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Why you should visit the least visited countries in the world

Published February 20th, 2015

Does an authentic cultural experience, a holiday without the crowds, and one hell of a yarn to tell the folks back home sound appealing? If you like to do things a little differently and the road less travelled is shaping up to be the mantra for your next holiday adventure, why not consider venturing to one of the least-visited countries in the world? Here’s the five least visited countries in the world - from number 5 to 1, created with the help of the recently released United Nations World Tourism Organisation 2014 survey.

 

 5. Anguilla

With over 130 bird species and just 600 people residing in its capital city, the small, eel-shaped, Caribbean island of Anguilla oozes ecological charm. A multicultural hub, its off-the-radar status and shack-lined beaches are said to be slowly overtaken by luxury holiday homes.

Annual visitors: 69,000 ( in 2013)

Why few visit: Think prices more in line with Australia over Puerto Rico when flashing your cash in this British territory and tax haven.

Why visit: The Caribbean coral reefs, cays and beaches (plus ancient cave site markings) are yet to be tarnished by mass consumerism and tourism.

Getting there: Use Student Flights’ multi-flight builder and get there in 40 hours via two stopovers in the United States and Puerto Rico.

 

4. Liechtenstein

We heard Snoop Dogg once tried to rent Liechtenstein — yes, the whole country — for a video shoot and was knocked back ONLY because he didn’t give them enough notice! Ruled by a Gothic castle-inhabiting monarch, this European micronation is the world’s sixth smallest country and located completely within the Alps.

Annual visitors: 60,000 (in 2013)

Why few visit: There's no airport, owing to size and terrain, and Liechtenstein is also landlocked with its neighbours, Austria and Switzerland, who subsequently are also landlocked (double-landlocked).

Why visit: Whether you go in summer or winter, think hiking, biking, skiing, lush green forests, snowcapped mountains, friendly locals and villages oozing old-European charm.

Getting there: Student Flights can get you to Liechtenstein via a flight to Germany, Austria or Switzerland and then on a bus/train transfer.

 

3. Niue

Less than 2,000 people live in the world’s first free wi-fi nation of Niue, 2,400 kilometres east of New Zealand in the South Pacific. This Polynesian coral atoll is a tropical paradise, one-fifth of which is made up of the picture-perfect conservation area of Huvalu Forest.

Annual visitors: 7,000 (in 2013)

Why few visit: Its extreme isolation (and also why many residents have left).

Why visit: For eco-friendly, grassroots adventures including diving, caving and whale and dolphin interactions aplenty.

How to get there: Fly there twice a week, via a stopover in New Zealand, using the Student Flights multi-flight planner.

 

2. Montserrat

Back to the Caribbean and forget climate change for a moment as Monsterrat is possibly the only island nation in the world increasing in size due to a buildup of volcanic deposits.

Annual visitors: 7,000 in 2013 – more than the current population.

Why few visit: Montserrat is still recovering from natural disasters - Hurricane Hugo in 1989 and a volcano eruption in 1995.

Why visit: For the unique and breathtaking landscape, particularly where the flow of the volcano lava meets the ocean on the southeast coast.

Getting there: Student Flights can get you to Montserrat on a chartered flight or ferry after landing in Antigua via Canada, England or the United States.

 

1. Kiribati

Welcome to the least visited place on Earth. The awe-inspiring, 33 low-lying atolls of Kiribati are scattered across more than one million square kilometres of ocean in the Central Pacific. Still, the main island of Tarawa is also said to be the most densely populated place in the world and with good reason, the atoll is so narrow you can often see the ocean on either side during your travels!

Annual visitors: 6,000 (in 2013)

Why few visit: Miles from anywhere, this is not your typical holiday destination. Their tourism website clearly points out it’s “for travelers, not tourists”.

Why go: Climate change effects are encroaching fast with predictions Kiribati could no longer exist in 40 years. This is grassroots exploring at its best - hang out with the locals and learn to fish (hello tuna!), dance, sing, climb a coconut tree and explore the villages of the more remote outer islands. Kiribati also boasts the largest protected marine reserve in the world.

How to get there: Student Flights can fly you to Tarawa or Kiritimati Islands via a stopover in Nadi, Fiji.

 

Jolee Wakefield

A seasoned backpacker and travel writer, Jolee has spent the past decade wandering the globe in pursuit of good vibes, unusual conversations and unforgettable adventures like cave diving in Mexico, mountain climbing in Borneo and learning (failing at) local dances in the Pacific nation of Kiribati.