April 25, 2024 | Penelope Singh

6 of the Most Remote Communities in the World


The Simple Life

There’s nothing better than escaping life and unplugging for a while. But then eventually you return to routine and mindlessly navigate life in the modern world again.

But what if where you lived was the escape?

Remote Communities Split Gallery3

Isolated Communities

These 8 isolated settlements are the most remote communities in the world. Some were built to support a business plan; others are the remnants of longstanding communities that have been functionally isolated for centuries.

Life in these places isn’t always easy, but the residents generally live a laidback, simple lifestyle that the rest of the world is envious of.

Saint HelenaChiara Swanson, Shutterstock

1. Tristan da Cunha

Tristan da Cunha is officially the most remote inhabited archipelago in the world. It sits 1,750 miles from the nearest land in South Africa. The main island is 38 square miles, and it is home to about 250 people.

Tristan da Cunha, St Joseph's Catholic ChurchBrian Gratwicke, CC BY 2.0 , Wikimedia Commons

How do the people live so isolated?

The island has a unique social and economic structure—everyone who lives there takes part in farming, and all land is communally owned.

Tristan da Cunhamaloff, Shutterstock

How do they make money?

They make money farming, or working for the local government, and they earn a fair income from selling unique stamps and coins.

Tristan da Cunhamaloff, Shutterstock

What services do they have?

Healthcare is free, and there is a medical team on the island. There is one law enforcement officer on the island, and there have never been any arrests.

There is no airstrip, and fishing boats only service the area 8-9 times per year.

Supermarket, Tristan Da CunhaBrian Gratwicke, CC BY 2.0 , Wikimedia Commons

Can anyone move to Tristan da Cunha?

No. Immigrants must have a family connection to the island if they wish to reside there. Even then, newcomers have certain restrictions on residency because land and infrastructure is communally owned.

Tristan da Cunhamaloff, Shutterstock

What do residents stay living on the island?

Residents claim to be very happy with their simple life on a beautiful, isolated island known for its dramatic landscapes and tranquility.

Not only are the views fantastic, residents feel safe and welcomed, with virtually no conflict on the island.

Edinburgh of the Seven Seas, Tristan da Cunha islandmaloff, Shutterstock

2. Saint Helena

Saint Helena is a neighboring island to Tristan da Cunha (still 1526 miles apart), and most of it is taken up by a 2,684-foot-high volcano—except for a community numbering around 4,000.

Saint Helena IslandUmomos, Shutterstock

How do the people live on the island?

The population here is greater, so there is a lot more infrastructure and political organization. They have schools, a medical center, television, radio, local newspaper, a small airport, and more.

Saint Helena AirportPaul Tyson, CC BY 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

How do they make money?

Most residents work for the government. Others earn an income through fishing, farming, and running businesses on the island.

Their major exports include coffee and fish.

northeastern St Helena IslandDavid Stanley, Flickr

Can anyone move to Saint Helena?

Yes, however there is a strict permit process for both residency and for employment opportunities. Tourism is welcomed, but transport to the island is limited.

Jamestown, the main town of remote Saint Helena Islandrosn123, Shutterstock

What is alluring about living in Saint Helena?

Saint Helena is known for its stunning scenery, pristine waters, and sub-tropical conditions. The people are said to be very warm and friendly, and the lifestyle is very relaxed and community-based.

Saint Helena's Day ParadePeter Neaum, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

3. Ascension Island

Ascension Island is another tiny island in the middle of the South Atlantic Ocean, and it is about 800 miles from Saint Helena. It’s about 88 square miles and has about 800 residents living on the island at any one point.

Ascension IslandJERRYE & ROY KLOTZ MD, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

How do people live on the island?

The island is a working island, meaning everyone on the island is there to work, or accompany someone who is working. Because of this, there are no land rights or real estate.

Ascension islandLordHarris, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

How do they make money?

The majority of people on the island work for the U.K. and U.S. militaries. Most jobs are military related, or are service jobs that help run the community.

Ascension Islandquirkycontinuum, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

What services does the island have?

There are a handful of shops offering groceries and household goods, one school, a bank, a fitness center, a cinema and an airstrip.

Fort Hayes, Ascension IslandNick /, Flickr

Can anyone move to Ascension Island?

No. You must have an approved employment contract to reside on the island. Contracts can be anywhere from a month long to several years. Some people stay for long periods of time due to contract renewals, but eventually when the contract runs out, they must also leave.

Ascension IslandVincent van Zeijst, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

Why do people want to live on the island?

Ascension Island is warm and sunny almost every day of the year. It offers spectacular views and a stunning landscape that offers fantastic hiking, fishing, and diving opportunities. As well, the remote location provides residents with a slow-pace lifestyle and a friendly tight-knit community.

Ascension IslandLordHarris, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

4. Foula

Foula is a tiny island in the Atlantic Ocean just off the northern tip of Scotland. It’s only 2.5 miles by 3.5 miles and is home to a mere 38 people. The entire island is managed communally.

Foula IslandDavid albutt, Shutterstock

How do people live in such isolation?

There’s no shop on Foula. When residents need something, they have to call the mainland and put an order it—which will be delivered a week or so later.

Foula islandSteffen Foerster, Shutterstock

Can residents leave the island for things?

There are flights and ferries that run several times a week, but they are mostly for cargo and only allow a handful of passengers each trip, so residents can travel to the mainland for goods, but seats are limited.

Foula LighthouseJulian Paren, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

What services are on the island?

The island has its own power supply using wind turbines and solar panels. It also has a water pump house, a post office, a small school house, and an airstrip. There is no major port.

Foula post officeDr Julian Paren, CC BY-SA 2.0 , Wikimedia Commons

How do people make money?

Most of the islanders make a living from fishing and sheep farming. There is also a teacher, a nurse, a postman, a fisherman, a fire crew, three rangers, accommodation providers, and electricity and maintenance workers.

There is also a wool business on the island called Foula Wool.

Foula islandLis Burk, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

5. Easter Island

Easter Island—known for its iconic stone statues—is also one of the most remote communities in the world. It’s 1,200 miles from the closest inhabited island. Easter Island is 63 square miles and inhabits about 4,000 people.

Moai are monolithic human figures carved by the Rapa Nui people on Rapa Nui (Easter Island)Ian Sewell, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

How do people live on the island?

Although the island has become more modernized in the last few decades, it is still remote. Fresh food is flown in by airplane, and non-perishable food comes in by ship once a month.

Hanga Roa in Easter IslandCarminallucis, Shutterstock

What services does the island have?

The main town has electricity generated by diesel engines. Internet access is limited, slow and only available in the town center. But there are shops, restaurants, vehicles, and other amenities.

Hanga Roa capitalPavel Špindler, CC BY 3.0,. Wikimedia Commons

How do people make money?

Many residents today make a living catering to tourists who flock to the island—which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site—nearly year-round.

Easter IslandOficina Regional de Educación, Flickr

Why do people want to live on Easter Island?

Eastern Island is absolutely beautiful and offers a sense of peace and belonging. Though the community is larger than the other island’s mentioned, it is still fairly small in general and still boasts that small village vibe.

Easter IslandTorbenbrinker, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

6. McMurdo Station

McMurdo Station is not an island, like the others in this list. But it is still extremely remote. McMurdo Station is actually a science and research facility in Antarctica—and it actually houses just over 1,200 people.

McMurdo StationGaelen Marsden, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

How do people live in isolation in an extreme climate like Antarctica?

Residents have to deal with extremely low temperature, even in the summer months. And many spend a great deal of time indoors. All of their food is imported from New Zealand of the U.S.

Mcmurdo StationVincent Clifton, Wikimedia Commons

What services does the station have?

McMurdo station is the largest community in Antarctica and includes a harbor, three airfields, a helipad, and more than 100 buildings—which include dormitories, emergency services, utilities, administrative buildings, and more.

McMurdo Station in November 2003Sgootzeit, Wikimedia Commons

How do people make money?

Everyone in Antarctica is there for employment. If residents are not part of the science and research teams, they are working the machines, or providing services to the community.

McMurdo Station transportEli Duke, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

Why do people want to live there?

Those who go there for work are passionate about their science career and have gone where their work takes them. Others are interested in a different world perspective.

Phoenix Airfield, Mcmurdo Station, AntarcticaColin Harnish, Shutterstock


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