Lying midway between Alaska and the Easternmost tip of Russia, the Diomede Islands on the Bering Strait are special for various reasons.
They are a fine example of the many lesser-known cities in the US. Places off the beaten track that are worth the effort, if only so you have truly original stories to share afterwards. With an ESTA transit for the USA, you can visit as many of these places as your heart desires.
The two islands, Big Diomede and Little Diomede, are shared between the US and Russia, with Big Diomede belonging to Russia and Little Diomede to the US. The international date line runs between the 2 islands, meaning that when you look from Little to Big you are literally looking to the future, with one being a day ahead of the other! How’s that for a story to add to your travelogue?
Don’t forget, though, that if you’re planning to visit Little Diomede and you’re not a US citizen, then you are going to need an ESTA. ESTA US is a travel authorization issued by the Electronic System for Tourism Authorisation that allows citizens from 38 countries to enter the US and move freely around the country. Applying for an ESTA is quick and simple and will allow you stay in the country for up to 90 days.
In the wintertime, ice usually joins the 2 Diomede islands making it possible to walk from one to the other on what is known as the Diomede bridge, at least in theory. In practice, however, this is not recommended as you would be illegally crossing an international border.
The weather in the Diomede Islands is Sub-Arctic. Winter is extreme with temperatures dropping as low as -20°C. If you are able to visit in the summer, which we strongly recommend, then you’ll be welcomed by milder and often pleasant weather as the ice melts.
There isn’t a great deal to do in the Diomede Islands as they are hard to reach and the locals are Eskimos, who are often wary of outsiders. However, if you are interested in getting away from the busyness of daily life and look forward some solitude and being near the ocean, you’ll find plenty of both in the Diomede Islands.
If you’re planning a visit, then there are a couple of options available from Nome in Alaska. Once you’ve got your ESTA for Alaska, you can travel to these islands either on a special plane that lands on the snow or by helicopter. Please be aware, though, that all those arriving on the island are required to pay a $50 entry fee. Once on the island, visitors can enjoy some centuries old rocky paths and take some pictures in one of the remotest corners of the globe — no crowds guarantee.
And remember, if a trip to the US side of the mysterious Diomede Islands is something you are considering, there is one thing we can foretell from the mainland: applying for a tourist visa for USA is part of your future. Check your eligibility for ESTA and don’t forget you have to apply for your ESTA visa at least 72 hours before your trip.