Tuvalu Tuvalu

Tuvalu is one of the world's smallest and most isolated independent nations. During British colonial times the group was known as the Ellice Islands, and while the current name Tuvalu means "cluster of eight," there are actually nine islands in all. The explanation lies with the smallest island, Niulakita, which was only resettled by people from Niutao in 1949. Internationally, Tuvalu is best known for its Internet address (.tv) and the threat posed by global warming.

Due to high airfares, this remote group of low coral atolls gets only a few dozen tourists a year and most never go beyond the crowded little government center on Funafuti. That makes the almost inaccessible outer islands one of the most idyllic and unspoiled corners of the Pacific, particularly Nukufetau and Nukulaelae. On these, time seems to stand still, yet rising sea levels due to greenhouse gas emissions far away may soon bring the world to them.

Highlights

Funafuti Conservation replica watches Area:
nature reserve, snorkeling, diving

Nanumea Atoll:
view from the massive church tower

Nui Atoll:
only Micronesian inhabitants of Polynesian Tuvalu

Nukufetau Atoll:
huge lagoon safe for navigation, war relics

Vaitupu Atoll:
Tuvalu's largest secondary boarding school