Niihau, the forbidden island of Hawaii

Niihau, the forbidden island of Hawaii


Niihau, the forbidden island of Hawaii

Niihau is the smallest inhabited island in Hawaii, a true corner of paradise located about 17 miles southwest of Kauai. It is the geologically oldest island of the archipelago. This small piece of land is known as the forbidden island because for over 150 years it has been accessible only to its 130 native inhabitants. The island is completely isolated from the rest of the world, it does not have asphalted roads, nor hydraulic systems and it does not have a means of transport. There are also no shops, hotels or restaurants. Life has stood still for more than a century, with no running water, electricity and of course, no internet

The island of Niihau was purchased in 1864 by Elizabeth Sinclair, a wealthy Scottish woman who then handed it down to her great-grandchildren Bruce and Keith Robinson who still keep its integrity alive by forbidding any type of tourism. The islanders, in addition to the personnel and government officials of the United States Navy, are the only ones who can live on the island and who are allowed to travel and return to Niihau without restriction. The residents still speak the language of the Hawaiian natives, but they also know the English language well. Islanders live off of fishing, hunting, raising cattle and are do not consume alcohol or tobacco. They also go to church every Sunday.

This volcanic islet, despite measuring just 111 square miles, is surrounded by cliffs and beautiful beaches adorned with shells. It is a true unspoiled paradise where many species of endangered animals such as the monk seal find refuge. The island is also a protected reserve of seabirds, the habitat of the mallard of Hawaii and the Hawaiian coot.

Visiting this forbidden place is not entirely impossible though, and despite being a private property with strict rules, its owners, on occasion grant an entry visa to a small select group of lucky tourists. One of the requirements for entry is that tourists have no contact with the population, and are asked to carefully avoid it. The tour includes a guided visit of up to 12 hours with excursions such as snorkeling and diving in the splendid seabed of the island. Alternatively, you can fly over Niihau aboard a helicopter, admiring this beautiful island from above.

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