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Kiribati travel guide - Travel S helper


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Kiribati, formally the Republic of Kiribati (Gilbertese: Ribaberiki Kiribati), is a central Pacific island country. The country is made up of 33 atolls and reef islands, as well as one elevated coral island, Banaba. They cover an area of 800 square kilometers (310 square miles) in total and are spread over 3.5 million square kilometers (1,351,000 square miles). Their spread spans the equator and the 180th meridian, but the International Date Line is indented to align the Line Islands with the Kiribati Islands. The permanent population is little more than 100,000 (2011), with almost half of the population residing in Tarawa Atoll.

In 1979, Kiribati declared independence from the United Kingdom. South Tarawa, the capital and currently the most populous region, is comprised of a collection of islands linked by a network of causeways. These cover about half of Tarawa Atoll.

Kiribati is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank, and joined the United Nations as a full member in 1999.


Kiribati is made up of 33 atolls and one lonely island (Banaba), and it stretches into both the eastern and western hemispheres, as well as the northern and southern hemispheres. It is the only nation that can be found in all four hemispheres. The island groupings are as follows:

Banaba is a remote island located between Nauru and the Gilbert Islands.

Gilbert Islands: A group of 16 atolls situated around 1,500 kilometers (932 miles) north of Fiji.

The Phoenix Islands are a group of eight atolls and coral islands situated about 1,800 kilometers (1,118 miles) southeast of the Gilberts.

Line Islands: A group of eight atolls and one reef situated about 3,300 kilometers (2,051 miles) east of the Gilberts.

Environmental issues

Two tiny uninhabited Kiribati islands, Tebua Tarawa and Abanuea, vanished underwater in 1999, according to the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (formerly the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme). According to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, sea levels will increase by approximately 50 cm (20 in) by 2100 as a result of global warming, and additional rises are unavoidable. As a result, it is probable that the nation’s arable land will be susceptible to increasing soil salination and will be completely inundated within a century.

Kiribati’s vulnerability to sea-level rise is worsened by the Pacific decadal oscillation, a climate switch phenomena that leads in shifts from La Nia to El Nio periods. This has an impact on the water level. For example, in 2000, there was a shift from El Nio times of downward pressure on sea levels to La Nia periods of upward pressure on sea levels, which produces more frequent and higher high tide levels. The Perigean spring tide (also known as a king tide) may cause saltwater to flood low-lying parts of Kiribati’s islands.

The atolls and reef islands have the ability to react to fluctuations in sea level. In 2010, Paul Kench of New Zealand’s University of Auckland and Arthur Webb of Fiji’s South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission published a research on the dynamic response of atolls and reef islands in the central Pacific. The research addressed Kiribati, and Webb and Kench discovered that the three largest urbanised islands in Kiribati—Betio, Bairiki, and Nanikai—increased by 30 percent (36 hectares), 16.3 percent (5.8 hectares), and 12.5 percent (0.8 hectares), respectively.

The Paul Kench and Arthur Webb research acknowledges that the islands are highly susceptible to sea level rise and concludes that: “This study did not assess the vertical growth of the island surface, nor does it indicate that the height of the islands has changed. Because land height has remained constant, the susceptibility of the majority of each island’s land area to submergence due to sea level rise has also remained constant, and these low-lying atolls remain instantly and highly susceptible to inundation or sea water flooding.”

Kiribati is described as having a low risk of cyclones in the 2011 Climate Change in the Pacific Report; nevertheless, in March 2015, Kiribati suffered floods and the loss of seawalls and coastal infrastructure as a consequence of Storm Pam, a Category 5 cyclone that ravaged Vanuatu. Kiribati is still vulnerable to cyclones, which may devastate the low-lying islands’ flora and soil.

Gradual sea-level rise also enables coral polyp activity to build atolls in tandem with sea-level increase. However, if sea level rises faster than coral development, or if polyp activity is harmed by ocean acidification, the durability of atolls and reef islands is less guaranteed.

The Kiribati Adaptation Program (KAP) is a $5.5 million project initiated by the Kiribati national government with the assistance of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the World Bank, the United Nations Development Program, and the Japanese government. Later, Australia joined the alliance, contributing US $1.5 million to the cause. The initiative will last six years and will support efforts to decrease Kiribati’s susceptibility to the impacts of climate change and sea level rise by increasing climate change awareness, evaluating and preserving accessible water resources, and controlling inundation. Representatives from each of the inhabited atolls recognized significant climate changes that had occurred over the previous 20–40 years and suggested coping strategies to cope with these changes under four categories of urgency of need at the outset of the Adaptation Program. The initiative is currently concentrating on the most vulnerable sectors in the country’s most densely inhabited regions. Improving water supply management in and around Tarawa; coastal management protection measures such as mangrove re-plantation and public infrastructure protection; strengthening legislation to prevent coastal erosion; and population settlement planning to decrease personal hazards are among the initiatives.


From April through October, the environment is pleasant, with prevailing northeastern breezes and steady temperatures around 30 °C (86 °F). Western gales produce rain and cyclones from November to March.

The amount of precipitation varies greatly between islands. The annual average rainfall in the Gilbert Islands, for example, is 3,000 mm (120 in) in the north and 500 mm (20 in) in the south. The majority of these islands are located in the dry belt of the equatorial oceanic climate zone and are subject to lengthy droughts.


In 2010, the population of Kiribati was 103,058 people. The Gilbert Islands are home to the overwhelming majority of people (>90%), with more than 33 percent residing in an area of approximately 16 km2 (6.2 sq mi) on South Tarawa. Until recently, the majority of Kiribati’s inhabitants resided in villages with numbers ranging from 50 to 3,000 on the outlying islands. The majority of homes are constructed using materials derived from coconut and pandanus plants. Because frequent droughts and poor soil make large-scale agriculture unreliable, the islanders have mainly relied on the sea for a living and sustenance. The majority of them are outrigger sailors and fisherman. Copra plants provide a secondary source of income. In recent years, a significant number of people have relocated to Tarawa, the island’s more metropolitan capital. South Tarawa’s population has risen to 50,182 as a result of increased urbanization.

Ethnic groups

Kiribati’s indigenous people are known as I-Kiribati. The I-Kiribati are Micronesians by ethnicity. Archaeological evidence suggests that Austronesians first inhabited the islands thousands of years ago. Fijians, Samoans, and Tongans colonized the islands in the 14th century, diversifying the ethnic spectrum and introducing Polynesian language characteristics. Intermarriage among all ancestral tribes, on the other hand, has resulted in a population that is very homogenous in look and customs.


Kiribati’s main religion is Christianity, which was brought by missionaries in the nineteenth century. The populace is mainly Roman Catholic (56 percent), but the Kiribati Uniting Church has a sizable following (34 percent ). Many additional Protestant faiths are represented, including evangelical congregations. Kiribati (2.2 percent) has the Bahá’ Faith faith as well as Jehovah’s Witnesses. At the end of 2015, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) self-reported a membership of 17,472 (16.9 percent) with 26 congregations.

The Kiribati Uniting Church and the LDS Church both have significant physical presences in Kiribati, with both denominations having a considerable number of church structures, mostly in Batio and Bonriki.


Kiribati has a scarcity of natural resources. At the time of independence, commercially viable phosphate resources on Banaba had been depleted. Copra and seafood currently account for the majority of production and exports. Kiribati is regarded as one of the world’s least developed nations.

Kiribati receives a significant percentage of its revenue from overseas in one way or another. Fishing permits, development aid, worker remittances, and tourism are among examples. Kiribati must import almost all of its basic commodities and manufactured goods due to its low domestic manufacturing capacity; it relies on these external sources of revenue for funding.

Kiribati’s economy benefits from foreign development aid initiatives. The European Union (A$9 million), the United Nations Development Programme (A$3.7 million), UNICEF, and the World Health Organization (A$100,000) were the multilateral donors providing development assistance in 2009. In 2009, Australia (A$11 million), Japan (A$2 million), New Zealand (A$6.6 million), Taiwan (A$10.6 million), and other donors contributed A$16.2 million, including technical support funds from the Asian Development Bank.

Australia (A$15 million), Taiwan (A$11 million), New Zealand (A$6 million), the World Bank (A$4 million), and the Asian Development Bank were the main contributors in 2010/2011.

Kiribati created a sovereign wealth fund in 1956 to serve as a wealth repository for the country’s phosphate mining revenues. The Revenue Equalization Reserve Fund was worth $400 million in 2008. As a consequence of the global financial crisis and exposure to failing Icelandic banks, RERF assets fell from A$637 million (420 percent of GDP) in 2007 to A$570.5 million (350 percent of GDP) in 2009. Furthermore, the Kiribati government used drawdowns to cover fiscal deficits throughout this time period.

The IMF country report on Kiribati’s economy said in May 2011: “After two years of decline, the economy rebounded in the second half of 2010, and inflation pressures eased.” It is expected to increase by 1.75 percent this year. Despite a decrease in copra output due to weather, private sector activity seems to have perked up, particularly in retail. Tourist arrivals increased by 20% compared to 2009, although from a very low basis. Despite rising global food and fuel costs, inflation has fallen from 2008 crisis highs into negative territory, indicating a significant appreciation of the Australian dollar, the country’s currency, and a drop in the global price of rice. Credit growth in the entire economy slowed in 2009 as the economy stagnated. However, as the recovery gathered momentum, it began to pick up in the second half of 2010.”

ANZ, a prominent Australian bank, has a presence on Kiribati via a number of branches and ATM units.

Things To Know Before Traveling To Kiribati


English, along with the native I-Kiribati, is the official language of Kiribati. While English is widely spoken in South Tarawa, the I-Kiribati language is more prevalent the farther one travels from the city. The majority of people on Kiritimati Island speak English. Almost all Kiribatians also speak Gilbertese, which is derived from the name of the Gilbert Islands, which was called after Thomas Gilbert, the first European to find the islands.


Before going swimming, it’s a good idea to check with the landowner. There may be religiously significant stone figures that must be handled with care.

How To Travel To Kiribati

By planeIf through flights are too costly, fly to Fiji and then continue your journey from there. On the other hand, if you have a lot of money and time to spare, compare a round-the-world ticket on Oneworld or Star Alliance with the fare to Tarawa and add it...

How To Travel Around Kiribati

By planeFor inter-island travel, Air Kiribati operates two turboprop aircraft. Flights to all of the Gilbert group's Outer Islands are available on a regular basis.Coral Sun Airways, a new domestic carrier, was also recently established. Coral Sun provides an alternate schedule to Air Kiribati and may also be chartered...

Visa & Passport Requirements for Kiribati

Nationals and citizens of the following countries are exempt from obtaining a visa before entering Kiribati if their intended stay is for 30 days or less: Belize, Federated States of Micronesia, Macao (only in respect of Macao Special Administrative Region Passport holders), Marshall Islands, Palau, Republic of China (Taiwan),...

Destinations in Kiribati

Regions in KiribatiWith the exception of Banaba (Ocean Island - 6km2, population c. 300), all of the major islands are divided into three groups: the Gilbert Islands, the Line Islands, and the Phoenix Islands.Gilbert IslandsThe western island chain, which includes Tarawa, is home to the overwhelming majority of Kiribati's...

Accommodation & Hotels in Kiribati

The variety of lodging in Kiribati varies based on where you go in the nation.South TarawaMarys Motel and the government-owned Otintaai Hotel are the two major hotels. Both include motel-style accommodations, as well as a restaurant and air conditioning. They are situated at various ends of South Tarawa, and...

Things To See in Kiribati

Kiribati offers some wonderful beach scenery, is a fantastic location for sailing or yachting, and several of the atolls are delightful to explore on foot or by bike. The lagoons are beautiful to look at, and the white sandy beaches and waving palm palms are characteristic of a vacation...

Food & Drinks in Kiribati

Food in KiribatiKiribati's cuisine selection is limited. If a cargo of imported food has just arrived, purchase it now away since it won't last long! The variety and quantity are always growing and improving, as is the number of supply vessels arriving.While Western-style goods will always be somewhat restricted,...

Money & Shopping in Kiribati

The official currency is the Australian dollar. Larger shops can only be found on Tarawa or Kiritimati.South TarawaThere are many local handicrafts to choose from. These are often produced by women's organizations from the Gilbert group. The colorful shirts worn by the indigenous women known as Tibuta stand out....

Culture Of Kiribati

MusicKiribati folk music is mostly centered on chanting or other kinds of vocalization, accompanied by body percussion. In contemporary Kiribati, public performances are usually given by a seated chorus accompanied by a guitar. However, a wooden box is utilized as a percussion instrument during formal performances of the standing...

History Of Kiribati

Early historySince somewhere between 3000 BC and AD 1300, the region now known as Kiribati has been populated by Micronesians speaking the same Oceanic language. Invaders from Samoa, Tonga, and Fiji subsequently brought Polynesian and Melanesian cultural elements, respectively, to the region. Intermarriage blurred cultural distinctions and resulted in...

Stay Safe & Healthy in Kiribati

Stay Safe in KiribatiKiribati is a relatively safe location to visit. However, being outdoors after dark in Beito or along the beach in South Tarawa may be dangerous, particularly for lone ladies. However, almost all issues are caused by intoxicated men rather than professional criminals.When going about, ordinary common...



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