Tuvalu is a small central Pacific country located north of Fiji on the outer western edge of Polynesia. Tuvalu consists of three islands and six atolls, and its total land area is just 25 square kilometres. The maximum altitude on Tuvalu’s islands is just four metres above sea level, and rising sea level caused by global warming is a serious concern in Tuvalu.
Tuvalu has a tropical climate with temperatures between 28 to 31 Celsius, and high annual rainfall. The wettest time in Tuvalu is between November and February.
The main island and the capital of Tuvalu is the Funafuti atoll. There is an international airport in Funafuti (Tuvalu’s only airport) with flights to Suva in Fiji. Occasional cargo and passenger ships connect Tuvalu to Fiji. Boats and private yachts are the only form of transport between Tuvalu’s islands.
The most interesting sights in Tuvalu include the Funafuti Conservation Area and historical Second World War sites.
The 33 square kilometre Funafuti Conservation Area is made of six uninhabited forested islets, beaches that are home to green turtles, seabird colonies and coconut crabs, a lagoon with a range of species of exotic fish, and a coral reef that provides opportunities for snorkelling. Dolphins can be spotted here too.
During the Second World War there were American air force bases on the islands, and American troops were stationed in Tuvalu due to its strategic location near the Japanese-occupied islands in Kiribati. The main base was on the Funafuti atoll, and there are remains and debris on the Fongafale Island and a wartime underground bunker on the Tepuka islet. There are remains of aeroplanes and an old runway on Nanumea, and the island of Motulao in Nukufetau has remains of plane wrecks and another runway.
As the islands are very small, private cars are rare in Tuvalu, and locals move around by bicycle, by motorbike and on foot. There is very little tarred road in Tuvalu, and most of it is on Funafuti, so the best ways to get around Tuvalu are walking, or renting a bicycle or a motorbike.