Funafuti

Travel Guide Oceania Polynesia Tuvalu Funafuti

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Introduction

Funafuti is the capital of the small island nation of Tuvalu, one of lowest countries in the world, just above sea level. The capital has well over 4,500 inhabitants, making it the largest settlement. The Funafuti Atoll is the biggest in Tuvalu and it encircles the largest lagoon. There is not much to do or see but the airport, hotel, church (Church of Tuvalu) and some basic other facilities are all found at Funafuti Atoll. The capital of Tuvalu is sometimes stated as being Fongafale or Vaiaku, two of the four villages on the atoll, but the entire atoll of Funafuti is officially the capital of Tuvalu.

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Sights and Activities

Funafuti Marine Conservation Area

Funafuti Marine Conservation Area is the place to come if you ever dreamed about deserted islands and the real Robinson Crusoe feeling. The are contains five islets which are forming a necklace along the western side of the Funafuti atoll. They are all uninhabited and protected which also means ther is no fishing and no hunting and thre are no gathering areas.
The islets are very small and fringed with white sand. They also contain dense native forests and palm trees and are alive with the noise and activity of colonies of seabirds. Green turtles nest on the beaches as well, and while much of the coral close to shore has suffered from bleaching, it still provides a home for many species of brilliantly coloured reef fish. As recent as 2005 an exceptional storm destroyed a six islet, called Tepuka Savilivili. Tuvalu might just be one of the first countries in the world that will disappear when the global warming proces continues.
The conservation area was formed in 1996 and covers over 30 square kilometers of lagoon, reef, channel, ocean and island habitats. Luckily, it is all there waiting for you as it is open to visitors for snorkelling, walking, picnicking and bird-watching.

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Events and Festivals

New Year’s Day

Following the fun-filled previous night, this is the first public holiday of the year, observed on January 1. Indeed, due to its proximity to the international dateline, Tuvalu is one of the first places where you can see the new year in, with the clock here ticking over into the next day 22 hours ahead of Honolulu in Hawaii.

Bomb Day

This day is celebrated in Funafuti only and commemorates when a Japanese bomb fell through the city’s church roof on April 23, 1943. An American soldier had pre-estimated the danger, and 10 minutes prior to this had evacuated 680 villagers out of the building, of which inhabitants of Funafuti remain thankful for.

Tuvalu Days

Held on October 1 every year, this event commemorates the independence of Tuvalu in 1978. It was a peaceful transition and today Tuvalu boasts status as the fourth smallest sovereign nation by land mass and the second smallest in population. Festivities are centered around Funafuti, where the airstrip hosts an official parade and dances.

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Weather

There is not much variation in the weather on Funafuti. And that is actually a good thing. Temperatures hoover around 30 °C throughout the year during the day and don't drop below 25 °C at night on average. Although the sun shines a lot hear, it also rains a lot. There is not a real dry season, just a less wet season. The months of April to November still have around 250 mm of rain a month, while December to March sees 350 to 400 mm of rain a month. Most of it falls during heavy downpours in the late afternoon although rainy days are possible during the wetter months. Humidity as a result, is fairly high, but constant breezes bring some relief. And water is never far away!

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Getting There

By Plane

Funafuti International Airport (FUN) has only a couple of flights per week, operated by Air Fiji from Suva to Funafuti. Fiji Airways provides flights from Nadi.

By Boat

You can take government supply ships, the Nivaga II and Manu Folau, to reach Nanumea Atoll or in fact any other of Tuvalu's Outer Islands from Funafuti. They both make crossing to the outer islands once every three or four weeks.
The other options include asking around if locals make the inter-island trips or having your own yacht.

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Getting Around

By Car

Cars are rare on Funafuti. Your best bet will be renting small motorcycles or bikes.

By Bus

Some taxis and minibuses travel around Funafuti.

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Eat

There are many places that have small restaurants that serve food and beverages. They serve many types of ethnic cuisines such Chinese, Italian, and Indian. Fish is abundant since the island is surrounded by water.

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Drink

Bars serve soft drinks and alcohol during meal times.

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Sleep

  • Vaiaku Lagi Hotel, Funafuti, ☎ (688) 20501, fax: (688) 20503, e-mail: vaiakulagi@gmail.com. State-owned, country's only hotel. It also has significant nightlife. The hotel has a fully licensed bar, a comfortable lounge and a dance floor. Power supply is 240V/50 cycle. There are 16 rooms in the new complex face the lagoon. Every room is air-conditioned and have a warm shower, with a toilet and refrigerator, plus tea and coffee-making facilities. Internet access is available in all the rooms at a small surcharge. A conference room is ideal for small conference, meeting, running workshops, and training. It is equipped with video screen and deck, white boards for writing. It can accommodate 50 - 60 covers. The hotel has its own vehicle (pick-up) transfer its guests from the airport to hotel and vice versa during flight times. Single: $105; Double: $133.00 government tax & breakfast included. Children under 12 FOC. No credit cards accepted.
  • Fale Tolu Motel, Northern side of the airstrip on Funafuti, ☎ +688-20545, e-mail: fale3tolu@gmail.com. 70 - 150 AS$.
  • Vailuatai Lodge, Alapi, Funafuti, ☎ +688-20664, e-mail: funafutit@yahoo.com. 60 - 80 AS$.
  • Militano Lodge, Senala, Funafuti, ☎ +688-20497. Mobile phone: +688-91019 60 - 80 AS$.
  • Filamona Moonlight Lodge, Vaiaku, Funafuti, ☎ +688-20833/20983, fax: +688-20951, e-mail: the.filamonalodge@yahoo.com. Contact: Ms. Penieli Metia (Manager) 70 - 80 AS$.

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This is version 8. Last edited at 14:20 on Jul 17, 17 by Utrecht. 5 articles link to this page.

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