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Explore Tarawa

You've never seen water this clear! Set just three metres above sea level, Tarawa in the Republic of Kiribati offers an unrivalled tropical getaway of majestic proportions.

Tarawa is the capital of the Republic of Kiribati. Kiribati is made up of 32 atolls, island reefs and one raised coral island.

The majority of the population of Kiribati live in South Tarawa, which is also the location of the government and commercial centres. 

North Tarawa is different and is more laid-back, with many locals living in traditional structures.

English is the official language of Kiribati, although the most widely spoken language is Kiribati, also known as Gilbertese.

The Republic of Kiribati is generally hot and humid year round, with little seasonal change due to its proximity to the equator. Daily temperatures range from approximately 25 degrees Celsius to 32 degrees Celsius.

The climate is tropical and water temperature is warm, providing perfect temperatures for sea life to thrive.

The currency of Kiribati is the Australian Dollar and the local economy predominantly uses cash. There are a few ATMs in South Tarawa but credit cards are not common or widely accepted.

Practical Information*

Language: The main language is I-Kiribati – however, English has been taught over many years and is widely understood; you will have no problem accessing services, getting by or just having a chat. See our language & culture page if you would like to learn some I-Kiribati words before arriving.

Climate & Temperature: Temperature varies between 25° and 33°C, and we have annual sunshine of 4135 hours. The wet season extends from December to May and rainfall variation is high in most of the islands. A gentle breeze from the easterly quarter is predominant, and a sea breeze cools everyone down all year round. The tropical climate and hot temperature encourage cool, cotton, loose outfits for men and women.

Electricity: The electrical current in Kiribati is 240 volts, AC 50 Hz. Three-pin power outlets are commonly used in Kiribati (the same as Australia).

Currency, Exchange, and Money: Kiribati uses the Australian dollar (AUD).

The ANZ Bank (Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd) is the only International banking company in Kiribati with operating branches on South Tarawa and Kiritimati Island.

  • On South Tarawa, ATMs are accessible at Betio, Bairiki, Bikenibeu ANZ Bank branches and at the gate of Tungaru Central Hospital in Nawerewere.
  • On Kiritimati Island you can access the ATM at Ronton.

An amount of $5000 cash is permitted to be carried by a visitor when traveling to Kiribati. Major foreign currencies and travelers cheques can be exchanged at the ANZ Bank. Coins: 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, $1 & $2. Notes: $5, $10, $20, $50 & $100.

Credit Cards: VISA & Master Cards are currently the only major credit cards accepted in Kiribati but there is limited acceptance where there are no credit card facilities. You will not be able to use credit cards on outer islands.

Western Union Money Transfer Agency has an international branch located in Betio, Bairiki, Abarao, and Nawerewere on South Tarawa thus providing you the quickest way to send and receive money.

Emergency Services

For emergencies in Tarawa:

Operator (Emergency Service Only) 199
Police192
Fire193
Ambulance194

 

*Information kindly provided by the Tourism Authority of Kiribati

 

Discover Tarawa

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Things to do in Tarawa

If you're looking for a relaxing holiday where island time is the norm, then look no further than Tarawa.

Clam Farm

Located in stunning and relaxed North Tarawa, the Atoll Beauties Clam Farm sits beside the turquoise ocean and grows colourful giant clams. These clams are then sold for export to aquariums all over the world. Take a tour of the Clam Farm and see clams in every stage of their growth cycle! These colourful clams come in so many shades and patterns, and you will be in awe of their natural beauty

War History

Many battles from WWII took place in Kiribati, and you can still see many noteworthy relics from the war left over today. From planes on the shores of some atolls at low tide, to leftover bunkers and defence stations, there is plenty of war history in Tarawa. Take a local tour and learn all of the historical secrets of this low-lying island nation.

Where to stay in Tarawa

Tarawa offers plenty of accommodation options for the savvy traveller. Whether you're looking to get back to nature

Fema Lodge

The Fema Lodge is a family-owned motel with incredible views of the nearby lagoon. The rooms do have fans and air-conditioning, although you likely won’t be needing them because the cool breezes blowing through the property. They offer both long-term and short stays and pride themselves on offering affordable and spacious accommodation to suit all types of travellers

Tabon Te KeeKee

For those focused on ecotourism, look no further than Tabon Te Keekee. This family-run hotel aims to have a low impact on the environment and you will stay in traditional, raised huts. Enjoy nature's breeze blowing through your buia.

Otintaai Hotel

The Otintaai Hotel is government owned and is basic and clean. It has 40 rooms and a restaurant and bar on site. This hotel is located on the edge of the beautiful lagoon in South Tarawa and has dancing every Friday night. Breakfast is included.

If you need any assistance with booking flights or have any questions, please call reservations on +61 7 3229 6455 or email us at [email protected].

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