Constitutional monarchy. Gained independence from the UK in 1978.
Head of state:
HM Queen Elizabeth II, represented locally by Governor-General Sir Iakoba Italeli since 2012.
Head of government:
Prime Minister Enele Sopoaga since 2013.
220/240 volts AC, 60Hz (Funafuti only). Electricity in areas outside the capital tends to run off generators. Australian-style plugs with three flat, angled pins are used.
Tuvalu, the world's second-smallest country and, according to the United Nations, one of the least developed, fulfils the classic image of a South Sea paradise. Visitors come to the islands to enjoy the peaceful atmosphere and palm-fringed beaches. Pandanus, papaya, banana, breadfruit and coconut palms are typical. Traditional buildings with thatched roofs can be seen virtually everywhere on the islands.
Most activity is centred in the capital, Funafuti, where the greatest attraction is the enormous Funafuti Lagoon. The lagoon is 14km (9 miles) wide and about 18km (11 miles) long and is excellent for swimming and snorkelling. The second most populated island in the atoll is Funafala, which can be visited by hopping aboard the Funafuti Island Council's catamaran. There are no shops whatsoever in Funafala, so visitors should take their own provisions.
Last updated: 30 January 2015
The travel advice summary below is provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. 'We' refers to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. For their full travel advice, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
There is no British diplomatic representation in Tuvalu. If you need consular assistance, you should contact the British High Commission in Suva, Fiji.
Most visits to Tuvalu are trouble-free.
There is a low threat from terrorism.
The tropical cyclone season in Tuvalu normally runs from November to April. See Natural disasters