Beyond Hawaii lies the nation of Kiribati, a charming Oceania destination where the sun and the sand work together to deliver superb tropical memories. First things first: the country name is pronounced “ki-ri-bass,” something to know before visiting – an interesting trivia since most people pronounce it the way it’s spelled.

The nation is composed of 33 islands, with 13 of them uninhabited. It is home to Kiritimati, the largest coral island in the world. Sun-worshippers and those escaping winter pangs will enjoy exploring this Pacific paradise. Welcoming Kiribati is always ready to serve sun-kissed memories above- and underwater.

10 Island Tours

A must-visit Kiribati island is Kiritimati, with its cerulean waters tempting tourists to have a dip. The 150 square miles of the lagoon is a gift to beachcombers, not surprising since the atoll’s name is a respelling of Christmas. What a merry sight. Tabiteuea, meanwhile, is perfect for island hopping, thanks to its charming islets. One island tourists will not miss is Tarawa because it’s the nation’s capital. It is home to many establishments, like a pocket of modernity in an alluring atoll. Whatever island tourists visit, Kiribati won’t disappoint.

9 Fishing

The location of Kiribati makes it a perfect spot for some good old fishing. Many anglers come to this country to try their hands at scoring bonefish, giant trevallies, sailfish, marlins, and other mighty Pacific creatures. Kiritimati is a favorite among fly-fishers, thanks to its sand flats and crystal-clear waters. Those who want to test their angling skills can go deep sea fishing, where they might reel in bluefins, wahoos, barracudas, sharks, tunas, and billfish. The Kiribati waters are fine, and so are the fish.

Related: The 10 Most Exotic Fishing Destinations From Around The World

8 World War II Sites

Though composed of scattered islands, Kiribati was not spared from the destruction of World War II. The area saw some of the bloodiest battles, especially on the islands of Tarawa, Banaba, and Gilbert. In fact, after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the Japanese invaded the Gilberts two days later. Remnants of the war are still present on the islands. With the presence of tanks, plane wrecks, and shipwrecks, taking a step back in time seems like an ever-present thing in Kiribati.

7 Phoenix Islands Protected Area

Kiribati is a small nation but has the world’s largest marine protected area, the Phoenix Islands Protected Area. PIPA has an expansive coral ecosystem, making it a thriving paradise for many marine species. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is not just home to many underwater critters but birds, as well, so it has the best of both worlds. The eight atolls and coral reefs of this marine reserve do not have tourism infrastructure, but those who dare to visit it will have a one-of-a-kind vacation.

6 Te Umanibong

Aside from World War II sites, history buffs should not miss visiting Te Umanibong, the country’s prime museum. It houses many historical and cultural artifacts, plus artworks. Also called the Kiribati Museum and Cultural Centre, this humble destination has collections about basketry, local houses, costumes, fishing, the war, and cultures of other Pacific island nations. Many Kiribati artifacts are in possession of foreign museums, and efforts are still being made to take them home. Though a small museum, Te Umanibong is not to be overlooked.

5 Birdwatching

Kiribati has numerous protected zones for the breeding of various bird species. The island of Kiritimati alone is home to at least 18 species, like the Christmas Island warbler, white-throated storm petrel, and Phoenix petrel, among others. The Phoenix Islands Protected Area is also a known headquarters of Pacific birds, an enticing prospect for birders. Fans of these winged creatures will have fun exploring the many islands of Kiribati, where the twitters and singsongs of these flyers will guide them to relaxation.

4 Underwater Adventures

When visiting a Pacific island nation, scuba diving and snorkeling are a must. In Kiribati, the recommended diving spots are Kiritimati and Tarawa, where barrier reefs and shipwrecks can be seen. Coral reefs abound in the Gilberts, Phoenix Islands, and the Line Islands, too. Even those who will just try snorkeling or shore diving will have stunning undersea moments, thanks to the presence of marine creatures that they are guaranteed to see. Thanks to colorful schools of fish and pelagics, diving in Kiribati is one for the books.

3 Surfing

As with diving, surfing should not be missed in Kiribati. The nation is proud of its isolation, making its beaches crowd-free. As such, surfers who want to hang ten will have the waves all by themselves. Fanning Island is a favorite surfing spot because of its yearlong swell, while Kiritimati has pockets of waves that will challenge thrill-seekers. The islands of Tarawa and Gilberts also have their fair share of breaks, an enticing prospect for those who want to be closer to the town.

Related: 8 Beaches to Catch the Biggest Surfing Waves in the World

2 Cruising

If tourists want to get the most out of their Kiribati vacation, they can have cruising journeys. The country welcomes small to medium-scale cruises whether travelers want to stay not far from the shore or in the Pacific. Tourists should imagine this: as the boat makes its way to the many islands of this charming nation, they’ll have the best ocean views matched by the smiles of their loved ones. That, plus the sight of the setting sun, will make their excursion a slice of heaven.

1 Cultural Experiences

Traveling is not all about picture-perfect destinations but more about the experience of trying new things, meeting new people, and learning about new cultures. In Kiribati, tourists can have enriching moments with the community by joining cultural tours. Such trips will let them appreciate traditional meeting houses, classical dances, unique costumes, and, most importantly, sumptuous food. If visitors want, they can even learn about the official language called Gilbertese. The locals are hospitable, and the culture is rich; what more can tourists ask for?