“Tuvalu? Now, where is that?”
Many of those finding out that you are planning a trip to Tuvalu might have asked you this question. Nestled in a corner of the South Pacific, this island nation comprises six coral atolls and three islands. It’s off the beaten track and not loaded with tourists.
Tuvalu is an excellent vacation destination for those who seek some peace and quiet amidst spectacular natural beauty. With the magnificent azure ocean and lagoons, large patches of greenery, and pristine beaches, the beauty is nothing less than heavenly.
There’s no rush hour in Tuvalu, nor are there any touristy deadlines to meet. Spend your time at a leisurely pace, lazing around in hammocks on the beach or strolling around the capital, Funafuti. You can also take a scooter on hire for $10 a day and move around aimlessly.
Not more than a couple of thousand tourists visit Tuvalu every year. Fishing is the main occupation of the local populace, followed by some agriculture and the sale of stamps and coins. You can count yourself among a privileged group if you’re vacationing there. But before you leave, remember to buy
travel insurance or
travel medical insurance
to protect yourself against any unexpected accidents, illnesses, or injuries along the way.
Things To Do For Travelers in Tuvalu
You can get to Tuvalu’s capital, Funafuti, from Fiji by Fiji Airways flights on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays in around two and a half hours. Be sure to confirm with the airline for details before booking your flight. Once you are there, the unspoiled natural beauty of the place will welcome you with open arms. So, what can you do to make your Tuvalu stay memorable?
Visit the Funafuti Marine Conservation: This is a marine conservation area on the western part of the Tuvalu atoll, consisting of islets, lagoons, and reefs. These islets are almost entirely uninhabited, approachable by a 30-minute boat ride from the mainland. These are home to many species of birds, endangered turtles, and colorful coral and tropical fish. Have a picnic lunch, walk around the tiny islets, go snorkeling or swimming, or just laze around on the beach with a chilled drink.
Enjoy the Cultural Dance of the Locals: Head to the nearest Maneapa (town hall) where the local people organize various traditional festivals around the year. Catch them performing exotic songs, dances, and other traditional art forms. The Matagi Gali bar near the airstrip is another place to listen to some nice local music while you sip on your favorite drink.
Go Yachting: A nice way to explore all the nine islands of Tuvalu is to charter a yacht and set sail for some island hopping. Get down in any of the islands and spend some relaxing time there. You can also indulge in some fishing during this trip.
Visit the Tuvalu Philatelic Bureau: Tuvalu became an independent nation in 1978. To commemorate the occasion, the newly-created Philatelic Bureau printed various stamps depicting facets of Tuvaluan life. These stamps have become prized collection items for philatelists the world over. You can get to see those marvelous stamps and know more about their history.
Afelita Day Tour: A 10-minute boat ride from Funafuti will take you to Afelita Island. For $70/day, the whole island is yours. Relax on the wonderful beach or go for a swim in the turquoise blue waters, while the chef cooks a delectable Tuvaluan meal of tuna and vegetables for you.
Travel Risks for International Travelers in Tuvalu
As far as risks are concerned, violent crime is virtually non-existent in Tuvalu. It is a safe place to be by all means. The locals, while curious about tourists, are friendly and approachable. However, remember one thing: Plastic money doesn’t work here, and there are no ATMs. So, all payments during your vacation must be made in cash. But don’t carry too much cash with you when you are out of the hotel. It’s just a basic precaution.
Some other safety issues that you need to keep in mind are:
Carry mosquito repellants with you. Mosquito-borne diseases like chikungunya, dengue, malaria, Zika virus, etc. are not uncommon.
Drink only bottled water, and only eat food that has been properly prepared.
Don’t wear revealing clothing, especially in rural areas. Locals look down upon it and might protest.
Tuvalu faces a much higher risk of natural disasters. The country is only marginally higher than the sea level, and climate changes bring with it the threat of “king waves” that can wipe Tuvalu off the map. Also, from November to April, there is the risk of tropical storms that can disrupt inland and other forms of travel.
Tuvalu Travel Medical Insurance for International Travelers – FAQs
You can’t predict when you might need medical assistance while you are on vacation. But if and when you do, you need not spend extra money on it—provided you have travel medical insurance.
Do I need travel medical insurance for Tuvalu?
Though it’s not legally required for you to have travel medical insurance before visiting Tuvalu, it would be advisable to get it prior to traveling. Medical facilities are very basic there, providing only primary care. In the event of needing air ambulance facilities for evacuation to the nearest mainland, you would need to shell out a lot of money. But Tuvalu travel medical insurance can save you from undue financial hassles.
Why buy travel medical insurance for Tuvalu?
It would be most unfortunate if an illness or accident made you curtail your Tuvalu vacation. While there, you run the risk of falling prey to tropical diseases or suffering injuries from natural hazards. Robberies or muggings, though rare, might also be the cause of mishaps.
You would have to spend a lot of money getting treatment in private facilities. To be on the safe side, buy Tuvalu travel medical insurance prior to your journey.
Tuvalu Trip Cancellation Insurance for International Travelers – FAQs
Your trip might get canceled due to a number of reasons like the death of a loved one, workplace emergencies, a natural disaster, problems at the destination, and more. To add to the agony, you would also lose the money that you spent to make advance bookings.
Why buy trip cancellation insurance for Tuvalu?
You have paid in advance for much of your trip. If you have to cancel the trip, all that money goes down the drain. However, trip cancellation insurance can protect your finances if you have to cancel for a reason covered by the policy. You can get reimbursement for your prepaid, non-refundable expenses if your reason for cancellation is included in the policy’s certificate wording. Be sure to read the plan’s fine print before purchase so you have a better understanding of what is (and isn’t) covered.
What all is covered under trip cancellation insurance for Tuvalu?
Most common reasons for trip cancellation are included in a standard trip cancellation insurance plan. Again, be sure to check before purchase. Buy Tuvalu trip cancellation insurance and remain protected financially. Read the policy documents carefully to check whether your reason for cancellation is included.
Before You Travel to Tuvalu…
You are sure to have a great time in Tuvalu. But don’t forget some basic safety pointers:
Don’t carry too much cash or too many valuables with you when you leave the hotel.
Maintain a soft copy of your passport and other important travel documents. Keep them either on your person or in a safe, secure location at all times.
Don’t venture into deserted areas unaccompanied.
Remember to buy Tuvalu travel insurance as a financial safety net. Enter some basic information about your trip, compare a wide variety of options, and pick the plan that best matches your needs.