Author: Diana Lebedeva
Kiribati is an island country where untouched tropical nature has been preserved. The atolls of Rawaki and Butaritari, Manra and Nikumaroro attract with coconut groves, a variety of animals and birds. The country is also interesting for divers — coral reefs form caves and tunnels, and at a depth you can see sunken ships and planes from the Second World War.
Who travels to Kiribati and why
Those interested in history should visit Tarawa with the capital of the country, Bairiki. Here are the main institutions that are interesting in terms of architecture, culture and history of the country. The most notable are the Cultural Center, the buildings of the ministries and the Parliament, the State Library and the Archives. No less interesting is the island of Betio with a large number of monuments left after the Second World War, including the Memorial to the Heroes of the Outpost and the Memorial Chapel.
Admirers of mysteries and ancient monuments should visit Arorae with its nine navigational stones and Manra Atoll with the remains of ancient settlements.
Fans of extreme tourism and diving should head to Butaritari Atoll for a canoe trip through the reefs, as well as to Nikumaroro, where coral slopes and bizarre caves inhabited by many amazing fish are hidden in the depths.
Tarawa (Cook Island)
On this island, life is quite urbanized, since the capital of the country, Bairiki, is located on Tarawa. It forms a conglomerate with the cities of Bikenibeu and Betio.
The capital of the country invites curious tourists to take a look at the Parliament building, government offices and the presidential residence. The State Library and Archives are also located here. In addition, in Bairiki there is the largest community house in the country — «maneaba», where they jointly make important decisions for the community, hold holidays and meetings, arrange dances.
The largest building in the country is also located in Bairiki — a football field with a covered stand. Not far from it you can see the presidential palace, the old buildings of the residences of the colonial rulers and the prison of the same times.
In Bikenibeu you can see the old building of the Central Hospital, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Education, as well as the Cultural Center, where a collection of handicrafts is exhibited.
It is a densely populated island with several industrial facilities: a power plant, a port and a shipyard. It is notable for the memos left after the Second World War.
On the ocean side of the island, anti-amphibious installations and eight-inch artillery pieces were preserved. There are also a lot of dilapidated pillboxes, and at the bottom of the ocean there are planes and landing boats shot down many years ago.
On the island, there is a Memorial to the Heroes of the Outpost, which commemorates the Americans who died in battles with the Japanese. In the village of Abaokoro, a memorial chapel was erected in their honor.
This atoll is one of the largest and greenest islands in Kiribati. A chain of mangrove swamps is located along its southern coast — the number of various types of trees and shrubs here is simply huge. For tourists organized canoeing through the coral reefs near the coast.
Breadfruit grows on the island of Butaritari. Its fried fruits, a local dish called «bikiraro» or «mochin-ue», can be tasted here. For history buffs, there are also military relics on the atoll. For example, a plane sunk during the Second World War not far from the coast of the island.
Its second name is Hope Island or «Hope Island». It is small in area, but notable for interesting monuments — Arorae navigation stones (or Te Atibu Ni Borau in the local dialect). These are nine vertical coral slabs, placed on a narrow cape, extending far into the ocean.
The stones are considered ancient, among the locals there are not even legends that would tell the story of their appearance. It is believed that they indicate the main directions of travel for the navigators of Polynesia.
This atoll is considered one of the most beautiful in Kiribati. Yachts passing from Hawaii to Tahiti often stop here for parking. Important archaeological finds were made on the island in the 20th century, confirming the role of the island in the migrations of the Tongans in the 6th-9th centuries. AD
The island was later turned into a coconut plantation. Now it is often visited by divers — the atoll is considered one of the best places for underwater travel.
The atoll is formed by a wide coral reef framing a salty lagoon. Its western part is occupied by a coconut forest, where pisonias, morindas, scaevolias and other tropical shrubs have grown densely. The remains of the ancient settlements of the tribes of Polynesia have been preserved on the island.
Among the forest thickets, you can see orderly laid out coral slabs and platforms, indicating the residence of ancient people here.
Its second name is Gardner Atoll. It is rich in various flora and tropical fauna, there are many birds, hermit crabs and coconut crabs, and in the coastal waters there is simply an insane variety of fish. The island is attractive for divers with coral underwater slopes with bizarre caves.
The extreme eastern island of the Rawaki archipelago, or Phoenix, has a small area. Its central part, surrounded by a crest of a sandy beach, is occupied by a salt lake. A large number of seabirds live here, forming entire colonies on the atoll.
Among them you can see the tern, the lesser frigatebird and several species of petrels. In fact, Rawaki is a nature reserve.