Kiribati, Tuvalu and Nauru

The independent island nations of Kiribati (pronounced Kiribas),Tuvalu and Nauru are 3 small islands or island clusters in the same area of the South West Pacific, located north of the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji and Samoa, and south of the Marshall Islands, in over 1m square miles of ocean.

 

Their rainy season runs from November to April, and there could be a chance of severe weather, including cyclones, at any time, but more usually during these months.

 

The peoples of these 3 nations are friendly and welcoming to visitors, but there are some things that visitors need to be aware of.  Drugs and drug taking is a serious offence, and will result in heavy prison sentences.  To a lesser degree, nudity, including revealing swim suits/bikinis, is forbidden, and homosexuality is illegal in Tuvalu and can result in up to 14 years in prison.  Although not illegal in Nauru and Kiribati, it not widely acceptable in either country and public affection between same sex partners may offend.  Pointing is also considered very rude and may offend.

 

British visitors dont need a Visa to visit Kiribati and Tuvalu, but DO need a visitors visa to enter Nauru.  This can be a somewhat irksome procedure, as several documents are required and you cannot apply until 3 months before your trip.  British passports also need to valid for 3-6 months from your date of entry into the coutries.  There is a AUD$20 (approx £12-13 per person) departure tax from Kiribati.

 

All 3 nations use the Australian dollar as their currency and we advise you take enough cash for your entire stay with you.  Credit cards are not widely accepted, and not at all in Tuvalu (that we are aware of) and ATM's are few and far between; none in Tuvalu, 3 in Kiribati (Banks of Kiribati and ANZ Tarawa Atoll) and 1 in Menen Hotel Nauru.  These ATM's may not always have cash available, though.

 

Kiribati and Tuvalu

 

Kiribati and Tuvalu came into being in 1975 when the then British colonial territories of the Gilbert and Ellice islands were granted independence. Kiribati was formed out of the Gilbert Islands, which is the northern group of islands. Tuvalu came into being when the peoples of the southern group, the Ellice Islands, voted not to join with their old neighbours but to go it alone as an independent nation.

 

Kiribati is a nation of 110,000 people of whom 60,000 live on the Capital Island of Tarawa.  The country's territory covers an ocean area of over 390,000 square miles and comprises of 33 islands.  Sub-divided into 3 main groups, the Gilbert Islands in the west, the Phoenix in the middle and the Line Islands in the east.

 

Tuvalu is the smaller of the two nations with 9 islands spread over an area of 35,000 square miles, with a population of just over 11,000.  During the Second World War, these two island groupings formed the front line between the opposing Japanese and American forces.  On Tarawa you will find Japanese gun emplacements and command bunkers, as well as the rusting hulks of American landing craft that were used when the island was liberated at the cost of 13,000 Japanese and 7,000 American lives.  Also on a number of Tuvalu's outer islands, you will find the remains of crashed American aircraft.

 

The islands of both countries fit well into the stereotyping of the advertising world's view of a deserted tropical island.  As far as their typography goes they are all low islands with many long white sand beaches fringed with waving palm trees.  As most of the islands in these nations are low sand and coral atolls, the risk of climate change and rising sea levels is very high, and coastal errosion and water table contamination is something they are dealing with every day, as is litter and rubbish disposal.

 

Both nations are still in the infancy of their independence and are striving to develop sustainable economies.  Currently their economies are based on three main elements; overseas aid, the fees derived from issuing fishing licences to foreign nations and selling produce, such as copra, pet fish, shark fins and seaweed.  In Tuvalu, the lucrative selling of the .tv internet domains also adds to their revenues as well as stamps from the Tuvalu Philatelic Bureau

 

As a consequence of their limited financial resources,  there is little government support for tourism.  Tourism is growing but with only around 4500 overseas visitors to Kiribati and roughly 500 visitors to Tuvalu a year, it is not a huge number, and many of them are travelling on business as opposed to leisure. There is very little tourist infrastructure, and what there is, is very basic.  There are no first class hotels on any of the islands, mainly the accomodation is small B&B-type properties with a couple of motel-style properties, but accommodations are basic with no frills or luxuries.  Both capital cities, Tarawa and Funafuti, each have one main hotel which were built with aid from China, they are very basic and not designed with tourists in mind.  Where we feel a hotel cannot meet our standards of service, we will not recommend it.  This is the case, at present, with the Otintaai Hotel, on Tarawa, Kiribati, where the standard of service has dropped, and we will not be recommending any of our clients stay here.

 

Nauru

 

Unlike Kiribati and Tuvalu which have multiple islands in a chain, Nauru is just 1 single 8 sqm island, that has been passed through the governmental hands of Germany and Australia, New Zealand and United Kingdom under a League of Nations mandate after being liberated from the Japanese, before gaining its independance from a UN trusteeship (after WWII) in 1968.  The island was rich in phosphates, which was close to the surface and was strip mined for many years, which caused severe enviromental damage to the island.  Fresh water is very limited as there is not a lot of rainfall each year and there are very few natural sources that are not contaminated with phosphates.  Rooftop and ground water storage tanks collect rainwater and 3 desalination plants provide drinking water.

 

The island is quite barren, due to lack of natural vegetation and mining damage, but nature is gradually taking the island back, and the scrubland in the centre of the island is slowly becoming greener again.

 

The one thing that we were not prepared for was just how much litter there was strewn around, especially aluminium drink cans and plastic bottles in the sea (though not everywhere) and on land!  Our last visit was a few years ago, but it does seem like there is still a problem and they haven't improved the litter situation very much.  This fact alone could destroy one's expectation of the dream destination.

 

So we would not recommend a visit to Nauru, Kiribati or Tuvalu to anybody who is looking for the traditional relaxing or romantic beach holiday on their dream Pacific Island.  But we would recommend a visit if you are interested in experiencing and discovering a side of the Pacific that the glossy coffee table magazines and most of our competitors will not feature.

 

Should your travels take you to this part of the Pacific, please do not expect too much from your 'hospitality' experience, the dividend from your visit will come from the cultural experience and the scenic beauty of these island nations, the unspoiled outer islands and the warmth of their peoples.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cruises around Kiribati and Tuvalu

Currently, there are no locally based cruise companies offering cruse itineraries around the islands of Kiribati and Tuvalu. In Kiribati, there are a few locals who hire their boats our for fishing or day trips, but you will need to negotiate directly with the m on the day for your price. There are a few major cruise companies operating the large luxury liners, who offer itineraries across and around the Pacific that will visit some of these islands, but they are not frequent or on a regular basis.

 

 

Please note: We are constantly updating the prices shown on this website, but due to volatility of the currency exchange markets at the moment with the UK Sterling rates, prices may vary from those shown.  If you wish to confirm any prices shown here, please contact us directly.

 

There are no consular services actually in these island nations.  If British nationals require help or advice whilst visiting, they will need to contact the British High Commission in Suva, Fiji, if in Kiribati or Tuvalu, and the British High Commission in Honiara, Solomon Islands if visiting Nauru.


Click HERE to see the UK Foreign Office's latest advice for visitors travelling to Kiribati, HERE for visitors travelling to Tuvalu and HERE for visitors travelling to Nauru.

 

 

Accommodation comments

 

By Western European standards there are no quality hotels in any of these island nations, as previous mentioned above, so please be aware that the properties below offer very modest accommodation to visitors, some more basic than others.


 

 



Transpacific's recommended hotel selection
The George Hotel, Tarawa

The George Hotel, Tarawa

A small family-owned hotel with 23 rooms right in the centre of Betio town, and close to everything.

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Mauri Paradise, Kiribati

Mauri Paradise, Kiribati

The Mauri Paradise is a truly Eco-tourism experience, with 4 thatched huts on the beach for a really desert island feel!

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Tarawa Boutique Hotel

Tarawa Boutique Hotel

A brand new hotel right in the centre of Bairiki Town, offering good value accommodation

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 Funafuti Lagoon Hotel, Tuvalu

Funafuti Lagoon Hotel, Tuvalu

This hotel,  viewed as 'the only hotel' will provide you with a basic functional experience.

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Otintaai Hotel, Kiribati

Otintaai Hotel, Kiribati

The Otintaai will provide your basic functional needs in a town centre location.

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Hotel Budapest, Nauru

Hotel Budapest, Nauru

A brand new hotel on Nauru, that is clean and functional, and in a good location.

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In addition to our selected hotels/resorts listed here we can provide you with prices and information for any other property in Kiribati, Tuvalu and Nauru that you may be interested in.

Please call our reservations centre on
01342 840555 or contact your preferred travel agent.

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