Tuvalu's capital Funafuti is a tiny coral atoll; the width is only about 20 meters at the narrowest parts, and about 300-400 meters at the widest areas of the island. It has an estimated population of 4,000 and is a low key place. There is a cluster of administrative buildings near the air terminal along with a beautiful Church (The Church of Tuvalu). The local village is a ten minute walk to the north with a deep water wharf, a further ten minute walk north of the village. The greatest attraction on Funafuti is the enormous and inviting Funafuti lagoon which is fourteen kilometres wide and about eighteen kilometres long and is excellent for swimming and snorkelling.
Beach scene, Funafuti, Tuvalu
Approaching Funafuti Airport, 2000
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The International Airport is located on Funafuti Island and facilities include a VIP lounge, bank, restaurant, snack bars, bars, chemist, Post Office and shops. There is a regular bus service and taxis are also available. There is a pick-up service to the Vaiaku Lagi Hotel. There is no internal air service.
Vaiaku Lagi Hotel, the Hideaway Guesthouse and Filamona Lodge are three of the comfortable accommodation places on Funafuti. Check out the Funafuti Accommodation and Travel Guide, Tuvalu for more details.
Vaiaku Lagi Hotel and jetty, Funafuti, Tuvalu, August 2000
Entrance to Vaiaku Lagi Hotel, Funafuti, Tuvalu, August 2000
Reception, Vaiaku Lagi Hotel, Funafuti, Tuvalu
Vaiaku Lagi Hotel, Funafuti, Tuvalu
There are also fortnightly discos at the Vaiaku Lagi Hotel in addition to traditional island dancing (fatele) for visitors.
Vaiaku Lagi Hotel, Funafuti, Tuvalu
A short distance from the Vaiaku Lagi Hotel is the Women's Handicraft Centre where locally crafted goods are for sale. Also worth visiting are the Philatelic Bureau, which provides stamps to collectors all over the world, and the University of the South Pacific Centre, which sells a range of books relating to Tuvalu and the surrounding region. Another point of interest is the spot which made Tuvalu the focus of international scientific attention more than 100 years ago, when an expedition was sent from London and Australia to drill far into the ground to prove Charles Darwin's theory on the formation of coral atolls.
The islands of Tuvalu are served by a passenger and cargo vessel, the M.V. Nivaga II, based at Funafuti, which occasionally calls at Suva, Fiji. Shipping services operate from Fiji, Australia and New Zealand calling at the main port of Funafuti.
In addition, the inter-island service is now provided by the recently acquired multi-purpose fishing, cargo and passenger vessel Manufolau which is shown in the photographs below.
Airport facilities and shops, Funafuti
Left: Volleyball game, airstrip, Funafuti, Tuvalu, August 2000 Right: Funafuti airstrip, August 2000
During World War 2, the United States military used Funafuti as a base to counter Japanese advances into the Gilbert Islands (Kiribati). The wrecks of several United States landing craft and B-24 bombers can still be seen on the island.
World War 2 wrecks at Funafuti, May 2002
Main street, Funafuti, Tuvalu, August 2000
Young lady dancers, Funafuti, Tuvalu
Young male dancers, Funafuti, Tuvalu
Ladies outside the office of the Auditor-General, 2000
Left: Toddy. Right: Funafuti lagoon
Beach road, Funafuti
Sunset over the Funafuti lagoon
There is a lot to do including observing the unique Tuvaluan culture and lifestyle. It is also possible to charter a boat or travel on the Council's catamaran to Funafala Islet three times a week for a stop of two hours. Funafala Islet at the south end of the Funafuti lagoon is the second most populated islet in the atoll. There are no shops whatsoever in Funafala, so visitors should take their own provisions. Traditional building with thatched roofs can be seen virtually everywhere on the beautiful islet.
One of the enchanting coral islets of Funafuti
Funafuti Island has many enchanting islets apart from Funafala. These islets are based on coral outcrops and most can be reached by boat or yachts from Funafuti. They are ideal for scuba diving, snorkelling and simply getting away from it all.
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Tuvalu Islands Online