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Oh, The Places You Can't Go

Dear FCI,

As you all know, I love traveling and exploring new destinations. However, throughout my travels I have stumbled upon some locations which I am simply not allowed to visit. In fact, there are some places where no one is allowed to go due to the dangers of the territory. There are a few reasons why entry to certain locations would be prohibited: the protection of indigenous tribes or rare animals, the preservation of land and ancient artifacts, or for the protection of visitors. I’d like to tell you about some of these restricted places and the reasons why visitors are not allowed.


North Sentinel Island, India

Sky view of North Sentinal Island, India

This island in the Indian Ocean is inhabited by natives known as the Sentinelese, who are one of the most uncontacted tribes. The Sentinelese refuse contact and communication with any outsiders and the tribe will get violent to protect their isolation. A few people were killed when coming in proximity of the island. Following a 2004 tsunami when the Indian Coast Guard flew over the island for a reconnaissance mission, inhabitants of the island reportedly shot arrows at the helicopter. The tribe has lived on the island for roughly 60,000 years under the protection of the Indian government, which prohibits visitors of any kind for reasons that seem fairly clear.

Sentinelese tribe on North Sentinel Island

Surtsey Island, Iceland

Volcano that created Surtsey island circa 1963

Surtsey is a volcanic island off the south coast of Iceland. It was formed by volcanic eruptions that took place between 1963-67 and has since became a sort of natural laboratory. The island is recognized as a microcosm of natural development.

Surtsey Island

Scientists have observed the arrival of seeds by ocean currents and the appearance of molds, bacteria, and fungi. Today, the island is home to a variety of lichen, fungi, birds and over 335 species of invertebrates. In order to minimize disruption to the island, visitors are prohibited, except for a few approved scientists who study the progression of the island’s ecosystem.

Pravcická Brána, Czech Republic

Pravcická Brána in winter

Pravcická Brána is known as Europe’s largest natural sandstone arch and is one of the most well-known attractions in the Czech Republic. Visitors were welcome until 1982, when it was declared forbidden for all tourists to visit. Scientists feared the structure would collapse and the more visitors there are, the quicker that process may happen. Erosion occurs even without the presence of visitors, but the process happens at a slower rate. Tourists can view the structure from afar but lurking nearby may be a test of chance that’s not worth the risk.

Pravcická Brána from the ground

Vale do Javari, Brazil

Helicopter view of the Javari River

Vale do Javari is one of the largest indigenous territories in the world, housing some of the most unreached tribes of Brazil including the Matis, Matses, Kulina, Mayoruna, Korubo, and more.


Tribe of the Vale do Javari in Brazil from a helicopter

Visitors of any kind are prohibited by the Brazilian government for the safety of its indigenous tribespeople and to protect their heritage and lifestyle. Experts also believe any contact of the tribespeople with the outside world could be dangerous to the natives as outsiders may carry diseases that could wipe out entire tribes.

Morgan Island, USA

Monkey eating on Morgan Island, USA

This island of the coast of South Carolina is home to over 4,000 monkeys said to be infected by the herpes B virus. When a wave of herpes B swept through the monkey population in Puerto Rico’s Caribbean Primate Research Center in 1979, a few hundred rhesus monkeys were shipped off to Morgan Island.

Morgan Island

The monkeys have lived there under federal protection for over three decades. Only researchers are allowed on the island to tag and take monkeys annually for medical testing and studies. The island is off limit to civilians not only due to the monkeys being infected, but they also do not react well to strangers on their island.

Zone Rogue, France

German trench destroyed in France during WWI, 1916

Also known as the “red zone,” Zone Rogue is one of the most restricted places on Earth. The zone constitutes a chain of uninhabited areas in north-eastern France. The area was sealed off after World War I as it was completely destroyed by war and deemed uninhabitable. It contains a massive amount of human and animal remains, as well as unexploded weapons.

Zone Rogue Today

Efforts and organizations have been established to reduce the damage (and danger) caused by the war, but so much exists that the place may never be restored to what it once was. Civilians are restricted from entering Zone Rogue for their own safety.


Why share with you all of these places where travelers are not allowed to visit? For one, it’s fascinating! Each place has its own story and its own history to it. I think it shows how much the Earth has evolved and how diverse its inhabitants are.

Some places are restricted due to tribes, and with that, the people who inhabit these places are unreached and naturally we become interested in their livelihood. Other places are too dangerous to enter due to mother nature and we realize the Earth is simply a rock we can’t control.

Not only are there places in the world where visitors are prohibited, but there is still territory out there that has not been explored, documented, or reached.

On that note, I leave you with this: Get out there and explore! Don’t go where you aren’t supposed to and don’t put yourself in harm’s way but remember that the world holds so much more than we know—we just have to look for it.

That's all for now,

Want to learn more about restricted destinations, or maybe places you can visit but may not want to? Check out Atlas's top creepy destinations!

Remember: No Trespassing means DO NOT ENTER (but that doesn't mean you can't look the place up on Google).

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