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Kiribati

Kiribati travel guide

Kiribati is still in its infancy but is moving further into the tourist spotlight with its superb white sandy beaches and crystal-clear lagoon waters

Kiribati doesn’t just offer one island idyll; in fact, it is a string of 33 coral atolls scattered nearly 4,000 km across the Pacific.

Formerly known as the Gilbert Islands, these tropical isles are truly remote; the capital Tarawa lies about halfway between Hawaii and Australia. It’s one of the poorest countries in the world and the locals eke out a living by selling coconuts and relying on the ocean for food.

While Tarawa is busy, life on many of the 21 inhabited islands is slow – villagers work the copra plantations or go fishing before retiring to huts fashioned out of coconut and pandanus trees.

Food is fresh and simple and folk music and dance (involving chanting and body percussion) has evolved into an art form.

Visitors can wander World War Two relics, enjoy fishing and diving on the endless reefs or take in some traditional entertainment. Other than that there’s not a lot to do, apart from soaking up the sun on the ubiquitous Robinson Crusoe-esque beaches of course.

Wanderlust recommends

  1. Tap your feet to a rousing song and dance performance
  2. Take to the water to explore never ending Pacific reefs
  3. See the remnants of World War Two on Tarawa and Butaritari Atoll where guns, bunkers, tanks and shipwrecks can still be found. Guided tours are available on Tarawa
  4. Go bird watching on Kiribati Island and keep your eyes peeled for the endangered Phoenix Petrel and White Throated Storm Petre
  5. Select a beach, sit back and relax

Wanderlust tips

Laws forbid revealing swimwear so pack accordingly.

You can’t buy many things on the islands so come prepared: take your own sunscreen, insect repellent and medicine.

Make sure your insurance includes medical evacuation.

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