Living on a collection of islets that rise barely perceptively above the turquoise waters of the pacific, the residents of Tuvalu are understandably intensely environmentally aware: a small rise in the sea level here could see the entire collection of islands disappear into the stunningly clear waters that surround them, and become the preserve of the most ambitious of scuba divers. Long term worries don't spoil an intensely laid back day-to-day lifestyle, though: locals live at a snail-like pace amongst a collection of islands where cars are still a relatively new feature, and spending the sunsets drifting in the lagoons is all but compulsory.
Central island Funafuti provides your tropical welcome, with a grassy runway that doubles as the local football pitch. The offshore conservation area is the island’s biggest draw, with turtles drifting amongst the white sands, dolphins surfing the tiny waves and a bird-watching paradise soaring overhead. After a day of adventuring, delve into a traditional seafood fatele feast, a mammoth meal that’s invariably followed by vivacious dancing and the punch in the stomach that is local alcohol toddy.
Elsewhere you can dive amongst the haunting remains of a B-24 bomber off the Nanumea Atoll, or worship at one of the world’s oldest altars buried amongst the Nakulaelae Atoll. Alternatively, slide deeply into the local culture by picking up a hardwood spear and training in the local martial art of Katipopuki in Niutao. The whole of Tuvalu is isolated and culturally unique, and if you have the time to, still more relaxed around the outskirts, where you can grab a beach to yourself and indulge in the kind of snorkeling that can keep you in the sea trying to spot those darting glimpses of color until long after the sun’s set.
Most famous internationally for making a fortune from it’s .tv web addresses, Tuvalu’s online millionaires take nothing away from a group of islands steeped in tradition, and bathing in a seemingly endless stream of dazzling sunshine. Find some shade, or dive into the thick of nine strikingly scenic Pacific islands.