A Guide to Responsible Travel in NAURU

3 min to skim, 10 min for in-depth info | February 2023



Nestled in the heart of the Pacific Ocean lies a destination shrouded in mystery and allure: Nauru, the world's smallest independent republic. 

With its secluded beaches, captivating history, and vibrant culture, this tiny island nation beckons travellers to embark on a journey of exploration and discovery. 

Step back in time and immerse yourself in Nauru’s history and culture. 

Originally inhabited by Micronesian and Polynesian settlers, the island was home to a vibrant culture that thrived in harmony with its natural surroundings. 

The island later became a focal point for German-European expansion and colonization in the late 19th century due to its phosphate-rich deposits. Unfortunately, the exploitation and colonization of Nauru brought significant changes to its culture and heritage which ultimately altered its landscape and way of life. 

The inheritance of these diverse influences lives on in Nauru’s unique blend of customs, traditions, and languages as a testament to its resilient and multicultural society. 

Today, Nauruans take great pride in preserving their cultural heritage through vibrant festivals, traditional dances, and storytelling passed down through generations. 

Visitors to this captivating island will have many opportunities to gain insight and witness these living traditions first-hand. They’ll also likely find out how easy it becomes to create lasting, meaningful connections with the local community of Nauru through its cultural identity 

Explore the Remnants of Nauru’s Storied Past as You Venture Through its Historical Hidden Gems

Anibar Bay, Nauru

Anibare Bay Beach, Nauru

From colonial-era buildings to World War II relics and ancient rock carvings, each site tells a unique story of Nauru’s journey through time. 

At Buada Lagoon, a tranquil oasis nestled amidst lush vegetation, wanderers can hike along scenic trails, spotting native bird species, and picnic in the shade of towering palm trees. 

While on the other side of the island lies Anibare Bay with its pristine beaches and crystal-clear waters, offering opportunities for snorkelling, swimming, and sunbathing against a backdrop of stunning coastal vistas.

In the capital city of Yaren, delve into Nauru’s political and cultural heritage as you explore historic landmarks like the Parliament House and Moqua Well. Wander through bustling markets, where local artisans showcase their crafts, and immerse yourself in the sights, sounds, and flavour of everyday Nauruan life. 

Despite its small size, Nauru boasts a rich natural heritage. With vibrant coral reefs, diverse marine life, and endemic species found nowhere else on Earth. 

However, the island’s delicate ecosystem faces threats from habitat destruction, overfishing, and climate change, underscoring the importance of conservation efforts to protect its biodiversity for future generations. 

Organizations like the Nauru Ridge to Reef Project are at the forefront of these conservation initiatives, working tirelessly to preserve the island’s natural treasures through habitat restoration, marine protection, and community engagement. 

Visitors to Nauru play a key role in these efforts by being aware of how to travel here responsibly. Participate in eco-friendly activities like coral reef monitoring, beach cleanups, and tree planting initiatives, all while gaining a deeper appreciation for the island’s natural beauty and ecological significance.

Engaging with Communities and Cultural Traditions in Nauru

Ewa Lodge Beach Huts, Nauru

Ewa Lodge Beach Huts, Nauru

Responsible travel is more than just a passing trend in Nauru – it’s a mindset and a commitment to making a positive impact on our beautiful planet.

In Nauru, responsible travel practices are woven into the fabric of everyday life, from supporting local businesses and artisans to respecting cultural traditions and minimizing environmental footprint. 

Engaging with the local community is a cornerstone of responsible travel in Nauru because it not only helps Nauru’s economy, but these experiences also offer travellers the opportunity to build meaningful connections and gain insights into the island’s culture and way of life. 

Some of Nauru’s traditions, dances, and costumes include:

The Bwiema Dance - serving as a symbol of unity, community, and celebration this dance holds a special place in Nauruan culture. Practised on significant occasions like weddings, festivals, and cultural events, this dance brings people together to share moments of joy and camaraderie.

The Tamure Dance - with lively rhythms and colourful movements, this dance embodies the spirit of Nauruan vitality and expression. Traditionally performed to express gratitude, commemorate milestones, or honour guests, this dance reflects the local's zest for life and their love of sharing their culture with others. 

The Tea Ceremony - a time-honoured tradition in Nauruan society, rooted in the principles of hospitality, respect, and social interaction where guests are welcomed into Nauruan homes with a cup of tea to demonstrate their generosity and warmth. This ceremony helps to foster connections and build relationships that endure beyond the ceremony itself.

Shell Jewellery - many locals adorn themselves with shell jewellery as a reflection of the island's deep connection to the sea and its bounty. Many of these intricately designed pieces hold spiritual significance and cultural value, symbolizing beauty, heritage, and the enduring bond between Nauruans and their natural environment. 

Storytelling - this tradition is deeply ingrained in Nauruan culture, serving as a means of preserving history, passing down knowledge, and imparting moral lessons from one generation to the next. Through myths and legends like the one about how the island was created by the god Eijebong, Nauruans share their collective wisdom and experiences, keeping their cultural heritage alive and well for future generations to learn from. 

Whether attending traditional ceremonies, participating in cultural exchanges, or simply striking up a conversation with a local, these interactions foster mutual understanding and appreciation. This enriches the travel experience for both visitors and residents alike.

Preserving Nauru’s cultural heritage is equally important, ensuring that its traditions and customs endure for future generations. 

Travellers can support these preservation efforts by respecting local customs and traditions, patronizing businesses that promote Nauruan arts and crafts, and participating in cultural activities such as dance performances, storytelling, and handicraft workshops. 

 Explore Nauru's Eco-Tourism Destinations and Sustainable Businesses

Buada Lagoon, Nauru

Buada Lagoon & Nature Preserve, Nauru

If you're thinking about planning a journey through Nauru, immerse yourself in its pristine natural beauty and support sustainable businesses that prioritize conservation and community engagement along the way. Below you’ll find some eco-tourism destinations and sustainable businesses you won’t want to miss while you’re in Nauru.

Anibar Bay Conservation Area

Anibare Bay isn’t only known for its stunning beaches. It’s also known for its commitment to conservation and sustainable tourism. 

Visitors to this area can explore protected marine habitats, participate in beach clean-ups, and learn about local conservation efforts led by community organizers. 

Buada Lagoon Protected Area

Nestled amidst lush vegetation and surrounded by towering cliffs, Buada Lagoon Nature Reserve is a tranquil oasis that offers travellers a glimpse into Nauru’s diverse wildlife and ecosystems. 

While here, visitors can embark on guided nature walks, birdwatching expeditions, and kayaking adventures, immersing themselves in the serene beauty of this protected area. It's an ideal destination for travellers seeking to connect with nature and support local efforts. 

Kai Tours Nauru

A locally-owned tour company that specializes in sustainable tour experiences designed to showcase Nauru’s natural beauty and cultural heritage. 

From guided hikes to cultural immersion experiences, they offer travellers the opportunity to explore the island while minimising their environmental impact and engage in responsible travel practices, and gain a deeper appreciation for Naurur’s unique landscapes and traditions.

Gem’s Creations Nauru

This family-run business specializes in handcrafted artworks and souvenirs made from sustainable materials sourced in Nauru. From wooden sculptures to textiles and jewellery inspired by traditional Nauruan designs, Gem’s Creations offers travellers the chance to purchase authentic souvenirs while supporting local artisans and craft people. 

Visitors here contribute to the economic empowerment of Nauru’s artisanal community and help preserve the island’s cultural heritage for future generations. 

Nauru Community Eco-Farm

This community learning farm in Nauru is a sustainable agriculture initiative that promotes organic farming practices and community engagement. Visitors to the eco-farm can participate in hands-on farming activities, such as planting, harvesting, and composting while learning about the importance of sustainable agriculture in Naurur. 

Travellers here contribute to food security, environmental conservation, and community development initiatives on the island. 

These destinations and businesses in Nauru offer travellers only a glimpse into everything Nauru has to offer when it comes to making a positive impact there. Don’t forget to explore beyond our recommendations too! 

Wherever you go it’s important to engage with the local community, support local businesses, and do what you can to make a positive impact on their economy and environment as a result. 

Why it's Important to Visit Nauru Sooner Rather than Later

Bati Beach, Naru

Bati Beach, Nauru

Visiting Nauru with a responsible traveller mindset allows visitors to experience this country’s pristine natural beauty, cultural heritage, and incredible community spirit in a meaningful way. 

Whether you’re a nature lover, cultural enthusiast, or eco-conscious traveller, Nauru offers travellers a glimpse into a world of wonder rarely experienced by the average tourist. 

As the world begins to reopen after a period of uncertainty, Nauru offers a sanctuary of tranquillity and authenticity – an escape from all the crowds to reconnect with nature in peace. 

Beyond its breathtaking landscapes and rich history, Nauru also offers travellers so many easy ways to make a positive impact. Regardless if you’re snorkelling in Anibare Bay, hiking through Buada Lagoon, or doing some local shopping, because this island nation is so small; every experience in Nauru is an invitation to leave a lasting legacy of conservation and cultural preservation. 

If you're looking for more information on how to visit Nauru and its history please take a look at Darren McClean's Nauru Travel Guide. Thank you to Darren at Taste 2 Travel for the wonderful photos provided for this article.  

As you plan for your next adventure, (perhaps to Nauru) remember that you’re not alone! 

Check out our other featured country articles on our main blog page. Whether you’re planning a trip to Laos, the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, or Vietnam our advice can help you build a meaningful adventure wherever you go next. 

We’d be delighted to have you join our community of like-minded, responsible travellers: a place on the internet committed to making a positive impact wherever we visit and whomever we meet. 

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  • Posted by Flora Poste on

    You stress the word “responsible” in relation to tourism. In that spirit, I do think that you need to also mention the horrific side of things in Nauru, including the detention centre where an enormous number of would-be refugees have been imprisoned (and many died) in Nauru. It would be a shock for any “responsible” tourist to arrive and be confronted with such horror bordered by paradise. It would be like advertising a trip to the beautiful pristine Guantanamo Bay in Cuba without mentioning the people who have been (and are still being) imprisoned and tortured right by the shoreline. Or arranging nature hiking tours in the forests near Auschwitz without mentioning the “minor” detail of the extermination camp. Or advertising the beautiful spiritual yoga and wellness retreat at Rottnest Island without telling patrons that it is located directly on a site where Aboriginal people were imprisoned and hanged. The people of Nauru have a wonderful culture but it cannot be enjoyed in a responsible holistic manner while the private prison camp run by MTC is still detaining refugees in terrible conditions. Imagine how terrible a responsible tourist on their honeymoon would feel after looking out the window of their air conditioned bus and discovering the truth: talk about a bad start to a marriage!

  • Posted by Char - Traveller Collective on

    This is a really good point to bring up, Flora, thank you. 🙏🏻

    Are there any resources you’d suggest we include in the article to help educate our audience? And/or would you happen to know any information on what travellers to Nauru could do or arrange locally to bring awareness to this while they are on the island?

    You’re right; being a responsible traveller means understanding the history and its impacts of the places we travel to.

    Keep travelling,

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