Nauru

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Introduction to Nauru

Nauru offers little to the traveller, but that is likely to change once the phosphate bubble bursts in a few years. A colourful reef dotted with sunken WWII wrecks surrounds the island, the waters make great diving and the sport fishing is incomparable.

The island is the poor little rich kid of the Pacific, wealthy yet sadly abused. Island culture has been assaulted by the weight of imported customs, junk food, fridges, televisions and electric cookers, but it does survive in a modified form.

Seemingly limitless mining proceeds have made Nauruans the richest people in the Pacific, but at various stages in their history people, culture, forest, soil and then subsoil have been stripped or shipped away at the whim of foreign powers. Exploitation has become an art form. The bird poop that was the island has been an economic boon to islanders, but Nauru's interior could now only be described as an 'ecological basket case'.

Full country name: Republic of Nauru

Area: 21 sq km

Population: 11,300

Capital City: No official capital (government offices in Yaren District)

People: Melanesian, Polynesian, Pacific Islanders, Asians, Europeans

Language: English, Nauru

Religion: Christian, mostly Nauruan Protestant Church

Government: Westminster-style democracy

Head of State: President Ludwig Scotty

GDP: US$100 million

GDP per capita: US$7,270

Major Industries: Mining

Major Trading Partners: Australia & New Zealand

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Traveler Facts

Visas: All visitors need to apply for a visa through one of the government's overseas offices before arrival; transit passengers don't require visas. A 50.00 departure tax fee now applies to all visitors to Nauru.

Time Zone: GMT/UTC +12

Dialling Code: 674

Electricity: 240V ,50Hz

Weights & measures: Metric



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Events

The three festivals islanders celebrate are Independence Day (31 January), Constitution Day (17 May) and Angam Day (26 October). Angam means 'homecoming', and this day commemorates the various times in Nauru's history when the size of the Nauruan population returned to 1500, thought to be the minimum number necessary for survival. Nauruans also celebrate Christmas and Easter.

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Best time to Visit

Don't go from November to February. That's the cyclone season and even if you don't get a big storm it can still be unpleasantly humid. Go at any other time of the year, when the weather is tempered by easterly trade winds.



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Currency / Costs / Approx. Spending

Currency: Australian Dollar

Meals

Budget: A$45-70

Mid-range: A$70-100

High: A$100-140

Deluxe: A$140+

Lodging

Budget: A$7-20

Mid-range: A$20-35

High: A$35-45

Deluxe: A$45+

Because Nauru has to import most of its basic necessities including water, the cost of living is reasonably high. If you stay in the cheapest rooms of one of the two hotels on the island, and shop in the supermarkets like the locals do, you could get by on about US$60 a day. Moving up to the classier rooms and dining in the restaurants will cost you $US80 or more, and taking a suite and still eating in those restaurants will cost you US$200 or more. Taking a fishing charter could easily double that in a day or two's angling.

There are no ATMs on the island. You can change money or travellers cheques in either of the island's hotels, which accept Diners Club and American Express credit cards.

Nauruans are more or less indifferent to outsiders, and have developed no culture to deal with travellers. There is no tipping or bargaining, and departure tax is US$12.

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Attractions

Anibare Bay

This is by far Nauru's best beach, but it will pay to be a little cautious as the currents here can be quite dangerous, suddenly surging and sweeping you away from shore. Anibare Bay has the requisite sand, equatorial sun and shady palm trees begging to be snoozed under.

Yaren

Yaren is understandably low on most travellers' agendas, but the beaches aren't far away, and neither is the open ocean if you're planning a deep-sea fishing trip. You can while away a few minutes by looking at the two Japanese guns and the numerous bunkers and pillboxes left after WWII. You could also walk around the machinery dump, or sit in your hotel room and watch Television New Zealand. The hotel does have a bar, casino, shopping and a restaurant serving Thai, Chinese and Indian food.

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Disclaimer: We've tried to make the information on this web site as accurate as possible, but it is provided 'as is' and we accept no responsibility for any loss, injury or inconvenience sustained by anyone resulting from this information. You should verify critical information like (visas, health and safety, customs, and transportation) with the relevant authorities before you travel.

Sources: CIA FactBook, World FactBooks and numerous Travel and Destinations Guides.

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