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Residents Must Have Their Appendixes Removed Before Settling in This Icy Village

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  • The nearest major hospital from the settlement is more than 1000 kilometers away.
  • If your family has to stay there too, they must also have their appendixes removed.
  • Getting pregnant here is highly discouraged, at least in the military.

Villas Las Estrellas is a “typical” settlement in Antarctica – an icy village with just a handful of basic facilities and only a 100 or less people living in it. What makes it interesting is one particular requirement for those who wish to stay here: an aspiring resident must have his appendix removed first.

This applies to everyone, even children. If you wish to stay here long-term, you must undergo the surgery. If your family has to stay there too, they also must adhere to that requirement.

Villas Las Estrellas, where life is closest to living in another planet.

The reason behind it is that the nearest major hospital from the settlement is more than 1000 kilometers (625 miles) away. One must go past the tip of King George Island and reach the other side of the icy swell of the Southern Ocean.

Also, there are no specialist surgeons among the few doctors assigned on the base.

Only basic services are offered in the medical facility.

Having your appendix removed is for health and safety purposes, since a burst appendix cannot wait long and living so far away from the nearest hospital can certainly become fatal.

Also, getting pregnant here is highly discouraged, at least in the military, which applies to people who work here with their partners.

The sub-zero settlement of Villas Las Estrellas has around 100 people, mostly scientists and personnel from the Chilean air force or navy.

Military people staying long-term usually have their families with them.

The village has a bank, a small school, a post office, and several other basic facilities, and nothing more. The primary route in and out is a gravel landing strip.

The small school is usually snowed in.

From the outside, the vast expanse of gray and white is an unforgiving sight, with basic buildings clinging to rocks, pipework running between the structures, and in some areas, the smell of a mixture of chemical toilets and exhaust.

The old post office, which was eventually replaced.
Trinity Church, which is manned by Russian Orthodox priests.
The church looking down over the Chilean base.

It’s more welcoming and cozy inside of the structures, however. The walls are adorned with photos and memorials of past visitors and expeditions. A notable one is a plaque marking the visit of Stephen Hawkings.

You need tractors or boats to get around.

With very few options for social life and winters that can reach -47C (-52F), one may think no one can actually be happy living here. But residents here do have a unique life at the extreme end of the world, which most people won’t ever get to experience.

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