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Diving in Kiribati

Diving in Kiribati

Quick facts

  • Kiribati is far away and hard to get to but, on the upside, its untouristed.
  • Many of the atolls are inhabited; most of them are very low-lying and at risk from rising sea levels.
  • Yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers over 1 year of age coming from infected areas.

When to go

Rain and temperature

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Water temperature

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What to see

Kiribati but English is the official language
Australian $
GMT +12
Tropical marine, hot and humid moderated by trade winds
Natural hazards:
Typhoons can occur at any time but usually between November and March. Occasional tornadoes.
Diving season:
Year round
Water temperature:
28C/82F (year round)
Air temperature:
28C/82F (year round)


For better readability of the table, pass into the landscape mode.

Most likely sightingsPossible sightings


Kiribati is an island in the Pacific Ocean. It comprises 32 atolls and one raised coral island, straddling the equator.

Recent history is very apparent on some islands of Kiribati. The islands’ role in World War 11 is evident in the battle of Tarawa, during which thousands of American & Japanese lives were lost. The islet of Betio, where the battle took place, offers a wealth of war history.

Krk island is an important historical site, being the first island at which the Union Jack was hoisted in 1892 by Captain Davis. It was also this island where Robert Louis Stevenson lived in 1889.

Except for the isolated Banaba (Ocean Island), all the main islands are in one of three groups:

On Christmas Island, Kiribati’s largest and best known island, you will see the most colourful reef fish swimming around the rainbow-coloured coral. Expect encounters with many varieties of angelfish, butterfly pairs, triggerfish, puffers and parrotfish.

The main atoll, Tarawa, also offers fantastic diving and Kiribati is home to the South Pacific's largest marine reserve.

This is interesting... Kiribati used to lie either side of the International Date Line, but the government unilaterally moved the line eastwards in 1995 to ensure the day was the same in the whole country. This was a clever move as Kiribati marketed itself as the first inhabited place on Earth to greet the new millennium on 1 January 2000. The world's media descended on Caroline Island, renamed Millennium Island, to record the event.

Getting there

  • Christmas Island - the largest coral atoll in the world and has been called 'the last untouched reef in the world.' Diving takes place from shore dives or from traditional outrigger canoes. Visibility is between 30 and 45 metres and the size and number of pelagic life will amaze even the most seasoned diver. Expect to see diverse marine species including Dragon Moray, Flame Angelfish, Manta, and Eagle Rays, Spinner Dolphins, turtles and fabulously coloured corals.
  • Tarawa Atoll - where villagers dive for clams and octopus.
  • Abemama Island - the island on which Robert Lewis Stevenson livedin 1889.
  • Butaritari - the greenest island, where the traditional 'binekua' (calling of the whales) was practised by Kuma villagers.


Note - Travel to any destination may be adversely affected by conditions including (but not limited) to security, entry and exit requirements, health conditions, local laws and culture, natural disasters and climate. Regardless of your destination, check your local travel advisory board or department for travel advice about that location when planning your trip and again shortly before you leave.

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