Formerly known as the Ellice Islands, Tuvalu is a Polynesian island nation located in the Pacific Ocean, midway between Hawaii and Australia. Its 9 islands comprise small, sparsely populated atolls and reef islands with palm-fringed beaches and WWII sites.
The island's heartbeat, Funafuti, offers calm waters for diving and snorkeling among sea turtles and tropical fish. The main island of Funafuti is the focus of travellers, since the only airport in Tuvalu is the Funafuti International Airport and the island has hotel facilities. The Funafuti Conservation Area consists of 12.74 square miles (33.00 square kilometres) of ocean, reef, lagoon, channel and six uninhabited islets.
The outer atolls can be visited on the two passenger-cargo ships, Nivaga II and Manú Folau, which provide round-trip visits to the outer islands every three or four weeks. There is guesthouse accommodation on many of the outer islands.