Tuvalu is a former British Colony. These islands lie in the South Pacific Ocean. It is a cheap destination to visit, but there is nothing of importance to see here. If you want a quiet spot away from the crowded destinations, then Tuvalu is for you.
The islands divide into three different areas by language. On the Island of Nui, the locals speak Rapanui. Another group of islands consists of Nanumea, Nanumaga and Niutao islands. Finally, the third group includes the islands of Funafuti, Vaitupu, Nukulaelae, Nukufetau. Funafuti is the central island housing the capital Fongafale.
The country lacks modern architecture and robust tourist sites. Thus, all you can do is lounge on a beach under the tropical sun. However, these islands are perfect for those who love water sports. Plus, there are remnants from the World Wars on the islands for all the history buffs.
Places to See in Tuvalu
The greatest attraction of the country’s capital Funafuti is the huge Funafuti Lagoon. It is 14km wide and 18km long, which makes it a perfect place for swimming and snorkeling.
Then go to the Funafuti Marine Conservation Area to admire the rich sea and wildlife collection. This protected marine park consists of six tiny islets and is home to various species of tropical fish, seabirds, and turtles. To get to the park, hire a private or take a chartered boat. By a private boat, however, you can as well go to one of the numerous beautiful uninhabited islets in the Funafuti atoll.
Tuvalu’s Philatelic Bureau provides stamps to collectors all around the world. And the University of the South Pacific Center sells a wide range of books about Tuvalu and the region.
The second most populated island in the atoll is also worth visiting. Just take the Funafuti Islands Council’s catamaran and enjoy the island’s nature, as well as the numerous thatched-roof buildings. Keep in mind, though, there are no shops on Funafala, so you should take some food and water with you.
Things to Do in Tuvalu
Go Diving or Game Fishing
Equipment for diving and game fishing is widely available in Funafuti. However, if you are up for some water sports activity, you should bring your own equipment. Also, remember to wear sandshoes, when swimming, against the stonefish. Keep in mind, swimming in the ocean can be dangerous, due to the strong tide. So, better choose the lagoon for swimming.
Watch a Kilikiti Game
Kilikiti is a local version of cricket, a traditional game, which most locals enjoy both watching and playing.
When to Go
A tropical climate prevails on the islands, balanced by the easterly winds. The weather is wet between November and March. Avoid visiting during that time of the year. All the other seasons are great for traveling to Tuvalu.
What to Wear
Lightweight clothes would be perfect throughout the year. However, if you decide to come during the rainy season, don’t forget rainwear. And take a jacket for the evenings, which can sometimes be chilly.
English will help you to communicate with the locals. Kiribati, Samoa, and Rapanui are languages used on particular islands. However, all the islands use English, and it is also the official language.
The currency used here is Tuvaluan Dollar (TVD). It is equal to the Australian Dollar. One USD equals 1.38 TVD. Credit cards are not acceptable in the country.
Local SIM Card & Free WiFi
Tuvalu has no mobile phone network. However, international calls can be made from most islands. Also, some hotels and resorts provide their visitors with Wi-Fi connection. Though, it is not always free.
The predominant religion is Christianity, particularly Protestantism. Religion plays an important role in everyday life. On Sundays, people don’t work. They commonly go to a church.
In Tuvaluan culture, traditional values are still dominating. When you enter a house, a church or a manepa (village meeting house), you should remove your shoes. There are also other procedures, which should be followed, so you should ask the locals, before accepting an invitation. Travelers are welcome to the local festivals and celebrations. However, remember, it is considered rude to speak a foreign language in front of the person, who doesn’t understand it.
Although dressing is generally casual, women are advised to cover their thighs. Also, beachwear should be only kept for the beach or pool.
Dining facilities in Tuvalu are plentiful. Food varies, but it is based mainly on fish and local foods. However, some hotels offer regular barbecues. On Funafuti’s main island, there are also some privately-owned snack food shops and restaurants, as well as licensed bars. Tipping is up to you, but commonly not expected. Beer on sale is imported.
Funafuti has the sole airport, where you will land. Then you can rent a bike and drive yourself around the island. Furthermore, you can move in-between islands using boats. The odd minibus also takes passengers around the island.
Roads are not in a very good condition.
Renting vs. Bus, Train, Taxi
You can hire taxis at the main wharf. Also, motorbike hire is available in Funafuti on Fakaifou Side. Or you can arrange to rent a car, which is easy to do via the Internet.
Right or Left Driving
Cars drive on the left side of the road here.
Tuvalu Trip Cost
You can buy some mementos at the local handicraft center. Also, the food and drinks are very cheap. Additionally, you will get an international variety starting from Italian to Chinese cuisines. Lodging is easily found if you choose to book one of the many comfortable guesthouses. Go scuba diving in the waters of South Pacific Ocean or play the ball (local game) while you visit. Lastly, top the night off by watching traditional dancing during this peaceful getaway.
Electricity & Plug Type
Tuvalu uses type I sockets. You need to bring a travel adapter to fit the proper socket type. Check out the above-linked page to see the photos and other useful information. The standard voltage is 220 V. Many of your devices may need a step-up transformer to match the electrical voltage.
How to Reach
Fiji Airways operate flights twice a week from Suva in Fiji to Funafuti. It takes 2 hours and 35 minutes to get to Tuvalu. Also, shipping services operate rides to Tuvalu from Fiji, Australia, and New Zealand.
Where to Stay
Tuvalu’s remote location and low development of tourist industry results in the lack of accommodation facilities and other amenities. There are also no camping grounds in the country.
There is one hotel, owned by the government, called Vaiaku Lagi Hotel. All 17 rooms overlook the fabulous Funafuti lagoon. All rooms are equipped with a private shower, and all-inclusive packages are also available.
There is also a motel, called Island Breeze Motel, several guesthouses and lodges. These include Filamona Lodge, Hideaway Guest House, Laisinis Guest Hous and Su’s Place Guest House. These facilities offer simpler accommodations and meals.
How Safe is Tuvalu
Tuvalu is considered generally safe destination to travel. However, travelers are advised to have a full medical insurance before traveling. The only hospital in the country is situated in Funafuti. All the other islands have only trained nurses.
If you happen to have any serious health troubles, you will be evacuated to Fiji or Australia. Before coming to Tuvalu, you need to have the vaccination against the following disease: typhoid, tetanus, hepatitis A, and sometimes diphtheria, tuberculosis and hepatitis B.
August 22, 2016 12:00 am Leave your thoughts