I 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 85% of the stay-over visitors to the region. So what about the other Caribbean islands? Well, below, I count down the ten least visited Caribbean islands. They represent just 1.36% 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 touristy Caribbean islands and consider one or more for your next vacation.
Stay-Over Tourists: Year 2021: 42,099 / Year 2020: 43,821
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 in Grenada 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.
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Grenada: Hog Island. Photo Credit: © Grenada Tourism Authority.
9. Trinidad & Tobago
Stay-Over Tourists: Year 2021: 40,621 / Year 2020: 93,147
Its location in the southern Caribbean puts Trinidad & Tobago well below the hurricane belt and makes this one of the best options for year-round vacationing. Trinidad Carnival is a major attraction, where fun lovers party to soca and calypso and the irresistible sound of steel pan drums on the streets of the capital, Port of Spain. A must-eat is the hot roti – a tasty curry-filled pasty or head to Maracas Beach for the world-famous Bake and Shark. The sister isle of Tobago boasts coral reefs, pristine blue waters, and white sandy beaches. While there, explore the village of Speyside, a popular dive site that also offers birdwatching and snorkeling.
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Aerial View of Bermuda. Photo Credit: ©Bermuda Tourism Authority.
Stay-Over Tourists: Year 2021: 28,376 / Year 2020: 25,381
Although it’s only 35 square miles, Anguilla has 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.
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Anguilla: CuisinArt Golf Resort Spa Beach. Photo Credit: © Anguilla Tourist Board.
7. Saint Vincent & The Grenadines
Stay-Over Tourists: Year 2021: 24,230 / Year 2020: 18,908
Seventh 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 and 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.
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View of the Port of Kingstown in St Vincent. Photo Credit: © Ursula Petula Barzey.
6. Saint Kitts & Nevis
Stay-Over Tourists: Year 2021: 19,444 / Year 2020: 29,695
Unspoiled beaches and spectacular landscapes await visitors to the twin-island nation 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.
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Saint Kitts: A view of the scenic ‘sugar’ railway. Photo Credit: © St Kitts Tourism Authority.
5. Cayman Islands
Stay-Over Tourists: Year 2021: 17,308 / Year 2020: 146,609
With its magnificent underwater reefs and irresistible beaches, the Cayman Islands are known for ultimate relaxation. The haven of relaxation lies on the largest island, Grand Cayman, at the famous Seven Mile Beach, often called one of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean. Fun lovers can play with friendly Southern Stingrays on the North Sound or learn about rare Blue Iguanas at the Queen Elizabeth II Botanical Park. Hop over to Cayman Brac for a breathtaking adventure on the rugged bluff, where adventure seekers and nature lovers can get up close and personal with exotic flora and fauna.
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View from The Reef Resort in the Cayman Islands.
Stay-Over Tourists: Year 2021: 14,888 / Year 2020: 21,733
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.
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Dominica: Canoe on Indian River. Photo Credit: © Discover Dominica Authority.
Stay-Over Tourists: Year 2021: 4,100 / Year 2020: 2,700
Saba is one of the most exquisite destinations in the Caribbean and remains largely 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 gently covering Epiphytes, orchids, and many other unique and rare plants.
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Saba: View from Mount Scenery. Photo Credit: © Radioflux via Wikimedia Commons.
2. Sint Eustatius (Statia)
Stay-Over Tourists: Year 2021: 3,600 / Year 2020: 3,200
Sint Eustatius is a Dutch Caribbean island and remains unspoiled and naturally beautiful. Known locally as Statia, 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 of Statia 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.
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Saint Eustatius: Diving Site. Photo Credit: ©St Eustatius Tourism Development Foundation.
Stay-Over Tourists: Year 2021: 1,591 / Year 2020: 4,544
With just 1,591 stay-over visitors in 2021, Montserrat is the least touristy Caribbean island. Lush green mountains abound on the island of Montserrat, known as the Emerald Isle of the Caribbean. From honeymooners to nature lovers and everyone in between, this gorgeous country has a little something for everyone. 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 as it was buried in volcanic ash during 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 that is Montserrat’s national dish.
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View of the Montserrat Soufrière Hills volcano from the Montserrat Volcano Observatory. Photo Credit: © Ursula Petula Barzey.
So do you fancy any of these least visited Caribbean islands for your next vacation? With little-known beaches, mesmerizing mountain trails, and untouched forests, these least touristy Caribbean islands 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.
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Note: Originally published September 15th, 2014, this post was updated November 8th, 2022.