- The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but seeing with new eyes. Marcel Proust
Kiribati’s heart is it’s beaches, but the islands of South Tarawa are also known for their history, retaining rusted Japanese guns from WWII and their semi-impressive buildings in the capital. People come all this way mainly for the ecology of the islands and the ecclectic wildlife. Main islands have airports and boat charters.
Things to see and do in Kiribati
Embrace the bustle of South Tarawa
Most visitors to Kiribati skip the capital and head straight to the archipelago’s sandy shores. It’s easy to see why: bustling South Tarawa is not the prettiest town and its tourist infrastructure is somewhat limited. But if you want to get a true slice of local life – explore local markets and meet the locals – this is the place to be.
Explore Kiribati’s underwater treasures
Kiribati has the distinction of being the world’s largest coral atoll, and is a dream destination for divers. The archipelago’s beautiful white sandy beaches and crystal-clear lagoons give way to wonderful coral gardens, much of which fall into the Phoenix Island Protected Area, one of the world’s largest marine reserves.
Birdwatching is popular, especially on Christmas Island where millions of birds swarm everywhere. The archipelago is a major breeding ground and sanctuary for birds in the Pacific and even has its own endemic species: the Christmas Island Warbler. The best time for birdwatching is between June and December.
Get a bird’s-eye view of Kiribati
A fine way to get the whole picture of Kiribati is to take a “flight-seeing” trip on one of the many light aircraft that serve the region. Tours take in the islands of Abaiang, Abemama, Maiana and Tarawa, and other islands can be visited on request.
Learn about Kiribati’s wartime history
Some of the bloodiest fighting between US and Japanese forces took place in Kiribati and the surrounding islands during WWII. A number of war relics can be seen on Tarawa and Butaritari Island, including defence guns, rusting tanks and concrete bunkers. Tours of battlegrounds can also be arranged.