In 1962, when he announced the programs to put a man on the Moon and achieve other major goals by the end of the 1960s, President Kennedy famously made the point that our nation was undertaking these very worthwhile tasks “not because they are easy but because they are hard.”
While on a smaller scale, travel writer Suzy Strutner has roughly the same idea in mind in a recent piece she published in the Huffington Post. In it, she singles out several extremely hard-to-get-to travel destinations that, to visit, sometimes require transportation from helicopters to cargo ships, to hydrofoils, to motor scooters, but are still absolutely worth the effort. Among them, we picked 4 places you’ve probably never even heard of and might be curious to learn about:
- Sakhalin Island, Russia. Off-limits to foreigners until 1990 when oil drilling became big business there, Sakhalin is a beautiful and sparsely inhabited island off Russia’s Pacific coast just north of Japan. In addition to its beauty, its native Nivkh people are delighted to meet outsiders and eager to share their traditions. Some hearty travelers visit Sakhalin via the Trans-Siberia Railway to Khabarovsk in Eastern Russia. Then they take a hydrofoil, another train, and finally a ferry.
- Nauru. The world’s smallest republic, this tiny Micronesian island (covering just 8.1 square miles), is also the world’s least visited country. But, as Strutner notes, “it’s not for lack of beauty.” Framed by palm trees and lush vegetation, the island’s white, sandy beaches are awe-inspiring. A flight goes from Brisbane, Australia, to Nauru just once a week, and it’s not all that reliable. And, once you finally arrive, you may have to hitch a ride on a local’s motor scooter to your lodging.
- Ittoqqortoormiit, Greenland. If you’re not in a tropical mood but still crave a remote outpost, this Greenland settlement (meaning “Big-House Dwellers”) might be for you. Many of the people who live there—besides taking pride in their colorful houses—hunt polar bears for their livelihoods. An added bonus—visiting Ittoqqortoormiit gives you the opportunity to sail the world’s longest fjord system. Transportation there requires a chartered flight from Reykjavic, Iceland, to Constable Point Airport, Greenland, which only operates once a week. From there, a helicopter takes you to beautiful downtown Ittoqqortoormiit.
- Masoala National Park, Madagascar. Located in northeast Madagascar, this breathtaking park protects a wide variety of habitats including rainforest, coastal forest, flooded forest, marsh, mangrove, and coral reef areas that are home to a dazzling array of marine life. To get there, fly to Paris first. From Paris, you can fly Air France to Antananarivo, Madagascar’s capital. After this, you’re advised to travel via cargo ship. But, proceed with caution, because these ships can sometimes capsize.
For more from Strutner’s Huffington Post piece, just click. And, speaking of more, have you ever visited a ridiculously remote place that was totally worth experiencing? If so, we’d love to hear from you. Just post a comment briefly describing why the place was wonderful and how getting there was challenging.