Guide to Visiting Nauru and Best Things to Do in Nauru

Where is Nauru Island?

You have probably never heard of this country, and that is because this is one of the (if not the) least-visited countries in the world. Nauru receives about 200 tourists on an annual average. If it’s a good year for travel, the number could reach up to a thousand a year.

Nauru is also one of the smallest island nations and the third smallest country in the world, right after Vatican City and Monaco. Nauru’s size is only 21 square kilometers in land area, which means you can drive around the whole country in less than an hour.

So, where is Nauru?

Nauru is an island country in the Pacific Ocean. The Republic of Nauru, formerly known as Pleasant Island, is a microstate in Micronesia, which is a subregion of Oceania. Its neighboring countries include Kiribati, Tuvalu, Solomon Islands, and Papua New Guinea.

Nauru Map
Credits: Wikimedia Commons

Nauru population

Nauru is inhabited mostly by Nauruans, but minorities such as Kiribati, Chinese, and others also live there. It is said, though, that there are more Nauruans living outside of Nauru than in the country. As of the recent census, there are around 10,000 people living in Nauru. Nauru is also known as the number one most obese country per capita. Their obesity rate is at 70% because of the lack of things to do in the country and the unhealthy imported food the population heavily relies on. Obesity is the number one health concern in the country.

How to get to Nauru

To get to Nauru, you have to make a connecting flight in Brisbane, Australia, where Nauru Airlines is based. There are also flights to Nauru from Nadi, Fiji, and Tarawa, Kiribati. All of these flights arrive in Nauru International Airport. Nauru Airlines have flights five days a week in and out of Nauru. Pacific Air Express also provides cargo service in Nauru. All foreign visitors are required to have a valid passport for at least 3 months, a 30-day tourist visa, and proof of hotel booking or local sponsor in order to be allowed entry to the country.

How to get around Nauru

The size of Nauru is so small that one can circle the whole island country in less than an hour via car. There is a local bus that circles the island every hour or so during the day. Traffic is not common in the country. In fact, they only have one traffic light, which is installed in the airport. The best way to get around the island is by renting a car or a motorcycle.

Ring Road - Nauru
Credits: Wikimedia Commons

Size of Nauru

The size of Nauru is pretty small. It is only 21 square kilometers, which makes it one of the smallest countries in the world. There isn’t much to do in a country that can be circled in an hour, but it has its own charms that is worth the visit.

Is Nauru safe to visit?

If you ever wonder if it is safe to visit a country that only sees 200 tourists in a year, the answer is yes. Nauru is pretty safe. The locals are friendly and very into communal living. They are very welcoming and easy going. You will not have to worry about getting into trouble while visiting the country of Nauru.

Time Zone in Nauru

The time zone in Nauru is UTC+12. Nauru is 16 hours ahead of New York, 19 hours ahead of Los Angeles, 3 hours ahead of Tokyo, 11 hours ahead of London, and 10 hours ahead of Paris.

What currency is used in Nauru?

The currency used in Nauru is the Australian dollar. Nauru is also a cash-only country, so if you do visit, make sure to have Australian dollars ready. Take note that ATMs are scarce in Nauru, so get enough cash before boarding the plane to Nauru. Some of the food here is quite expensive because most of these are imported from Australia.

Currency Used in Nauru
Credits: vagawi , Flickr CC BY 2.0

What language is spoken in Nauru?

The official language of the Nauru is Nauruan, which is spoken by 96% of the population. English is also widely spoken here, and it is also the language of government and commerce. Plenty of Nauruans go to Australia for education, thus it is not uncommon to meet Nauruans with an Australian accent.

Best things to do and places to see in Nauru

1. Buada Lagoon

There isn’t much to do or see in Nauru, but Buada Lagoon is one of the few places you should visit during your Nauru vacation. Buada Lagoon is a landlocked freshwater lake in the Buada District. You can take a day trip and spend an hour or two fishing.

Buada Lagoon
Credits: Wikimedia Commons

This is not a place to go swimming, though. Buada Lagoon is located on the west side of the island, just a 10-minute drive from the village of Aiwo. The lagoon used to be a location for farm fishing, but recently people just come here for picnics, to hangout, and just appreciate the beauty of the place.

2. Circle around the country in a day

Nauru is one of the smallest island nations in the world, and you can literally hop in a car and drive around the whole country in an hour. How often can you say, “I circled the entire country in an hour?” Probably not often. Nauru people are not known for doing a lot of strenuous physical activities, but if you are up for it, you can run around the whole country of Nauru and finish in a day. Do not do it unless you are a professional runner, or at least have been running constantly for most of your life.

3. Game fishing

One of the best things to do in Nauru is to go game fishing. Since the whole country is surrounded by the ocean, most of the activities you can do on this island country involve being in the water.


A lot of locals fish to make a living, so finding a local guide with a boat that can take you on a game fishing tour is pretty easy. The waters surrounding the country of Nauru are teeming with barracuda, marlin, tuna, and other kinds of fish. Get your fishing rods and nets ready, hop on a boat, and head to the ocean.

4. Go swimming in Moqua Well

One of the best places to visit in Nauru is the Moqua Caves, which is located in the Yaren district. Yaren is the main district of Nauru since the country does not have an official capital. The Moqua Caves, also called Moqua Well, is a good place to take a dip during a warm day. This is just a few minutes’ drive from the airport, but the place is quite well-hidden, so you would need a local guide to take you there. The well is also tide-filled, so do not go there when it is high tide. The water is much cooler inside the cave, which is why this is one of the best places to go when you are trying to hide from the hot Nauru sun.

5. Relax in Anibare Bay

One of the most beautiful beaches in the Republic of Nauru is Anibare Bay. No matter what time of the day you head out, you do not have to worry about the beach being crowded. With only 10,000 people in the country, you will find the beaches mostly empty, especially during weekdays. There are pinnacle rocks on the beach that make the view even more picturesque.

Anibare Bay
Credits: Wikimedia Commons

The few visitors who have been in Anibare Bay, Nauru have described this place as beautiful and surreal. You can pack your picnic basket, your favorite book, and spend the whole afternoon laying on the beach. You can swim to your heart’s content, but make sure to put on a sunblock because the tropical weather can be quite unforgiving, especially during summertime. Anibare Bay is probably the best place in the whole island country to catch the beautiful sunset. If sunrise is more your thing, that is great, too. The bay is open all day, every day.

6. Take a walk around Yaren

Yaren is the capital village of the country of Nauru. Nauru is the only country that does not have an official capital, but it does have a capital village. This is also the place where the airport and most of the government offices, including the embassy of Taiwan (one of the two embassies in the country) are located. When visitors come, they can check out these government offices. There are also a couple of restaurants and shops here that you will not find in other villages. It’s a great place to walk around, check out shops, and meet locals.

7. Scuba diving

One of the popular pastimes in Nauru is scuba diving. Being an island country in the middle of the Pacific Ocean means the water is an extension of the playground.

Scuba diving

If you are a thrill-seeker and a lover of marine life, make sure not to miss going on a scuba diving tour in Nauru. The colorful and abundant reefs are worth diving for. Make sure to ask your local boatman where there are shipwrecks, which adds more of a thrill to the dive.

8. Central Plateau

Nauru is known for its phosphate. One of the things you can do during your vacation in Nauru is to visit the Central Plateau of the country also known as Topside. Visiting this area will give you great knowledge about the history of the country since this was the mining site for phosphate for over 100 years. The landscape has changed due to all the mining. Right now the Topside is a rugged, lunar-like surface.

There are also wartime remains that can be found here, such as Japanese guns and warplanes that crashed long ago. Put on your hiking shoes and walk through the tracks. Make sure to take a local guide along for your own safety and convenience. The paths here are covered with trees, so it is quite a cool and scenic hike most days. The hike takes about 3 hours. You can easily get confused with the tracks, so taking a local guide is the best way to go.

9, Go shopping for local crafts

Most of the villages of Nauru have their own specialty arts and crafts that you do not want to miss.

shopping for local crafts

The small shops by the roadsides are some of the best places to check out when shopping for souvenirs and gifts for your friends and family back home. Handbags, accessories, jewelry made of seashells, and wall art pieces are just some of the few things you can find in the local shops.

10. Check out war remnants

During World War II, the Japanese occupied Nauru and set a base here for the war. These days, you can still see remnants of the war in this island country. Japanese guns, bunkers, and other remnants of WWII can be found in Yaren, the capital village of Yaren.

11. Play football with the locals

During the afternoon, you will see locals playing football almost everywhere in Nauru. The airport strip is one of the most popular places in Nauru where locals converge and play sports such as football and volleyball. The locals are friendly and will welcome you to come play with them.

football with the locals

The national sport of the country is football. If you want to watch the local teams play, you can drop by Linkbelt Oval sports field where these teams play a game of football every Saturday.

12.Watch locals play traditional sports

Some of the popular traditional games in Nauru country are the Frigate bird game, wrestling, and other ball games. If you are up for it, you can definitely partake in these activities. This is one of the best ways to meet new friends and get to know and appreciate the culture even more.

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