Many of us like to vacation on islands or even live on them. But the islands listed below are the ones which are still virtually unknown. Take a look at 10 unusual and quirky islands and you’ll see just what we mean!
1. Isla de las Muñecas (Island of the Dolls) – Xochimilco, Mexico
If you like creepy dolls, this is the place for you. According to legend, Don Julian Santana Barrera, who owned the island, came across a girl who had drowned in a canal. Noticing a doll nearby that he assumed was hers, he hung it from a tree as something of a tribute. Because nothing says respect more than hanging a doll from a tree, right? Over the 50 years that followed, Barrera decorated the island’s trees with thousands of dolls in order to appease the spirit of the girl, who he claimed he could hear. Though he died in 2001, the dolls are still there and you can reach the island by boat. Let your slow descent into doll madness begin.
2. Pig Beach – Big Major Cay, the Bahamas
Dream about swimming with dolphins? We have a more novel idea: why not swim with pigs? If you make your way to Big May Cay, a small uninhabited island in the Bahamas, you can! How the hell did they get there, you’re asking? According to one story, they were dropped off by a group of sailors who had intended to make a feast out of them, only to change their mind and not return to the island. Cynics claim they were put there as a scheme to attract tourism. But the most likely explanation is that after a night at the clubs, a group of mischievous pigs stole a boat on a dare and went for a joy ride, only to crash onto the island and settle there. Either way, this pork tenderloin on the hoof looks delicious.
3. Fort Carroll – south of Baltimore, Maryland
Eager to explore an abandoned hexagonal sea fort on an artificial island? Fort Carroll just south of Baltimore has you covered. Constructed in 1848, the purpose of the fort was to defend Baltimore against outside invaders. Presumably the Vikings, Goths, Orcs and such. The only thing it protects these days are birds. The fort was used a bit during the Spanish-American War in 1898, but that’s pretty much it. The guns were removed after World War I broke out to be used elsewhere, probably because the Germans had no interest in conquering Baltimore. And can you really blame them?
4. Bouvet Island – South Atlantic Ocean
Bouvet Island holds the distinction of being the most remote island in the world. No people live there, obviously, but it’s an important breeding ground for a variety of birds. Although it’s located between South Africa and Antarctica, the UK and Norway had a dispute over ownership. Probably because it’s home to the macaroni penguin. In any event, Norway was eventually allowed to annex the island in 1930. So if you have ever experienced sleepless nights about Norway’s imperial ambitions, your fears are definitely well-grounded. Norway now claims the macaroni penguin as it’s official national bird or is it their hockey clubs team mascot? I forget.
5. Ilha da Queimada Grande (Snake Island) – Off the Coast of Brazil
Are you afraid of snakes? Don’t visit this island. Not that you could anyway. It’s closed off to the public due to the fact that, I don’t know, it’s an island full of freakin’ poisonous snakes? The snakes had originally made their way there via a land bridge that connected it to the mainland only to have raising waters leave them stranded. They have thrived ever since, feasting on a diet of stupid birds that obviously should have known better than to land on a place called Snake Island.
6. Devon Island – Nunavut, Canada
If you are hoping to book your trip to Mars, we have some bad news: Mars vacations aren’t a thing yet. But Devon Island is the next best thing. The surface and super cold climate have led scientists to draw comparisons between it and the Red Planet. It’s the largest uninhabited island in the world and with good reason: winters suck there. As do their springs, summers and falls. So bring a warm coat and practice your upcoming Mars adventure.
7. Hashima Island – Off the Coast of Nagasaki, Japan
Established in 1887, this island contained undersea coal mines and at its peak had a population of more than 5,000. Once the reserves were depleted in 1974, the folks left Hashima, leaving behind a bunch of abandoned apartment buildings and other ruins. In the early 2000s interest in the island reemerged amongst the public, and it has since become a tourist attraction that is open to all. Think of it like Chernobyl, but without the power plant meltdown. It’s on my bucket list now, for sure!
8. Poveglia Island – Near Venice, Italy
Back in the Dark Ages, the Black Death swept through Europe and killed off a whole lot of people. The Romans came up with the best solution: dump all of the plague-stricken souls onto a remote island and let them die in isolation. Terrible. But fortunately it was the only time that anything sad ever happened on that island. Just kidding. In the 1920s a mental hospital was built there, and the torment began anew. Although the hospital has been closed for decades, everybody who died there is still super pissed off. So if you decide to visit Poveglia, make sure to bring a can of ghost repellant. You go here only if you sign the waiver against contracting bad karma disease. Been way too much of that going around this place for a long time.
9. Ōkunoshima (Rabbit Island) – Takehara, Japan
Are you looking for the cutest island adventure ever? Then head out to Ōkunoshima, where the fluffy feral rabbits have no qualms about group tackling you. Gentle and friendly, the descendants of the rabbits were brought to the island to populate a park that was developed after World War II. However, if you are a cat or dog, you’re presence is not welcome. Sorry.
10. Rockall – United Kingdom…or not.
Last on our list is part of the dumbest island dispute of them all. The UK has claimed this uninhabited granite islet for Scotland, something that Ireland objects to, although Ireland itself has never sought ownership of the small, insignificant rock thingy that juts out of the ocean. It’s virtually impossible to climb to the top. In fact, only 20 people have ever been confirmed to have reached the top. By comparison, more people have landed on the moon. So good luck with that, guys. Maybe to give it up to the Irish for a pub.