There's the islands you can visit, the islands you can rent entirely to yourself, and then the islands that are completely banned from the public. And while the mystery as to why they've been cut off may be intriguing, the answers are often chilling. So instead of taking the risky (and sometimes life-threatening) trip for yourself, we've done our research and found five gorgeous islands that you should never set foot on — complete with reasons why.
North Sentinel Island
Encircled by clear blue waters, submerged coral reefs, and overgrown mangrove forests, North Sentinel Island in the Bay of Bengal is already difficult to get to. Adding to that, a violent tribe of North Sentinel natives prevent anyone from stepping onto the temptingly-soft, white sand beaches. In 2006, the tribe murdered two fishermen who had supposedly approached the island. Since then, travelers have been banned from going within 3 miles of it. The local Indian government has tried many times to make contact with the islanders, but have since given up after a lack of cooperation. Some say there are around 300 people living on the island, yet the truth to what (and who) is really there still remains a mystery.
Snake Island, Brazil
Named one of the world’s deadliest islands, there is a very obvious reason why Snake Island in Brazil has the name that it does. Located about 90 miles away from the city of Sao Paulo, this tropical, forested island is home to over 4,000 venomous snakes. Factor that into the island's size, and some scientists have said that you can find one snake for every six square yards. But of the thousands that are there, one is particularly deadly: the Golden Lancehead, or Bothrops insularis. This viper is one of the most poisonous in the world, with venom capable of ‘melting human flesh.' Even if you don’t suffer from ophidiophobia (the fear of snakes), Snake Island is something to avoid at all costs.
Niihau Island, Hawaii
Known by Hawaiians as “The Forbidden Island”, Niihau Island is only ever seen on clear evenings at sunset, and even then only as a silhouette. For 150 years, one single family has owned the island and has remained isolated from the outside world. But that's not to say that the island is uninhabited. Purchased by the Robinson family, the native islanders have been allowed to stay if they wish, but outside access to the island has been completely cut off. Today, only the native Niihauans and the rarely invited guest are allowed on the island, preserving its culture. To this day, the island looks the way all Hawaiian islands did prior to colonization, with no buildings, roads, electricity, or any other modern amenities.
Calling Povegalia Island in Venice ‘Death Island’ may in fact be a understatement. Floating off the coast of Venice and Lido, Povegalia has a long and dark history. During the Dark Ages, Romans used the island of Povegalia to ship off people sick with the bubonic plague. After that, Povegalia was used time and time again through history as a place to house the dying. In the 20s, a mental hospital was built on the island, which is now abandoned and rumored to be haunted. While on the very rare chance someone may say they can take you there, visiting the island is officially off limits, and many believe that the haunting tales of Povegalia are true.
Ramree Island, Burma
Ramree Island in Burma is infamous for the Battle of Ramree during World War II. It was a gruesome battle where roughly 1,000 retreating Japanese forces weren’t killed by allies, but rather by vicious saltwater crocodiles. Today, the marshes that surround the isle are still teeming with crocodiles, many of which are upwards of 20 feet long. While from a distance you'd never know that the island is so deadly — what with its white sand beaches and swaying palms — but be very aware, these deadly reptiles will eat almost anything they encounter, traveling human included.
Want an island you can actually go to? The Bahamas has some friendly locals.