Kiribati photo

Kiribati Driving Guide

Kiribati is a unique beautiful country. Explore all of it by driving when you get your International Driving Permit

2021-07-28 · 15. min

Located at the Pacific Ocean's heart, Kiribati is a new country blessed with stunning beaches and spectacular coastline. Traveling to this breathtaking country promises a generous amount of memory you won't forget. It is a paradise for every traveler across the globe who wants to witness and experience its beauty. The captivating scenery of its islands, fascinating Kiribati customs, and the local's sedentary life by the ocean will charm you once you've reached the country.

Kiribati is an archipelago where the world's equator and international dateline meets. A perfect country for a holiday and honeymoon destination that you can idle at the beach, swim the glistening water of the Pacific Ocean, and an ideal place to have an adventure.

How Can This Guide Help You?

Traveling without a bit of knowledge about the foreign country you're going to visit is a disaster waiting to happen. This guide will provide you the necessary information that you need to always keep in mind before you travel and while traveling in Kiribati. Information such as Kiribati's history, languages, and customs.

The comprehensive guide includes pieces of specific information about the things you can do in Kiribati for a long-term stay and a vacation together with its top destinations. As for driving in Kiribati, this guide includes information on the island's essential driving rules, International Driving Permits, road situations in Kiribati, driving etiquette, and car rental information.

General Information

Kiribati is part of Micronesia and the Pacific islands divisions. The country consists of 32 islands and one isolated island, Banaba, where 21 of these islands were inhabited. Home of the famous Christmas Island, the largest coral atoll in the country and the world. The Gilbert Islands, Phoenix Islands, and the Line Islands are the three island groups dividing the country.

Geographic Location

Kiribati is an island located in the Pacific Ocean's central part, and its name is pronounced as "Kiribass." It is the only island nation positioned on the four hemispheres, for it extends from the western to the eastern hemisphere, also the northern and southern hemispheres.

Kiribati shares no land borders as an island nation, but it has nearby countries such as Fiji, Samoa, Nauru, and Tonga. The climate in Kiribati has a hot and humid climate due to it being a tropical country. Kiribati's temperature varies from 25 degrees to 33 degrees Celsius is the average temperature in the country is relatively constant throughout the year.

Languages Spoken

The majority of Kiribati spoken language by locals is Gilbertese or also known as ikiribati or Kiribatese. English is also a widely-spoken language in the nation, especially in Tarawa. You can see the widely used English on the country's road signs, trades, directions, and large establishments that it is easy for you to access services on the island.

Kiribati was formerly called the Gilbert island named after Captain Thomas Gilbert, the expedition who in 1788 discovered the main island group. In the middle of the 19th century, Gilbertese first appeared and used in writings where Rev. Hiram Bingham Jr., a Protestant missioner from Hawaii, devised a way of writing Kiribati by using the Latin alphabet and used to produce a Gilbertese translation of the Bible.

Land Area

The country has a total land area of 811 sq km, making it more extensive than the nation of Nauru of the South Pacific Ocean that is only 21 sq km. The country is calculated about 4000 km southwest of Hawaii. In the 811 sq km, the Northern Line Islands Christmas Island occupies 388.39 sq km. Kiribati is a coral island that covers more ocean than water, where it has more than 3 million sq. km EEZ jurisdiction.

The majority of the country's atolls is known to have barely more than six meters above sea level. It is surrounded by an abundance of barrier reefs that create spectacular lagoons perfect for snorkeling, swimming, scuba diving, and other water activities.

History

16th century, some of the country's islands were sighted by the Spaniards. Gilbert island's main group of islands was discovered in 1788 by Captain Thomas Gilbert, where the island name is derived. In 1892 the Gilbert Islands became a British colony, and in 1900 Banaba was seized after the island's rich deposit of phosphate was discovered.

During World War II, Japan occupied the Gilbert Islands, which was later on ejected by Allied forces. In 1967 an elected House of Representatives was established. Banabans sued the British government in 1971 for the large share of royalties from the island's phosphate mining and the island's environmental devastation. In 1979 the country got its independence under the name of Kiribati.

Government

Kiribati is a member of the Commonwealth that adopts the Westminster model of government, where its parliament has 42 members that are elected every four years. The house of the parliament nominates 3 to 4 candidates to be selected as the President of Kiribati.

The country's leading government administration center is located in South Tarawa. In Betio, Bairiki, and Bikenibue main towns, most of the country's Government ministries are situated, wherein Ambo, the house of parliament, is located.

The total population of Kiribati is 109,693 as of 2015. Tarawa atoll has a 62,625 population with 56,307, which is the majority residing in the South Tarawa. In 2018, 45.9% of Kiribati's population lived in rural areas and 54.1% in urban areas. As of 2020, the total estimated population of Kiribati reaches up to 117,200.

Tourism

Kiribati's tourism industry has been flourishing for years, making it the leading earner in foreign exchange. In 2015, Kiribati's tourism sector generated $2.8 million, where there's a 40% increase from the 2014 statistics. In the succeeding year, 2016, the country acquired $4.1 million that has over a 46.43% increase from the 2015 generated international tourism receipts.

IDP FAQs

Besides sightseeing and bathing under the sun, driving in Kiribati is one of the beautiful adventures you don't want to miss on your stay. You'll witness and be mesmerized by the pristine beauty of Kiribati from its beaches, fascinating culture, and spectacular destinations that you won't forget! To do so, you need to own the essential documents like the international driver's license (IDP).

Besides the other country participants, Kiribati takes part in the 1949 United Nations Convention that allows travelers from different parts of the world to drive on their roads by obtaining an IDP. International driving permits will enable you to go and break the language barriers between you and Kiribati's local authorities. Here is some essential information you need to know about an International Driver's Permit in Kiribati.

Is A Local Driver’s License Valid in Kiribati?

No, valid domestic driver licenses are not valid in Kiribati if you use them alone unless you use them together with an IDP. If you used your national driving permit together with an International Driver's Permit, it is valid. It also applies to the IDP, and it will be invalid if you solely use it to drive in Kiribati; it is not accurate and should be used with your national driving permit and vice versa. A national driving permit and International Driver's Permit in Kiribati are essential documents for hassle-free travel in Kiribati.

If you don't have an IDP yet, don't miss out on the fun and get an IDP today to try the wonders, one-of-a-kind, and unforgettable experience beginning your journey of driving in Kiribati airport and around Kiribati and reach the country's top destinations. You can apply and get an international driver's license from the International Driver's Association, where the application is easy and fast.

Do I Need an IDP in Cities and Districts of Kiribati?

Yes, foreign travelers are allowed to drive in Kiribati by using an international driver's license. Driving in Kiribati city is permitted, and driving in districts and around the country as long as you have an IDP. As you go, you should carry your IDP at all times, and you will face a problem and be charged for unlicensed driving if you are caught driving without one. Since traffic personnel and police often ask vehicles to pullover and operate checkpoints all over the country.

If you demand not to get an IDP, you have to undergo a long process of getting a local driver's license in Kiribati, such as attending driving school. For convenient travel, highly recommended to get an international driver's license from the International Driver's Association. It can save you driving in Kiribati time because it is an online transaction and gives more time to make driving in Kiribati schedule.

Does an IDP Replace Your Native Driver’s License?

No, an International Driver's Permit in Kiribati does not replace your native or national driver's license. Even the IDP contains your driver information from your national driver's license, like your name and other motorist information, but written in different languages.

An IDPs purpose is to translate your national driver's license when driving in Kiribati island to identify and assist when talking to local authorities. A driver's license replacement only happens if you intend to stay longer in the country. It could be by applying for residency or when you're planning to work in Kiribati. If not, driver's license replacement is not required and unnecessary on your part.

Renting a Car in Kiribati

Are you planning to try driving in Kiribati hills, cities, and around the pristine island of the Pacific Ocean? To do so, you need to rent a car. Driving in Kiribati now is luxurious and convenient through renting a vehicle where you can see all of Kiribati's delightful tourist spots and stunning scenery.

Renting a vehicle is confusing for first-time overseas travelers, but once you know the necessary and essential Information in renting, it will be easy. The Information that is going to be discussed in this section is where you can rent a car in Kiribati, how to rent, renting requirements, a wide selection of rental cars in Kiribati, renting inclusions, and other critical renting details.

Car Rental Companies

Book your rental car online in advance before you even arrive in the country or rent a vehicle on the spot once you land on the island. Online booking is more comfortable and more convenient for international travelers. Big multinational companies allow online bookings for everyone's convenience.

Local companies also allow walk-in booking. The car rental companies in Kiribati rent cars that suit your travel purpose and budget. Suppose you book a car to rent online. In that case, it has advantages where you can have enough time to look for different car rental companies in Kiribati online. You can compare renting policies and fees, enough time to make driving in Kiribati schedule, itinerary, and plan your travel well.

Renting a car on the spot may be challenging because once you arrive in Kiribati, you need to search for car rental companies in the area, and it eats your planned driving in Kiribati time. Nevertheless, it is the way where and how you can rent a vehicle in Kiribati. Driving in Kiribati airport is possible if there's a nearby car rental company on the airport and may take the distance of driving in Kiribati km and save time due to the short driving in Kiribati distance.

Documents Required

Renting a car in Kiribati is simple and straightforward; after choosing your preferred car rental company to book a car to rent, you need to submit the required documents a car rental company needs. Most car rental companies in Kiribati require a travelers legal driving age, a national driving license, insurance, and an International driver's license. Still, requirements may vary from different car rental companies.

An International Driver's Permit is an important document that you must rent a car in Kiribati. Obtaining an IDP is a wise and good idea because it will be your key not only in renting a car but also to maximize your stay, travel adventure, and earn an excellent driving in Kiribati yesterday memories that you'll never forget.

You can apply and get your International Driver's Permit at the international driver's association. It is a trusted website that approves and generates IDP applications and offers fantastic customer service dedicated to helping travelers achieve the fascinating driving in Kiribati experience!

Vehicle Types

The vehicle type and price may vary from different car rental companies; you can rent Mini cars like Chevrolet Matiz, Economy cars like Nissan Micra or Ford Fiesta, a compact car like Toyota Auris Volkswagen Golf. You can also pick standard cars like Audi A4, full-sized cars, Luxury cars, minivans, SUV cars, and big cars like Renault Scenic or Fiat Mulltipa.

It is best to book the best vehicle that suits your taste and caters to your traveling needs and choose a car rental company that gives the best deal. When you avail, a good deal will make your travel wonderful, stress-free, and budget-friendly, where you can enjoy your stay and travel adventure of driving in Kiribati.

Car Rental Cost

A rental car in Kiribati starts at $8.99, and the average renting price per day is $26. The rental fee is based on the type of vehicle you rent, the car's size, the car's capacity, and the insurance if you avail of different products or amenities and services. It could be extra tires, child seat boosters, GPS, driving in Kiribati on the map, and driving in Kiribati km or excess mileage that can affect the rental price.

Besides the car rental company’s extra products, you can also avail of their offered optional services such as Fuel Plans, roadside assistance, toll payment, hiring a driver, young driver surcharges, and more. The car rental cost may vary from a car rental company to another. Choosing the finest car rental company that gives the best deal is beneficial on your part; you get to drive in Kiribati by getting a budget-friendly vehicle.

Age Requirements

Kiribati's minimum legal driving age is 17 years old, but the minimum age requirement to rent a car is you must be at least 21 years old. That should have a valid national driver's license held for a year and an international driver's license in Kiribati.

Car rental companies often asked questions about their renter's age to check if the traveler or renter's age is legal to drive in the country before they hand over their vehicle. Adult drivers are more trusted than young drivers because adult drivers are more knowledgeable on the road, but young drivers can also drive in Kiribati. Still, the agency might give a young driver a surcharge fee.

Car Insurance Cost

It can be a bit scary for first-timers to drive in a foreign country. Because you are not familiar with the roads and directions, car insurance provides security to tourist drivers as you go on Kiribati's unfamiliar roads.

Choosing a car rental that provides insurance into their rental packages is a must; most of the agencies already included the car insurance in their fees, but some add an extra cost when availing insurance. If you've rented a car from a car rental company that is not covered with insurance, using your international car rental insurance is advisable.

Car Insurance Policy

Insurance applies to rental cars in Kiribati that are less than a ten-year-old child already covered on the car rental fee. Car rental companies use insurance for their vehicles. Some of the insurance they offer are collision damage waiver, personal accident insurance, theft protection waiver, road assistance cover, and more.

The type of insurance mentioned above may vary from different car rental companies in Kiribati. If you have insurance covering rental cars overseas, you can also use it as you drive around Kiribati. You can travel at ease with the car you will rent for insurance that the expenses are already covered if you get in an accident.

If you want to explore the stunning nation of Kiribati at your pace, renting a car is the best way to unlock excellent driving in Kiribati city and around the island experience. There are also means of transportation to travel in Kiribati, such as taxis, motorbikes, buses, and more, but renting a car gives you the freedom to self-drive in exploring the nation as you like.

Road Rules in Kiribati

Spending your vacation in Kiribati is a dream and driving on the island is a paradise. Kiribati is a prosperous nation with spectacular beaches that travel enthusiasts are all eager to visit.

Before exploring Kiribati, you need to know and learn all the essential driving rules that the Kiribati government applies. Kiribati's driving rules are pretty similar to what kind of driving rules the other countries have, and they are easy to follow, but some driving laws may also be unfamiliar to you. Still, you are not exempted from the Kiribati driving rules.

Important Regulations

In Kiribati, they have implemented numerous driving rules and traffic laws, but as a self-driving traveler, what you need the most is to know the essential road rules and meticulously follow them for everyone's safety, the locals, and your safety. The consequences of not abiding by the regulated driving rules are to be charged with penalties, fines, or, worse, cause injury and death.

Here are some of the essential road rules and regulations you need to follow:

Bring your National Driver's license and IDP

The first necessary road rules for travelers in Kiribati are carrying your national driver's license and IDP together with your registration documents and insurance documents at all times. If you don't bring these critical documents, you are not allowed to drive on Kiribati roads.

Bringing your national driver's license alone is not valid and accepted to rent a car and not allowed to drive in Kiribati. Please get your national driving license together with your IDP at all times. Your IDP will be your national driver's license translator when Kiribati authorities ask you to present your driving documents.

Failure to commit and follow this driving rule of not showing or obtaining a valid drivers' license and IDP might make you face a criminal offense or other charges, for it is required when driving in Kiribati.

Drunk-driving

Kiribati imposes a 0.08% blood alcohol limit both on locals and tourists. Driving in Kiribati under the influence and intoxication is prohibited. Avoid drinking and driving in Kiribati at all costs; this will guarantee your safety while you're going to a foreign country.

You should also avoid breaking the mandated laws implemented in Kiribati. You may have caused an accident or death while driving under the influence of alcohol. Drunk driving is dangerous, and alcohol impairs a person's ability to move due to a drunk driver's focus and attention decreasing when alcohol blood level increases.

Using a phone while driving

Using a mobile phone while driving is illegal. It is only allowed and prohibited unless you're using the phone hands-free. Using a phone while driving may get you tangled in an accident, for it can get all of your attention on the phone and not on the road instead. It is advisable to drive with all your focus on the streets only.

You must avoid driving and using a phone simultaneously to ensure your safety, your passengers, and the local's safety. Follow the rule of not using a phone while driving it will help you avoid causing an accident.

Driving in the rain

It is hazardous to drive in the rain and after the rain. You need to take extra measures and care when driving because the roads are slippery that might cause traffic incidents. Some parts of the country are subject to potholes, flooding, and bumps after the rain. When driving in a rainy season or not keeping an emergency kit at all times is ideal.

Driving at night

Drivers must take precautions while driving at night in Kiribati. There's a lack of streetlights that causes poor visibility that can lead to an accident. There might be animals that might suddenly jump on the roads at night and surprise you.

General Standards of Driving

Following the general standards of driving in Kiribati's country is crucial for it guarantees safe travel. General driving standards are a common procedure in every country before driving a vehicle. This standard is essential, especially for tourists who plan to take long driving distances in Kiribati and can pass driving in the Kiribati river depending on the vehicle type.

Before heading straight into the roads, you need to know to check your car meticulously and at all times. You need to check whether you opt to drive a manual or automatic car, check the car engine is working and in good condition for a long driving in Kiribati distance travel. Moreover, you must bring emergency kits, a driving in Kiribati map, extra tires, and other driving necessities.

Ensure that you have adequate food and water, a spare tire, a full tank, extra gasoline, a first aid kit, a driving-in Kiribati zip code, and other essential documents to bring on your way. You'll likely avoid running out of fuel, prevent your car breakdown in the middle of your trip, and help you to avoid getting into a traffic incident If you follow the general standard of driving in Kiribati.

Speed Limits

The average speed limit that applies to app vehicle types in Kiribati's urban areas is 40 kph (kilometers per hour), while the speed limit in the urban areas is 60 Kph. On Kiribati's motorways, the speed limit is also 60KpH. Strictly follow the restricted speed limit imposed by Kiribati's government.

Overspeeding is what you need to avoid in Kiribati; it is a common cause of road fatalities in Kiribati and the world. As a traveler, you're not excused from these driving rules, and You will face severe consequences if you break the rules.

Seatbelt Laws

Wearing a seatbelt for motor vehicles occupants is mandatory while driving in Kiribati. It is required to have a child restraint when traveling with a less than ten-year-old child; most car rental companies offer seat restraint that is already added to the rental fee, and some charge an additional cost.

Driving Directions

You must not stop the car when you're in an intersection or within 10 meters away from the intersection in Kiribati. It also applies when you're in a loading zone, bridge, causeway, 20 meters before the pedestrian and 10 meters after Kiribati's pedestrian crossing.

It would be best to drive in Kiribati itinerary to know where you will go and what places to drive in. A planned trip with an itinerary is handy to know the driving directions to each spot ahead of time. You can also ready yourself for the road condition and situations you might encounter on your visit that will make your ride a hassle-free journey.

Traffic Road Signs

Most road signs in Kiribati are similar to those in your home country, and of other countries, some road signs might also differ. It's essential to watch out and follow what each road sign indicates to guarantee everyone's safety. Failure to follow a road sign rule can get you charged with a serious offense depending on what road signs you didn't mind or, worse, get you in an accident.

Kiribati has Regulatory signs that tell drivers what they must do or must not do on the road on and off the road.


  • Stop sign
  • Give Way sign
  • Pedestrian Crossing sign
  • No Entry sign
  • No U-turn
  • No left/right turn sign
  • One Way signs
  • Keep Left and Keep Right sign
  • Turn Left and Turn Right sign
  • U-turn permitted
  • No stopping sign
  • No parking sign
  • Two-way road sign
  • On way road sign
  • Speed Limit sign
  • Do not overtake turning vehicle sign
  • No overtaking or passing sign
  • Parking sign
  • No Parking sign
  • Bus zone sign
  • Loading zone sign
  • Parking sign
  • No Parking sign
  • Bus zone sign
  • Loading zone sign

Right of Way

Knowing the driving right of way rules of a foreign country saves you from future arguments with other drivers and protects you from accidents. There's a Give Way sign in Kiribati's intersections that you need to lookout. In Kiribati, any vehicle inside the roundabout has the right of way. Pedestrians at the near intersection or pedestrian crossing have the right of way, like any vehicle and pedestrian near the stop sign except at the T-intersection or roundabout.

When you're turning left in an intersection, you must give way to approaching vehicles and pedestrians from the right. If you're turning right, you must give way to the cars going straight or turning left and the pedestrian at or near the road intersection. It would be best to give way to a police mobile or emergency vehicle approaching the right side of the road and the oncoming vehicles going straight or turning left.

Like most of the world, Kiribati's legal driving age is 17 years old, with essential documents such as a passport, a national driver's license used to handle for a year. However, most car rental companies don't allow drivers under 21 years of age to rent a car. Some rental companies even impose an underage driver fee for drivers under 25 years old.

You need to apply and get the driving license Kiribati requires if you plan to stay in the country longer for work or residency. In converting your national driver's license to a Kiribati driving license, you must attend driving school and take the driving test, but this only will happen if you're going to stay longer or get a residency in Kiribati.

Laws on Overtaking

Reckless overtaking is dangerous not only to you but also to the locals and must be observed. Overtaking is allowed in Kiribati, provided that there's no oncoming traffic from the other side of the road. It means that overtaking is permitted when it is safe to overtake.

There are parts of the country's road that do not allow overtaking and passing; you will see that on the road sign, and you must follow. To avoid getting into an accident, you need to be mindful because an impulsive overtaking is hazardous; it can compromise your life and your passenger life at stake.

Driving Side

As a former colony of the British Empire, Kiribati adopted several British driving laws in the country. Thus, the driving side in Kiribati is on the left side of the road, which means vehicle traffic proceeds at the left. If you're from a country that drives on the left side, it will be easy and convenient on your part.

You will find it confusing if you're from the countries that drive on the right side, such as the US but do not worry, you can get used to it by practicing driving on the left in the parking space of your car rental company you've booked a car. As you drive on the Kiribati road's left side, you need to be aware of your surroundings and drive with caution. There might be vehicles that suddenly overtake or pedestrians that unexpectedly cross the road as you go on Kiribati roads.

Driving Etiquette in Kiribati

Car breakdowns can happen anytime, especially to cars that are not checked properly before driving it and vehicles that are not well-maintained. If your car breaks down in the middle of a foreign country is stressful, frustrating, and a big hassle. Even though car rental companies regularly check their vehicles, it is not invincible to breakdowns.

When your car breakdowns it is ideal for moving your car off-road for safety, and if not, put a reflective triangle warning behind and in front of your vehicle. Using hazard warning lights is also ideal. Contact your car rental company to offer off-road assistance; once you've reached them, give your concern and location, follow their instructions, and wait for them to get to you.

Police Stops

It's a common practice for the police to stop you in Kiribati. The police usually prevent you from checking your documents, such as your valid driving license and passport, or if you violated a driving rule in Kiribati. You may turn your car to where the police ask you to pull over and comply with what documents they will ask to show them.

It may be essential documents driving in Kiribati zip code such as national driver's license and international driving permit. It is best to greet the officers and show them the documents courteously. If you are given a violation ticket, you must ask what your violation is and ask where you can pay for the violation fine.

Don't drive away, don't disrespect, and get into an argument with the authorities when they ask you to pullover and while inspecting your documents. You'll get in trouble if you do your wonderful stay in Kiribati and will not be spoiled.

Asking Directions

Driving in Kiribati based on a map and GPS is handy, but there will be places that are not yet included or found in a map or GPS. Thus, asking for directions is what you need to reach a particular destination. Kiribatians are welcoming and polite people eager and more than happy to assist you in giving directions. When asking for a direction, you must get out of your vehicle or pull over and politely approach a local to ask for directions.

English is a widely used language in Kiribati that makes asking directions easy, but some locals do not speak English. You can use common phrases to exchange greetings and communication in Kiribati.

Here are some of the commonly used words in Kiribati:


  • Hello – mauri/ kono mauri (singular)/ kam na mauri (plural)Goodbye – Ti a boo/ Ti a kaboo
  • My name is … – Arau …/ Arau ngai …
  • Thank you – Ko rab'a/ Ko bati n rab'a
  • Sorry – Kabara au bure
  • Have a nice day – Tekeraoi am bong

Checkpoints

If you're going to pass a checkpoint in Samoa, don't panic, checkpoints are common in other countries. Checkpoints in Kiribati may involve taking random breath testing to check if a driver is driving under the influence of alcohol. It may also include checking driver's documents to ensure that all drivers follow the driving rules and inspect their vehicles as they cross a border or drive in Kiribati hills and cities.

When approaching a checkpoint, slow down the vehicle and ensure that the doors are locked. If it's dark, it is a courtesy to turn the lights inside your car, turn the radio if you're listening to music, and roll your window a bit enough for the police or traffic enforcer to see and hear you. Be polite while talking to authorities, avoid getting into an argument, and follow their instructions instead.

Other Tips

Aside from the driving situations in Kiribati mentioned above, it's also helpful to know what to do in accidents. Witnessing and getting involved in an accident is a scary, stressful experience and not part of your driving in Kiribati itinerary. If accidents happen while driving, the information and instructions you need to follow are written below.

In Case of Accidents

If you witness an accident or, worse, get involved in a vehicular accident in Kiribati, the best thing you need to do is call Kiribati's emergency numbers. You must give your information, location, what kind of accident happened, and the number of injured or casualties. Once you've finished contacting the emergency numbers, you need to wait for them to arrive.

Here are the emergency service numbers you can reach in Kiribati:

  • Police – 192/188
  • Ambulance – 994/ +68628100
  • Fire - 193

Following the driving rules and guidelines mandated by Kiribati's government is the best prevention you can to avoid accidents or get involved in a traffic incident. You need to be always cautious when driving and follow the law to ensure your safety and make your driving in Kiribati experience a fun-filled one to make it seem like you were driving in Kiribati yesterday.

Driving Conditions in Kiribati

Aside from the driving rules and etiquette observed in Kiribati, you also need to know the situations and conditions of driving in Kiribati. It is a great help and could prepare you for the possible difficulties and challenges you may encounter once you go on the Samoan roads.

To ensure that Kiribati is safe to travel to, you need to know the country's driving situations and conditions because you already know what to do and what to expect as you drive in Kiribati. If you're knowledgeable enough about these situations and needs, you'll be at peace because you know what to do when facing a particular circumstance on the roads.

Accident Statistics

Most of the road incidents were always from overspeeding and reckless driving, sudden overtaking, drinking and driving, not wearing a seatbelt, and not wearing a helmet for motorbikes and bicycles. Some parts of the country are still not developed where it is hard to drive and cause accidents. Always take an extra preemptive measure to guarantee your safety and your passengers' safety when traveling in Kiribati.

According to the World Health Organization's latest published data in 2018, vehicle accidents are common in Kiribati but not as frequent and bad as the other countries. There are over three deaths or 0.42% of the road traffic accident fatalities in Kiribati. The nation is ranked as 180 for the most traffic incidents out of 183 countries in the world where per 100,000 population, the age-adjusted death is rate is 2.40%

Common Vehicles

When you travel to Kiribati, you will see various kinds of vehicles on the streets. The standard cars used in Kiribati are a mix of second-hand and brand-new vehicles. Cars, motorbikes, buses, boats, and trucks are commonly used and seen vehicles in Kiribati often used as transport vehicles.

The standard car brands in Kiribati were Toyota, Nissan, and Mazda. These are the vehicles you will encounter on the Kiribatian roads; in Toyota, there's a Tomato Prius and Toyota Dyna truck, while in Nissan, the Nissan X-trail, and in Mazda, there's Mazda Biante.

Toll Roads

Kiribati's government works on road rehabilitation and building toll roads to give an outstanding driving and travel experience. Tarawa's road is the most important in Kiribati; it is the only road connecting South Tawara's more than 50,000 people between the West Betio seaport, Bonriki, and the international airport East Tarawa.

Road Situation

The roads in Kiribati are either tarred or gravel or bumpy rural dirt roads. On main roads, it is flourished, developed, and in good condition, while on the minor roads, the road condition is rough and has potholes that make a bumpy ride and hard to drive when it's raining. In the dry season, the streets of Kiribati are filled excessively with dust.

In Kiribati's rural areas, some are still not developed; when it's raining, some roads are flooded, and it feels like you're driving in Kiribati river and only passable by high four-wheel vehicles. The streets in the city are busy, especially when it's rush hour. There's only one main road in Kiribati that connects the East and West of Tarawa. The South Tarawa roads have poor condition, but there's a rehabilitation project for Kiribati's road that makes travel safer.

Driving Culture

Kiribati And are safe and courteous drivers. While driving, you should keep an eye on and be careful, for there are some Maldivian drivers that are reckless. Kiribatians look after every vehicle, especially at intersections and pedestrians. The locals would even let you overtake as long as it is safe and diligently follow the road right of way rules.

Other Tips

It's also essential to know other information related to Kiribati's driving conditions, such as the used metric unit in speed limit signs. Read below to learn more details about other tips when driving in Kiribati.

What is the unit of speed used in Kiribati?

KpH (kilometers per hour) and MpH (miles per hour) are the units used by different countries in the speed limit signages they put on the roads. Depending on the country you're driving in, what speed limit they use, KpH or MpH.

Kiribati is one of the countries like the US, UK, and its other dependencies are part of the 9% in the world that uses miles per hour (MpH) into their speed limit road signs. If you're from one of these nations, you won't have difficulty reading the required speed limits on Kiribatian's roads.

Follow the speed limit in the MpH metric measurement in Kiribati and avoid getting in trouble with the authorities for speeding, breaking the traffic laws. You must be a cautious driver, always avoid getting a ticket from the police and get in an argument with other traffic authorities, or worst, get involved in a traffic incident.

Things To Do in Kiribati

Driving in Kiribati is a beautiful and unforgettable adventure with the breathtaking scenic view you'll see and, of course, the experience itself. Besides being an eager traveler in Kiribati, the country is open to opportunities, even foreign nationals. If you're considering employment, apply for residency, and other great opportunities in Samoa, you must get and comply with essential documents on your stay in the stunning country of Kiribati.

Drive as a Tourist

Foreign travelers are allowed to drive in Kiribati as long as they have their native driver's license, passport, IDP, and other essential documents. An IDP is highly recommended for driver's license holders with licenses that are not in the Roman alphabet and can be used for two weeks—driving as a tourist will give you the freedom to explore the country at your own pace with great convenience.

Work as a Driver

Foreigners between 20 and 45 can apply for driving jobs in Kiribati with an employment visa or work permits, a clean police record, and a medical certification checking if you're in good health to work in the country.

You can apply as a transportation service driver either in public transport or work as a private family driver and a car rental driver if you qualify. You will only be eligible if you have a work permit and a driving license in Kiribati to attend a driving school and pass a driving test in the country. Drivers of public transport are required to have a higher class of license.

Work as a Travel Guide

If you're confident and knowledgeable enough about Kiribati, just like a local, you can apply and work as a travel guide in the country. However, job vacancies for tourist guide positions are primarily open for locals, but some companies hire foreigners as Kiribati Tourist guides.

Just like applying for driving jobs in Kiribati, you need to secure a work permit, have a clean police record, and medical certification indicating you're in good health to qualify to work in the country. A driving license in Kiribati is also required if you're going to work as a tourist guide. Once you secure a job in Kiribati, you will be granted and received a temporary residency.

Apply for Residency

Kiribati issues permanent residency to foreigners, but it is not positively encouraged. You can apply for residency if at least one of your parents is a native-born citizen of Kiribati. If not, you can apply for residency for seven years of naturalization. Foreigners can get temporary residence for employment by complying with a work permit and other needed essential documents.

Other Things to Do

You can do more things if you're planning a long-term stay in Kiribati. The country may not be as progressive and modern as other countries, but its beauty and solitude of living can convince you to live and work in Kiribati.

How to convert your driving license in Kiribati?

Foreigners planning to stay in the country for work and residency need to secure a driving license to drive in Kiribati legally. You must be at least 17 years old to get a driver's license in Kiribati. In converting your national driver's license, attending a driving school is necessary because you will be driving in a foreign country where some rules are different from your home country and familiar with the traffic laws and Kiribati's road situations conditions.

Are there other work opportunities in Kiribati?

Aside from the driving and tourist guide jobs, you can also find other work opportunities in Kiribati. You can apply and work as an English teacher as Kiribati used and teach English in their schools. If you're from a country where English is considered a native language, it is beneficial.

The Top Destinations in Kiribati

Kiribati is known for its world-class Fly Fishing, excellent scuba diving, and astounding seabird wildlife. The country is also abundant in spectacular beaches and natural beauty that beckons travelers worldwide to discover its pristine beauty. It is best to experience and take a driving in Kiribati video adventure. The country is considered one of the best travel destinations on the Pacific Ocean and a fantastic travel destination globally.

Tarawa Island

Tarawa is an atoll and Kiribati's capital located in the central pacific. The island has a large lagoon with about 500 square kilometers of total area and a vast reef. It is an atoll known as the World War II Battle site that gives a significant part of its history. Aside from Tarawa's fascinating historical background, the island is abundant in natural resources, beautiful beaches, marine life, and exciting adventures that you don't want to miss.

Driving Directions:

  1. To reach Tarawa riding a plane is necessary.
  2. From your country’s airport, you need to book a flight to Tarawa, Kiribati
  3. You will land at Bonriki International Airport, Tarawa’s main airport.
  4. You are already on Tarawa Island.

Things to Do

If you want to enjoy your travel fully, here's a list of the most enjoyable activities to do on Tarawa Island.

  1. Visit Tarawa's Ambo island

Ambo is one of the spectacular islands of Tarawa atoll. It has a beautiful beach that you stroll and idle on its fine sands. It has a lagoon club that you can swim, play volleyball, and do other activities under the sun.


2. Explore Tarawa's underwater treasure

If you're into outdoor and underwater activities, diving in Tarawa would be the best activity for you. You need to hire a licensed diving expert to dive to look after you and ensure that you are safe while driving. As you descend in Tarawa, you will be greeted by beautiful corals and the abundance of marine life underwater.

3. Visit the remains of World War II

Tarawa has an exciting history, and the most famous event on the island's history is the World War II Japan occupation and the battles in the Pacific Ocean. You can visit all the remains of the war in Tarawa; the anti-ship guns facing the ocean on the south side of Betio are the easiest remains to find. Many remains of World War II are scattered along the island, a beautiful idea to visit and explore each site.


4. Dine and eat like a local

Tarawa is a blessed island; it has an abundance of resources, and on your visits, you can experience and taste the local drinks and foods on the island. You can try drinking "Krewe," the palm wine, and eat the mouthwatering fresh catch fish marinated in coconut milk and lime juice. Tarawa has a wide variety of fish to eat and how it is cooked and served a delicacy that you'll want to eat again!

5. Experience game fishing

The beautiful Chala Crater Lake is also a famous attraction in the national park, where you can spot the Chala tilapia and hike around the area. What makes the lake fascinating is the lake's color that changes depending on the time of the year. The water can be turquoise blue, emerald, or midnight blue, which can entice swimming. Just keep in mind that there are no lifeguards in the area.

Christmas Island

Kiritimati or Christmas Island is a famous island in Kiribati, and it has the most significant land area of coral atoll in the world. 70% of Kiribati's land area is compromised by Kiritimati and has about 388 sq km of land area that is roughly the same size as its lagoon. The island is filled with natural wonders, exciting adventure, beauty, and a place perfect for bird watching.

Driving Directions:


  1. Via Cassidy International Airport, Do note there are no specific road names.
  2. Head west.
  3. Turn left.
  4. Make a right turn.
  5. Slight right
  6. Turn right
  7. Sharp left
  8. Turn right.

Things to Do

Kiritimati or Christmas Island offers relaxing to extreme outdoor and indoor activities that you should try. Below are the things you can do to get the best out of your exploration in the Kiritimati.

  1. Bird Watching

Bird watching is a popular activity, especially on Kiritimati Island. There were about millions of bird's swarms on the island. If you're into wildlife, you must try bird watching in Kiritimati, as the island is the breeding ground, and there are nine supporting protected zones for the breeding and nesting of the birds. The island has its endemic species that you'll only see in Kiritimati.

2. Underwater Activities (surfing, diving, and snorkeling)

As the island is surrounded by fascinating tropical reefs and blessed with abundant marine life, it is perfect for underwater activities. You can go diving, snorkeling, and swim with the fish, and you might even encounter dolphins, whale sharks, and manta rays. Surfing is also a popular activity to do in Kiritimati. In diving, you don't only see marine life but also the beauty of the coral reefs, and on the northern coast, you can see the most unspoiled spectacular corals in the world.

3. Join cultural tours

Kiritimati offers cultural and community tours where you get to explore and study Kiritimati culture and customs. You'll also get to experience the life of the local community in Kiritimati. You'll see locals on tour show traditional and survival skills, garland making, weaving, traditional dancing, and cooking.

4. Try Fishing

Kiritimati is a fishing paradise for tourists who are keen to explore and catch fighting bonefish, Giant Trevally and the triggerfish. If you want to unwind instead of lying on the sand or strolling on the beach, you can try fishing. You can ask for help and guidance from Kiritimati's fishing experts to learn how to fish, know what kind of fish you might get, and have a company.

5. Try lagoon cruise

You can try and join cruising across the glistening lagoon of Kiritimati. Besides diving and snorkeling, you can also encounter friendly manta rays, dolphins, and whales that will flip and jump alongside you while cruising. Some lagoon cruises include visiting the Cook islet for an exciting bird-watching activity.

Tabiteuea Island

Tabiteuea is formerly called Drummond's Island, and it is an atoll in Kiribati and the father of the south of Tarawa atoll. The island of Tabiteuea consists of two main islands, the Lanikai located on the north, and Nuguti that is on the south, and has several smaller islands. Tabiteuea is a beautiful place to visit that is filled with natural beauty and rich with fascinating history.

Driving Directions:


  1. Via the Tabiteuea Airstrip.
  2. Head northwest.
  3. Continue straight.

Things to Do

Visiting the Tabiteuea offers not only activities but also meaningful insights for tourists. Here's a list of things you can do as you see the island of Tabiteuea.


  1. Underwater activities

One of the exciting things to do in Tabiteuea is to try underwater activities such as swimming, snorkeling, and diving. It is advisable to have an expert and guide on your side when you're going to try diving, they will teach you the dos and don'ts, and they will lead you to the place that is perfect for diving.


2. Explore the island via road trip

If you want to relax after doing different water activities, you can have a road trip. A trip that you're surrounded by the natural beauty and the ocean breeze is exciting. You can try using a car, or you can go extreme driving a motorbike, and if you're not familiar with the place, you need a driver in Kiribati map as your guide. It will be an experience. On your adventure, you can take a drive in Kiribati video for a recollection of your wonderful and memorable trip to Tabiteuea.

3. Sightseeing and fishing

If you want to chill and idle by the beach, you can go sightseeing and tour the island, or you can also go fishing and admire the beauty of the Pacific Ocean. On sightseeing, you can check the historical landmarks of the island and trail its history.

4. Try local food and delicacies

When traveling, trying the local foods and delicacies highlights your travel. Most of the dishes are fish that is freshly caught and cooked for you. The foods are either cooked in a traditional or modern way, but it is mouthwatering.

5. Idle at the beach

As you visit Tabiteuea, you can do many activities, and you can also relax by the beach to watch the waves come back and forth. Idling on the beach is relaxing and stress-free. You can stroll around, lay on the sand, and thoroughly enjoy your stay at the island of Tabiteuea.

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