Covering a mere 26 sq.km., the country’s entire population is just under 10,000 people. This tiny country has a hindered economy and mainly depends on a fishing license for its survival. Many experts suggest that the country will be completely submerged underwater by 2050.
Other than the 3 main islands, the country also occupies 9 atolls. Despite being among the least visited countries in the world, Tuvalu has some features unique to it. The main island, Funafuti has just one road, bisecting the whole island from top to bottom, measuring 11 km.
The only airport in the country is in Fongafale, an extremely tiny island, and for the most part undeveloped too. Visitors stay here due to the airport alone, otherwise, the island does not have much to offer. Once you are on Fongafale the only exit is via boat, which operates once every two weeks.
Surprisingly, Tuvalu does not have an ATM nor does it accept credit cards, the only way you can transact is by cash. Tuvalu’s sole runway is reminiscent of WWII and is probably the only runway on the planet that serves many other purposes besides take-offs and landings. For instance, the runway acts as a social gathering spot for locals, used as a playground by kids, as a motorsport arena by the youth, and more!
Visa and residence
Luckily, Tuvalu offers visa-free entry for EU and Schengen nationals, and a visa on arrival to the rest of the world. Therefore, entering the country is not an issue. However, getting flights to the country is a concern. Flights operate from either Maldives or Fiji, so no matter what part of the world you may be, you need to fly to either of the two places to catch a flight.
Due to the scarcity of land, residence is hard to come by. Though there are a few guest houses, however obtaining one for the long term may pose to be an issue.
The Funafuti conservation area
The Funafuti conservation area offers an authentic, once-in-a-lifetime pacific experience. The area is covered by coral beaches, pink and white sand, and thing plantation of palm trees on all sides. With no human in sight, the beaches offer a completely solitary experience to have a wonderful romantic outing. In total the conservation has 6 islands; Tepuka Savilivili, Fualopa, Fuafatu, Vasafua, Fuagea, and Tefal. Usually, the tourists are most attracted to Fualopa, as it is the most developed and the most beautiful one.
The bad thing is the government in its efforts to preserve the area, an overnight stay is prohibited, and each guest is charged USD 70 which goes to the benefit of preservation efforts.
Safety and security
Due to its remoteness, and the fact that everyone knows everyone else, the crime rate in the country is zero. If you rent a car, no one will bother to check your license, as long as you can pay upfront and can return the vehicle in one piece you are set to go. However, if you are expecting high-end urban facilities, Tuvalu is not for you.
Stamps and postcards
As surprising as it may sound, Tuvalu is known for its stamp and postcard collection among collectors. The country has some of the weirdest collections of stamps and postcards that sometimes fetch good prices among international collectors.
If you crave a truly solitary adventure, where nothing stands between you and the elements of nature, you can visit some of the remote inhabited islands in the Funafuti Atoll. Access to these islands is either by boat or by foot on low tides.
If you plan to walk your way to the tiny islets, just make sure you have your best shoes, the supplies are geared up, and that it is indeed low tide before you set foot; because if you do get stuck up, help won’t be available any time soon!