Teirio island and Abaiang atoll in Kiribati - Gilbert Islands
July 9-12th, 2015
Abaiang is an atoll not far from Tarawa, belonging to Kiribati country and to Gilbert Islands group. Abaiang has many islands scattered around an ellipse that encloses a lagoon with fantastic tropical colours, and Teirio is the ideal place where to relax and enjoy some beach life. The islands are not only beautiful for the amazing landscape, but they are also very interesting to get a glimpse into local life, where small communities live far away from the outside world.
How to get to Teirio?
The island of Teirio, in Abaiang atoll, is just 1 or 2 two hours by motorboat from the port of Betio in South Tarawa. Teirio may be then a good base to visit more islands in Abaiang, including uninhabited islets and local communities living on larger islands.
Photos of Teirio.
Just landed in Teirio, visitors are immediately immersed in a fantastic tropical paradise, among a wide sandy beach and an immense blue lagoon.
The jetty on the island of Teirio.
Pictures of Teirio. You can turn around the whole island of Teirio on foot in a few minutes, along a coastline that alternates between sandy and rocky beaches.
Depending on tide and strongness of the sun, the lagoon shows incredible colors.
The resort on the island of Teirio can accommodate up to 10 people, so it's not very difficult to find places where you will not see anybody else for hours.
The inland of Teirio has a mini forest which is quite impenetrable.
During low tide, part of Abaiang Lagoon can be traveled on foot, until you reach a small stretch of sand quite far from the island.
The whole island Teirio seen from the lagoon during a long walk in low tide.
The shelters belonging to the only lodge in Teirio are built in Kiribati style and they are perfectly integrated in the surrounding nature. Here you will not find any luxury, but everything is very basic, letting to stay in a really unspoiled environment (not like in the ridiculous luxury 5* resorts that have totally ruined many tropical paradises around the world). In the bottom left picture, the showers that work with rainwater. Below right, a nice hammock in the shade of palm trees.
The bedrooms consist of a small Kiribati style building, where there is only room for a double bed protected by a mosquito net. Sleeping at this property on the beach, seeing millions of stars and listening to the sound of the sea, is magnificent but certainly (and luckily) not suitable for every tourist.
Near Teirio there are a number of islands: the first can only be reached by boat in a few minutes, while the next two islands can also be reached on foot during low tide, with the water level that reaches just the chest. Due to the isolation, it is not advised to do the trip alone, but accompanied by a local guide knowing the place well.
The lagoon landscape around the islands along the western edge of Abaiang atoll.
The beautiful beaches, completely deserted, and the tiny islands scattered around the lagoon of Abaiang.
In the sky there are numerous terns, which nest in thousands on all the uninhabited islands near Teirio.
After the walk through the three islands, the boat comes to take me and my guide back to Teirio.
The islands just visited, seen from the lagoon.
While sailing along Abaiang Lagoon, I have the opportunity to see a traditional canoe built in Kiribati style, which are known to be the fastest and most efficient of the Pacific.
The Abaiang atoll is not only beach life and sea, but has a lot to offer, and a visit to an inhabited island along the eastern side of the atoll gives the opportunity to see an ancient church whose construction lasted 20 years, beginning in 1901 by Belgians.
In front of the church there are huge Cycas revoluta
trees that, given the size and given how slow the growth of these plants is, should have at least the same age of the church.
The church is now almost in ruins and the clock does not work anymore: the mechanism really need to be restored.
The interior of the church in Abaiang has beautiful colored windows. The church is still normally used by the villagers for religious purposes.
The locals, who see foreigners very rarely, offer a coconut to drink, which is open by their traditional methods.
Photos of Abaiang. A visit to a village in Abaiang gives an interesting glimpse into local life and traditions. In the photos, a maneaba having the roof made of thousands and thousands of twisted Pandanus tree leaves.
A traditional Kiribati house in Abaiang.
The quiet streets of the village, bordered by lush vegetation.
In the distance, someone climbing over a palm tree without any protection, probably to pick up some coconut or collect juice from the base of the leaves.
The very welcoming people in Kiribati and their traditional buildings.
A solar panel charging a battery during the day, to have some light in the evening.
In all my travels, a feeder made with the shell of a giant clam, was something that I was still missing... :-)