Capital | Tarawa
Population | 100,743 (July 2011 est.)
Area | 811 SQ KM
Official Language | English
Holidays | Independence Day, 12 July (1979)
Currency | Dollar (AUD)
Time Zone | UTC +12
Best Time to Visit | March to October, to avoid the humidity and tropical downpours
Connecting with the Culture | Taking part in a traditional dance in a maneaba (traditional meeting house). Sipping fresh coconut milk in a postcard-perfect stilt house over an aqua lagoon in North Tarawa. Being brought down to size by the enormous WWII guns at South Tarawa. Salting clams or weaving thatch with locals to enjoy the relaxed pace of the Outer Islands. Trying bone fishing or bird watching on Christmas Island.
Read | Gavin Bell’s In Search of Tusitala: Travels in the Pacific after Robert Louis Stevenson, which follows Robert Louis Stevenson through Kiribati.
Listen | to anything by home-grown production company NDTeariki Music Productions, recording in Kiribati.
Watch | the documentaries of director Dennis O’Rourke, including Atoll life in Kiribati.
Eat | traditional islander fare like taro, sweet potato or coconuts.
Drink | the unfortunately named sour toddy, brewed from coconut palm.
In a Word | Ko rabwa n rokom (thank you for your visit).
Characteristics | Far flung coral atolls; deep blue ocean; devout Catholics; coconut drinks by the beach; friendly locals; beachcombing the day away.
Surprises | The International Date Line used to split Kiribati down the middle, until 1 January 1995 when Kiribati decided to have the same day nationwide.
NEWS ABOUT KIRIBATI
Kiribati Considers Buying Land in Fiji
(HN, 4/11/12) - The Kiribati government says at the next sitting of parliament it will propose buying a block of land in Fiji for business & investment opportunities. Radio Kiribati reports the President Anote Tong as saying his government needs the approval of parliament to go ahead with the land transaction which would allow the nation to buy the 2,200-hectare Natoavatu Estate in Vanua Levu, Fiji.
Mr. Tong says the area is fertile & could support many profit-generating projects but that at this stage there are no plans to use the land to resettle people affected by climate change. Kiribati is situated in Oceania; made up of 33 coral atolls in the Pacific Ocean, straddling the Equator about half way between Hawaii & Australia. Kiribati is 1 of the world's poorest countries with few natural resources. Copra & fish represent the bulk of production & exports with tourism providing more than 1/5 of GDP. (Read more at RNZ)