A true off-the-beaten-path destination, Tuvalu is one of the least-visited places on earth, receiving only about 2,000 people every year. This lack of tourism makes for a peaceful, non-commercialized environment where it's easy to explore magnificent lagoons and coral reefs, and to meet super-friendly locals eager to share their distinctive Polynesian culture.
The fun begins as you land at Tuvalu’s main island, Fongafale Islet, whose airport code is literally FUN. The landing strip doubles as a place for locals to hang out. On hot summer months, you can join families camping out on the tarmac, the best place to catch a breeze. Near the airport is Filamona Lodge, a lively watering hole popular with expats.
With nine atolls and tons of ocean life, diving and snorkeling are other main draws. Funafuti lagoon, with its stunning turquoise waters, is a great place to give either, or both, a try. Here, you might also catch an impromptu game of Australian football. (The country has a close relationship with Australia, and even uses the Australian dollar.)
For a truly local experience, head to the nearest Maneapa (town hall), where dance and other cultural ceremonies are performed. And be sure to visit the Tuvalu Philatelic Bureau at the southern end of Funafuti to buy some stamps. Because of their scarcity and difficulty to access, these are highly coveted by stamp collectors around the world!