Tuvalu Travel Guide
Along with Kiribati, Tuvalu is a country facing climate-fuelled threats to its existence. With no point in this archipelago higher than two metres above sea level, any major rise in sea level could salinate its water table and expose it to devastating storm surges which could make ongoing permanent settlement impossible to maintain.
The future of the world’s fourth tiniest country is far from certain. If you plan on travelling in the South Pacific in the near future, consider paying a visit here – wait too long, and you may not get a chance to see this place.
Currency: Tuvalu and Australia Dollars
Languages: Tuvaluan, English, Samoan
What To Do
While this tiny island nation in the South Pacific doesn’t have much in the way of major attractions, don’t tell hardcore stamp collectors that. For them, a visit to the Tuvalu Philatelic Bureau is a pilgrimage they all hope to make someday.
The national stamps sold here are among the toughest to come by in the world, making them highly valued by collectors. To avoid paying egregious prices to third parties, incorporate a trip here during your trip to Tuvalu.
Next, drop by the humble building which houses the Tuvalu National Library. Resembling an elementary school library back home, this place not only dedicates itself to improving the education and literacy of the people of Tuvalu, but it also holds records key to the history of the nation.
Want to bring home your friends and family a taste of the South Pacific? Head over to the Tuvalu Women’s Handicraft Centre. In this shop, you’ll have access to a variety of goods made by local artisans, ranging from items of clothing to figurines to bracelets and necklaces.
By doing this, not only will you be taking a piece of this obscure South Pacific nation home, you’ll be helping residents create a stable living for themselves and their families.
Tuvalu had a central role in the Second World War, as this island was a staging point for the American Armed Forces during the protracted battle to take back the islands of the Pacific from the Empire of Japan.
In the present day, there are a number of World War II remnants that remain from those times which can be found throughout the island of Fongafale.
Especially near the village of Nanumea, you’ll find plane wrecks, old bunkers, and overgrown airstrips. If you are a history buff or a military enthusiast, these artifacts of this troubled era make Tuvalu an intriguing destination.
Here’s the bad news about Tuvalu: there aren’t many beaches in this island chain that are attractive, and in the places where there are beaches, trash makes them less than ideal places for relaxation. However, there are coral reefs off its shores which are definitely worth exploring for visitors to the country.
The Funafuti Marine Conservation Area should be at the top of your list, as it protects marine environments which give a home to animals like sea turtles, reef sharks, manta rays, and other species threatened in other parts of the region.
Out of the water, this protected area also has beaches which are much cleaner and far more beautiful than on the populated islands of Tuvalu.
If you are looking for tropical paradise on your holiday, going on a day trip to the Funafuti Marine Conservation Area will give you access to the dreamiest landscapes in this tiny country.
What to Eat
Tuvalu has food which bears a lot of similarities to what is available on other Polynesian islands. The prevalence of Palusami on tables here bears witness to this fact, as this baked taro leaf dish has widespread acceptance here.
Baked with coconut milk and corned beef, it is a savoury dish which will fill you up – ask for it at local restaurants when you are travelling through Tuvalu’s towns and villages.
Next, seek out some Pulaka. Also known as swamp taro, this plant is one of this island’s biggest sources of carbohydrates. When you sit down for a meal and have some local fish, this will often come on the side. Ask whether it is served when you do, and you’ll get a chance to sample this interesting food.
Looking for a sweet end to your day? Make an effort to find a place which serves Banana Fritters. It is made by coating ripe banana slices in cornstarch and coconut batter and then frying them in oil. After being taken out, they are coated in confectioner’s sugar, giving them a flavourful last touch.
Served to Will and Kate during their visit to Tuvalu several years ago, it is a treat you can’t afford to miss.