How does the fourth smallest country in the world manage to still be a huge tourist destination? Tuvalu has the natural advantage of being midway between Hawaii and Australia, so the tropical climate is already reason enough to visit it, but laying on the beach and scuba diving is not all you can do in this beautiful archipelago. These low islands covered in forest don’t have many attractions that are jaw-droppingly spectacular, but there are quite a few interesting things to see when you get tired of relaxing too much. Discover the low-key yet interesting tourist attractions in Tuvalu.
If you have time on your hands, you shouldn’t stick only to Funafuti, the main islands of Tuvalu, where most tourist facilities are found and half the population lives. There are many lovely atolls and islands in the archipelago, but Nanumea is downright exceptional. The atoll has a freshwater pond (which is pretty unusual for atolls), and it is one of the most laid back places in Tuvalu. Native Nanumean culture (Nanufuti) is still alive, and the local community association organizes various cultural events you can attend.
Nanumanga Fire Caves
The caves of Nanumanga might not sound like anything special, were they located above the ground. But these fascinating caves are submerged under 37 meters of ocean water, and they present signs of habitation – the stone and coral was blackened with fire by the former ancient occupants of the cave. Although the cave was discovered by scuba divers in 1986, there have been lots of local legends about a ‘house’ under the sea. If you like scuba diving, the caves of Nanumanga are a must-see.
Tuvalu Philatelic Bureau, Funafuti
The Philatelic Bureau on the main island of Funafuti, is a treasure trove for those who like to collect stamps. The stamp designs sold at the bureau are extremely rare, and collectors from all over the world have been known to come to Tuvalu to get hold of some particularly rare editions. Even if you don’t care much about stamps yourself, a visit to the Philatelic Bureau might land you with some unique souvenirs.
The town hall (maneapa) of Funafuti is the venue where you can attend all sorts of cultural and traditional performances. Traditional dances are regularly performed, and these events are usually accompanied by lavish feasts too. If you are staying in Tuvalu more than a few days, you will surely have the chance to see something interesting at the maneapa.
WWII sites on Motulalo
The small island of Motulalo was home to an American airstrip during World War II, and the remains of the strip can still be seen. Several crashed planes can also be seen in the area. WWII sites can also be found on Funafuti, Nanumea and other islands.