Getting to Kiribati (and why now is the time to go)

There’s so much to tell you about Kiribati. If I’m being honest, it wasn’t on my radar at all until maybe three weeks before I booked tickets. But I try to seek out places before they hit the mainstream tourist circuit, and I’d heard a few things that made me think now was the time to explore this South Pacific country. First, I read that Kiribati is one of the places on earth most vulnerable to the effects of climate change and rising sea levels. It is low-lying with the highest point just two metres above sea level, and is the poorest and least developed country in the region. It’s literally in danger of disappearing (though I should acknowledge that just like in other parts of the world you’ll meet plenty of people who dispute this).

Second, the current president has said he is investing in tourism and plans to increase international flights. (More on this in a future post).

For now, options are pretty limited. Fiji Airlines operate two flights a week from Brisbane, and Solomon Airways operates one. You can also get a flight on Narau airlines once a week, but none of these are direct. I opted for the Solomons flight because it was cheaper and the Narau one didn’t come up in online searches.

The flight from Honiara to Tarawa seemed relatively empty with only about 25 people on board, and staff say it never gets much busier than that. But they make up for the lack of passengers with crazy amounts of cargo- including literally tons of kava, the local beverage of choice

The flight from Honiara to Tarawa seemed relatively empty with only about 25 people on board, and staff say it never gets much busier than that. But they make up for the lack of passengers with crazy amounts of cargo- including literally tons of kava, the local beverage of choice

There’s chaos to get to your bags, but everyone is super friendly

There’s chaos to get to your bags, but everyone is super friendly

Most hotels and guest houses (maybe all) offer free pick ups from the airport. The entire crew from my flight was staying at the same lodge as me, so we ended up waiting about 90 minutes for the engineer to finish work. Luckily the people watching was excellent:)

Most hotels and guest houses (maybe all) offer free pick ups from the airport. The entire crew from my flight was staying at the same lodge as me, so we ended up waiting about 90 minutes for the engineer to finish work. Luckily the people watching was excellent:)

This is Jane, the lovely person from FEMA lodge who came to greet me off my flight. They don’t carry signs, but there aren’t too many white folks so she didn’t have much trouble finding me.

This is Jane, the lovely person from FEMA lodge who came to greet me off my flight. They don’t carry signs, but there aren’t too many white folks so she didn’t have much trouble finding me.

Drinks with the flight crew! Chris the engineer from the flight and Claudia the pilot! She’s been working at Solomon Airlines for seven years- her first and only job, but she’s joined the family business, as her dad was a pilot too and she grew up in Fiji.

Drinks with the flight crew! Chris the engineer from the flight and Claudia the pilot! She’s been working at Solomon Airlines for seven years- her first and only job, but she’s joined the family business, as her dad was a pilot too and she grew up in Fiji.