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Touring Tuvalu by Bicycle

The small central Pacific country of Tuvalu is made of three islands and six atolls located north of Fiji, on the outer western edge of Polynesia. Tuvalu’s total land area is just 25 square kilometres. The maximum altitude on Tuvalu’s islands is four metres above sea level, and rising sea level caused by global warming is a serious concern in Tuvalu.

Tuvalu has a tropical climate with temperatures between 28 to 31 Celsius, and high annual rainfall. The wettest time in Tuvalu is between November and February.

Tuvalu’s main island is the Funafuti atoll that also has Tuvalu’s only airport. Boats are the only way to travel between Tuvalu’s islands.

Renting A Bicycle In Tuvalu

As the islands are very small, private cars are rare in Tuvalu, and locals move around by bicycle, by motorbike and on foot. There is very little tarred road in Tuvalu, and most of it is on Funafuti. The small size of Tuvalu’s land area, added to the flatness of the landscape, make cycling an easy way to tour Tuvalu. Bicycles can be rented for a reasonable fee. Motorbike rental places sometimes rent bicycles, and Funafuti hotels can arrange bicycle rentals.

Bicycles are required to carry a light at night, although locals often simply carry a flashlight in their hand when cycling at night. Driving in Tuvalu is on the left side.

Things To See In Tuvalu

Funafuti is easy to explore by bicycle. The most interesting sights here include the Funafuti Conservation Area and historical Second World War sites.

The 33 square kilometre Funafuti Conservation Area is made of six uninhabited forested islets, beaches that are home to green turtles, seabird colonies and coconut crabs, a lagoon with a range of species of exotic fish, and a coral reef that provides opportunities for snorkelling. Dolphins can be spotted here too.

During the Second World War there were American air force bases on the islands, and American troops were stationed in Tuvalu due to its strategic location near the Japanese-occupied islands in Kiribati. The main base was on the Funafuti atoll, and there are remains and debris on the Fongafale Island and a wartime underground bunker on the Tepuka islet. There are remains of aeroplanes and an old runway on Nanumea, and the island of Motulao in Nukufetau has remains of plane wrecks and another runway.

How to Get to Tuvalu

There is an international airport in Funafuti with flights to Suva in Fiji. Occasional cargo and passenger ships connect Tuvalu to Fiji. Boats and private yachts are the only form of transport between Tuvalu’s islands.

Sources and more Tuvalu travel information:

Timeless Tuvalu

The Lonely Planet