The islands of Tuvalu are midway between Hawaii and Australia. So, even though they’re tricky to get to, there’s a lot of exciting stuff in store once you arrive! These paradise islands in the South Pacific should be on more travellers’ bucket lists to be honest, but at the minute, it’s one of the least visited countries in the world. We’d like to change that though! You can see the main island, Fongafale, in a day, but one of the highlights is getting to know the people who live here and tasting the Chinese style food!
Just be aware that if you want to show off how great Tuvalu is on social media; you’ll have to wait until you leave. There’s hardly any Wi-Fi in Tuvalu and the 4G network is patchy at best!
With that in mind, we’ve put together this list of five of the best things to do in Tuvalu. They’ll make your trip truly special and you’ll be able to make the most of your trip to the South Pacific.
Play the traditional game of Te Ano
Wondering why Tuvalu have never qualified for the football world cup? Well, other than their tiny population, it’s not the main sport here! No, instead that’s Te Ano. And you may just have the chance to play it when you travel to Tuvalu. But first, we should probably explain a little more about what it is before you decide to play.
Te Ano involves two teams which line up against one another. There’s also a small, heavy ball. One member of the team throws the ball to the other side, and then it’s game on! You must hit the ball with the back of your hand, and points are awarded to the team which doesn’t drop the ball!
The winning team is the first one to ten points, and their celebration is the “Fatele” Dance (don’t worry, we’ll get to what that is a bit later). As a punishment for losing, the other team must sit down and watch the fatele dance. If you’re lucky, you’ll have the chance to take part during your vacation in Tuvalu. Just make sure you don’t drop the ball!
Enjoy an evening playing at the airstrip
If you don’t like the sound of Te Ano but you want to get to know locals and play sports with them, there’s only one place to head. And it’s the first place you’ll arrive on your journey to Tuvalu! Since Tuvalu’s main island is so narrow, there’s not a lot of room to gather. So, people have to be resourceful! And the airstrip is where people go to enjoy each other’s company and play games.
As well as Te Ano, you’ll be able to play football with makeshift goals! Once people have done their evening chores, they head out to the airstrip to catch up with friends and play sports. Women tend to take children for a walk and a bit of exercise, while men tend to enjoy team sports. Some clubs have even formed and islands will play against each other!
Take a scooter around the island
If you’ve always wondered what it would be like to ride a scooter but haven’t had the confidence to do it on the busy roads of your home country, then Tuvalu is. Great place to start. There are three roads on the island, and it costs just $10 per day to rent a motorcycle. So, you can have the freedom of the open road while stopping off at the most beautiful locations to take pictures and chill out with a picnic.
Many Tuvaluans have their own scooters or motorbikes, and it’s a popular way to pass the time if you’re bored here. So, find yourself an off-the-beaten track white sand beach with turquoise waters and swaying palm fronds, park up your scooter, and enjoy some time tanning yourself or taking a swim!
Sightsee the Tuvalu Small Islets
Tuvalu is made up of 9 islands in the Funafuti Atoll, so you may not want to spend all of your time on Fongafale. If that’s the case, arrange a trip properly off the beaten track! It’s good to know that it’s not especially hard – you can rent a tour and sightsee all the small islands. And because there are so few tourists, you can pretty much design your own itinerary!
Not only can you sightsee by boat, but if you’re into snorkelling or scuba diving, you can see some incredible coral reefs and marine life here too in the Funafuti Conservation Area. On some of the uninhabited islets, you’ll be able to see sheltering sea birds too!
Enjoy the traditional “Fatele” dancing
We’ll round off our list of the best things to do in Tuvalu with something that every traveller should see during their journey here. The fatele is a traditional dance song, and it’s performed at many events and celebrations. Maybe there’ll be one when you arrive on the islands if you’re important!
They often take place at parties, when the Master of Ceremonies announces that fatele. Then, if you feel like dancing you’re welcome to take the floor! Just make sure you’re wearing the right clothes – the fatele involves traditional clothing. You’ll be wearing a head garland, armbands, and wristbands before dancing the fatele. Music for the fatele is a communal choral harmony with percussion instruments too!
So, now that you know some of the best things to do in Tuvalu…
You’ll want to know more about how to plan your holiday to Tuvalu. If that’s the case, you’re in luck! Check out South Pacific Islands Travel for useful travel tips and ideas for things to do. Not only can you find out more about Tuvalu, but a whole host of South Pacific Islands including Fiji, Papua New Guinea, and the Islands of Tahiti. We hope that wherever you decide to stay, you have an incredible South Pacific vacation!