Tarawa Travel Guide

The triangle-shaped atoll of Tarawa is divided into north and south Tarawa. The south of Tarawa is the centre of government and business services, while the rural north is more traditional, offering visitors who do not have time to visit the outer islands an authentic experience. More than a third of Tarawa's population live in the south, mostly on the islet of Betio at the westernmost tip. Betio saw bloody action during World War II. It was the site of a key campaign between the Japanese and US Marines (eventually won by the Marines).

Take a travel holiday/vacation to Tarawa and discover this triangle-shaped atoll of Kiribati.

  • World War II Relics
    The Battle of Tarawa on the Betio islet has left a wealth of historic sites and war relics, including mounted coastal defence guns on the Betio causeway and westernmost tip of the islet. There is a Japanese memorial garden nearby and the remains of Japanese fortifications along the ocean side of Betio. Local tours are available with Molly's Tours.
  • Bikenibeu Cultural Centre
    Located in South Tarawa at Bikenibeu, the Centre houses cultural and historic artefacts. Open Monday to Friday, 8am-12.30pm and 1.30-4.15pm.
  • Tours
    On Tarawa, visitors can choose between lagoon cruises and cross-island treks (Otintaai Hotel), flightseeing (Air Kiribati Agency) and World War II tours.
  • Independence Day Celebrations
    A national festival celebrating Kiribati's independence on 12 July 1979 that features traditional dancing, canoe races and a colourful parade. Celebrations can be up to a week long in the outer islands.
  • Diving
    Night dives and day trips are available; see Christmas Island Divers Association for more information.
  • Handcrafts
    The Catholic Women's Training Centre (between Bikenibeu and Bairiki) has a range of crafts for sale, including traditional swords with shark-tooth spikes.
  • Other Activities
    Sports include soccer, squash, tennis and watersports. Favourite swimming areas are the small islets of North Tarawa and around the Dai Nippon Causeway.