Kiribati and Kiritimati – Christmas Island

Kiribati and Kiritimati /Christmas Island Driving and Car Hire Info

Driving on Kiribati
Kiribati drives on the left and you should be able to rent a car using your own photo licence. If your licence isn’t written in Roman alphabet, an International Driving permit is recommended. The speed limit is 40kmh except on causeways where it is 50kmh.

The state comprises of 33 small islands with more than half the 110,000 population living in Tarawa atoll, most on South Tarawa.The islands have 670 km of roads, mostly in Tarawa and Kiritimati/Christmas Island and about 3,000 vehicles, nearly 75 per cent of them being motorcycles. Buota, which is part of North Tarawa is linked by road to South Tarawa and Bairiki and Bikenibeu in south Tarawa are connected by causeways. Betio, the port area 3 km west of Bairiki, is connected to Bairiki by a causeway.

The South Tarawa main road connects Betio in the west to Bonriki and Tanaea in the east. This road was in a notoriously bad condition for many years, meaning it was difficult to drive above 10 mph in some places. A 2016 initiative has lad to extensive improvements and the road is now paved and in generally good condition.

On Kiritimati/ Christmas Island the main villages of  Banana, Tabwakea, and London are linked by a 60km paved road which is in reasonable condition. There are also dirt roads to the central lagoon and to Poland and Paris villages which will be in a worse condition and may deteriorate after rain.

Kiribati’s highest point above sea level is 87 metres making the islands prone to rising seas. Causeways can be flooded by high tides and heavy seas so proceed with caution if seas are threatening to flood the road.

Driving style is generally laid back on the islands and vehicles generally proceed slowly and are likely to stop with no warning. Drinking and driving is a common practice, especially on weekends and holidays. There are few streetlights and you’re likely to encounter pedestrians and animals in the road so proceed with care if driving abroad here at night.

Although I try and keep the information in the site updated as much as possible, in a rapidly moving world, situations can change daily. Therefore please use the site as an approximate guide, and in conjunction with other resources in order to form your view on driving conditions, roads, safety etc.

Kiribati Car Rental

None of the big multinational companies operate in Kiribati but there are local companies offering self drive car rental.. If you are a local car rental company who would like to feature on please check details on our Partnering page or contact us on

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