Tobelo and environs is predominantly Christian and this is expressed colourfully at Christmas with bamboo poles arching over the side of the roads hung with lights and multi-coloured flags. At Easter, local church congregations hold a competition to see who can create the best Easter garden. Tobelo and environs boasts large swathes of locally owned coconut plantations, supplying hundreds of tonnes of copra (dried coconut flesh) every month to the ports of Bitung (North Sulawesi) and Surabaya (East Java).
Tobelo is accessible by ferry from Bitung (Manado), North Sulawesi. It is accessible by a very good road from Sofifi (four hours by car), the Halmahera port with hourly speedboat connections to Ternate (1 hour journey time). There are small airports in Kao and Galela with flights from Ternate and Manado by small plane run by Merpati Nusantara and Trigana airlines. They fly on one or two days a week and schedules vary.