Tuvalu is an unspoiled corner of the South Pacific in Micronesia, halfway between Australia and Hawaii where the water is clear and the the palm trees aplenty. It is one of the smallest and most secluded destinations in the world, and a perfect place for travellers searching for seclusion and tranquility.
With a maximum of 13 feet above sea level, the islands provide the classic image of blue sea and sky, white breakers along the fringing reefs, sand and swaying palms. Within the lagoons, the contrast between the colors of deep and shallow water and the beach is especially dramatic, creating a unique South Seas ambience. The spectacular marine environment consisting of a vast expanse of ocean interspersed with atolls, magnificent lagoons, coral reefs and small islands.
The way of life in Tuvalu is slow, take some time to unwind, relax and refresh yourself. If you want to escape the city and the people, Tuvalu is the perfect place. Seclusion and tranquility is abundant.
The temperature ranges from around 28-31°C (82-88°F), with brief heavy rainfall during the wet season, November to February. From May to October winds are light.
Attractions & Activities
Funafuti is Tuvalu's capital and the location of its international airport. Approximately 4,000 people are making up the entire population and life is easy going and laid back. Only two small manufacturing facilities remind visitors of the modern world lingering beyond the horizon.
The major attraction on the island is the Funafuti Conservation Area. Its five islets are lined up along the western side of the atoll. They are all uninhabited and protected.
Another attraction on Funafuti is "David's Drill." Scientists from the Royal Society of London conducted experimental drilling in the late 1800s to test Charles Darwin's theory of atoll formation. Darwin, the famous formulator of evolution theory, believed that all coral atolls rest on a volcanic base. The deepest bore at David's Drill reached 928 feet but did not hit volcanic rock. A second attempt also failed but modern science has proved that Darwin was correct. The boreholes can still be seen to this day in Fongafale village.
During World War II, large numbers of American troops were stationed on the islands of Tuvalu and air force bases were strategically located throughout the country. Funafuti was the main base, but remains of World War II are visible on several islands. An old runway exists on the northeastern side of Nanumea (the most northern island) and the remains of war planes are visible in the scrub. A wreck of a landing craft can be seen on the reef near the island's village. Nanumea also has a striking church with a pointed German-style tower, which is among the tallest in the South Pacific.
Americans are also responsible for the best snorkeling on Funafuti. In order to obtain building material for wartime airstrips, US military blasted several huge ocean-side pits. Thousands of fish become trapped in these pits at low tide. Until high tide returns, the pits become enormous swimming pools offering amazing close-ups.
Another recently attraction is the cause way at northern side of Funafuti Island (Capital) which also known as Fongafale. It has recently eroded due to sea level rise and therefore the pathway which connects the road to the other side is getting thinner and more tourists are being attracted to it to take pictures.
Culture & Events
Although geographically located in Micronesia, ethnic Tuvaluan people are Polynesian and account for 94% of the population. However, the majority of the 600 natives on the Tuvalu island of Nui are of Gilbertese (Micronesian) origin.
The ancestors of Tuvaluan people are believed to have arrived on the islands about 2,000 years ago. Under the leadership of chiefs, known as 'Aliki', traditional Tuvaluan society continued for hundreds of years before it underwent significant changes with the arrival of European traders in the 1820s.
Even greater changes took places when missionaries arrived in the 1860s. Tuvaluans soon embraced the new faith and virtually all of the people are now Christians, mostly Protestants. Religion plays an important part in everyday life, although much of the island's previous culture and traditions are retained.
Tuvalu first came under British jurisdiction in 1877. In 1892, Tuvalu became a colony. In 1975, following over-whelming support for separation, the country became an independent constitutional monarchy and the 38th member of the commonwealth on October 1, 1978. Tuvalu was recently accepted as the 189th member state of the United Nations.
The traditional community system of Tuvalu is still intact. Each family has its own task, or salanga, to perform for the community, such as fishing, house building or defense. The skills of a family are passed on from father to son. There are three different linguistic areas in Tuvalu, but English is spoken throughout the islands.
Like in all Polynesian countries, traditional dancing plays an important role in the lives of Tuvaluan. Tuvaluans are great dancers and traditional dancing is performed almost every night at falekaupules (meeting houses). These meeting houses play an important role in Tuvalu's every day life since locals use them as a venue for singing, dancing, and other forms of evening entertainment. On Funafuti, each outer island community has a falekaupule of their own. Even the national ball game Te Ano ends with a dance: The losers perform a funny song and dance routine intended to make them win the next time.