Welcome to lockdown! Country after country is limiting, if not forbidding, travel during the Coronavirus outbreak. Being grounded is good for a number of reasons: first and foremost, that it ensures everyone—especially the most vulnerable—can be as safe as possible during this weird and turbulent period. But if you’ve got a raging case of wanderlust, why not take this chance to daydream, research, and make plans? Because I’m sure everyone at home is bound to get cabin fever from being cooped up with their loved ones, I asked travel bloggers to kickstart us with a roundup of incredible vacation destinations without people.
18 Incredible Vacation Destinations Without People
Rapa Nui (Easter Island)
From Danielle at The Rambling Companion
Mataveri International Airport is the most remote airport in the world. It is also the only access to Rapa Nui (Easter Island). This destination is the perfect choice to enjoy exploring, hiking and having space to yourself.
The northwest side of the island is entirely undeveloped. I spent an entire day hiking from Ana Kakenga to Anakena Beach and only encountered horses and cows roaming the fields. Another highlight is the more clearly marked To Ara o te Ao trail. This short Easter Island hike leads to Rano Kau and Orongo Ceremonial Village. To lengthen the hike and enjoy more solitude, continue to the Vai a Tare viewpoint. While sunrise at Tongariki and sunset at Tahai will attract several other tourists, both experiences were peaceful and quiet as we all waited in anticipation of nature’s most beautiful show.
With only one town on the entire island, Rapa Nui is the perfect escape if you’re looking for vacation destinations without people.
From Adam at Cartagena Explorer
On the list of incredible vacation destinations without people, some absolutely stunning locations are the beaches near the small town of Nuquí, Colombia, located on the Colombian Pacific Coast.
The area is probably most well known as a destination for humpback whale watching. The whales come to the warmer waters of the tropics from July to September to breed and return the following year to give birth.
However, Nuquí still makes a great place to escape and get away from it all any time of year. There are a handful of eco-hostels and eco-lodges, but the beaches remain practically deserted.
Overall, it makes a great place to get a healthy refresher in nature, get away from it all, and maybe even spot some whales. Learn more about getting there and where to stay in this complete travel guide to Nuquí.
The Aran Islands in Ireland
From Emer and Nils at Let’s Go Ireland
If you really want to avoid the crowds of mainland Europe, then head to Ireland. If there are still too many people (for example in Dublin), escape to the west coast, where Ireland is sparsely populated. If that is still too crowded for you, then we have the perfect destination: the Aran Islands. These three islands can only be reached by ferry or by light utility airplanes and have a small population of about 760 people. It is the perfect hide away. In fact, the Aran Islands are so remote that the inhabitants still speak Irish Gaelic as their native tongue.
Additionally, if you travel to the islands you will be rewarded with some of the most stunning landscapes in the whole of Europe. Make sure you will explore the stunning rugged cliffs of the UNESCO World Heritage site of Dun Aengus or the Worm Hole, where tough locals and tourists go swimming.
Alter do Chao, Brazil
From Mario at Rest and Recuperation
Travelling through the Amazon has been one of the best experience of my life. The place I liked the most is Alter do Chao, which is situated half-way through the two main cities of the region, Manaus and Belém. The fact that it is so secluded adds charm to the destination.
Alter do Chao has one of the most beautiful beaches in Brazil, sure enough one of the most gorgeous river shores of the world on River Tapajòs, a tributary to the impressive Amazon River flowing a dozen kilometers north.
You can also have wonderful treks in the Amazon primary rainforest, with huge trees hiding plenty of wild animals, including beautiful toucans and dangerous caimans. Last but not least, food is great and river fish of the Amazon is very savory.
From Karen at WorldWideWriter
You can’t get much more remote than Greenland, the least densely populated country in the world. Much of it is uninhabitable, covered by an ice pack three miles deep. The population clings to the coastal areas, towns and villages accessible only by air or sea (there are no roads between settlements).
For the tourist it is a chance to get away from it all, to learn about a culture in which survival means battling with the elements and eating whatever is available. It is also an opportunity to enjoy some of the world’s most spectacular scenery. Visit in the summer for the midnight sun, and in the winter for the northern lights. And at any time of year to marvel at the icebergs, glaciers and untouched countryside. Read more about Ilulissat, the Iceberg Capital of the World, here.
Badlands in Alberta, Canada
From Alexandra at The Adventure Classroom
Canada, the second largest country in the world, is fittingly known for its stunning, vast landscapes. My favourite remote destination is in the badlands of Alberta, one of the western provinces in Canada.
The badlands are essentially large areas of land that are distinguished by slopes and valleys that were created from years of erosion; the rocky land usually has a red or beige colour. It looks much like you’ve landed on Mars or been thrown back to the dinosaur era! It makes sense, though, because archaeologists and paleontologists value this area as a treasure trove for fossils.
A visit to the badlands in southern Alberta is the perfect way to escape crowds. Take a day hike or set up camp in Dinosaur National Park, which is the best place to experience this unique terrain. There is little to no development other than the campground, and you might get lucky and have a spot all to yourself. If that sounds too remote for you, make Drumheller town your base and take day trips to different areas where the badlands stretch as far as the eye can see.
Altyn Arashan Valley in Kyrgyzstan
Ellis from Backpack Adventures
If you are looking for a place that is far away from everything and where you will meet few people, Kyrgyzstan will offer plenty of opportunities. This mountainous country has lots of remote valleys that are hard to reach and where only adventurous hikers find their way.
One of the valleys that is relatively easy to get to is Altyn Arashan. These alpine meadows are famous for their hot springs and forested mountain slopes. Only a handful of people live here that run yurt camps to accommodate any visitors that make it this far.
You can only get there get by a scenic 15 kilometer hike from Ak Suu village near Karakol. The trail is easy to follow as you walk besides the Altyn Arashan river through nice pine forests. At the end you will reach a ridge from where you can see the Altyn Arashan valley below. Here you can relax after your hike in one of the hot springs.
You can hike back to civilization the next day or stay for some time to do more hikes. Not far away is the Ala Kul mountain lake, but you don’t need a specific destination. Basically everywhere you go in the Altyn Arashan valley you have beautiful views.
The Moroccan Sahara
From Eva at Not Scared Of The Jetlag
My favourite location to detox from people and my phone is the Sahara desert in Morocco. And no, I don’t mean the tourist hotspots of Merzouga and M’Hamid, but the remote and very sparsely inhabited area between the two. You can get there either by 4-wheel drive cars or trekking with camels, and I promise you, it will be a once-in-a-lifetime-experience. Although, I keep doing it again and again.
You will walk through dried-up river beds, over sand dunes and rocky hills, enjoy lunch under acacia trees and sleep under a million stars. The only people you might meet are the local nomads that lead their camels and goats to the little bit of green left here in the desert.
It is a very meditative, mindful way of seeing the desert. A lot of people come to the Sahara to find themselves, so expect to be changed in some small way by this experience.
From Anthony and Anna at Green Mochila
If you’re looking for the part of the world that rhymes the most with being alone, we’ve got it: the Amazon.
When we visited South America, we made sure we added the Amazon jungle to our Peru itinerary and wild camped there a couple of nights in complete loneliness. It’s thick with life buzzing and hissing around; you’ll have no problem finding food, as long as you have a few hunting skills.
It’s so dense and remote that some parts are still unexplored to this day. Several Indigenous tribes live in the Amazon with no link to our civilisation whatsoever. No technology, not even a pair of jeans to put on. They’ll surely be the last people to get affected by the coronavirus – if ever!
So take a flight to either Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Suriname, Guyana, French Guiana or Brazil (yes, the Amazon covers 9 countries). Pack your favourite bow and tons of mosquito repellent. You’ll be at rest there, safe from both coronavirus and tax collectors. You might pick up a couple of other diseases though, so stay safe!
From Jan at Leisurely Drives
A small town with a beautiful lake, and an impressive pier that goes way into the lake. This 628-meter long pier, the longest in Scandinavia, ends in a jetty with a generous area covered with trees, greenery and benches to relax. And no people!
This is the charming town Rättvik situated on the shores of Lake Siljan in Dalarna, Sweden. You can take a bus or a train to get here from Stockholm.
Take a walk on the jetty at sunset and you will have a great time and views! Bring your camera to record the gorgeous views at the end of the pier. Be sure not to miss out on the pretty city center with a delightful fountain with statues of girls dancing to the tune of violins, a symbol of folk music. There are some nice places to eat, and friendly people.
If you decide to stay on for a day or two, as we did, find a place which gives you a view of the pier, the lake and the occasional train running down the track. Perfect place to put your feet up with a glass of wine watching the lingering sunset over the lake!
From Pam at The Directionally Challenged Traveler
The best place to get away from other humans? Go to the furthest place you can on Earth—Antarctica.
The ice continent is one of the most protected places on earth. Even the scientists who live there year-round have to protect the earth around them. Only 40,000 people a year visit Antarctica (compared to the 5 million people who visit the Vatican each year), making it the perfect getaway. Even though it is bigger than Europe, and almost double the size of Australia, the lack of humans makes it the most pristine locations in the world. Light, fluffy clouds in a sun-kissed sky, hills with hikes that overlook penguin-lined beaches will make you forget about all the problems in the world.
While escaping the crowds, there are plenty of things to do while you’re in Antarctica. On each landing, there was at least one hike available that you could do at your own pace. There was also a geology tour by a guide to go over the unique landscape. On a few landings, we had the option of going for a swim! Yes, a polar plunge in the Southern Ocean. They provide towels for you and you get priority on the zodiacs back to the ship. For an additional cost, you could also go kayaking or camping!
From Frankie at As the Bird Flies
While most people who do the famous Iceland ring road route will indeed drive to and through Eastern Iceland, not many will actually spend a decent amount of time there. And that is a definite oversight as the region has much to offer, especially if you want to explore one of the most remote areas of Iceland. With no major city to centre itself around – the biggest town in the region is Egilsstaðir with a population of under 2500 – the region is mostly wilderness scattered with smaller settlements and of course, stunning Icelandic waterfalls, beaches, glaciers, lakes and mountains.
From the beauty of the glacial lake Jökulsárlón, the so-called Diamond Beach and Svartifoss waterfall in Vatnajökull National Park, in the south through to the remote and picturesque settlements of Seydisfjordur, a fjord town made famous as the set of Icelandic hit TV show Trapped which was also shown on BBC4, Eastern Iceland is worth exploring in greater depth—especially if you’re seeking vacation destinations with people.
The Scottish Highlands
From Laura at Anywhere She Roams
Whilst the Scottish Highlands and the Outer Hebrides may technically not be as remote as say Alert, Nunavut in Canada or Ittoqqortorrmitt in Greenland, it is certainly a great place to visit if you are seeking an escape from the crowds. Overall Scotland offers an eclectic mix of historical charms, nature, and beautiful urban city-scapes (Edinburgh), but if you do want to experience Scotland at its best you need to head into the Scottish wilderness.
The highlands are home to the fairy-tale scenery of mountains, glens, lochs, and ancient woodlands. Comprised of beautiful and remote areas such as the Orkney Isles, Isle of Skye, the Shetland Islands, Applecross, and North Rona. Whilst you may still encounter people in these places, they will be few and far between compared to urban living – especially if you head to the right spots! However, if this still sounds like too many people, then you should check out—St. Kilda the National Nature Reserve which has a limit set to only host 6 people at a time. Keep in mind that it is a challenge to get there though as it is officially the remotest part of the British Isles, sitting 40 miles off the Outer Hebrides.
Republic of the Congo
From Wendy Werneth at The Nomadic Vegan
The Republic of the Congo is completely off the radar of most tourists, but it’s a surprising and very rewarding destination, particularly if you want to immerse yourself in nature and leave civilization behind. Also known as Congo Brazzaville, it’s a small country with a population of just over 5 million people. Most of these people live either in Brazzaville, which is the capital, in Pointe-Noire, which is the second-largest city, or in the smaller cities and towns strung out along the railroad line that connects the two.
This means that the large expanses of jungle and inhospitable swamps in the north are almost completely uninhabited by humans. Although of course they are inhabited by many other animals, including elephants, chimpanzees and gorillas, just to name a few. While Brazzaville does have some interesting things to do, the real appeal of the Congo is the wildlife found upcountry. Roads are poorly maintained and public transport virtually non-existent in these parts, so it’s definitely not a place for a self-drive safari. Talk to Wild Safari Tours or another local tour operator to arrange your trip.
Marion Bay, Australia
From Emma at Our Wayfaring Life
Marion Bay is a seaside village with less than 200 residents on the southern tip of the Yorke Peninsula in the Australian state of South Australia. It is the last town on the Peninsula, over three hours drive from Adelaide and one hour to the nearest supermarket.
Many that come to Marion Bay fall in love with its remoteness and natural beauty but because of its distance from anywhere else the only people who visit are those who plan to do so. Those that do enjoy the sheltered bay, untouched surf beach and wooden jetty all ideal for swimming, snorkeling, surfing or fishing. They also visit the nearby Innes National Park and meet the locals at the tavern.
Summers are warm, sunny and calm, the ideal time to visit. In the winters the weather and conditions change dramatically with cold strong blustery winds straight off the Southern Ocean and big ocean waves. Our plan is to stay here until winter starts.
Ramon Crater, Israel
From Nava Gross at Yum Vegan Blog
If you like the desert, hiking and being by yourself, the Ramon Crater in Israel is the place to be. A 40km long erosion cirque, created 220 million years ago, the Ramon Crater is filled with stunning endless desert, mountain vistas. Spend your days exploring the many hiking trails throughout the mountains, checking out the colored sand, interesting rock formations, volcanic intrusions, and hanging out with wildlife like ibex. You can spend the night in hotels in the small city nearby or camp out in the crater itself, either under the stars or in a Bedouin camp. If you can handle the human contact you can even take a midnight stargazing tour in the crater with a local astronomer, who can show you what you are looking at in a star-filled sky, visible because of the remote location.
From Christin at christintheilig.com
For anybody looking to really get off the grid, ‘Eua in Tonga might be your best bet!
The archipelago of Tonga, nestled in the South Pacific, is already an offbeat destination in itself. However, near the main island of Tongatapu lies ‘Eua, a little paradisical island often referred to as “The Forgotten Island”. It’s the oldest island in the Kingdom of Tonga, covered in lush rainforest and is very much underdeveloped and unexplored. This is one of the most remote places, no matter where in the world you come from!
It’s a safe place that allows (or forces) you to digitally detox, as reception can be limited. On the other hand, you will experience a peaceful environment, ideal to relax and unwind with a good book. Here you can go after diving, snorkelling or a multi-day hike through the national park.
You’ve also got lots of white-sandy beaches to choose from, many of whom you will have entirely to yourself. One of the most famous attractions is the ‘Ovava tree, estimated to be around 800 years old. In its roots and tendrils, you can easily get lost in—super unique!
Also, make sure to visit the south of the island. It’s a beautiful remote area which leads you through the Rock Garden, on 200-meter high limestone cliffs, ending at a Natural Archway.
And finally, I’ll close us out with…
We spent an incredible week in the Namibian wild as part of an extended road trip around Southern Africa. When we picked up our rental car, one of the key tips they gave us for driving in Namibia to always travel with 1.5 liters of water per person in the vehicle. In the event that our car broke down, it could “be awhile” before anyone passed by.
Indeed, once we got on the road, we saw what the rental agent meant. Hours would go by without us glimpsing another car or human. What we saw instead were incredible rock formations, rolling grasslands, open skies, and plenty of wildlife. I’d never seen anything like it—equal parts Mars, Jurassic Park, and unlimited safari.
There was no cell service in Namibia, so no chance to video call, Facebook, Instagram Live, or connect to anyone other than each other and mother nature. Even at the lodges we stayed at, there were only a few other travelers—each keeping a distance and staying more or less in their own camp. Not for any social distancing, of course. Just because sometimes, it’s nice to truly unplug.