Tarawa, Kiribati

Tarawa, Kiribati

According to abbreviationfinder, Tarawa is an atoll located in the central Pacific Ocean and formerly the capital of the British colony of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands. South Tarawa, the southern part of the atoll except Betio, is now the capital island of the Republic of Kiribati. The island is famous for having hosted the Battle of Tarawa during World War II.


Tarawa is made up of about 24 islands, of which 8 are inhabited. The largest city (Bikenibeu) and Tarawa’s only international airport, Bonriki Airport, are located in South Tarawa.

The normal thing is to access from Hawaii or Nadi, capital of the Fiji Islands. To move within the atoll you can use mini buses, motorcycles or boats.

To get from one island to another, people use the ferries. In the north there are no decent roads unlike in the south where there is better infrastructure.


The languages spoken are Gilbertes and English, so within what is possible there will not be many problems communicating with the locals. The currency used is the Australian dollar.


During your stay you can taste both typical local and Mediterranean food in its many bars and restaurants, the most popular being the Capital Snack Bar Restaurant, Gold Star Restaurant, Ocean’s Restaurant, Aboy Kitchen and Tiaban Restaurant among others.

Hotels and other options

The hotel option is quite varied since we have family lodgings and luxury hotels. Among others the ones that sound the most are the Hotel Otintaai, Laguna Breeze Motel and the Mauri Paradise Resort.

In addition to its beautiful and crystalline beaches, you can also visit other tourist attractions such as Biketawa islet (a fantastic place for picnics, an islet with incredible white sand beaches) and Taiwan Park & dai-nippon causeway (it is located at the eastern end of Betio. You can enjoy the sun, the sea and the tranquility of the area). Another must-see is the parliament building.

Among some curiosities of this place, it is known that part of its history, as well as its incredible landscapes, were taken as the basis for the realization of the video game called Medal of Honor: Pacific Assault.


The climate of this area is tropical with an average temperature of 28ºC with high humidity. The rainy season runs from December to March. For our peace of mind there is no risk of cyclones.

Kiribati History

Long before the 1st century, Austronesian-speaking peoples settled in the archipelago that is now called Kiribati. In the 14th century, groups from Fiji and Tonga mixed with the ancient residents and formed the traditional Micronesian i-Kiribati culture. See population of Kiribati.

In the 16th century, Spanish sailors discovered the islands. From the mid- 18th century to the mid- 19th century the English explored them and named them Gilbert Islands. In 1892 they declared their protectorate over the area, and in 1915 it became a colony. In 1975, the Ellice Islands were separated from the Gilberts and two years later the Gilberts achieved self-government, which was followed by independence in 1979, when they adopted the name Kiribati.

In 1989, a UN report identified Kiribati as one of the countries that would completely disappear under the sea during the 21st century, if drastic measures were not taken to reduce the greenhouse effect (warming of the Earth’s atmosphere derived from environmental pollution, that would produce the melting of the poles and, therefore, the rise of the sea level).

In 1985, the Soviet state fishing company Svrybflot offered the Kiribati government A $ 2 million for a 12-month license to operate 16 vessels within an exclusive fishing zone, within a 200-nautical-mile radius (370 km) from the coast of the islands. The negotiations, which provoked great opposition, led Teburea Bakaoti, a member of the Maneaba for Betio, to file a motion of “no confidence” against the government of President Tabai. This motion was rejected by vote and the agreement with the USSR (already signed in Manila, Philippines), was ratified. The government maintained its position to exclude the political implications of this decision, based on the American refusal to pay to fish in Kiribati waters.

Bakaoti founded, shortly after, the Christian Democratic Party (the only political organization in Kiribati), along with 15 other Maneaba members who opposed the government agreement. After refusing to lower the amount of the license fee to the USSR, the government did not renew it when it expired. The same month, Kiribati was one of the member countries of the South Pacific Forum that signed a five-year agreement (the South Pacific Regional Fisheries treaty) with the United States, granting them the right to fish for tuna in its territorial waters, which rectified two years later.

In the period 1988-1989, the increase in the use of trawled nets by South Korean, Taiwanese and Japanese fishing boats produced a large reduction in the quantity of tuna from the economic zones of Kiribati and from other member countries of the South Pacific Forum. During the annual conference of the Tarawa Forum in July 1989, it was decided that the use of trailed nets would be banned, which took place in November. In February of 1990, the governments of Australia and New Zealand announced they would control the use of nets towed in the region.

Tarawa, Kiribati

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