Tarawa is the capital island (extra points already) of the Republic of Kiribati (pronounced Kiribass) a former British colony that was given its independence in the late 70’s, and now holds the unenviable title of being the country most likely to be wiped out by global warming! Yep, not all fun facts are fun!
BUT apart from this Kiribati and Tarawa, might just well be a new favourite country and island on the planet, and here’s why!
How to get here?
They say that the journey can be more fun than the destination, and it kinda works with Kiribati. So basically, Nauru Airlines runs a twice-weekly island ferry service which goes Honiara – Nauru – Tarawa – Majuro, which due to the logistics of my trip meant I had actually been to Tarawa 3 times before I had actually “been here”. I have never ever seen beauty to rival the coastline of the atolls of the Republic of Kiribati, and I was excited to go here before we had even arrived.
The airport and visas.
Tarawa airport is so cute, it’s basically a shack, but the people are friendly. And one plane means you tend to get through fast.
Where should you stay in Tarawa?
I stayed at Mary’s Hotel, which was fairly close to the town and the airport. Price and amenities were OK, but we also visited a few places further up Tarawa that looked pretty nice and at a decent price (also a more lively bar scene).
Where should you eat in Tarawa?
Well, being an island race, there is fresh seafood absolutely everywhere with a lot of resort type hotels offering pretty diverse menus. I got to order the “raw fish” wherever I went, which tended to be tuna, which is fine by me!
Is Tarawa/Kiribati expensive?
God no! $3 AUD for a beer in Tarawa, with tuna sashimi coming out at under $10. Accommodation and transport were largely reasonable, Kiribati is not Southeast Asia cheap, but as Pacific islands go, was more than fair.
What’s the wifi situation in Tarawa
Whilst most of the Pacific islands I had visited turned out to be a wifi abyss (Nauru had even run out of sim cards), Mary’s Hotel in Tarawa had fairly OK, and free wifi.
What to do in Majuro?
Well, it’s an island and a tropical one at that! Boating, swimming, BBQ’s, cocktails by the sea, big game fishing, your only limits are your own. There are lots of islands you can head to for day trips and a BBQ, but they run on island time here, so don’t do a trip when you have a flight the next day (learned that the hard way).
If you’re into your WW2 history then Tarawa is a history buff’s wet dream with there being old guns, sunken ships, hospitals and pillboxes literally scattered everywhere, which is more than worth a day trip
Can I travel to Kiribati by myself?
Certainly safe enough to travel to, but is literally only served by Nauru Airlines, which makes it not the cheapest place to visit. YPT will run a 2018/19 tour to coincide with New Year if that’s your thing, check it out!