Essy Whitley

Essy Whitley

Published: 17 Sep 2023


Kiribati, a tropical paradise located in the Pacific Ocean, is a mesmerizing destination that offers much more than just pristine beaches and crystal-clear waters. This small island nation consists of 33 coral atolls spread over a vast expanse of the ocean, making it a unique and remarkable place to explore. Beyond its breathtaking natural beauty, Kiribati holds a trove of intriguing and astonishing facts that will leave you amazed. From its rich cultural heritage to its position as one of the first countries in the world to witness the dawn of each new day, Kiribati is a fascination waiting to be unraveled. In this article, we will delve into eight unbelievable facts about Kiribati that will surely pique your curiosity and ignite your desire to visit this hidden gem in the Pacific.

Table of Contents

Kiribati is the only country to be situated in all four hemispheres.

Kiribati, an island nation located in the central Pacific Ocean, holds the remarkable distinction of being the only country to span all four hemispheres. Its vast territory covers an impressive 3.5 million square kilometers, making it larger than India and encompassing several groups of islands. From the easternmost point of Caroline Island to the westernmost part of Banaba Island, Kiribati stretches across both the eastern and western hemispheres. Moreover, the islands of Kiribati cross the equator, marking its presence in the northern and southern hemispheres as well.

Kiribati is home to the world’s largest marine reserve.

Beneath the crystal-clear waters surrounding Kiribati lies an underwater paradise. The nation boasts the Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA), which is the world’s largest marine protected area. PIPA covers an astonishing 408,250 square kilometers and is renowned for its abundant marine biodiversity, including over 120 coral species, over 500 fish species, and numerous endangered marine species. This protected area serves as a vital refuge for marine life and plays a significant role in sustaining the overall health of the Pacific Ocean ecosystem.

Kiribati is one of the first countries to enter the new millennium.

Located just east of the International Date Line, Kiribati was among the first countries to step into the new millennium. The Line Islands, including Christmas Island and Fanning Island, fall within the UTC+14 timezone, which puts them a whole 24 hours ahead of many parts of the world. This unique geographical position has made Kiribati the go-to spot for travelers seeking to be among the first to celebrate New Year’s Day.

Kiribati is sinking due to rising sea levels.

Regrettably, Kiribati faces a significant environmental challenge as it grapples with the consequences of rising sea levels. As an island nation with the average elevation of its islands being just two meters above sea level, it is extremely vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. The threat of erosion and saltwater intrusion looms over its communities, compelling the nation to devise innovative solutions to ensure the safety and livelihoods of its inhabitants for generations to come.

Kiribati has a unique calendar system.

Forget the Gregorian calendar; Kiribati follows its own distinctive timekeeping system. The country operates on the Gilbertese calendar, which is based on a lunar pattern. Instead of twelve months, this calendar consists of eight months, each lasting around 32 days. This traditional calendar reflects Kiribati’s rich cultural heritage and serves as a reminder of the nation’s unique identity.

Kiribati is known for its stunning equatorial sunsets.

With its picturesque location straddling the equator, Kiribati offers breathtaking sunsets that leave visitors in awe. The islands’ flat terrain and vast open skies create the perfect canvas for capturing the mesmerizing colors and hues of the setting sun. As the golden orb dips below the horizon, casting vibrant reds, oranges, and purples across the sky, it’s an experience that truly encapsulates the beauty of Kiribati.

Kiribati is home to the world’s largest coral atoll.

Kiritimati Island, also known as Christmas Island, is the world’s largest coral atoll and a natural wonder of Kiribati. Spanning approximately 388 square kilometers, this remote island boasts pristine white sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters, and a vibrant underwater ecosystem. It provides an idyllic destination for diving enthusiasts, who can explore the kaleidoscope of coral reefs teeming with colorful marine life.

Kiribati’s people are renowned for their warm hospitality.

One of the most remarkable aspects of Kiribati is the genuine warmth and hospitality of its people. Kiribati’s residents, known as I-Kiribati, are renowned for their friendliness and welcoming nature towards visitors. It is not uncommon for locals to open their homes and invite travelers to experience their unique way of life, making every visit to Kiribati an unforgettable cultural exchange.


In conclusion, Kiribati is a remarkable country with a wealth of unbelievable facts. From being one of the first countries to welcome the New Year to its underwater post office, this island paradise offers a unique and fascinating experience for travelers. The stunning natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and the resilience of its people in the face of climate change make Kiribati a truly special destination. Whether you’re interested in exploring pristine beaches, immersing yourself in local traditions, or witnessing the impact of global warming firsthand, Kiribati has something for everyone. So why wait? Start planning your unforgettable adventure to Kiribati today!


1. What is the significance of Kiribati being one of the first countries to welcome the New Year?

Being one of the first countries to enter each new year is a source of pride for Kiribati. It attracts a significant number of tourists who want to celebrate the New Year ahead of their home countries.

2. Is Kiribati really sinking?

Yes, Kiribati is facing the real threat of sea-level rise due to climate change. The rising sea levels are resulting in coastal erosion and flooding, which poses a significant challenge to the country’s future existence.

3. Are there any unique cultural traditions in Kiribati?

Yes, Kiribati has a rich cultural heritage with unique traditions such as te Karanga, a traditional form of vocal calling, and the art of traditional dancing known as Kiribati Maneaba.

4. Can I visit the underwater post office in Kiribati?

Yes, you can visit the world’s first and only underwater post office located in the Republic of Kiribati. It offers a truly unique opportunity to send postcards or letters from this extraordinary underwater location.

5. Are there any sustainable tourism practices in Kiribati?

Yes, Kiribati is committed to sustainable tourism practices. The government and local communities are actively promoting conservation and responsible tourism to protect the environment and cultural heritage of the islands.