SAFETY TIPS

SAFETY AND SECURITY

CRIME

PETTY CRIME

Petty crime, such as pickpocketing and purse snatching, occurs. Ensure that your personal belongings, including your passport and other travel documents, are secure at all times.

ORGANIZED CRIME

There have been reports of organized crime in Kiribati waters. The majority of these reports are drug related. Exercise caution when travelling in Kiribati waters as officials lack the resources to respond to organized crime effectively.

ROAD SAFETY

Road conditions and road safety are poor throughout the country. Street lighting is limited and vehicles are often poorly maintained. Some roads regularly flood after heavy rains.

 

Drivers employ dangerous driving practices and do not respect traffic laws. Drinking and driving is prevalent, particularly on weekends. Accidents are common.

  • Be extremely careful when driving at night, particularly outside of Betio due to the busier traffic and limited street lighting
  • Be aware of small motorbikes and mopeds sharing the road, as drivers typically do not follow traffic laws

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

Maritime transportation is the primary mode of transport.

FERRIES

Passenger ferries go to many of the smaller islands, though they do not always operate on time. Local ferries are often overcrowded and do not always meet international safety standards. Ferry accidents occur from time to time due to the overloading and poor maintenance of some vessels. Do not board vessels that appear overloaded or unseaworthy.

  • Be aware of the emergency exits and where to find life jackets
  • Consider bringing your own life jackets and locator beacons
  • Ensure you leave ample time for travel as timetables are not always reliable

MINIBUS

A private minibus service is available in the absence of taxis. It operates in Tarawa, on the main islands of the Gilbert group, and Christmas Island. These are often used for travel to and from airports. Passengers must hail minibuses.

  • Exercise caution on minibuses as they can be overcrowded
  • Drivers are often reckless and pose a threat to pedestrians

AIR TRAVEL

We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.

General information about foreign domestic airlines

The main islands of the Gilbert group have airstrips and are served from Tarawa’s Bonriki International Airport. There is no scheduled service between the Gilbert Islands, the Phoenix Islands and the Line Islands. You must transit through Fiji to travel between Tarawa and Christmas Island.

UNEXPLODED ORDNANCE

Exercise caution on beaches in Tarawa, particularly in the Betio and South Tarawa areas, where unexploded ordnance may have been left over from past naval warfare.

STRAY DOGS

Avoid jogging or running in the street as street dogs can become aggressive and bite.

GENERAL SAFETY INFORMATION

Tourist facilities and services are limited. Internet and mobile phone services are not available on some of Kiribati’s outer islands.

SWIMMING

Coastal waters can be dangerous. Riptides are common, particularly beyond the reef area. Several drownings occur each year.

  • Follow the instructions and warnings of local authorities
  • Avoid swimming in the heavily polluted lagoon in south Tarawa

WOMEN’S SAFETY

Women travelling alone may be subject to some forms of harassment and verbal abuse.

Safe-travel guide for women