Kiribati (pronounced Kiribas) is an independent republic within the Commonwealth of Nations, located in the central Pacific Ocean, about 4,000 km (about 2,500 mi) southwest of Hawaii. It is part of the division of the Pacific islands that is known as Micronesia. Kiribati consists of 33 coral islands divided among three island groups: the Gilbert Islands, the Phoenix Islands, and the Line Islands.
All of the islands are atolls (ring-shaped islands with central lagoons) except for the island of Banaba in the Gilbert Islands which is a raised limestone Island. Of the 33 islands of Kiribati, 21 are inhabited. Most of the population is concentrated in the Gilbert Islands and only one of the islands in Phoenix Group (Kanton Island) is inhabited and three of the Line Islands are permanently inhabited. The capital of Kiribati is Tarawa, an atoll in the Gilbert Islands. Bairiki, an islet of Tarawa, serves as an administrative center.
South Tarawa (consisting of several islets) is the capital of Kiribati, located on an atoll of the same name. Most of the action takes place on the islets of Betio and nearby Bairiki and Bonriki, which lie southwest and are quite densely populated. They are hot and noisy and a launching pad for visits to the other islands. Sights in South Tarawa include the Parliament building, President’s Office and the WWII guns used during the Battle of Tarawa along the beaches. You can get here via Bonriki International Airport located east of Tarawa.
The Line Islands is the largest group in the chain and part of the greater Line Islands that also incorporate some US islands. Christmas Island resides here and is the main landmass of the archipelago. When tourists come, they usually head to Christmas Island first for its tropical beaches, amazing lagoons and salt flats. There’s an airport with regular flights to Honolulu. Teraina (Washington) and Tabuaeran (Fanning) are also popular destinations.
Palmyra Atollis ,an unoccupied equatorial Northern Pacific atoll administered as an unorganized incorporated territory by the United States federal government.The 12-square-kilometre (4.6 sq mi) territory hosts a variable temporary population of 4–25 “non-occupants”, namely staff and scientists employed by various departments of the U.S. Government and by The Nature Conservancy, Inc., as well as a rotating mix of Palmyra Atoll Research Consortium scholars pursuing research.
The island has the greatest land area of any coral atoll in the world, about 388 square kilometres (150 square miles); its lagoon is roughly the same size. The atoll is about 150 km (93 mi) in perimeter, while the lagoon shoreline extends for over 48 km (30 mi). Kiritimati comprises over 70% of the total land area of Kiribati, a country encompassing 33 Pacific atolls and islands.
The Phoenix Islands or Rawaki are a group of eight atolls and two submerged coral reefs, lying in the central Pacific Ocean east of the Gilbert Islands and west of the Line Islands. They are a part of the Republic of Kiribati. During the late 1930s, they became the site of the last attempted colonial expansion of the British Empire through the Phoenix Islands Settlement Scheme. The Phoenix Islands Protected Area, established in 2008, is one of the world’s largest protected areas, and home to some 120 species of coral and more than 500 species of fish.
Abaiang, also known as Apaiang, Apia, and in the past, Charlotte Island, in the Northern Gilbert Islands, is a coral atoll of Kiribati, located in the west-central Pacific Ocean. Abaiang was the home of the first missionary to arrive in Kiribati, Hiram Bingham II. Abaiang has a population of 5,502 (2010 census).
The most common way to get into Fanning Island is by taking a boat from Christmas Island (Kiritimati). It’s also quite common (although not as much in recent years) to visit the atoll as a port of call from a cruise line. Holland America has it as a humanitarian stop on their way to French Polynesia.There is a dirt road that completely circles the lagoon. There are small dirt trails running in every direction from the road, but be mindful of the native population’s personal property and space when hiking the trails. There is a modest collection of bicycles near the lagoon’s main dock and you should be able to rent one for a small fee.