We recently published the top 10 most visited Caribbean islands based on data from the Caribbean Tourism Organization. On the list were primarily larger Caribbean islands that over the last three decades invested heavily in their tourism infrastructure with increased aviation capacity, new resorts, tour offerings, etc. and now are reaping the benefits. They account for 76% of the stay-over visitors to the region. So what about the other Caribbean islands? Well, below we count down the ten least visited Caribbean islands. They represent just 3% of the stay-over visitors to the region, but some would say these beautiful and mostly pristine Caribbean islands are a fantastic opportunity for tourists to the region to have a more authentic experience — to discover the Caribbean the way it used to be. So check out these least visited Caribbean islands and consider one or more for your next vacation.
Actual 2017 stay-over tourists: 146,375
Top of the list of least visited Caribbean islands is Grenada and the iconic Grand Anse Beach is one of the leading attractions in Grenada, where the gleaming blue waters of the Caribbean Sea gently lap the two-mile stretch of pristine white sand. Visitors who manage to pull themselves away from the magnificent beaches can go snorkeling in the world’s first underwater sculpture park, or hike through the tropical rainforest. Grenada is also known as ‘The Spice Isle’ due to an abundance of rich spices grown and harvested on its islands. Enjoy these spices in mouthwatering local dishes and take back some spices with you.
Estimated 2017 stay-over tourists: 136,000
The tiny island of Bonaire boasts stunning beaches and a vast underwater paradise for some of the best diving in the southern Caribbean. With a choice of 63 official dive sites, divers can explore hundreds of fish species and an array of soft and stony coral. Explore the island’s seemingly endless caverns made up of an estimated 400 caves that form part of the local ecosystem. In addition to kitesurfing, windsurfing, sailing, and fishing, visitors can appreciate the natural beauty of the coastline and mangroves while kayaking on the Lac Bay lagoon.
Bonaire: Diving Site. Photo Credit: © Tourism Corporation Bonaire.
8. Saint Kitts & Nevis
Estimated 2017 stay-over tourists: 124,692
Unspoiled beaches and spectacular landscapes await visitors to the twin island of St. Kitts & Nevis. It’s home to the historic UNESCO Brimstone Hill Fortress once known as the ‘Gibraltar of the West Indies’. Explore the Saint Kitts Scenic Railway Tour – the only one of its kind in the Caribbean. From the lush rainforest to the dormant Mount Liamuiga volcano, there are plenty of hiking opportunities on these islands. Enjoy adventures like scuba diving and skydiving, in between bar hopping on the beach, sampling rum cocktails and eating local dishes.
Saint Kitts: A view of the scenic ‘sugar’ railway. Photo Credit: © St Kitts Tourism Authority.
Actual 2017 stay-over tourists: 81,140
Known as ‘The Nature Island’, Dominica (pronounced Dom-in-EEK-a) boasts tropical rainforests that host a plethora of wildlife and more than 1,000 plant species. This nature lover’s paradise includes the Morne Trois Pitons National Park, the first UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Eastern Caribbean, and Waitukubuli National Trail, the Caribbean’s first long-distance walking trail. Dominica is rated as one of the world’s top ten diving spots and is the only country where sperm whales reside year-round. Hiking, canyoning, and a world-famous boiling lake add to Dominica’s natural appeal.
Dominica: Canoe on Indian River. Photo Credit: © Discover Dominica Authority.
Estimated 2017 stay-over tourists: 77,231
Although it’s only 35 square miles, Anguilla has all of 33 sparkling white-sand beaches lapped by the gentle waves of turquoise-colored Caribbean waters. It’s no surprise then that the island boasts a wealth of sporting activities including boat racing, Anguilla’s national sport. Visitors can also enjoy sailing, scuba diving, kite surfing, and paddleboarding. Accommodations range from luxury resorts to quaint villas and guest houses, in addition to over 100 restaurants where visitors can indulge in local crayfish and lobster dishes or relish international cuisine.
Anguilla: CuisinArt Golf Resort Spa Beach. Photo Credit: © Anguilla Tourist Board.
5. Saint Vincent & The Grenadines
Actual 2017 stay-over tourists: 75,972
Fifth on the list of least visited Caribbean islands is Saint Vincent & The Grenadines well-known for the diverse and rich character of its people and landscape. Regular ferries allow visitors to pack several experiences into one vacation, hopping between its nine inhabited islands – St Vincent, Young Island, Bequia, Mustique, Canouan, Mayreau, Union Island, Palm Island and Petit St Vincent. Explore lush rainforests, jaw-dropping waterfalls, and stroll through the oldest botanic gardens in the Western Hemisphere. Discover the old charm of Bequia’s villages and go snorkeling with hawksbill turtles in Tobago Cays.
St Vincent & The Grenadines: Palm Island. Photo Credit: © SVG Tourism Authority.
4. Saint Barthelemy (St. Barts)
Estimated 2017 stay-over tourists: 70,000
At just eight square miles, the island of Saint Barthélemy (casually known as St. Barts) is exquisite in its beauty with sparkling white sand gently hugging its rugged coastline. Among its imposing beaches are Marigot, known for impressive snorkeling, and Anse des Cayes beach – a favorite of surfers. Go back in time to Gustavia and see the Anglican Church built between 1853-1855, and which still has much of the original structure today. While there, explore the Port of Gustavia, a decades-old symbol of the country’s economic development.
. Saint Barthelemy: skyline and Gustavia Harbour. Photo Credit: © Sean Pavone/ Adobe.
3. Saint Eustatius (Statia)
Estimated 2017 stay-over tourists: 11,000
Saint Eustatius the Dutch island remains one of few destinations in the Caribbean that is still unspoiled and naturally beautiful thanks. You won’t find mass tourism here. Instead, the tropical island is teeming with rare and exotic life forms including 35 globally endangered or vulnerable species and boasts several natural wonders such as coral reefs, seagrass beds, and woodlands. Dive into the surrounding waters to discover the wonderful world of colorful corals and sponges, as well as hundreds of meters of the old town walls and 17th-century warehouse ruins waiting to be explored. On land, ‘Climbing The Quill’ is a highly recommended activity, where giant trees and colorful flowers grow in abundance.
Saint Eustatius: Diving Site. Photo Credit: ©St Eustatius Tourism Development Foundation.
Estimated 2017 stay-over tourists: 9,200
Saba is another of the most exquisite destinations in the Caribbean and remains mostly untouched by the bustle of tourism. Visitors are drawn to the allure of old Caribbean charm and unparalleled splendor. A stone’s throw away from St. Maarten, Saba is a diver’s paradise with year-round tropical temperatures perfect for exploring striking reefs of fish and coral. Hiking Mt. Scenery, the highest point in the Dutch Kingdom, rewards the traveler with spectacular views. At its peak is the Elfin Forest, a movie-like scene of mysterious clouds that gently cover Epiphytes, orchids and a myriad of other unique and rare plants.
Saba: View from Mount Scenery. Photo Credit: © Radioflux via Wikimedia Commons.
Estimated 2017 stay-over tourists: 8,808
Lush green mountains abound on the island of Montserrat, known as the ‘Emerald Isle’ of the Caribbean. And for honeymooners and nature lovers who want to get away from it all, Montserrat is the perfect Caribbean destination. The former capital Plymouth is now a modern-day Pompeii, Plymouth buried in volcanic ash from the 1995 eruption of the Soufriere Hills Volcano. What’s left of the island are evergreen mountains dotted with spectacular hiking trails and mysterious dark sand beaches. Montserrat offers travelers a friendly Caribbean charm blended with modern villa accommodations and nature-themed attractions for a serene vacation experience. Don’t leave the island without trying Goat Water, a tasty stew which is the national dish of Montserrat.
Montserrat: Soufrière Hills Volcano. Photo Credit: ©Derek Galon via Montserrat Tourism Division.
So do you fancy any of these least visited Caribbean islands for your next vacation? With little-known beaches to mesmerizing mountain trails and untouched forests, they offer a plethora of unique experiences for the adventurous traveler to slip away from the crowd and explore hidden gems in these lesser-known Caribbean islands in the region.
Note: Originally published September 15th, 2014, this post was updated April 10th, 2018.