atoll in the central Pacific Ocean

Tarawa is an atoll in the central Pacific Ocean, and the location of the capital of Kiribati. It is home to 63,017 i-Kiribati, more than half of the country's population!

South Tarawa from the air

Understand edit

Tarawa was the site of the Battle of Tarawa, one of the most brutal battles in the Pacific Theatre during WWII. It was previously the capital of the former British colony of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands.

For a full understanding of this atoll you should pick up a book called "The Sex Lives of Cannibals" by J Maarten Troost. This is a very informative insight to the everyday life on Tarawa. (The title is misrepresentative, and perhaps slapped on by the publisher, as there is nothing naughty or cannibalistic in the book.)

Geography edit

Tarawa is separated administratively to South Tarawa, comprised of the developed islands at the south of the atoll west from the airport at Bonriki and where the vast majority of the population lives, and North Tarawa, the tiny islands extending north of the airport, which have a population of less than 7,000 inhabitants.

Get in edit

By plane edit

Bonriki International Airport
Memorial plaque where Camp Tarawa stood on the Parker Ranch
  • 1 Bonriki International Airport (TRW IATA) (is on South Tarawa).    
    • Fiji Airways with a 737 aircraft operates flights from Suva on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
    • Nauru Airlines operates a weekly flight from Brisbane, Australia via Honiara and Nauru leaving on a Saturday and then interlines with Air Kiribati who fly a 737 aircraft onto Nadi and returns on a Monday.

By boat edit

Supply boats periodically leave Fiji. There’s no point quoting schedules or details as there are none. Just ask around in Suva, Nadi or Lautoka harbours. Captains usually accept hitchhikers for a small fee. Prepare for the worst: no comfort, bad food. And for the best: great company, Polynesian and Micronesian hospitality and adventure.

Private yachts cruising the Pacific sometimes also take passengers. Ask around in yacht clubs, marinas, slipways. Good luck!

Get around edit

One of the casualties of war

See edit

Do edit

Buy edit

South Tarawa has a few international ATMs through the Bank of Kiribati.

Eat edit

Drink edit

Sleep edit

Tarawa in 2004
  • 1 Dreamers Kiribati, Banraeaba (A few hundred meters before the parliament building), +686 22606, . Check-in: Flexible, check-out: Flexible. A family-run eco guesthouse. Has three self contained rooms with kitchen. This place is right on the beach with one of the best views on the island. The family that run it also runs an NGO. 60A$.
  • Mary's Motel, Bairiki, +686 22227, fax: +686 21362, . A small private motel on Bairiki next to the causeway to Betio. Clean Rooms with hot water. Restaurant on-site and Wifi Internet
  • Otintaai Hotel, +686 28084. This government run hotel is the best and most pricey in Kiribati. However, it is at most a three-star hotel, and some people only give it two stars.

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