Have you ever heard or read about the least visited country in the world? A beautiful island with picturesque beaches, low crime rate, no armed forces, and welcoming people – Tuvalu. That’s right! Tuvalu in the South Pacific state is the world’s most least visited country according to a report released by the United Nations World Tourism Organization. Just 2,000 people visited the islands in 2016, up from 1,000 in 2014.
Tucked away in the South Pacific, Tuvalu is made up of three reef islands and six atolls, sitting about halfway between Hawaii and Australia. Its main island is long and narrow Fongafale Islet, which is only 2.8 square kilometres. Expect pristine beaches, a low crime rate, and a thriving marine ecosystem of atolls, lagoons, and coral reefs here. It’s magical!
However, Tuvalu – like many island nations – is forecasted to disappear due to rising sea levels and climate change in the coming years.
The islands are not built up, that’s there is very less infrastructure there and the population of 11,000 is thinly spread. Free from the crowd, these islands are an untouristed haven where you can watch flying fish skim the water, spend a lazy afternoon in a hammock or snorkel candy-hued coral reefs.
The best part about Tuvalu is that the people of this deserted paradise island are very warm and friendly. They practice communal living and they take it very seriously which is quite unique. Everyone is so closely knit that they can just find shelter and food anywhere in Tuvalu.
There is such a deep sense of community that people there have the liberty to claim one of their best friends as their sibling and that person then officially becomes a part of their family. They can all live together in interconnected houses where they raise all their kids as a community. How cool is that? Wish we could do the same!
How to reach Tuvalu?
Air Fiji sends flights in just three times a week, each leaving from Nadi International Airport in the Republic of Fiji, another South Pacific Island. The only airport in Tuvalu is on the main island, Funafuti. Visitors are issued with a free 30-day tourist visa on arrival, and there’s no departure tax.
Things to do in Tuvalu:
- Go island hopping! One of the best things about going to a tropical set of islands, islets and atolls is exploring them, so rent a boat and go do that! There are unexplored gems you can visit.
- Tuvaluans truly are friendly people. Their cuisine might not be world famous, but food is simple, flavoursome, and you are more than likely to get invited to some kind of party or home-cooked meal when you travel here.
- Explore the marine life in Tuvalu. Tuvalu enjoys a spectacular marine environment with a vast array of colourful tropical fishes, particularly in the larger lagoons. Turtles frequent the waters and nesting sites can be found on many islands. Large sharks are common, and dolphins and whales may also be seen.
- Explore the WWII wrecks, churches and buy postcards.
- Get to learn about the culture of Tuvalu at their local town hall called Mineopa. Explore their local dance form of Fatele where you can find dancers adorned with head garlands, armbands and wristbands performing typical traditional dance.