Traveling to Tristan da Cunha – The Most Isolated Archipelago on Earth

Tristan da Cunha is a secluded group of volcanic islands in the Atlantic Ocean. It is the most isolated inhabited archipelago in the world, lying roughly 2,432 km off the shore of Cape Town in South Africa. The only humans on Tristan da Cunha call it the Edinburgh of the Seven Seas, but it is locally known as “The Settlement.” It is known as the most isolated establishment on Earth. Less than 300 settlers live here in almost total isolation from the far-away rest of the world.

History of Tristan da Cunha

The islands were first documented as discovered in 1506 by Portuguese explorer Tristão da Cunha, though stormy seas prevented a landing. He named the main island after himself, Ilha de Tristão da Cunha. It was later anglicized from its earliest mention on British Admiralty charts to Tristan da Cunha Island.

How to reach Tristan da Cunha

Traveling to Tristan da Cunha needs thorough planning. It takes five to six days to cover the 2,810 kilometres from Cape Town. The South African polar research ship SA Agulhas and the fishing boats Baltic Trader and Edinburgh make the voyage between Cape Town and Tristan da Cunha many times every year. A return ticket on one of the fishing vessels costs USD 800. Numerous cruise ships visit between November and April.

What to see in Tristan da Cunha?

There are no proper tours for independent travelers, no airports, no hotels, no night clubs, no jet skis, no restaurants, nor safe sea swimming. Nevertheless, Tristan da Cunha is one of the world’s most isolated places for travelers determined to find a unique island to explore.

Things to see here:

Inaccessible Island: Take a tour to Inaccessible Island from the central Tristan Da Cunha Island. Despite the name, you are allowed to visit the island. Only guests escorted by guides from Tristan da Cunha are permitted to explore the island and most visitors come along with a cruise ship itinerary. You can picture yourself fishing, sports climbing, and island walking on the rustic southern tip of the Atlantic.

Volcano: The island’s tourist places are generally limited, it’s mainly about just being in such a unique location. Other than that, there’s rare bird watching (albatross!), climbing and hiking the island’s volcano summit, St Mary’s Peak, to explore its unparalleled heart-shaped crater lake. The heart-shaped crater lake holds the purest form of freshwater on Earth. You can also travel to the lava flow, north-east of The Settlement. Don’t get too close, and you could observe the fire meeting the water.

Where to stay and what to eat in Tristan da Cunha

There is a variety of government and private accommodation on Tristan. There are six guest houses possible to rent on a catered or self-catered basis. Catering prices are in line with full board homestays, and self-catered prices are £25 plus utility charges. There is a Cafe da Cunha – on the most remote destination of the world. You can enjoy coffee with sandwiches here.

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