How to Get to Saint Helena: A Remote Island Adventure
Located in the South Atlantic Ocean, Saint Helena is a remote and isolated island that offers a unique and unforgettable travel experience. Known for its breathtaking landscapes, rich history, and warm hospitality, getting to Saint Helena requires careful planning. In this article, we will guide you on the various ways to reach this hidden gem and answer some frequently asked questions to ensure your journey is smooth and hassle-free.
1. By Air:
Reaching Saint Helena by air is now possible with the opening of the island’s airport in 2016. Currently, flights from Johannesburg, South Africa, operate every Saturday, taking approximately six hours. Airlink, the airline that serves this route, offers a comfortable flying experience with modern aircraft.
2. By Sea:
A more traditional way to reach Saint Helena is by sea. The RMS St Helena, a passenger and cargo ship, used to be the main mode of transport until the airport’s construction. However, it is worth noting that the RMS St Helena made its last voyage in 2018, and currently, there are no regular passenger ships to the island.
3. Connecting Flights:
For those traveling from other parts of the world, reaching Saint Helena may require connecting flights. The most common connection point is Johannesburg, where you can catch the direct flight to the island. Other potential connection cities include Cape Town and London.
4. Visa Requirements:
Visitors to Saint Helena must have a valid passport with at least six months of validity remaining. Depending on your nationality, you may need to apply for a visa in advance. It is essential to check the visa requirements for your country before planning your trip.
Saint Helena offers a range of accommodation options, including hotels, guesthouses, and self-catering cottages. It is advisable to book your accommodation in advance, especially during peak travel seasons, to secure your preferred choice.
6. Local Transportation:
Once on the island, transportation is relatively easy. Taxis are readily available, and it is also possible to rent a car. However, keep in mind that driving is on the left side of the road, and some areas may have challenging terrain, so it is recommended to have some experience in driving under such conditions.
7. Activities and Attractions:
Saint Helena is a paradise for nature enthusiasts. From hiking to diving, there are numerous activities to keep you engaged and captivated. Explore the island’s unique flora and fauna, visit historical landmarks like Napoleon’s Tomb, or simply relax on the pristine beaches. Additionally, do not miss the opportunity to interact with the friendly locals, who are always eager to share stories about their island.
Frequently Asked Questions:
1. Are there any direct flights to Saint Helena from other countries?
Currently, there are no direct flights to Saint Helena from countries other than South Africa. Connecting flights to Johannesburg are available from various international airports.
2. Can I visit Saint Helena as a day trip?
Due to its remote location, visiting Saint Helena as a day trip is not possible. It is recommended to plan a minimum stay of several days to fully experience the island’s wonders.
3. Is Saint Helena expensive to visit?
Saint Helena is relatively affordable compared to other remote destinations. However, keep in mind that due to its isolation, some goods and services may be more expensive than average.
4. Can I use my credit/debit card on the island?
Credit and debit cards are accepted at most establishments on the island. However, it is advisable to carry some cash, as some places may have limited card payment facilities.
5. Is there internet access on Saint Helena?
Yes, there is internet access available on the island, although it may be slower compared to more developed areas. Wi-Fi is available at most accommodations and some public areas.
6. Are there any restrictions on what I can bring to Saint Helena?
As Saint Helena is an island ecosystem, there are strict biosecurity regulations. It is important to check the official government website for a list of prohibited items before packing.
7. What is the best time of year to visit Saint Helena?
Saint Helena has a mild climate year-round, with temperatures ranging from 20 to 27 degrees Celsius. The island experiences its peak tourist season from December to March, when the weather is warmest. However, visiting during the shoulder seasons (April to June and September to November) can offer pleasant weather and fewer crowds.
In conclusion, reaching the remote island of Saint Helena may require some careful planning, but the journey is undoubtedly worth it. Whether you choose to fly or embark on a sea adventure, this hidden gem promises a unique and rewarding experience. From its stunning landscapes to its warm-hearted locals, Saint Helena is a paradise waiting to be explored.