A faraway land that will capture your heart
It might be easy to overlook St. Helena. But what is little more than a speck on a map is actually the best-kept secret of the South Atlantic. Discovered by the Portuguese in 1502, claimed by the Dutch, then later abandoned and settled as a British colony, St. Helena has 500 years of history, impeccable beauty, and a very inviting culture to explore. A British Overseas Territory mid-way between Africa and the Americas, some 703 miles away from nearest land, the island’s remote location made it the perfect place for exiled prisoners, including St. Helena’s most famous one-time resident, French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. But don’t be fooled, this tiny island has a lot to offer. And once you visit, this is one secret you’ll be inclined to let out of the bag.
Idyllic rolling hills, deep valleys, rugged coastline. As you can imagine, this volcanic landmass has endless world-class hiking trails for all abilities, which means breathtaking scenery for everyone. Make the trek up the steep winding road to High Fort Knoll, towering 2,000 feet (600 meters) above sea level, for sweeping views overlooking Jamestown and the surrounding seas.
Stroll the streets of the island’s capital, Jamestown, founded by the East India Company in 1659. The rows of charming Georgian architecture nestled neatly into a rocky ravine feel much like a land delightfully locked in some faraway time (and place!) Be sure to savor delicious legendary fish cakes made with local tuna, a cup of premium St. Helena coffee, or Plo, a one pot, curried rice-based dish. Fascinating historic shipwrecks, rocky reefs and caves, and clear warm waters make this an ideal destination for diving and snorkeling.
You can’t help but fall in love with the breezy way and easy pace of St. Helena. Residents, also known as “Saints,” are widely known for their friendliness. This is a place where everyone waves to each other and people chat on the side of the road. Maybe it comes as a natural byproduct of being so isolated. But whatever the cause, the effect is refreshingly heartwarming.