The capital and largest city in Kiribati is Tarawa, an atoll situated in the Pacific Ocean. Tarawa is made up of North Tarawa and South Tarawa. In total the city occupies an area of 190 square miles. One of the main geographical features of Tarawa is its large lagoon and wide reef. The portion of the city known as North Tarawa is comprised of a string of islets at various locations which are separated by channels that can be safely traversed during low tide. Due to the modern construction of causeways South Tarawa has now taken the shape of one long strip of land.

According to 2010 statistics the total population of Tarawa is 56,284 which is approximately half of the total population of Kiribati. The first European to arrive in Kiribati was Thomas Gilbert in 1788. Gilbert was the captain of a ship named Charlotte which was owned by the East India Company. During World War II Tarawa was occupied by Japanese forces and on November 20, 1943 it was the site of the Battle of Tarawa.


Popular sights to visit in Tarawa include the Ambo Lagoon Club which is especially popular with children and includes a pool as well as a lagoon. Another location that draws Christian visitors is the Sacred Heart Cathedral which was created in 1982 and currently serves as the seat of the Bishop of the Diocese of Tarawa and Nauru. Another noteworthy location in Tarawa is the Kiribati National Library and Archives.

Tarawa is classified as having a tropical rainforest climate. Weather conditions are most comfortable during the months of April through to August. During this time winds are usually from the northeast and temperatures remain fairly steady around 86 degrees Fahrenheit. The city’s most unpleasant weather conditions usually take place between November to March when persistent rain and cyclones may occur. Average precipitation during the April through August term ranges from about 6.3 to 7.48 inches while from November to March that figure rises to 8.66 to 7.09 inches.

This page was last modified on May 1st, 2018