Driving Directions Tuvalu
TUVALU, located just north of Fiji in the South Pacific, consists of nine coral atolls. The group was formerly known as the Ellice Islands, and the main island and capital are Funafuti. Tuvalu became independent in 1978.
Tuvalu has a tropical climate with little seasonal variation. The annual mean temperature is 30°C (86°F), moderated by easterly trade winds that blow from March to November. Tuvalu is very wet. Annual rainfall averages more than 355 centimeters (140 inches). Westerly gales bring heavy rain from November to March. Although the islands lie north of the main cyclone belt, Funafuti was devastated by cyclones in 1894, 1972, and 1990.
Coconut palms are the main crop, and fruit and vegetables are grown for local consumption. Sea fishing is excellent and mostly unexploited, although licenses have been granted to Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea to fish the local waters.
Revenue comes from copra, the country’s only export product, foreign aid, the sale of elaborate postage stamps to philatelists, and income sent home from Tuvaluans who work abroad.
English and Tuvaluan are both spoken by the Polynesian population, and there is an airport situated on Funafuti Atoll.
Google maps™ Tuvalu
Tuvalu (formerly the Ellice Islands) is one of the smallest and most remote countries on Earth. Located just south of the equator on the Pacific Tectonic Plate, Tuvalu consists of nine low-lying coral islands, plus several islets. These remote atolls lie in a 595- kilometer-long (370-mile-long) chain extending over some 1,300,000 square kilometers (500,000 square miles) of the ocean. Too remote and too small to develop a tourist industry, Tuvalu is ranked by the United Nations as among the least-developed countries.
The South Pacific Ocean surrounds Tuvalu in a region that is known as Oceania. Oceania refers to the islands in the central and southern Pacific Ocean and its adjacent seas. The region’s boundaries are the Tropic of Cancer in the north and the south tip of New Zealand. Coral reefs on five islands enclose sizeable lagoons, including the vast unnamed lagoon of Funafuti. Funafuti and Nukufetau are the only islands with natural harbors for ocean liners.
Did you know about Tuvalu?
Tuvalu is located in a time zone that lies on the International Date Line. The International Date Line is an imaginary line on the earth’s surface that generally follows the 180° meridian of longitude. This meridian is exactly halfway around (or on the opposite side of) the globe from the Prime Meridian, designated as 0° longitude. An international agreement stated that travelers crossing the line would also experience a change in dates. For instance, travelers who head east on a Saturday will end up on Friday as soon as they cross the line. If the party heads west across the line, it will move from Saturday to Sunday.
Click here for Tuvalu Google maps, MapQuest & more detailed country facts.