Ascension Island

Ascension Island
Ben Tullis from Cambridge, United Kingdom, Ascension Island Comfortless Cove, CC BY 2.0

Most people still don’t know about Ascension Island because this South Atlantic Ocean destination has only recently opened its doors to tourism.

Ascension Island is a very small British controlled volcanic island that sits deep in the South Atlantic Ocean. It’s been home to a Cable & Wireless, BBC, and a NASA station for several years. Napoleon was also once exiled to the neighboring island of St Helena. All these factors played a role in the island being shut down from the rest of the outside world, however just because they are now open to tourism still doesn’t make it easy for the average traveler to reach this spectacular volcanic island. There are no commercial airlines that fly here and they only way of getting here is with the Royal Air Force which flies here and to the Falkland Islands twice a week. Each flight can only accommodate a maximum of 26 tourists and needless to say, the airfare is ridiculously expensive. Despite the price of getting here, it’s still an incredible destination worth visiting as the island has 40 volcanoes, an abundance of wildlife, and 32 breathtaking beaches.

Where Is Ascension Island?

Ascension Island is located in the Southern Atlantic Ocean, about halfway between the African and South American continents.

Things To Do In Ascension Island

Aerial shot of the coast.

Visit the Beaches

The beaches on Ascension Island are breathtakingly beautiful and there are 32 sandy beaches for you to choose from. The only downside is that only 2 of these beaches are suitable for swimming since there are a lot of undertows and currents in the waters surrounding the island. Be careful when swimming because there are no lifeguards on duty and the island has very little to offer in medical care.

Sea Turtle.

Enjoy the Wildlife

The island has a wide variety of bird species and green turtles. Head down to the beach at Clarence Bay during the evenings to observe green turtles coming onto the shores to lay their eggs. The waters at Clarence Bay is also a popular diving spot and many scuba divers often spot green turtles in the water. Another popular spot is Catherine Point where divers and snorkelers can swim among Manta Rays.

Fishing on Ascension Island.

Sport Fishing

Sport fishing is the biggest tourist attraction here which is why most of the visitors on Ascension are sport fishing enthusiasts. The waters surrounding the island has large amounts of big game fish, especially Marlin. The only problem is finding a boat to take you out to sea since there are no fishing charter companies here.. What most tourists do is pay one of the locals to take them out to sea, however most of the locals who own boats only provide that service on weekends.

Scuba diving in Ascension Island.

Scuba Diving

Scuba Diving on Ascension Island is spectacular but sadly limited. Ocean temperatures are warm and many of the fish found here are the same as those you will find in the Caribbean. There are no tour operators on the island so if you’re going to scuba dive then it’s best that you know one of the local scuba divers who can show you where all the best diving spots are.

Where To Stay On Ascension Island

Forget about luxurious 5-start resorts and hotels because you won’t find any of them here. Instead, you will find one small hotel and a couple of cottages you can rent by the night. Also, in the last few years a number of airbnbs have become available across the island too.

When To Go

There is no good or bad time to visit here as the island has a sub tropical climate all year long with temperatures ranging from pleasant to hot. It also doesn’t rain here much either as the island only gets about 4 days of rain per month during its rainy season. There is no peak and off peak seasons too. This is mainly because a maximum of 52 tourists can arrive per week and also because it’s hard and expensive to make your way here.

More Information

Government website: Head over to the official government website to learn more about Ascension.

The RMS St Helena: The RMS St Helena is the last working Royal Mail ship and takes tourists to St Helena and Ascension. It’s a cargo ship that transports tourists to the remote regions of the South Atlantic. Visit their website to get more information.

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