There are so many amazing places out there to explore. Stunning national parks, pristine beaches, historic cities. You can live 1,000 lifetimes and still not visit every interesting place in the world. But there are some places, no matter how interesting they are, and no matter how much money you’re willing to shell out, that you’re just never going to visit. From inhospitable natives to military fortresses, read on to check out some of the places you won’t be visiting this year.
1. North Sentinel Island, India.
The home of some of the most isolated humans on the planet, the inhabitants of North Sentinel Island are fiercely opposed to outsiders. Researchers attempted to initiate contact with the tribe by leaving small gifts, but the program was disbanded after contact with a neighboring tribe resulted in several deaths.
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2. Kronostky Nature Reserve, Russia.
Thousands of acres protected land and not a road in site. This nature preserve is located in remote Far Eastern Russia — closer to Alaska than it is to Moscow. Save from the 3,000 tourists allowed into the park for 5 hours at a time via a pricey helicopter ride, only scientists are allowed to explore this vast, unique landscape. It’s home to the country’s only geyser basin and Eurasia’s highest active volcano. Though you won’t hear much in the way of human activity, the park is home to incredible animals, including some of the largest brown bears on the planet.
3. Groom Lake, Nevada.
One of, if not the most, protected place on earth, Groom Lake is better known as Area 51. The place is so secretive, the United States government didn’t even publicly acknowledge its existence until August 2013. For decades, people have reported strange UFO’\s in the skies around Groom Lake, leading conspiracy theorists to tie the facility to alien life, though these UFOs are almost certainly tests of experimental aircrafts. The closest settlement, some 100 miles away, is the tiny unincorporated town of Rachel, Nevada. Get much closer, and you might not make it back to civilization alive. You can catch a glimpse of the famed military site via aerial shots on Google Maps, however.
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4. Chapel of the Ark of the Covenant, Ethiopia.
For hundreds of years, adventurers both real and fictional have been searching for the famed Ark of the Covenant — the golden-plated case that holds the stone tablets where the 10 Commandments were written. Was it destroyed during the chaos of war in 582 Jerusalem? Or, as some Ethiopian Orthodox Christians attest, has it been nestled safely in the Chapel of the Ark of the Covenant in Aksum, Ethiopia for centuries? None of us can ever really be sure. The chapel is only allowed one visitor: a monk who is must remain on the grounds until he dies. This tradition has held strong for thousands of years, and no research has ever been performed on the Ark of the Covenant.
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons
5. Lascaux Caves, France.
Closed off from the world for over 17,000 years, the pristine art of the Lascaux caves are closely guarded by the French government. Beset with a whole slew of problems since their discovery in the 1940s — everything from damage from human breath to black mold — even work by scientists is heavily regulated today. All is not lost, though. Famed filmmaker Werner Herzog made a very fascinating documentary about the caves.