Oceania Islands Travel Advice
Security travel advice for Oceania Islands
How safe is the Oceanic Islands?
Threat level: Low
The current travel advice for the Oceanic Islands is to be aware of the sanitary conditions and respectful of the local laws and customs. Most visits to the islands are relaxing, pleasant and trouble-free.
This Travel Advisory covers the islands of Kiribati, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Samoa, Vanuatu, Tonga and the Solomon Islands.
Honiara, Solomon Islands has recently seen an increase in crime, rape and robberies. Abductions have occurred and as such, vigilance when visiting the Solomon Islands is advised. Crimes such as theft robbery, violent crime and burglary are more frequent in the Solomon Islands compared to some of the Pacific Islands in the region, therefore care must be taken.
The threat of crime in these countries is very low, however there is a high unemployment rate which can make petty crime more likely. Providing general travel safety precautions are taken and you ensure valuable items are securely stored the likelihood of being robbed is considerably lower.
There is a history of demonstrations and civil unrest in some islands, mainly Honiara the Solomon Islands. The demonstrations have been known to turn violent with little warning and travellers are advised to avoid any area where protests are likely to break out.
There is a higher than average alcohol consumption in the region and a few times this has led to isolated violent offences against persons. You should not drink excess alcohol and be wary of accepting drinks from anyone.
Women are treated differently to the general Western expectations with a high rate of domestic and physical abuse. In Micronesia, there had been two separate incidences of western females being murdered, caution should be exercised by all females and you should avoid travelling alone; it is not seen as customary for women to walk unescorted.
In many of the islands, public nudity is forbidden and homosexuality is illegal, therefore discretion is advised; you should be respectable of your behaviour when on the islands and dress modestly.
Some of the islands police forces are very poorly equipped and undermanned.
The Oceanic Islands's International Relations
The islands have had a diverse past; from early occupations of the British Empire through to occupation of forces by countries such as Japan in World War two, it has come under many occupants. Many of the islands were previously tribal regions and are now influenced by more developed countries, which has led to the creation of the "Pacific Islands Forum", growing its diplomatic ties.
Travelling around the Oceanic Islands
Be wary of generally poor road conditions in some rural areas. There are also many unsafe road users, who do not take other road users into consideration.
Extreme weather in the Oceanic Islands
Between November and April, the region can suffer from strong winds and heavy rains which can result in flooding and an impact on the local infrastructure. You should expect travel disruptions and issues reaching your destination if you are visiting during this time. On the other hand, there are noted droughts, which can cause issues for the islands, and travellers may suffer with heat exhaustion and dehydration. You should drink lots of water throughout the day to stay hydrated.
Some of the islands are also prone to tropical cyclones, earthquakes, tsunamis and volcano eruptions; it is therefore recommended to monitor local news and the weather forecast prior and during your visit.
Emergency services in the Oceanic Islands:
Emergency services operator: 999 or 991
Police emergency: 999 or 991
Fire emergency: 999 or 991
Medical emergency: 999 or 991
Notes: All islands apply the above with the exception of:
Kiribati Police: 992, Ambulance: 994, Fire: 993
Nauru Police: 110, Ambulance: 111, Fire: 112
Vanuatu Police, Fire and Ambulance: 112
The Oceanic Islands Overview
Capital: Kiribati (Tarawa), Marshall Islands (Majuro), Micronesia (Palikir), Nauru (Yaren), Palau (Ngerulmud), Samoa (Apia), Solomon Islands (Honiara), Tonga (Nukuʻalofa), Vanuatu (Port Vila)
Official languages: Kiribati (English | Gilbertese), Marshall Islands (Marshallese | English), Micronesia (English | Chuukese | Kosraean | Pohnpeian | Yapese), Nauru (Nauruan), Palau (Palauan), Samoa (Samoan), Solomon Islands (English), Tonga (Tongan), Vanuatu (Bislama | French | English)
Religion: Kiribati (Catholic | Protestant), Marshall Islands (United Church of Christ | Assemblies of God), Micronesia (Catholic | Protestant), Nauru (Catholic | Protestant), Palau (Modekngei | Catholic | Protestant), Samoa (Christian), Solomon Islands (Christianity), Tonga (Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga), Vanuatu (Christianity)
Currency: Kiribati (Kiribati dollar | Australian dollar), Marshall Islands (United States dollar), Micronesia (United States dollar), Nauru (Australian dollar), Palau (United States dollar ), Samoa (Tala), Solomon Islands (Solomon Islands dollar), Tonga (Paʻanga), Vanuatu (Vanuatu vatu)
Time zone: Kiribati (UTC+12, +13, +14), Marshall Islands (UTC+12), Micronesia (UTC+10 and +11), Nauru (UTC+12), Palau (UTC+9), Samoa (UTC+13), Solomon Islands (UTC+11), Tonga (UTC+13), Vanuatu (UTC+11)Time now in Marshall Islands and Nauru:
Consular information for the Oceanic Islands
U.S. Embassy Suva
158 Princes Road, Tamavua
P.O. Box 218
Telephone: +679 331.4466
Out of hours Telephone: +679 772.8049
The USA embassy can be found in Suva, Fiji. This embassys duties covers other islands in the region, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Tonga and Tuvalu.
47 Gladstone Road
Telephone: 679 3229 100
The British embassy can be found in Suva, Fiji. This embassy's duties covers other islands in the region, being the Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Tonga and Tuvalu.
Visa requirements for the Oceanic Islands
A majority of the islands do not require a visa, however some may issue on arrival such as Nauru, Tonga and Solomon Islands. Your local Embassy will be able to give you further information of visa requirements for the Oceania Islands.
Healthcare and Immunisations
It is advised that visitors to Oceania Islands are up-to-date with primary boosters such as MMR. You should ensure that you have been further vaccinated against diseases such as Tetanus, which is usually administered when you are a young baby. You may also want to consider a Hepatitis A vaccination. As there are many islands, requirements for each may differ; it is recommended that you check with your local health professional prior to travel if you are unsure.
There is a risk of malaria in the Solomon Islands in all locations, except outlying eastern and southern islets. Similar risks are seen in Vanuatu in all areas below 1800m, all year round.
Dengue is also an issue in Kiribati, an illness transmitted by mosquitoes. It is recommended to take measures to avoid mosquito bites, including the use of a mosquito net and insect repellent.
It is strongly advised you do not drink tap water; use only bottled water wherever possible. The locals in many islands use lagoons for waste and as such, bathing or drinking the lagoon waters can be extremely hazardous for your health. This holds especially true for the South Tarawa lagoon, Kiribati.
If you do become ill with a stomach illness during your stay, it is advised that you seek medical attention immediately, as most islands require evacuation to a more prepared destination in order to receive appropriate treatment.
Many of the islands will not have infrastructure in place with regards to roads and transport systems, it is therefore imperative that great care is taken.