The islands of Tuvalu lie in an area of ocean that stretches 805 kilometres between the Republic of Kiribati and Samoa. The main island, Funafuti, is also the capital and lies 1,920 kilometres north of Suva, Fiji. Tuvalu, comprising nine islands or atolls is one of the last unspoiled paradises in the South Pacific. It does have an abundance of tropical scenery, with plenty of beaches, lagoons and palm trees. The traditional way of life on its more remote islands is untouched by the modern world. These outlying islands can be visited by private yachts from its capital Funafuti. There are no functioning airstrips on any island other than Funafuti.
The world's second smallest country and, according to the United Nations, one of the least developed, Tuvalu fulfilled the classic image of a South Sea paradise. Visitors come to Tuvalu to enjoy the peaceful atmosphere and the palm-fringed beaches. Pandanus, papaya, banana, breadfruit, pulaka and coconut palms are typical.
Air Fiji operates a 30-seat Embraer Brasilia aircraft with return flights to Funafuti three times a week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday or Sunday) from Suva, Fiji. It is advisable to book in advance. The following are the contact details for Travel Services, Tour Operators/Travel Agents and National Tourist Office, Funafuti, Tuvalu:
TUVALU TRAVEL SERVICES
Tour Operators/Travel Agents
|Sapea Engineering - Bike And Scooter Hire||+688-206-66|
|Airport Travel Office||+688-207-37|
National Tourist Office
The International Airport is located on Funafuti Island and facilities include a VIP lounge, bank, restaurant, snack bars, bars, chemist, Post Office and shops. There is a regular bus service and taxis are also available. There is a pick-up service to the Vaiaku Lagi Hotel. There is no internal air service.
Airport shops and facilities, Funafuti, Tuvalu
The islands of Tuvalu are served by a passenger and cargo vessel, the M.V. Nivaga II, based at Funafuti, which occasionally calls at Suva, Fiji. Shipping services operate from Fiji, Australia and New Zealand calling at the main port of Funafuti.
In addition, the inter-island service is now provided by the recently acquired multi-purpose fishing, cargo and passenger vessel Manufolau which is shown in the photographs below.
Click on the map above for a detailed Tuvalu map
It is believed that the first residents landed on Tuvalu about 2,000 years ago. The first European to visit the islands was the Spanish explorer Alvaro de Mendana who visited the islands in 1568 and 1595. It was almost 200 years before Europeans again stopped by. Whalers and traders frequented the seas around Tuvalu during the nineteenth century and Britain finally took control in 1892. Tuvalu was, until 1976, administratively linked with Kiribati (formerly the Gilbert Islands). Almost three years after its separation from Kiribati, Tuvalu attained full independence from Great Britain on 1st October 1978.
You are invited to use the Links to the left to pay a visit to each of the islands of Tuvalu. Thank you and Fafetai!
Pacific Islands Radio