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August 10th, 2014 

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Travel and Explore Tuvalu

Discover Tuvalu

 Beachcomber Pete



 Tuvalu is a Pacific Ocean island nation lying in the Polynesian region of Oceania and was formerly known as the Ellice Islands. The country is extremely tiny and is, in fact, the fourth smallest nation in the world.

 Tuvalu was once part of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands group claimed by the Micronesian Republic of Kiribati, but the two groups of islands parted company politically in 1974 and the Ellice Islands were renamed the British Colony of Tuvalu and designated part of Polynesia. Tuvalu obtained its independence from Britain during 1978, and its motto and anthem, Tuvalu for the Almighty, reflects its independent fighting spirit. Tuvalu consists of only five coral atolls and four reef islands, but its 12,000-strong population takes itself extremely seriously and the 2008 Summer Olympics was honored by the attendance of a Tuvaluan team for the first time in history. The Tuvaluan capital is Funafuti, and this small settlement, which is home to approximately 4,500 people, is located on the atoll of the same name.

 Several of the five atolls, including Funafuti, consist of a central lagoon with islands dotted around the perimeter. Due to the fact that most of the Tuvaluan islands and atolls are only slightly elevated above sea level, any type of agriculture is difficult to maintain. The islands, which have an average elevation of 15 feet, are also sometimes subject to the unexpectedly high "King" tides, which often threaten to submerge all or part of the smaller islands. Tuvalu's main source of revenue is, surprisingly, its sale of its .tv internet domain name and its hosting of the "900" telephone lines.

 Visitors to Tuvalu, its capital Funafuti and its main island, Fongafale, will want to enjoy the native Tuvaluan cuisine. Pork, crab and seafood dishes abound as do meals made with the Tuvaluan delicacy, the pulaka root vegetable. Visitors to Tuvalu should easily be able to communicate with the locals as most Tuvaluans speak English, although Tuvaluan, Samoan and Gilbertese are also heard. The Tuvaluan currency of choice is the Tuvalu, Dollar but the Australian Dollar is the official currency.


 The Tuvaluan tourist industry is still in its infancy, but there's a small but steady stream of visitors to this collection of paradisiacal islands and atolls. Most tourists will visit Fongafale where they will almost undoubtedly stay at the Vaiaku Lagi Hotel, which is the country's only resort, although a few guest cottages are also in evidence. While in Fongafale, visitors must be sure to take advantage of the swimming offered by the large lagoon and, if possible, explore the WWII wrecks that lie beneath the surface. While relaxing at the lagoon, tourists should also take in a game or two of kilikiti, the Tuvaluan equivalent of cricket. Tourism on Tuvalu's other eight islands and atolls is underdeveloped to say the least, and several of these islands are also uninhabited.

Tuvalu is a wonderful place to go if the world-weary traveler wants to remove himself completely from the pressures of modern life.

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