Whether you’re onboard the impressive ship to explore Canada or the Caribbean, there are so…
Last week we looked at Bhutan (in the Himalayas). This week is Kiribati’s turn.
Kiribati (pronounced Kir-ĭ-bahss) is a group of 33 coral atolls separated into groups –the Gilbert Islands, the Phoenix Islands and the Line Islands. If you’re planning on sending your clients there, I would suggest doing so soon, since climate change (whether you believe in it or not), dwindling fresh water reserves, overpopulation and pollution are all driving the island closer to extinction. Also be prepared, the island as a whole is poor so your clients should expect to see a lot of people living in poverty. Despite these issues, Kiribati has plenty of positive experiences to offer visitors.
Your first challenge is getting there. Kiribati is only serviced by one airline and although once a popular port stop for Hawaiian Cruises because of the Jones Act, most cruise lines now opt to stop in Mexico since it has a bigger draw. So you’ll need to start by getting yourself to one of the following places: New York, Austin, Los Angeles or Honolulu. Once there you can fly Fiji Airways to either Tarawa or Kiritimati (Christmas) Island. Where you go next depends on what you plan to do while in Kiribati.
Side note: Personally, I have no complaints about having to take a quick trek to Hawaii. Think of it as a vacation in a vacation. But New York, Austin and L.A. are nice too.
Kiribati is beach, and beach, and beach and then a smattering of some other stuff. If you’re not a big fan of water this is may not be the destination for you. But if you’re an aquaphile consider:
Love the waves, hate the crowds? Kiribati’s waters provide surf enthusiasts superior swells and little competition for space. In fact, the government regulates surfing in Kiribati and according to DailyStoke.com only “11 surfers are allowed in the water at any given time”. I’m going to assume that’s per designated surf area since Fanning Island, Naa and Kiritimati all boast superior surfing venues. ChristmasIslandSurf.com designates October through April as surf season, boasting waves averaging around 6ft. Surfers of all skill can enjoy the breakers in both Kiritimati and Fanning Island but may want to leave Naa for the more advanced surfers.
Not a surfer? Don’t worry, Kiribati has a variety of other water activities for visitors. Fishing, free/scuba diving and snorkeling are popular activities enjoy. Or find a boat charter and just spend a day sailing the Pacific.
If you find yourself in need of a break from the crystalline waters, consider touring Kiribati’s historic sites. Kiribati “lay claim to some of the bloodiest battles [of World War II]” according to Kiribati’s Tourism Site. On the Tarawa and Butaritari Atoll you can tour the battle sites, war relics and memorials on your own. However invest in a local tour guide who will give you a more complete history, providing a deeper look into the events that took place. Bonus: Your local tour guide will be able to point you in the direction of the best local hangouts, so you get the full islander experience.
Happen to be staying at Otintaai Hotel in Bikenibeu? Take the South Tarawa Sight Seeing tour. You’ll visit places like the Parliment House, learn about Kiribati’s marine life and take part in local trade at Tarawa’s fresh fish market.
For such a small set of islands there’s quite a bit to do in Kiribati. In addition to touring historic sites you can also visit places like North Tarawa Conservation area and Kiritimati Atoll Conservation area both designed to preserve’s Kiribati’s beautiful environment. Or attend a local dance event at the “maneaba” or meeting house. No matter what they decide to do Kiribati, your clients won’t regret the trip. Just get them there fast before it’s gone.
Up next: Dominica