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Kiribati where to stay and what to do

KIRITIMATI FISHING

PHOTOGRAPH KIRIBATI

Kiribati

Comprising 33 coral atolls scattered over an area of 3220km straddling the equator, Kiribati is surrounded by waters teeming with colourful sea life, while the atolls are covered with coconut palms and pandanus.

The main visitor centres of Kiribati are Tarawa in the Gilbert Islands (west) and Kiritimati in the Line Islands (east). In between lie the largely inaccessible Phoenix Islands. With traditions and culture thriving and visitors regarded as a curiosity, it is the Pacific of yesteryear. 

Tarawa is the capital of Kiribati with South Tarawa being the urban hub, with a large concentration of the population, commercial activity and hustle and bustle. Venture away from the commotion of South Tarawa and you find the unspoilt tranquillity of North Tarawa and the outer islands, where villagers live by traditional methods, harvesting coconuts and fishing by net. To visit only South Tarawa is to miss the gentler side of Kiribati.

Culture and history remain strong in Kiribati. Local dance is often performed; Kiribati outrigger canoes, said to be the fastest in the Pacific, are raced in the lagoons; Second World War relics of the bloody Battle of Tarawa litter the beaches and islands. Increasingly, as tourism slowly grows, other activities are being developed for visitors; game and bonefishing, diving and cultural tours, 'homestay' accommodation.

Tourism is in its infancy in Kiribati and, for many, that is its appeal.

 
Traditional dance costume
 
Kiribati racing canoes
 
Kiribati children