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Tuvalu Travel Guide

Funafuti Lagoon

Across the Lagoon

Of the outlying motus on the atoll's coral ring, Amatuku, Fualefeke, and Funafala are inhabited. A wartime bunker can be seen on Tepuka, which tourism consultants fantasize about converting into a beach resort some day. Private boats can be hired for lagoon cruises to Tepuka with a drift snorkel in the passage on the way back.

With funding from the South Pacific Regional Environmental Program, 33 square km of land and water along the western side of the atoll have been declared the Funafuti Conservation Area. The seabirds, turtles, coconut crabs, shellfish, and corals on or around the six uninhabited coral islets within the reserve are now fully protected, and the snorkeling and diving here are good.

Visits are arranged through the Conservation Area Office, upstairs in the Funafuti Town Council (or Kaupule). The cost of chartering their boat can be shared among up to six passengers (more expensive on weekends). You must bring your own lunch and life jackets are not provided. Scuba diving can be arranged at additional cost and you'll also be charged extra to take pictures (verify the price in advance).

These trips usually depart around 0800, returning at 1500. When inquiring, ask if anyone else is planning a trip that you could join, because you won't automatically be told. Foreign yachts are forbidden to anchor within the conservation area.

Associated with this scheme is the two-bed Funafala Guesthouse operated by the Funafuti Town Council on the beach at Funafala Island. It's inexpensive and you can cook on their kerosene stove (take your own food). Transfers from Fongafale are arranged through the Conservation Area Office at high prices and it's cheaper to arrange private transportation. This little tropical paradise is only an hour away from town.