Nauru is a small island in the South Pacific Ocean south of the Marshall Islands and is the world's third-smallest country — only Monaco and the Vatican City are smaller. An off-the-beaten-track destination if there ever was one, Nauru is also the least visited country in the world. The remoteness and the fact that much of the island is a charmless open phosphate mine are two strong reasons for this.
In the local language the island is known as Naoero, though the name is of unknown origin. Nauru is a simplification of the name by British colonisers. The island has also been known by the names Pleasant Island, Nawodo, and Onawero.
Nauru was first settled around 3,000 years ago by twelve Micronesian and Polynesian peoples. Those twelve tribes divided the island into twelve parts; today this is symbolized by the twelve-pointed star in Nauru's national flag (the yellow line represents the Equator and the blue space the Pacific Ocean). The original inhabitants lived on fishing and even turned the lagoon in the middle of the island into a fish farm.
The first European to set foot on the island was the British commander John Fearn in 1798. The natives had a good relationship with the European ships whom they traded with. Occasionally, deserting sailors settled on Nauru. The island was devastated by a civil war between 1878 and 1888, after which it was annexed by the Germans. During the three-decade period as part of the German Pacific Territory, a king was appointed to rule the island, and the first missionaries arrived.
Mining of Nauru's phosphate deposits, which occupied about 90% of the island, began in the early 20th century under a German-British consortium. During World War I, the island was occupied by Australian forces and became a dependent territory. Briefly occupied by Japan during the World War II, Nauru was recovered by Australia afterwards and achieved independence in 1968. In the 1980s, phosphate exports briefly gave Nauruans one of the highest per capita incomes in the Third World. As of 2008, most of Nauru's revenue came from the export of phosphate to Australia, South Korea and New Zealand as well as other countries. The industry is controlled by the Nauru Phosphate Corporation (NPC). It is anticipated that the phosphate reserves will be completely exhausted before 2050. The sale of fishing licences is the other major revenue earner. Another source of revenue has been Taiwanese Dollar diplomacy; The Republic of China (Taiwan) used to be quite active in convincing small sovereign states of recognizing their claim to be the "One China" instead of the People's Republic of China's claim, but this has also diminished since the 2000s. Another major donor of foreign aid is Australia, which uses Nauru as a detention center for asylum seekers. Despite this, the unemployment rate is currently 90%.
Nauru is currently used as an "Off Shore Processing Center" for Asylum seekers, who are detained on the island until their refugee status is determined and they are either deported or allowed into Australia. Nauru receives badly needed economic aid for this, but human rights groups and other activists have frequently accused Australia of treating people in the detention centers horribly and the so called "Pacific solution" isn't uncontroversial in Australia, either. The OPC was closed in early 2008, but was reopened in 2012.
Other than these, also tourism could in the future be an additional source of income for the Nauruans. However, this would require better tourism infrastructure and transportation links.
A small, flat island almost exactly on the Equator, Nauru is a textbook example of tropical climate. The temperature is constant around the year, with even the record lows and highs per month staying within a couple of degrees. The number of average rainy days varies from 16 in January to nine in May and June.
Nauru is best avoided during the rainy season, which is from November to February. Even though full-fledged cyclones are rare at Nauru's latitude, the sky is constantly cloudy and torrential rains and thunderstorms are frequent during this time of the year.
There are a few "sandy" beaches, but most of the shallow area around the island is coral reefs. Most of the interior of the island is worked-out mining land, which has yet to be rehabilitated. The only inland body of water is the lagoon.
The Australian offshore detention centre operating on the island means that there will be a lot of Australian government staff staying at the island's two small hotels and filling seats on the flights to and from Nauru (especially the direct flight to and from Brisbane). This, in combination with the visa requirement, means that you probably should plan and book your trip a few months ahead.
All foreign visitors require a valid passport and proof of hotel booking or local sponsor in order to enter Nauru. A free visa on arrival is available to citizens of the Cook Islands, Fiji, Israel, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Russia, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Taiwan, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. Citizens of other countries require an advance visa.
You can apply for a visa from:
Alternatively you can send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. It may take a long time for the visa application to be processed, so you should send your application well ahead of your intended trip. A tourist visa reportedly costs AUD 100. If you are a journalist and intend to work on Nauru you will need a journalist visa, costing AUD 200, although if you are going to report about the Australian detention centre on the island you might need to fork out AUD 8000, due to a 2014 decision by the Nauruan government. Applications for journalist visas should be directed to: Joanna Olsson, Director of Government Information Office: firstname.lastname@example.org.
You will be sent a card that you need to fill in and return together with a copy of your passport. The visa fee is paid upon arrival in Nauru. At this time you will have to hand in your passport to the officials to be registered. The passport will be returned to you the next day.
If you're transiting through the American territories (e.g. Guam) on your journey to Nauru, you might need a transit visa or an ESTA, depending on your nationality.
Passengers may bring in to Nauru:
Drugs, explosives, weapons and pornography may not be imported.
As of March 2016, the national carrier, Nauru Airlines (formerly known as Our Airline and Air Nauru), flies to Nauru from Brisbane, Nadi and Honiara. Flights are rather irregular, with each destination being served one to three times a week.
The 1 airport is located in the Yaren district in the southwest of the island and is where virtually everyone arrives to and departs from Nauru.
The hotel may or may not send a car to pick you up at the airport; in the worst case you'll have to walk.
Neither of the two ports in Aiwo and Anibare can accommodate passenger traffic or yachts; they are used for export of phosphate or by local fishermen. As the water is shallow near the coast, larger ships must anchor off shore.
Every year, there are on average 200 tourists in Nauru, so it has the honour of being the least touristed country in the world. Crowds aren't a problem at all. There's hardly any public transportation, so your best bet to get around would be in a rented vehicle; car, scooter or bike. Other alternatives are by foot (not very pleasant in the tropical heat and humidity) or hitchhiking, which is quite common on the island.
There is a community bus which travels around the island every hour or so during the day. Also, locals sometimes cling to the cars of the goods train between Aiwo and the inland mining area.
Nauru is so small that it takes less than one hour to drive right around it. The 19km Island Ring Road circles the island and is paved — however this is not the case for most of the inland roads. The airport runway cuts across three of the twenty kilometres of road. The only traffic lights on the island are used to stop the traffic and allow the plane to cross the road to the terminal! This is a favourite souvenir snapshot taken by visitors.
Traffic drives on the left and drivers should be on increased lookout for animals and pedestrians while driving on the beltway.
Cars or bicycles can sometimes be rented from Capelle and Partners, the largest local supermarket. Otherwise you can ask at your hotel or just ask a local. Foreigners need an international driver's licence to drive on Nauru. Also, be aware that fuel shortages are not unheard of!
The official languages are Nauruan, a distinct Pacific Island language, as well as English. However, just about half of the island's population is fluent in Nauruan, and English is widely understood, spoken, and used for most government and commercial purposes.
The Nauru experience is pretty much the exact opposite of all the typical South Pacific island clichés. If you're looking for sandy beaches, cool ocean breezes, and pristine blue waters, you'll find precious little of the sort. In fact, if you're looking for pretty much anything that can be described as flashy or tourist-oriented, you're out of luck. But don't write Nauru off just yet: its subtle and offbeat charms are waiting for anyone who's willing to take the time to seek them out — and that goes double for WWII history buffs, urbexers, and anyone who's just looking for a slow-paced, low-key, off-the-beaten-path getaway.
Nauru is one of the few countries in the world you can walk around the whole perimeters of in a reasonable time. A sealed road goes all the way around the island and driving takes about 25 minutes non-stop. A bicycle ride takes 2-3 hours, and a walk maybe 6 hours. There is lots of nice scenery if not much to do and, going from either hotel, Chappelle & Partner department store right at the top of the island in Ewa district makes for a welcome break at halfway around.
If you're into sports, you can watch the local teams battle it out at an Australian rules football match. The national game is played all through Saturday at the 1 Linkbelt Oval sports field.
Many beaches on Nauru are shallow and rocky and not very suitable for swimming. Your best bet would be Anibare Bay (listed in See above) which also is a great place for seeing the fishermen bringing in the day's catch to Anibare Harbour. If you want to try some fishing yourself, there's one company you can consult:
These are the most important festivities during the year:
Nauru uses the Australian dollar, denoted by the symbol "$" (ISO code: AUD) as its national currency. Cash transactions are the norm; credit cards are rarely accepted. There are no exchange offices in Nauru and the single bank office, Bank of Nauru is usually closed. However in April 2015 the island's first ATM was opened at the Capelle & Partner. You should probably still bring enough Australian dollars in cash for your stay.
Bargaining or tipping are not done on Nauru.
Most food is imported from Australia and arrives by ship or air, usually once every six to eight weeks. You can find western and Asian (primarily Chinese) food. Because of the tropical climate dishes might not be as heavy and hearty as the original versions. As not all ingredients may be available, dishes are often rather simple.
Since Nauru is an island nation, seafood is very popular in its restaurants. Cooked and smoked hams are also very popular, as meat is one of their main dishes.
In addition to these, you'll also find some small inexpensive "eating places", selling Chinese food.
Other than that, restaurants and shops offer soft drinks and some also have alcoholic beverages.
There are two hotels, the more expensive Menen on the east of the island and the budget Od'n Aiwo to the west. In addition to these, the supermarket has guest rooms in the north of the island.
Nauru is a peaceful island and all kinds of crime are very rare. In emergency situations you can call either emergency number (117 or 118) or go to the police station which is near the airport.
While earthquakes are not a risk on Nauru itself, it can potentially be struck by tsunamis resulting from earthquakes along the Ring of Fire, which surrounds the Pacific Ocean.
There are no records of a cyclone ever hitting Nauru, and right at the Equator they are rare. Nevertheless, if you visit during height of the wet season, be prepared for heavy rain and thunderstorms.
Like many other Pacific islands, Nauru is surrounded by a shallow reef with cut-outs through the reef providing access for boats and harbours, and there can be strong currents across the shallow water, moving boats in the harbours, and dangerous marine animals on the reef floor. Ask for advice before venturing into the water.
Water supply in Nauru is dependent on rainwater collected into tanks from the roofs of houses and from an aging reverse osmosis desalination plant. You should avoid tap water.
Considering its size and remoteness, Nauru has a decent healthcare system. Aside from the rampant problem of obesity among the population, the infant mortality and life expectation numbers are on par with industrialised nations. There are two hospitals on the island, Nauru General Hospital and RON Hospital, both located in the Denigomodu district in the west of the island. However, if you have contracted anything more serious you may need to get transferred to Australia. Needless to say, it's best to have a good travel insurance when visiting Nauru!
The tropical diseases usually encountered in equatorial countries are less of a risk in Nauru, although it's recommended to get a hepatitis B shot. There is a risk of dengue fever, though, so you should protect yourself from mosquito bites.
If you come from a country where yellow fever is endemic or you've visited such a country in the last six days, you need to have proof of yellow fever vaccination.
Nauru is a Christian country, and Christian values and rules of conduct apply.
There are three newspapers in both Nauruan and English; Nasero Bulletin, Central Star News and Nauru Chronicle. Foreign newspapers are non-existent and information from the rest of the world comes from the Internet and satellite television and radio — in fact there's no local broadcasting.
The mains voltage is 240V/50Hz, and the plugs are Australian style. Brownouts are quite frequent.
There are a couple of post offices on the island from where you can send mail.
There are public phones and a mobile phone network. Be aware that you may need to buy a SIM card from the local operator Digicel if your home operator doesn't have a roaming contract with Nauru.
CenpacNet inc. is the only Internet provider, and it also owns the national domain .nr. Moreover it operates the only Internet café on Nauru:
Other than that, hotels offer computers to get online, though you should inform yourself about the rates beforehand!
Virtually everyone comes and goes by the local airline and thus your next destination will be Australia or one of the few small Oceanian islands the local airline flies to. When leaving Nauru, be aware that locally produced goods may be subjected to export duties.
A brief yet detailed report on the country of Nauru with updated information on the map, flag, history, people, economics, political conditions in government, foreign affairs, and U.S. relations.
Lightweight and perfect for traveling, this soft cover notebook Nauru travel journal is ideal for tucking into a full bag or suitcase. The cover is a glossy finish so that you can easily wipe it off (if it ends up covered in something delicious-tasting, or lands in a mud puddle ;) Keep your memories for longer by journalling them in your Nauru travel journal. A nice affordable travel notebook designed with the traveler in mind. This would make a great gift for the traveler in your life. Bon voyage!
There is always room for you in Nauru!
Here’s the Dragon Dragon Travel Journal deal.
You wander the world having adventures, and such. Dragon Dragon provides you with 200 pages to document your travels, discoveries and insights. That’s it. Simple. Beautiful. True.
To help keep things organized, we’ve given each journal a unique continent, country or city name.
Wherever you go in this life, a Dragon Dragon Travel Journal can help make the going better and the remembering easier!
"I don't always design travel journals, but when I do they are the kind of travel journals that people throw parades for." - Cormac Younghusband, The World's Most Legendary Nomad
THE NAURU TRAVEL JOURNAL has been carefully crafted by the legendary nomad Cormac Younghusband to help make your trip unforgettable, fun and organized—with plenty of room to help spur spontaneity and document new discoveries.
This journal can help you plan, live out and record every stage of your journey to Nauru—from pre-trip, to getting there, to being there, to getting home, and afterwards.
"Nauru food is among the world's finest. They do this thing with the thing!" - Cormac Younghusband, The World's Most Legendary Nomad
The first part of the journal is for PRE-TRIP PLANNING and contains sections for important information, a page to write about what inspired you to make the trip, a page to write about the who, where, what, when, how of the journey, a page to make note of your travel companions, a number of pages to organize your travel research.* Plus, you will find sections for drafting an itinerary and keeping a journey to-do checklist.
The second part of the journal deals with GETTING THERE, containing sections to describe getting there and arriving.
The third part of the journal is all about BEING THERE. There are sections for: tracking the stuff you buy and for your daily adventures there are 50 two-page daily records to keep notes on: day #, date, weather, places visited, what happened today + thoughts on what happened, the highlight of the day and extensive notes (with a handy reminder list of things to write about). Because there are about 9,378 people in Nauru, there's also a section to record the names and contact info of the people you meet along the way.
The fourth part of the journal is for GETTING HOME, that fateful day you depart and the days that follow. There are sections for describing your departure, for making your own top 10 highlights lists, a country radar to help you create a signature review of the country, and an afterwards where you can sum up the meaning of your trip.
When a trip is over, Cormac Younghusband recommends you start planning your NEXT TRIP. To help, there is a section where you can make a travel wish list.
Also included is a COUNTRY BRIEF to give you important info on the destination and a MAP to give you an idea of the lay of the land. Plus, at the back of the book there are sections for: generic packing ideas, measures and conversions, and pages for notes, sketches, maps and such
"Find a place in the world you haven't been, and go there. Keep on trucking, my friends" - Cormac Younghusband, The World's Most Legendary Nomad
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - * Research Such As: places to go / explore, places to stay, places to shop / must have souvenirs, cultural / sporting events to attend, historical / religious sites of interest, pubs-bars-places-to-party, beaches / forests / natural wonders to see, parks & gardens to wander through, things to eat and drink / dining experiences, festivals & events to attend, stuff for kids - seniors - and such, experiences to experience, important local customs, etiquette, laws, and such.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
"Why visit Nauru? Because, it's there." - Cormac Younghusband, The World's Most Legendary Nomad
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
WHEREVER YOU'RE GOING, YOUNGHUSBAND WORLD TRAVEL JOURNALS HAS THE PERFECT JOURNAL FOR YOU.
Nel corso delle mie ricerche sullo sciamanesimo nel Pacifico, mi è capitato di soggiornare a Nauru, la repubblica più piccola del mondo e uno dei Paesi più sconosciuti e meno visitati. Qui racconto la mia esperienza.
Are you living in Nauru, or maybe you want to? Maybe you are an expat, a foreigner, living there and you need a way to make some income. Did you know that you can make a living without a job? In the 21st Century it is very possible to make money in ways which don't require you to get a job! My name is Bob Martin. I am an American, but have lived in a number of countries as an expat. I make a good living and I have not had a job for many years! You can do it too, and I will show you how! My book, 49 Ways to Make a Living Without a Job will show you 49 different ways that you can do what I do - make a living without getting tied down by a job! My previous edition of this book was called "49 Ways to Make a Living in the Philippines" because I have lived in the Philippines for many years. Many people who read the book told me that it was not about making a living in the Philippines. They all said that it could be used to make a living anywhere in the world! They encouraged me to change it up a bit for the next edition, so I did! I updated all of my ideas, I took out references specifically to the Philippines and made the book completely applicable to a world where people need to make a living, and can do it in non-traditional ways! Start making a good living today, without having to answer to anybody but yourself! You can do it! I know for sure you can, because it is what I have been doing for years! Get all of my secrets when you read the book!
The decision to travel is your responsibility. You are also responsible for your personal safety abroad. The purpose of this Travel Advice is to provide up-to-date information to enable you to make well-informed decisions.
Petty crime occurs occasionally. Ensure that your personal belongings, passports and other travel documents are secure at all times.
Traffic drives on the left. There are no taxis or regular public transport, but vehicles can be hired from local suppliers. The main road that circles the island is paved.
Consult our Transportation Safety page in order to verify if national airlines meet safety standards.
Tourist facilities and services are limited.
Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.
Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread by contaminated food or water. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or through personal contact with unwashed hands. Get the flu shot.
Measles occurs worldwide but is a common disease in developing countries, particularly in parts of Africa and Asia. Measles is a highly contagious disease. Be sure your vaccination against measles is up-to-date regardless of the travel destination.
Yellow fever is a disease caused by the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
|* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.|
|Country Entry Requirement*|
Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.
In some areas in the Oceanic Pacific Islands, food and water can also carry diseases like hepatitis A. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in the Oceanic Pacific Islands. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
There is no risk of malaria in this country.
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Certain infections found in the Oceanic Pacific Islands, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
You are subject to local laws. Consult our Arrest and Detention page for more information.
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are strict. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.
Homosexual activity is illegal.
Neither Canadian nor international driving licences are recognized in Nauru. Foreigners intending to drive must obtain a Nauruan driver's licence for AU$70.
The currency is the Australian dollar (AUD). Credit cards and traveller's cheques are not accepted. An exception is made at the Menen Hotel, where American Express and Diners Club cards are accepted; however, a surcharge may apply. There are no automated banking machines (ABMs).
The rainy (or monsoon) and typhoon seasons in the South Pacific extend from November to April. Severe rainstorms can cause flooding and landslides, resulting in significant loss of life and extensive damage to infrastructure, and hampering the provision of essential services. Disruptions to air services and to water and power supplies may also occur. Keep informed of regional weather forecasts, avoid disaster areas and follow the advice of local authorities.
During a typhoon or monsoon, hotel guests may be required to leave accommodations near the shore and move to safety centres inland.
Consult our Typhoons and monsoons page for more information.