It’s fun to plan vacations, thinking of all of the really great places you can go for a visit. The world is filled with spectacular views and exotic locations. With modern airfare, we can travel anywhere in the world in less than a day (usually) and see all sorts of sites. You can enjoy everything from the scorching desert, to the wet and hot tropics, to the northern evergreen forests, to the icy and snowy north (or icy south!). We can climb unbelievably tall mountain peaks or swim very deep under the ocean. We can visit the North Pole or the South Pole, the Saharan Desert, or Death Valley and everything in between. The world is an open book waiting to be explored, filled with interesting people, new cultures, interesting new foods and flavors, and new flora and fauna for us to discover.
But some places just aren’t meant to be explored by humans or outsiders.
There are tons of places all over the world that, no matter who you are or how much money or influence you have, you will just never be able to visit them. Ever. These no-go places range from the scary to the secretive, the wild to the even wilder. Whether it’s for security, preservation, protection, science, or even for your own safety, these are the top 10 places no one can visit no matter who they are.
10. The Lascaux Caves
Home to some of the oldest human artworks still in existence, the Lascaux are a collection of caves in France. The paintings depict early humans, animals, shapes, and handprints that are roughly 17,000 years old. They were open to the public until 1963, when the keepers noticed that the constant stream of visitors was wearing away some of the irreplaceable artwork and bringing in foreign contaminates that threatened the works. The caves are now kept under strict supervision, and only limited people can go inside. They made an exception for one documentary filmmaker, but have denied entry to almost everyone else besides a few historians.
9. Snake Island
Also known as Ilha da Queimada Grande, Snake Island is a small island off the coast of Peruibe in Brazil. This tiny island looks innocuous enough, but it is illegal to approach the island. You’ll find one snake per square meter on the island, and each one of those snakes have venom so deadly that one bite will melt all of the flesh from your bones before you can even think of getting help. The snake, called the golden lancehead, is also endangered, which means the Brazilian government just wants to leave them alone. That means no one except for scientific crews can set foot on the island.
8. Mount Weather
Last year, in April 2015, the government activated their super high-tech bunker for government officials. There was a power outage, and the facility is a long-term bunker designed to keep our government officials safe in case of emergency. The bunker, located between Loudoun and Clarke Counties in Virginia, is super secret, super secure, and no one is allowed in. The facility is designed to house a war room and monitor intelligence, and is off limits to everyone. However, some of the plans and images have been released to the public because of the Freedom of Information Act. This place is ready for just about any kind of attack or natural disaster.
7. The Vatican Secret Archives
The name of the archives is a little bit of a misnomer; the archives aren’t “secret,” but they are private. The archives, or ArchivumSecretumApostolicumVaticanum, have been closed to outsiders for centuries. Some of the oldest surviving pieces of paper are housed in this 52-mile long pile of archives, and having people walk in and out without anyone checking them would be disastrous to the papers inside. However, if you have a list of accreditations, you might be able to peek at two or three things a day. But jokes on you; some of the books and papers aren’t sorted right and some aren’t catalogued at all. Sounds like the Pope is a little bit of a hoarder.
6. North Sentinel Island
North Sentinel Island is a small, inhabited island located in the Bay of Bengal in the Indian Ocean. It is a beautiful island. Too bad no one can get close to it; the island is guarded by an undocumented tribe that kills anyone (or anything) that gets too close. We know very little about this tribe, except that they are estimated to be less than 500 people strong. In an effort to keep people from getting killed by the Natives or by killing the Natives with foreign diseases, the Indian Government has decreed it illegal to try to land on North Sentinel Island.
5. Area 51
Area 51 has always been the center of much speculation; the top secret facility is located in the Nevada desert and has been an Air Force facility for many years. Tons of conspiracy theorists claim this base houses proof that aliens exist. The mostly-declassified building has been instead used to test spy planes and other secret Air Force tech. Despite the release of information based on the Freedom of Information Act about Area 51, people still believe shady dealings are happening there in the desert. But since the base doesn’t allow visitors, we’ll just have to keep guessing.
4. Chapel Of The Ark Of The Covenant
The Chapel of the Ark of the Covenant is a small building in Ethiopia, believed to house the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark was the container for the Ten Commandments, given to Moses by God on stone tablets, and the Ark is said to contain them and have its own mystical power. There is one monk allowed in the building, and he is there for life, set to make sure the relic remains safe and untouched. Although a few other lucky humans got to enter the building in 2011 to fix a roof leak, the Ark is still supposedly inside, and no one is allowed to enter.
3. Moscow Metro-2
Very little information exists about Metro-2; it was a secret project started in Stalin’s Russia. The secret location is believed to be a series of tunnels supposedly connecting major buildings. These tunnels all live underneath the subway system. There are tons of crazy rumors surrounding Metro-2. Everything from genetic testing, giant rats, and secret families living in the subterranean tunnels have been whispered about. There was even a rumor that Stalin’s cryogenically frozen body is stored there. No one knows if the tunnels actually exist, but if they are in fact real, we know one thing for sure: none of us will ever go there.
2. The Mormon Church Secret Vault
Mormons have long been obsessed with genealogy, and they began putting all of their collected information on microfilm in the 1930s. In a desperate attempt to keep the information safe, they carved out a bomb shelter in the side of a mountain in Little Cottonwood Canyon in Utah. They carved out the rock and hit water, giving them a way to make a self-sustaining bunker where precious genealogical records could be kept of every family in the US. This totally-not-creepy obsession has lead them to collect three billion pages of information, and 100,000 rolls of microfilm, all of which they have begun to digitize. The vault is off limits to nearly everyone, though the genealogical information is available online for free.
Surtsey Island is a result of a volcanic event that spanned over five years, leaving a brand new island in the middle of the ocean near Iceland. So, the United Nations decided to put a ban on traveling there so that the scientific community would have a way to study natural progression of evolution and ecological succession without human interference. Only a couple of scientists are allowed to visit, and they are under strict rules on what they can do while there. The untainted island shows scientists migration patterns and how plants and animal colonize new places. Too bad we can’t see it!