There are some places that everyone seems to go: the beaches of Mexico, the romantic lights of Paris and the aquamarine waters of Florida. There’s nothing wrong with these places at all – in fact I’d take a free trip there on the spot. But there are other gems which are rarely visited and deserve a mention on this guide to five rarely-visited amazing countries.
Bhutan is a hidden Himalayan kingdom that is a marvel of sights to see and places to visit. It only gets around 250,000 visitors per year partly because you have to pay $250 per day for a visa. The government did this to help preserve the environment and stop it from being overrun by tourism. Still, if you pay the tariff you get a guide and everything paid for vacation with somewhere to stay and fascinating journeys through the rich Buddhist culture. There are also many backpacking and hiking trips to do in the foothills and the higher mountains, delicious cuisine, mysterious mountainside monasteries and friendly locals.¹
Armenia is a fascinating and beautiful country with a deep history and thriving culture. The main languages spoken are Russian and Armenian, although some speak English particularly in the capital of Yerevan. There are many incredible churches in Armenia such as the Ninth Century monastery Tatev on the edge of the Vorotan River gorge, where you can take one of the world’s longest cable cars to the stunning church, as well Vagharshapat, Noravank or Geghard monastery, a UNESCO world heritage site with a church and monastic cells carved into the side of the mountain. Lake Sevan is also incredibly beautiful and wonderful to swim in or take a boat trip on and there are numerous backpacking opportunities around the country. Armenia is famous for its wine, food and music, and prices are very low as well.²
Many travelers may not have even heard of Niue and it’s no wonder. The small South Pacific island nation only has around 1,600 residents and sits east of Tonga. It gets around 10,000 visitors per year and has a lot to offer including amazing nature, hikes, and swimming locales. This destination is best suited for those who are a bit adventurous as many of the best spots require some traipsing and climbing around, but if you have the energy it has incredible snorkeling, diving, hiking, humpback whale watching – and sometimes swimming with the humpbacks – and good food as well as a resort. Another bonus of Niue is that everywhere on the island has free wifi so you’re good to go. In terms of getting there, there is just one flight in and out per week, but once you’re there you’ll feel right at home.¹
4. St. Kitts & Nevis
St. Kitts & Nevis are two islands in the Caribbean with some of the best beaches in the world and a friendly, welcoming local culture. Nevis is the more out of the way of the two, but St. Kitts is also incredible and very relaxing. You can sample the local delicacies like goat water stew and also snack on tons of fresh fruit and tasty local seafood maybe with a side of rum. St. Kitts and Nevis get around 115,000 visitors per year so you won’t be as inundated with tourists, either.³
Tonga is the perfect Polynesian paradise and gets around 61,000 tourists a year who come in. The archipelago nation has over 170 islands in the South Pacific and is prized for its spectacular nature including picturesque beaches and coral reefs, romantic rainforests and relaxed, authentic culture, especially on the main island of Tongatapu. Whether you want to go for a kayak or spend some time tanning on the beach followed by a refreshing drink later on, Tonga is a place that not many people visit but those who do make enough memories for a lifetime.¹