We love exploring – it’s part of human nature. From what’s around the corner to what’s around the globe, we’re always searching for new places. Skilled navigators – whether they be Polynesian islanders or European explorers – have claimed and colonized most (if not all) inhabitable islands across our world. Some islands are popular tourist destinations – Cuba, Ireland, and the Philippines come to mind – while others are barely known. Many of these little-visited islands are remote countries or territories located in the Pacific Ocean or the Caribbean Sea and there’s a few situated just off the coast of Africa. Whether you’re looking for a new travel destination to zone out away from the crowds or you’re looking for a picturesque location for your honeymoon, check out this list of the 25 Least Visited Island Countries in the World. But just in case islands are not necessarily your thing, how about mountain passes like these 25 Beautiful Mountain passes you should make a point of traveling through.
*The ranking has been provided by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). Countries which did not provide numbers in the past five years were excluded. All data is from 2014 unless specified otherwise. (If a number has an *, the data comes from 2013.) Happy travels!
Madagascar - 222,000
With 222,000 annual visitors, Madagascar is the 25th least visited island country on our list. Located off Africa’s southeastern coast, Madagascar is one of the most ecologically diverse countries on Earth – 90% of species in Madagascar are only found on the island, largely due to its break-away from the Indian subcontinent 88 million years ago. Madagascar is still a relatively poor island country – though it is developing – but it has highlighted ecotourism as a primary future source of income. If you visit, though, know that you won’t see any lions and zebras as in the “Madagascar” movies.
French Polynesia - 181,000
Technically a French overseas territory, French Polynesia is a collection of 118 islands and atolls distributed throughout the South Pacific. Receiving administrative autonomy in 2004, the islands are often referred to as a pays d’outre-mer (overseas country). Home to the better-known Tahiti and Bora Bora, French Polynesia thrills its visitors with native black Tahitian pearls and sprawling beaches. To get around the islands, Air Tahiti flies out of its only international airport, Faaa International Airport, to the 53 airports located throughout the islands.
Papua New Guinea - 174,000*
Making up the eastern part of New Guinea (the western part is owned by Indonesia), Papua New Guinea is one of the most culturally diverse countries on Earth with 836 languages spoken within the country. One of the least explored countries in the world, Papua New Guinea is thought to harbor plenty of undiscovered species and many unknown cultural traditions. Unique to the country is its constitutional insistence that its traditional villages remain a vibrant and important part of society.
Palau - 141,000
A 250-island nation, Palau has been inhabited for over 3,000 years. Palau’s relatively remote position in the Western Pacific makes it one of the least visited islands in the world. Due to fighting between the United States and Japan during World War II, Palau has plenty of shipwrecks which are popular with divers visiting the sites and barrier reefs. Its limestone islands draw in ocean lovers as does its recently announced shark sanctuary covering an ocean area the size of France.
Grenada - 134,000
The first Caribbean country to appear on our list, Grenada received 134,000 visitors on its coasts. Near Venezuela’s northeastern coast, Grenada is nicknamed the “Island of Spice” due to its wide production of nutmeg and mace. The local population is primarily (82%) descendants of African slaves who have strongly influenced the culture over hundreds of years. The second largest ethnic group – Indian descendants – have also added in their own cultural mix, especially food-wise.