Kiribati Taxis and Car Rental

There are no actual taxis in Kiribati, with private minibuses being the main form of public transportation on South Tarawa and Christmas Island. These minbuses (usually red or white) typically run on a shared system and are hailed at random. They will also drop off anywhere; you simply need to shout i-kai! (stop). They are relatively cheap, though Christmas Island is naturally more expensive. They can also be chartered as a taxi by calling in advance. Utirerei (+686 22 530) is based in Ambo and serves South Tarawa.

Cars can be rented in South Tarawa and Christmas Island and hotels can provide vehicles at rates slightly more than in the US. You’ll need an International Driving Permit (IDP) and they drive on the left in Kiribati. Roads are in good condition, although potholes and speed bumps are frequent. There’s a small toll across the causeway to Betio islet.

Kiribati Water Taxis

Cruises stop at Tarawa (Gilbert Islands), Christmas Island (Line Islands) and remote Banaba, while Fanning Island (one of the lesser visited Line Islands) is served by Norwegian. Passenger ferries run between the Gilbert Islands, chiefly from Betio to some of the Outer Islands (southern Gilbert), like Maiana and Kuria, as well as up to Abaiang and Marakei in North Tarawa. This service is operated by Supercat, but is sketchy in the wet season.

Charters also run these routes, and between islands within other groups, but getting between groups—such as from Gilbert to the Line Islands—is best done by flying from Fiji or Hawaii. Note: the Line Islands are particularly spread out; sometimes by as much as several hundred miles between atolls.

Kiribati Trains and Buses

There is no railway in Kiribati, and the bus service is simply shared minivans that double as charter taxis. They run between the towns of South Tarawa, as well as on Christmas Island from about 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Services are frequent and cheap. There is no bus service outside Tarawa (including the Outer Islands) or Christmas Island, however; you can rent a truck or motorcycle.