Top Five “Off the Beaten Path” World Destinations

Five of the world’s most remote and nature-oriented destinations for the benefit of adventurous and daring travelers looking for unique and far flung destinations

Top Five “Off the Beaten Path” World Destinations

From the town of Ittoqqortoormiit, way up north in Greenland, all the way down to Deception Island on the Antarctic Peninsula in the southern hemisphere with the Wakhan Corridor of Afghanistan, Federated States of Micronesia, and the island nation of Madagascar in between, we bring to you five of the planet’s most remote locations for adventure seekers looking to avoid commonplace destinations.

Ittoqqortoormiit, Greenland

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Ittoqqortoormiit is situated atop a peninsula on eastern Greenland that goes by the name of Liverpool Land. It is Greenland’s most remote area – a vast tract of land where polar bear, walrus, reindeer, musk ox, bird populations, and small game thrive.

First occupied by Inuit settlers in 1925, the depleting population of Ittoqqortoormiit, down to just 450 inhabitants, live in flamboyantly colored wooden houses dotting the stark landscape and sustain themselves hunting whales and polar bear for food and trade.

Despite its inaccessibility to ships for nine months of the year, Ittoqqortoormiit has fast become a key cruise destination for modestly-sized expeditionary vessels exploring wildlife and culture, and nature in general, of North-eastern Greenland.

Attractions in and around Ittoqqortoormiit

  • Kap Hope
  • Northeast Greenland National Park
  • Ittoqqortoormiit Museum
  • Midnight Sun
  • Northern Lights

Activities

  • Dog Sledding – You can enjoy multi-day sled trips led by hunters who know the area more than they know the backs of their hands with impressive knowledge of local weather conditions, wildlife, and hunting, ensuring a safe and memorable experience.
  • Kayaking – What better place for kayaking than Greenland? Marvel at the surrounding natural wonders while kayaking in modern sea kayaks available for rent.
  • Hiking – An excellent way to explore this uniquely beautiful and surreal land, especially if you employ the services of a trained guide familiar with the best hiking trails.
  • Hunting – Arranged trophy hunting mainly for caribou, musk ox and seal with the help of local hunting guides who are themselves accomplished hunters; polar bear hunting is the sole privilege of locals – trophy hunting of the animal is a strictly enforced No-No.

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Remoteness of Ittoqqortoormiit: 2,388 km from London; 4,408 km from New York; 4,304 km from Toronto; 15,940 km from Sydney

Wakhan Corridor of Afghanistan

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Sandwiched between the Hindukush and the Pamir Mountains, the Wakahn Corridor is a panhandle shaped strip of land in the north eastern extreme of Afghanistan, bordering the entire length of the strip with Tajikistan in the north and Pakistan in the south, and sharing a much small border at its easternmost edge with China.

Home to the Kyrgyz and Wakhi ethnic groups, large parts of the rugged Corridor are without roads and other government services with people, basically, fending for themselves.

The Kyrgyz people are nomadically inclined, moving their portable yurt tents and livestock from valley to valley with the changing seasons.

The Wakhi, on the other hand, generally have separate winter and summer homes made of stones.

Livestock rearing is the predominant occupation of these simple mountain folks – so different from the stereotyped media version of the Afghani people. They trade sheep, goats, and yaks in exchange for food, clothing, and other essentials they can’t produce owing to their limited resources and the kind of terrain they inhabit. They trade with merchants from Pakistan and from other parts of Afghanistan.

Located way off the beaten path, the Wakahn Corridor attracts a handful of visitors every year; basically, die-hard adventurers and explorers who are drawn to the raw beauty this rugged mountain territory has to offer.

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Travelers are safe in this neck of the woods in Afghanistan, free from the Taliban or Al-Qaeda – far from the conflict zones of this troubled nation. Most of the local population are moderate Muslims and are by nature-friendly and welcoming. They are happy to host foreigners as it helps them economically as well.

Approximate Costs

  • Afghanistan Visa: $200 USD for U.S. citizens – cheaper form other nationals
  • Taxi to Eshkashim: $20
  • Guest House: $10-$25 USD per night (x 8)
  • Wakhan Permits: $50 USD
  • 4×4 Taxi: $350 USD one way (x 2)
  • Pack Animal: $20 USD per day (x 10)
  • Guide/Translator: $30 USD per day (x 14)

Remoteness of Wakahn Corridor: 5,834 km from London; 10,772 km from New York; 10,647 km from Toronto; 11,254 km from Sydney

The Federated States of Micronesia

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The Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), also known simply as Micronesia, is a sovereign island state just north of the equator in the western Pacific Ocean, under a Compact of Free Association (COFA) with the United States. The four islands in the east of the Caroline Islands that make up Micronesia are Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei, and Kosrae.

FSM enjoys a tropical climate with heavy rainfall throughout the year, especially in the eastern islands. Located on the southern edge of the typhoon belt, June through December can be a pretty rough as typhoons can be expected during this period sometimes causing extensive damage.

Micronesia Attractions

  • Kepirohi Waterfall (Pohnpei)
  • Sokehs Rock (Pohnpei)
  • The Blue Hole (Kosrae)
  • Tamilyog Trail (Colonia)
  • Lelu Island (Kosrae)
  • Ant Atoll (Kolonia)
  • Truk Lagoon (Chuuk)
  • Nan Madol (Pohnpei)
  • Stone Money (Yap)
  • Bechyal Cultural Center (Yap)
  • The Ethnic Art Institute of Micronesia (Yap)
  • Yap Art Studio Gallery (Colonia)
  • Hiroshi’s Point (Kosrae)
  • Sunset Park (Yap)
  • Kuop Atoll (Chuuk)

Outdoor Activities

  • Scuba & Snorkeling – Pohnpei Surf Club and Yap Rize Diving Center & Village View Resort
  • Boat Tours – Pohnpei Surf Club
  • Fishing Charters & Tours – Pohnpei Surf Club
  • Hiking Trails – Tamilyog Trail (Colonia)
  • Kayaking & Canoeing – Kayak Launch (Yap)
  • Stand-Up Paddleboarding – Pohnpei Surf Club (Pohnpei)
  • Surfing, Windsurfing & Kitesurfing – Pohnpei Surf Club (Pohnpei)
    Water Sports – Beyond the Reef (Yap)

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Remoteness of FSM: 13,215 km from London; 12,524 km from New York; 11,976 km from Toronto; 4,597 km from Sydney

Madagascar

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This unspoiled island country of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean, off the eastern coast of Africa, covers 587,000 square km of amazingly beautiful and marvelously diverse country, roughly the same size as France.

Vast tracts of uninhabited and largely unexplored terrain with its overabundant flora and fauna attract adventure seekers and wildlife lovers from different parts of the globe. The diversity of the landscape is truly amazing where lush rainforest can turn into desert country in a matter of just 300 km.

Five percent of the island’s plant and animal species are unique to Madagascar – not to be found in the wild elsewhere in the world.

Animal and Bird Life

  • Fossa – a sinister-looking cat-like predator endemic to the island
  • Lemur – Over 100 lemur species exist on the island and almost all of them are rare, vulnerable or endangered. Lemurs have been classified as “Madagascar’s flagship mammal species” by Conservation International
  • Birds – Out of the 300 recorded species of birds, 60% are unique to Madagascar
  • Reptiles – Madagascar boasts 260 reptile species out of which 90% are native to the island. Two-thirds of the world’s chameleons species thrive on the island including the smallest known.
  • Fish – Over 100 indigenous species of freshwater fish inhabit the rivers and lakes of Madagascar.
  • Invertebrates – All 651 species of terrestrial snail are endemic, as are a majority of the island’s butterflies, scarab beetles, lacewings, spiders, and dragonflies.

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Madagascar Attractions

  • Isalo National Park – Famous for its canyon and lemur population – ideal for backpacking and hiking
  • Avenue of the Baobabs – An extraordinary stand of huge baobab trees located 45 minutes north of Morondava on Madagascar’s west coast
  • Ranomafana National Park – Features a forest, rainforest, lemurs, and a hot spring
  • Amber Mountain National Park – Known for its lemur population, rainforest, nature reserves, and waterfall
  • Rova of Antananarivo – Historical Palace
  • Tsimbazaza Botanical and Zoological Gardens – Zoo, Botanical garden and Park
  • Parc Ivoloina – Zoo and Park
  • Zahamena National Park – Rainforest, Park, and Nature Reserve
    Analamazaotra Special Reserve – Nature Reserves, Protected Area, and Eco Tourism
  • Andringitra Massif – Mountainous Park area good for hiking
  • Pirates Museum
  • Royal Palace
  • Central Park Zoo
  • Namorona River
  • Libanona Beach
  • Maromokotoro Mountain

Activities

  • Deep sea fishing
  • Kite and wind surfing
  • Guided Kayaking
  • Wildlife safaris

Remoteness of Madagascar: 9,058 km from London; 13,950 km from New York; 14,343 km from Toronto; 10,117 km from Sydney

Deception Island, Antarctica

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Located north of the Antarctic Peninsula in the South Shetland Islands, Deception Island owes its name to its past – full of blood and destruction – and to the unpredictable volcano and its partially submerged caldera.

The above-the-surface part of the caldera forms Deception Island. Sitting atop a restless dragon that last breathed fire in 1967 and 1969 causing extensive damage to scientific stations, the island appears ‘deceptively’ calm.

Once a Chilean-Norwegian whaling station, the shores of Deception Island have witnessed the slaughter of whales for commercial purposes on a scale that almost drove the species to extinction. It was not only an example of human cruelty to animals but cruelty to humans as well – ironic!

You can well picture men working in freezing Arctic conditions – cold and bitter – carving up whale carcasses to be thrown into giant boilers; a fleet of factory ships designed to process blubber anchored in the bay; the beaches strewn with carved-up whale carcasses, bones, and blood – lots of it.

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Well, it all had to end some day – and end it did!

In 1931, plunging whale oil prices could not sustain the massive operation forcing the whalers to shut shop and abandon the station. Gutted wooden buildings; rusting giant boilers and other whaling equipment; a cemetery with 45 graves of whalers who died along the way; all still stand in silent testimony to a dark past.

Not everything is sinister about Deception Island, though. Considered one of the safest harbors in Antarctica because of its horseshoe shape, the island is an excellent holiday destination for travelers with an adventurous streak seeking destinations off the beaten track.

Can’t think of another place in Antarctica where you can enjoy in your swimwear! The geothermally heated water on Deception Island allows you to do exactly that.

Exploring the largest cemetery on the continent and the ruins of the Hektor Whaling Station are not to be missed activities on this caldera island.

Deception Island Attractions

  • Whalers Bay
  • Pendulum Cove
  • Mount Kirkwood
  • Mount Pond
  • Mount Achala
  • Hector Whaling Station
  • Deception Island Cemetery

Remoteness of Deception Island: 13,789 km from London; 11,601 km from New York; 11,984 km from Toronto; 8,896 km from Sydney

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