The British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT), also called the Chagos Islands, is a British overseas territory. It is not known as a destination for travellers. In fact, it is very hard to get to at all, as the main atoll, Diego Garcia, is also a joint military facility of the USA and the UK. Although the total land area is only about 60 square kilometers, the area including territorial waters is around 15,000 square kilometers. The total population is estimated at about 3500 inhabitants, mainly civilian contractors and both US and UK military personnel.
The islands are located south of the Maldives and about halfway between East Africa and Southeast Asia. The territory nowadays only contains the six main island groups comprising the Chagos Archipelago with dozens of atolls and islands in total. The largest island (and officially the capital) is Diego Garcia. The terrain is mostly flat and low, maximum 2 metres above sea level.
The islands have a tropical climate, meaning generally hot and humid weather, although the constant breeze keeps thing relatively cool. Temperatures average around 30 °C during the day and rarely drop below 18 °C at night. The wet season is roughly between October and February, with cyclones being a risk throughout this period as well. During the rest of the year, rain is possible still but mainly mean some late afternoon showers.
Although technically, it is possible to go to the British Indian Ocean Territory, you need a special permit, which usually is not available for travellers.
Diego Garcia, the main atoll, has a runway.
Most boats going here go to Diego Garcia.
See also: Money Matters
Oddly enough, the US Dollar, or "greenback", is officially the national currency of the British Indian Ocean Territory. One dollar consists of 100 cents. Frequently used coins are the penny (1¢), nickel (5¢), dime (10¢) and quarter (25¢). 50¢ and $1 coins also exist, but are rarely used. Frequently used banknotes are the $1, $5, $10 and $20 notes. $2, $50 and $100 notes can also be found, but are rarely used.
See also Travel Health
See also Travel Safety
See also International Telephone Calls
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