TALOFA!

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.

           

Aerial view of Funafuti Island, Tuvalu, May 2002 - Photo: Bob Girdo
Click on the above for map of 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.

.   GETTING THERE

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

Airlines

Tour Operators/Travel Agents

Sunrise Shop  +688-206-07
Asivai +688-200-53
Sapea Engineering - Bike And Scooter Hire +688-206-66
Airport Travel Office +688-207-37

National Tourist Office         

Ministry of Tourism, Trade and Commerce
Private Mail Bag
Vaiaku, Funafuti
TUVALU   
Telephone: +688-226-85 (ask for Fakasoa)
Facsimile:   +688-208-29 (ask for Fakasoa)

Funafuti International Airport, Tuvalu, May 2002
Photos: Bob Girdo

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.

ACCOMMODATION

Left: Entrance to Vaiaku Lagi Hotel
Right: Part of the Vaiaku Lagi Hotel facing the Funafuti lagoon, May, 2002

Left: Vaiaku Lagi Hotel dining room
Right: Vaiaku Lagi Hotel maneapa
(meeting and recreational place) facing the Funafuti lagoon, May, 2002

The Hideaway Guesthouse and Filamona Lodge, Funafuti, Tuvalu, May 2002
 Above six photos: Bob Girdo

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Airport shops and facilities, Funafuti, Tuvalu

Excellent Tuvalu handicraft are available from
Tuvalu Women's Craft Centre, Funafuti, May 2002
Above three photos: Bob Girdo

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.

Tuvalu inter-island ferry, Manufolau, May 2002
Photos: Bob Girdo

Tuvalu Islands

Click on the map above for a detailed Tuvalu map

SHORT HISTORY

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!  

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(E-mail: jane@janeresture.com -- Rev. 6th November 2006)