10 things I wish I knew before going to Tuvalu

Kanan Isazade25 September 20205592 views7 min. read
10 things I wish I knew before going to Tuvalu
world’s 4th smallest country? Yes, today, we will talk about the underrated pearl of the west-central Pacific Ocean, Tuvalu (formerly known as the Ellice Islands). Finding information about Tuvalu can be very challenging. If you have a dream to travel to this heaven, then you are in the right place. Today, you will learn interesting facts about Tuvalu, and you will get answers to the questions, such as where is Tuvalu, how to travel to Tuvalu, and more.

1. Where is Tuvalu?

Tuvalu is located in the west-central Pacific Ocean and consists of 9 small islands. They are Funafuti, Nanumanga, Nanumea, Nui, Niutao, Niulakita, Nukufetau, Nukulaelae, Vaitupu. Funafuti is the capital of Tuvalu. Kiribati, Samoa, and Fiji are nearest neighbour countries. This island country is the 4th smallest country in the world (just 26 square kilometres) after Vatican, Monaca, Nauru. Tuvalu is the second low-populated independent country after the Vatican. Also, among all members of the UN, the Tuvalu population is also one of the last on the list.

2. Biodiversity of Tuvalu

When it comes to talking about the fauna, we can say that the ocean surrounding the island has a rich biodiversity. There are many kinds of dolphins, fishes, sharks, whales, and more in these waters. On the other hand, land biodiversity is not rich enough. Pigs, fowls, and dogs were brought to this land just in the 19th century. Polynesian rats are the only indigenous mammal of this territory. Also, land vegetation is limited to pandanus, palm, and some imported fruit trees.

3. Who are Tuvaluans?

Widely it is accepted by many people that the first inhabitants of Tuvalu were Polynesians. Today, the Tuvalu population is 11,818, and the populace of the country is relatively homogenous. 96% of the people identified as ethnically Tuvaluan. The state has two official languages, the Tuvalu language and English. English is the second most spoken language because it was a former colony of the Great Britain Empire. In daily use, people prefer the Tuvalu language, and all government documents are in Tuvaluan. There are more than 13,000 speakers of this language worldwide. There is another dialect that is used mostly by the Nui people. This is Gilbertese, which is very similar to the Tuvalu language.

4. A land of handicrafts

In recent years, Tuvalu’s culture was affected by Western culture but still keep its uniqueness. Dancing, handcrafting, and music is very crucial for locals. Tuvalu is famous for its handicrafts in all Pacific. Where is Tuvalu craftwork shops? You can get them from the Women’s Handicraft Center, next to the airport, or purchase from small handicraft stores. Besides, religion is precious for citizens, and Sundays are church and rest days. Also, they like to come together to Maneapas, which means meeting houses in English. One of the interesting facts about Tuvalu is being very sensitive in woman dressings. Keep it in mind if you want to travel to Tuvalu. Moreover, there are not many festivals held here, but some of the holidays/festivals we can mention are New Year’s Day, Bomb Day (23 April), Tuvalu Day (October 1), and Cyclone Day (October 21).

5. Cuisine that full of proteins and carbohydrates

Food is one of the major priorities of many tourists. We can’t say that this country has a unique cuisine. It is mostly affected by other countries, especially by Britians. But of course, there are some foods which we can advise you to try during travel to Tuvalu. The most popular meal is Pulaka. This food is a rich source of carbohydrates. It is crucial to cooking the roots of Pulaka for hours to get rid of toxic ingredients in corms. Pulaka has a special place in the country's cultural and culinary traditions, but now it is under threat because of rising sea levels. As it is an island country, seafood plays a crucial role in its cuisine. They eat various types of fishes, crabs, and more in their daily diet. Furthermore, on the islands, you can find many exotic fruits here, such as bananas, coconuts, and breadfruit.

6. Which currency to use in Tuvalu?

The official monetary unit of Tuvalu was the Tuvaluan dollar, but it is not an independent currency. Instead of it, now the Australian dollar is a widely used currency on this island, but some Tuvaluan coins are in circulation. If you decide to travel to Tuvalu, you should have cash (Australian dollar) with you. Unfortunately, ATM or card facilities are not available in the country. You can exchange your money in the National Bank of Tuvalu, but it is expensive. One of the most interesting facts about Tuvalu is that there is no central bank.

7. How to travel to Tuvalu?

As Tuvalu attracts a few people every year, it is challenging to find valuable information about Tuvalu flights. Many countries don’t have any direct flights to this small country. There are 3 Tuvalu flights between Funafuti (capital of Tuvalu) and Suva (capital of Fiji) per week. It is known as the quickest way to travel to Tuvalu from Fiji. It takes nearly 3 hours and costs 120-750 $. Besides, there is another way to reach Tuvalu besides Tuvalu flights. It is the direct ferry travelling between Tuvalu and Fiji. Service departs hourly, and it is departing from Suva. Another company that has flights to Tuvalu is Air Kiribati. It has flights every Wednesday, but not a reliable one. Now let’s talk about transportation on the island. This place is not cover a large area, that is why you can travel on foot, but there is an available kind of transport like cars, motorbikes, bicycles, and motorboats. You can find minibuses on weekdays. How to travel to Tuvalu? In conclusion, as an answer to this question, we can say that the best option is flights from Fiji.

8. Where to stay in Tuvalu?

There are a few places to stay in Tuvalu, and some of them which got good reviews are L’s Lodge, Esfam Hotel, Warmasiri Lodge, Filamona Hotel. Price changes depending on where you stay or the number of rooms, but in most cases, it changes between 60-200 AUD. Most of them are located in Funafuti, the capital of Tuvalu. For example, Esfam Hotel offers double rooms for 100 AUD and single rooms for 75 AUD. On the other hand, one of the most popular options is the Filamona Hotel, which offers double rooms for 120 AUD. Internet connection, meals, and other facilities are available in most of them. Furthermore, you can rent a house for a vacation. Unfortunately, finding a rental home in Tuvalu on the internet is challenging enough, but most prices change between 10-70 USD.

9. Best places to visit

Start your vacation in Funafuti. This is the capital of the island country, and the national airport is located here. Also, as we mentioned finding hotels in Funafuti is much easier than in other parts of the state. One of the great attractions of Tuvalu is here, which is a lagoon. The lagoon is 18 km in length and 14 km in width. You can have a trip with a boat, or you can dive here. You should book a boat to travel here, which is 70 AUD (an additional 150 AUD conservation fee), and a maximum of 7 people can get to the ship at once. Another part of the city which you will enjoy visiting is Funafuti Conservation Area. This is an excellent place where you will find plenty of various sea creatures. You can also get inside the caves, which were found by a group of people in 1986. These caves (Fire Caves) are located in Nanumanga, and tourists love to visit these caves and do scuba diving. Other best sightseeings to visit are Fongafale, Vaitupu, Niutao, Tepuka, etc.

10. Is Tuvalu safe to travel to?

Without any doubt, we can say that Tuvalu is one of the safest places for tourists. As a tourist, hardly you will face any problem here. Crime rates on the island are not high, and in most cases, troubles occurred just because of overdrinking, or sometimes you can be ness some family disputes. Although there are low crime rates still, be attentive at night and stay in a hostel or hotel. The nature of the island is not so dangerous, too. The main problem of the territory is increasing sea levels. It significantly affects the life of local people and causes climate change. Another natural threat is cyclones, which occurred between November and April. That is why we should consult you that it would be better not to visit Tuvalu during November and April. The best period to go to Tuvalu is somehow between May and August. During this period, the weather is quite warm. In the past, homosexuals played a vital role in society, but now LGBT acts are illegal in Tuvalu, and you can be even put in jail because of that.

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