Why you should add Tuvalu to your Indie/RTW trip
- Because there's a good chance it won't even be around in 50 years due to rising sea levels.
- If you're really looking to get off the grid, then Tuvalu is one of those places - it's the fourth smallest country in the world.
- Traveling to Tuvalu, you won't see many other tourists, hell, you may not see very may other people, period. Tuvalu is not a popular stop on most traveler's itineraries, which is usually a good thing for indie travelers.
- You won't need a watch here - just join the locals for a nap, and you'll know it's mid-afternoon.
Indie Travel Tips
- Head to the Funafuti Conservation Area for taste of South Pacific wildlife - check out reefs and a lagoon while snorkeling.
- Unless you bring your own gear, scuba diving is off the cards - there aren't any dive centres, and even if you did bring your own gear, getting tanks and access to the government compressor is almost impossible, better just to bring your snorkelling gear.
- Stick around in Funafuti and talk and hang out with the local people - it's a culture that is unlike most you will encounter.
- Don't get too married to a certain date for your return flight. You can only get to and from Tuvalu from Fiji on Air Pacific, and they are not very reliable when it comes to scheduling.
- Tuvalu gets literally dozens of tourists in a year, and most don't explore beyond Funafuti. If you can get to the outer islands, you will experience a quietness and solitude like never before.
- If you have lots of time, and I mean lots, look into going to the Nanumea Atoll to swim in their pond (which is fresh-water, a rarity for atolls). A location for Japanese attacks during WWII, Nanumea has plane wrecks and cargo ships as reminders of its history. However, this is one of the outer islands as as such is very difficult to get to unless you have LOADS of time (and I'm talking months here), probably an unsuitable activity for most people just passing through.
OverviewTuvalu isn't a destination for those seeking action. It's probably not the ideal place for those on a short trip or on a time crunch, either. Time moves at its own pace on this tiny island nation, but due to rising seas, it's a country that might not be here much longer. A visit to these secluded islands and atolls is a unique experience that is sure to be memorable for any indie traveler.
TransportationYou can only get to and from Tuvalu from Fiji on Air Pacific. There are usually a few flights a week, but you definitely want to check schedules ahead of time. Once you arrive in Funafuti, there boats, bicycles, motorbikes, and your own two feet are going to be your main modes of transport around the islands.
AccommodationsThere are a handful of private guesthouses and one hotel in Funafuti, and all outer islands have guesthouses run by the island councils. There are some home-stays available as well.
Part time Geography Teacher - Full time adventurer, Andy Browning has spent the last 5 years exploring some of the most remote corners of the Globe from the beaches of Belize to the jungles of the Congo. For the past year he has been in the middle of the Pacific Ocean fighting sharks, dancing for Royalty, and supporting the development of Scouting in the tiny island nation of Tuvalu. To find out more about life in Tuvalu, or what Andy has been up to check out his blog at http://andyexplores.wordpress.com or follow him on twitter (@andyexplores).
Photo credits: INABA Tomoaki