Butaritari Island Profile


Butaritari meaning the ‘Scent of the Sea’ is known as the first island to have the Japanese and the Americans fierce involvement during the 2nd World War. It was also once a home for Robert Louis Stevenson during the nineteenth century, the first island to be sighted by first resident traders namely Randell and Durant, and was the site for some of the first international tradings. The island was discovered by Spanish explorer, Pedro Fernandez Quiros in 1606.

During the initial occupation of the Japanese in 1941, they built the seaport for their naval ships and submarines while the Americans built the airport later in December 1943 after they drove out the Japanese. These two facilities are still being used today.

Butaritari is also known to have an abundance of rain received each year. It is one of the lush and tropical islands therefore vegetation is widely grown on it.

The traditional skills of calling whales (Te Binekua) was also derived from this island and now left with only few numbers of people who can practice this knowledge.


3,280 (Census 2005)

Island Council:

Contact details

Phone Number: (686) 35003


Portable generator (privately owned by some



No banking facilities available. Everything will be cash

(Australian dollars)


No internet connection available.


7 Primary Schools and a Junior Secondary School

How to get there:

Flight Schedule

Air Kiribati Ltd – every Wed, Fri, Sun

Phone number: (686) 28557/21550

Coral Sun Airways – every Tuesday and Sunday

Phone number: (686) 29539/29517

Boat Schedule

Kiribati Shipping Services Limited

Phone number: (686) 26195, Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Oceania Shipping Services

Phone number: (686) 50333,

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Kiribati Inter-Island Shipping Services

Phone number: (686) 26839


For accommodation enquiry, please follow the link below:

Butaritari Island Guest House, please ...click here, Parish Guest House, please ...click here, TKK Guest House, please ...click here

Link to Butaritari Fact File

Main Industry:

Agriculture, fisheries and handicraft


Land line telephone and CB Radio

Health Services:

1 Health Center and 7 Clinics

Interesting facts:

Crystal blue water, white sandy beaches on uninhabited

islets, WWII Relics and Historical/Cultural shrines.