Remember when you were younger and your parents told you that you could be anything you want to be; do anything you want to do; go anywhere you want to go? Well it was nice of them to encourage you, but their advice wasn’t entirely true. Sure, you can pursue your dream job, and nothing’s stopping you from setting out to achieve your wildest dreams, but although the list of places you can travel to around the world is seemingly endless, it is in fact limited.
For example, some of the world’s most affluent individuals have purchased and privatized their own islands, rendering them entirely off-limits to any outsiders. Other sites have been dubbed out-of-bounds by the government for the sake of safety, and some have been restricted exclusively for research.
You’ll probably never get the chance to set foot on these islands; not because it's physically impossible but simply because you’re not allowed. Whether they are the private abodes of multi-millionaires or simply uninhabitable thanks to nature's fury, these islands are completely off limits. In other words, unless you can shell out the big bucks or attempt to trespass on your own, you’ll never be able to mark a pin in them on your bucket list map.
1. Little Hall's Pond Cay, Bahamas
For most, travelling to the Bahamas means lodging at a touristy island resort, but for Johnny Depp, who owns his own small stake of land off the main island’s east coast, it means total escape and absolute freedom. "I can come down here and disappear,” he told Vanity Fair in 2009. “[The island] is my decompression. It's my way of trying to return to normalcy.... Escapism is survival to me." If only we could all escape to a secluded tropical retreat when it’s time to de-stress. Well, if you rack up enough cash maybe you can. At the end of his interview Depp told Vanity Fair: “Money doesn't buy you happiness. But it buys you a big enough yacht to sail right up to it."
2. Fisher Island, Miami, Fla.
Located just south of Miami, Fisher Island isn’t entirely forbidden—after all it is inhabited by a small group of some of the most affluent people in the world—but you’ll certainly have to breach a few barriers if you plan on making it ashore. Marketplace.org reporter Jeremey Hobson calls it “One of the wealthiest places in America; an island where relatively few outsiders have ever been,” and that’s because those who don’t own property there (or at least know someone who does) are entirely unwelcome. A recluse that values privacy, security and safety above all else, the only way to get to Fisher Island is by private yacht (which could cost you around $1-2 million to dock) or the Island’s own ferry, which is paid for by Fisher residents and patrolled by a security guard who will only let you on board if you’ve been cleared on "the list" and can prove it with photo ID.
3. Snake Island, Brazil
Unless you’re willing to break Brazilian law, this island off the coast of Sao Paulo in Brazil is absolutely off-limits. Snake Island, or “Ilha de Queimada Grande,” is home to an enormous population of highly venomous golden lancehead snakes, and because they’re so poisonous (between three and five times greater than their mainland relatives) and inhabit so much of the small island’s acreage, it’s been deemed entirely uninhabitable.
4. Robins Island, Long Island, N.Y.
Privately owned by hedge fund manager Louis Moore Bacon, this 445-acre mass of land in Long Island’s Peconic Bay was originally purchased for the purpose of creating a private escape. That’s not to say Bacon hasn’t transformed it into his own secluded getaway, because after constructing several vacation homes for his family, he definitely did. But he’s also turned it into a nature preserve. When he purchased the land in 1993 Bacon set out to protect the area’s rare and endangered species by donating $1.1 million to the Nature Conservancy and has invested a great deal of his own money in order to restore and conserve the Island’s natural habitat.
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