Most of the well-known destinations that we know or have travelled to are mostly from the countries which are either strong and developed nations or the best developing economies. The least visited countries in the world are sadly nowhere in the picture. Such heavy tourism to a limited part of the world has given ways to the new global issues in recent years known as – ‘Overtourism’.
Some places even have to make some short term arrangements to shut down tourism to deal with the overflow. In order to deal with such an issue, we should steer away from the well-trodden paths and look out for some offbeat places in the world.
Some of the least known countries which were either ruled by Japan, Europe, or the US in the past have such a mesmerizing archipelago that is ‘untouched’ and preserves some of the rare species of the world. Sustainable tourism with good awareness is required to help such nations bloom again. Let’s take a quick look at some of the least visited countries in the world.
Formerly known as the Pleasant Island and officially called the Republic of Nauru one of the smallest countries lying in the middle of the pacific ocean. Amon the least visited countries in the world Nauro sits at the top of the list with 100 -200 visitors a year.
With a population of roughly 10800, Nauru is spread in an area of 21 square kilometers, and bags the title of the third smallest country in the world next to Vatican City and Monaco. After WWII, Japan occupied Nauru which ultimately became independent in 1968.
The country was once known for its phosphate deposits but the reserves are almost exhausted now. Nauru has a literacy rate of 96 percent but on a sad part, the country has the world’s highest level of type 2 diabetes with more than 40 percent of the population affected. Nauruans are also the most over-weighted people in the world.
Flights: This island has one operating airport Nauru International Airport with Nauru airlines operating as the passenger airline.
Nauru airlines serve to 4 destinations – Brisbane (Australia), Nadi (Fiji), Tarawa (Kiribati), Majuro (Marshall Islands). The main ones though are Australia and Fiji. If you are traveling from India take a flight directly to Fiji.
Accommodation: Menen hotel, Capalle & Partner – Ewa lodge, Od’n Aiwo Hotel are some of the top-rated hotels in Nauru.
Visa: Yes all the visitors to Nauru are required to have a valid visa unless they are coming from the pre-defined list of 15 nations. Though the visa application process is made simpler for any traveler coming from the list of 66 countries.
India is on the list of 66 nations and you don’t have to submit the criminal record certificate or health certificate unlike visitors from other nations.
Attractions: You can visit one of the best beach Anibare Bay and take a dip in Anibore Harbor which is the best spot for swimming. Or you can hike up to Command Ridge, Nauru’s highest point with WWI artifacts. You can also enjoy the view of the whole country from the top.
Officially known as the Federal Republic of Somalia, the country was very welcoming to the tourist until the civil war began in the early 1990s.
Many travel advisories have been issued by the various countries from time to time, due to armed conflicts between the government and the active terrorist groups. With less than 1000 tourists a year Somalia is the second in the list of least visited countries in the world.
Somalia is known for its historic sites, innumerable beaches, huge waterfalls, mountain ranges, and national parks. The country also houses the coastline, one of the longest in the African continent.
Flights: There are several connecting flight options provided by Turkish airlines. Istanbul and Djibouti are the two major layover airports.
Accommodation: Ambassador hotel, Damal Hotel, Diplomatic hotel, Jazeera palace are the top-rated hotels in Somalia.
Visa: Visas are required by all nationals. The cost of a Single entry 1-month visa is INR 12000.
Attractions: Laas Geel, is one of the main attractions in Somalia. It is basically a series of caves with Neolithic paintings. Some of these preserved arts may date back to 9000 BC.
Another perfect go-to place is Kismayo National Park, home to native east African animals including Somali wild ass and Somali sheep.
Among the beaches, Liido beach and Jazeera beach in Mogadishu and Berbera a.k.a ‘Beach city” on the coast of Somaliland are the popular ones with crystal clear blue water.
Tuvalu is an extremely remote island country located in the pacific ocean and somewhere in the mid of Hawaii and Australia.
As per the 2019 report from UNWTO (United Nations World Tourism Organization), Tuvalu reported roughly 2000 tourists and makes it third to the list of least visited countries in the world. The remoteness and limited accessibility of the country are sighted as the main reasons for less tourism.
The only airport in Tuvalu is Funafuti International airport. Fiji airlines(68 seater plane) which operate between Suva and Funafuti provides services only 3 times a week (Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday) while Air Kiribati (35 seater plane) which operates between Tarawa and Funafuti provides one flight a week (Wednesday)
Funafuti island being the only island with the airport and hotel facilities in Tuvalu is the main attraction for the tourists. Though you won’t find any tour operators or guides in the central area.
Since Tuvalu boast of islands majorly the key activities would include diving and snorkeling. You can enjoy the vast diversity of marine life as well. There are 9 different coral atolls, and several small islands to spend days.
ATOLL? A lagoon is a shallow body of water separated from the main water body by barrier islands or coral reefs, while the island is a contiguous area of land surrounded by water, the two – lagoon and island together make an Atoll.
Flights: There are no direct flights to Tuvalu from anywhere in the world except Fiji. Though there are connecting flights from the US, Australia, New Zealand, HongKong, and Singapore excluding 8 other small countries. The direct flight from Fiji to Narita, Tokyo resumed in 2018.
Accommodation: Vaiaku Lagi Hotel, Filamona Guesthouse Funafuti and Hideaway guesthouse are the among the best stay overs in Tuvalu.
Visa: Visitors from the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and EU along with few other nations have visa-free access for a period of minimum 30 days to 180 days depending on the country of the tourist. For other nations including India, visitors have to pay USD 100 for the visa on arrival for up to 30 days.
Attractions: Funafuti Conservation Area have oceans spreading in an area of 33 square kilometers and is one of the main attractions of Tuvalu. The conversations also have reefs, lagoons, and six uninhabited islets.
If you are not a crowd lover but a soul searcher here’s another in the list- Kiribati, an extremely geographically isolated nation, spread in 800 square kilometers.
The place is capable of introducing you to a new face of life – which is less complicated and where family and community come first. With roughly 4000 visitors a year Kiribati is the fourth in the list of least visited countries in the world.
Local people from Kiribati are extremely extroverted and friendly in nature. You might get an opportunity to participate in some local cultural activities and experience the Kiribati living.
Kiribati dance is an epitome of Kiribati’s cultural heritage and is characterized by small movements of the body with sharp birdlike movements of the head.
Flights: There are two flights that fly once in two weeks from Nauru and Marshall Islands. While if you are traveling from India you can take a direct flight to Fiji, take a stay, and then fly to Kiribati. Flights are operational twice in a week from Fiji.
Accommodation: Tarawa boutique hotel, Lagoon Breeze lodge, and Captain cook hotel are best-rated accommodations in Kiribati.
Visa: Visa is free for US, UK, Canada, Australia, EU nationals, and few other countries for a stay in Kiribati for up to 30 days and 120 days depending on the country of the visitors.
For Indian citizens visa charges are applicable. For a single entry visa charges are INR 2000 while for multiple entries it’s roughly INR 3600.
Attractions: Kiribati is known for the world’s largest coral atoll and one of the dream destinations for the deep-sea divers. Christmas Island is another not-to-miss place with several lakes, white sand beaches and a one-stop place for bird lovers as millions of birds come here each year.
If you love a bit of solitary and nature along with some picturesque views outer gilbert island is a place for you. In case you are looking to experience some local culture and village life you can straight away head to the Fanning island.
5. South Sudan
South Sudan is the newest country in the world, which was separated from Sudan in 2011. Juba is the largest city and the capital of South Sudan. With nearly 5500 visitors a year South Sudan is fifth in the list of least visited countries in the world.
The country is home to people from different religions (including Muslims, Christians, and Animists). Even though South Sudan has been distressed by raging civil wars for many years along with some poor politics, the hospitality to the visitors that this country provides is second to none.
Flights: You can fly direct to Juba from Delhi, India. There are also direct flights from New York and London to Juba.
Accommodation: Crown hotel, River camp, Acacia village, Tulip Inn are some of the best hotels to stay in.
Visa: Visas are required by all nationals and if your country is in the WHO list of nations with the risk of yellow fever you would need a certificate of yellow fever vaccination too. Indian is a part of the list and one would need the certificate. The visa charges are roughly INR 7600 for single and multiple entries.
Attractions: Enjoy the sunset at the bank of one of the world’s largest rivers -White Nile in Juba while having your evening dinner. Wau, the second biggest city after Juba houses buildings from colonial-era which are a must-see.
Wildlife lovers can count on Nimule national park and can hire a boat to Opekoloe island to sight elephants before heading to Fola falls.
Mountain lovers and hikers can make their way to Imatong Mountains to experience the hike with some breathtaking views and maybe if you are lucky enough you can spot some elephants and a leopard too.
6. Equatorial Guinea
With a population of little more than a million, Equatorial Guinea is the only African state that has Spanish as an official language. The country records roughly 5500 visitors a year and is sixth in the list of least visited countries in the world.
The country is divided into the insular region and a mainland region. The insular region consists of one of the most popular islands Bioko and a volcanic island Annobon. The tourism industry in this African state is largely underdeveloped as the country has gone many years of international isolation.
Nevertheless, in Equatorial Guinea, you can experience the Spanish colonial architecture of Malabo, the tropical rain forest, and beaches with nesting turtles.
Flights: There are direct flights to Malabo from major European cities. While if you are traveling from India, either you have to take a connecting flight via major European cities or the gulf countries like Doha.
Accommodation: Sofitel Malabo Sipopo Le Golf, Sofitel Malabo, Grand Hotel Djibloho are the best places in Guinea to stay in.
Visa: All nationals are required to have a valid visa to accept the US nationals. For US citizens the visa is free on arrival for up to 90 days. For the rest the visa charges are applicable. The cost of a visa is between INR 6000-7000.
Attractions: Malabo, the capital city is interesting and rich in Spanish colonial heritage. Animal-lovers can make their way to Malabo national park, which is away from the city Hussle of Malabo and offers a peaceful retreat.
Visit Cathedral of Saint-Isabel of Malabo the largest church in Equator of Guinea. If you wish to spot some rare primates head straight to Bioko island. It’s a living natural laboratory for studying how plants and animals evolve in isolation.
If some biologists are to believe this one-of-a-kind ecosystem has been isolated from Mainland Africa for at least 12000 years.
7. Marshall Islands
With roughly 6000 visitors a year, Marshall Islands is seventh in the list of least visited countries in the world.
In order to protect the ocean life, in 2011 the government of the Republic of Marshall Island declared that nearly 20 lakh square kilometers of the ocean shall be reserved for the shark sanctuary making it the world’s largest shark sanctuary. The American dollar is the official currency here.
Flights: You can take a flight from Delhi/Mumbai to Honolulu which is the main gateway to the Marshall Islands. There are several flights from Honolulu to Majuro (capital of Marshall Island).
Accommodation: Hotel Rober Reimers, Hotel Marshall Island, Arno B&B are good options in Marshall Island to scroll through.
Visa: Required by all nationals except US citizens. Tourists from the rest of the nationalities can avail of a 30-day visa on arrival at a cost of $100.
Attractions: If you wish to see some local traditions of Marshallese culture Visit the Alele Museum. Majuro the central city and the capital of Marshall island houses two popular atolls – Bikini and Arno. Each atoll has several small islands for you to explore. For people who love diving Kalalin pass is a not-to-miss.