Tokelau: Atafu

The nation of Tokelau consists of 3 islands – Atafu, Nukunonu, and Fakaofo. All tree islands are coral atolls, and with the highest elevation being only a couple feet, Tokelau is the lowest lying nation on earth and the first to disappear with the forthcoming global warming. The total land area is only 10 sq km and 1500 people live here, quite densely jammed in. While Tolelau is remote, exotic, and a travelers’ holy grail, it’s extremely xenophobic and not welcoming. Most foreigners are not allowed to step foot on it (despite receiving $24k in financial aid from New Zealand per person! The first island we approached after 1.5 days of sailing was Atafu, and I wasn’t permitted to disembark – so just nice panoramic pictures of tropical islands.