but a population of fewer than 30 individuals were discovered on the the island. It’s still considered the rarest insect in the world.
The Phoenix Islands consists of eight atolls and two submerged coral reefs. It’s located in the middle of the Pacific, with its isolation contributing to its undisturbed and pristine ecosystem. In 2008, the government of Kiribati declared the area protected, making it the world’s largest marine protected area.
Maldives Desert Island
The Maldives are an archipelago consisting of 1,190 coral islands, grouped into 26 coral atolls. Of the islands, only 200 are inhabited by the local Maldivians. And only five of those islands have a population greater than 3,000. Of the reminaing islands, 88 of them were developed as tourist resorts. The Maldives has so few habited islands that every resort has its own “Deserted Island” and offers trips to them.
Holland Island in Maryland was once populated by crabbers, fishers, and farmers. It only had a population of almost 400 during the 1800s. Everyone’s home were on the west side of the island. But over time, harsh winds and tides eroded that area. People were forced to move to the mainland. The final home on the island stood until 2010, when it succumbed to nature and sank into the Chesapeake Bay.