Have you always been curious about the world's best-kept secret travel destination for ecotourism? Well, here it is. According to the World Bank’s most recent statistics in 2017, Tuvalu was the least-visited country in the world for 2017 with only 2,500 tourist arrivals! In a world with over 7.5 billion people, you could be among the adventurous few and earn your bragging rights. Granted, it is more than a hop skip and a jump to get to this South Pacific island nation, but once here, you'll find an eco-travelers paradise with very few, if any, other tourists. You want to come here because going off the grid is the plan. You come here to disconnect and see what it is like to be somewhere so remote. You do not go to Tuvalu, if you are fussy about accommodations or food options and are expecting to have massages and the pampering like you can find in a more commercial destination. This is a non-developed nation and not geared up for tourism.
Tuvalu comprises nine islands; three small reef islands and six small atolls that are spread out over an area of about 400 square miles. All-in, the entire country comprises about 10 square miles. Funafuti is the largest atoll and the capital and airport are located on a strip of land that at its widest is just 1,312 feet! Here is where you will find most of the places to stay.
Tuvalu is for those seeking adventures in the water while going at a quiet lazy pace on land. The diving is known to be exceptional here, though there are no dive shops. There are also no tour guides and no souvenir shops. There are no overblown resorts or cruise ships either. You won't see a hawker anywhere and there are no ATMs. People live very simply here. You will find basic accommodations, including a couple of small hotels, a few guest-houses, and a just a couple of restaurants and bars. Any visitor here should plan ahead and familiarize themselves with the customs of this tiny nation. For example, nothing happens on Sunday other than church and everything will be closed. Sounds amazing, doesn’t it? Tuvalu really isn't all that difficult to arrive to either. There are a couple of weekly flights from Suva, Fiji and you can be here in less just about two and half hours.
If you go all the way to Tuvalu, the must see and do here is the Kogatapu Funafuti Conservation Area. A half-hour boat ride away from the main island, this is a great place to snorkel and see the diversity in the marine life here. The conservation area covers about 13 square miles and is found on the western side of the Funafuti atoll. There are numerous species of fish and corals, and if you are there at the right time, the green sea turtle can be seen as some of the motu are nesting sites for this endangered species. You will also be able to see many species of birds such as the black noddy which uses the islet of Fualopa for breeding.
Mulitefala Island is a ten-minute boat ride from Funafuti. On this tiny island, you can likely have the whole place to yourself and enjoy the amazing simplicity of life here. There is just one place to stay and that is a comfortable family-run guest house run entirely on solar power. This is one of those places where you can truly unwind. You'll have no other choice! Swimming, kayaking, snorkeling, and lazing the days away in a hammock are pretty much the only activities. At night, the incredibly clear skies will allow you to see every star in the sky and we are told there are daily rainbows here!
If you are going to Tuvalu, the experience to have here is to go with the flow and see what you see. The pace is very laid back with no reason in the world for anyone to rush to do anything. You should be flexible and have time to spare in case things don't go the way you planned. In fact, outside of your plans of getting in and out Tuvalu, leave the rest to chance. The local hotels can help you figure out what to do and when to do it and will also help arrange any excursions you would like to make. This is ecotourism at its finest and if you are well schooled in the art of making do, you'll be fine. Getting around the area is easy because it's so small. You can walk, rent a motorbike, or hire a local to drive you around on one to see the WWII sites or make a visit to the Tuvalu Philatelic Bureau for some stamps which are highly collectable.
One thing that is important to know and understand about Tuvalu is it heavily relies on imports for everything and considering its remote location, you might not find exactly what you are looking for here. Bring what you need and take your plastics with you when you leave.
When To Go
According to some scientists, now is the time to go before the tiny nation is swallowed up by the ocean due to rising sea levels due caused by climate change. One look at the satellite images of Funafuti and you can see how this could be possible. You might even be asking why people would settle here in the first place. Despite the predictions, Tuvalu has actually grown in some parts and has remained above water.
As to the weather, Tuvalu has to be one of the most reliable places for what to expect. You can count on it to be tropical, with a forecast of hot, humid and possibility for rain. The average temperature rarely varies and there is always a chance for rain with some showers being short bursts and others that can last all day. The cyclone season is from November until April and if it is severe and you are here, you will not have much shelter between you and Mother Nature.
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