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Outer Islands/Kiribati

Introducing Outer Islands

Beyond Tarawa, packaged Western products are a rarity and life is more relaxed. People live off fish and coconuts, and occasionally earn revenue by selling copra abroad. Women sit by thatched huts weaving pandanus or salting clams to send to Tarawa. People don't have much, and they share what they do have; if you're staying with locals, take contributions of food for your hosts and small gifts for their children.

Rarely are there more than a few trucks on these islands, and communications are limited to contact with the outside world by radio-phone. Be prepared to hang around for days, sometimes weeks, if planes or ships are delayed. Health care is minimal at best.

The outer Gilberts are inhabited, and some of the better-known or more easily accessible islands are described below. Except for Kanton's 30 people the Phoenix Islands are uninhabited. Among the Line Islands to the east, only Fanning, Washington and Christmas Island are settled.