When we think of taking an island vacation, many of us immediately think of clear blue waters, cloudless skies and warm, sandy beaches. However, not all island are created equal. In fact, some islands are just plain weird. Check out our list of the strangest islands in the world. Many of them are open to the public, and have historical pasts that make them truly unique. If you’re feeling adventurous, go check them out for yourself.
1. The Isola La Gaiola, Italy
This island off the coast of Naples, which is actually made up of two minor islands linked by a bridge, is uninhabited, since many of its former owners were either met with extremely bad luck or untimely deaths. The island is surrounded by clear, blue water and beautiful skies, but believed to be extremely cursed. Watch this video to learn more about this cursed island.
2. Okunoshima Island, Japan
Usaga Jima, or “Rabbit Island” is home to hundreds of friendly, feral rabbits. Between 1929 and 1945, when the island was a production site for Japan’s chemical weapons before and during WWII, a colony of rabbits was brought to the island to test poison gas. Some believe the current rabbit inhabitants are related to the original group, but others believe they are descendants of rabbits brought to the island by school children in the 1970s. The island is now a popular tourist resort with a small golf course, camping grounds and beaches.
3. Sable Island, Nova Scotia
Sable Island sits in the middle of “The Graveyard of the Atlantic,” and has been the site of roughly 475 shipwrecks, and is home to over 400 wild horses. These horses have managed to survive on the island with only sea grass and rainwater. While it has never been permanently settled, it has been occupied by shipwrecked sailors, transported convicts and pirates. It was declared Canada’s 43rd National Park on June 20th, 2013.
4. Christmas Island, Indian Ocean
Christmas Island is a protected Australian national park, and acts as the ideal ecosystem for the Christmas Island red crab. Throughout most of the year, the crabs live under the forest canopy, but during the rainy season nearly 120 million crabs make the five mile, month long journey to the ocean to spawn. Super-colonies of ants have been known to terrorize and blind the crabs throughout their migration.
5. The Island of the Dolls, Mexico City
La Isla de las Munecas, or Island of the Dolls, is located in the canals of Xochimico, near Mexico City. The island is said to be dedicated to the soul of a girl who mysteriously drowned on the island many years ago, and the hundreds of severed limbs and decapitated heads of dolls are possessed by her spirit.
6. Vulcan Point, the Philippines
Vulcan Island, or Vulcan Point, is considered the geographical equivalent to the 2012 film Inception. On the island of Luzon is Lake Taal, which has the Taal Volcano inside it. At the top of the volcano is a basin, or caldera, which is filled with water and creates a crater lake. At the center of the lake is Vulcan Point, which is one of the volcano’s cones. In a nut shell: Vulcan Point is an island inside a lake inside an island inside a lake inside an island inside the Pacific Ocean.
7. Ilha de Queimada Grande, “Snake Island,” 90 miles from Sao Paulo, Brazil
It is estimated that anywhere between 2000 and 5000 snakes currently inhabit the 106 acre island, making it less than appealing and expressly forbidden by the Brazilian Navy for anyone to land on except scientists. The Golden Lancehead Viper, one of the most venomous snakes in the world, is the sole snake inhabitant.
8. Deer Island, Alexandria Bay, New York
Deer Island is located on the Saint Lawrence River in Alexandria Bay, New York. It is also home to Skull and Bones, the secret society of Yale University. Alumni of Skull and Bones include former Presidents William Howard Taft, George H.W. Bush and his son, George W. Bush, and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. Members of the secret society have reported the area to be fairly run-down, however Atlas Obscura claims that this leaked information may just exist to make the society seem more innocent than it is. Either way, the island remains cloaked in mystery just like the secret society itself.