• Wallis and Futuna
    © iStockphoto.com / Mvaligursky
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Explore off the beaten track in Wallis and Futuna

By Dmitry Petrounin Dmitry Petrounin Section editor Profile
Wallis and Futuna is a French overseas territory, a south pacific archipelago between Fiji and Samoa. Holiday companies do not offer many deals to this destination because you need to allow several days to get there (even by plane) and even then there are more small boutique hotels than large resorts. Those who do travel to Wallis and Futuna, though, will be the happy few who have been to this stunning independent part of France.

Our Editorial team's advice

Wallis does not have great beaches, but the islands of the lagoon make up for this shortfall. Nukuhoine and Nukuhifala are the most visited as they are closest to Mata-Utu. It is worth visiting Faioa, off the coast of the southern point of Wallis. This island, uninhabited like the two others, has beautiful white sand beaches. If you want to go snorkelling, do not forget to bring your equipment as you will not be able to find anything on the island itself.

pros

  • +Wallis and Futuna have almost tourists.
  • +Architectural vestiges from the Tongan period.

cons

  • -This destination is particularly far away.
  • -Accommodation choices are limited (4 hotels totalling 26 rooms).

Traditions

The islanders have a tradition of meeting up in fale fonos (palm-covered huts) to drink kava. The preparation of this root-based drink as well as its consumption is subject to specific rules. Men are served according to their rank, and each person gathered there drinks in silence while the others applaud. Kava has various effects; it has a euphoric effect like alcohol, but also induces photosensitivity and can cause hallucinations if drunk in excess.

Food

Local cuisine is French inspired, but there are also Pacific specialities such as marinated fish, taro chicken or ginger and coconut pork. The majority of restaurants offer a good wine list, but beer is drunk most often (imported from New Caledonia or Austrailia).

Souvenirs

Local trade is the production of tapas (fabric made from breadruit fibres) with varying designs. On Wallis, these fabrics are decorated with fish and shells, while on Futuna most designs are geometric. Sculpted wooden objects are also often found (particularly the four-legged bowls used in the preparation of Kava). Shops are open from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm and from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm during the week.