Scenic Islands with Echoes of the Past
The setting is certainly stunning, but there's more to the islands of Micronesia that scenic charm. Long before Europeans began their voyages of discovery, ancient seafarers were crossing the vast expanses of Oceania to settle the small, scattered islands of the western Pacific. Hints of this ancient diaspora can still be found in the form of huge basalt obelisks and stone-walled citadels surrounded by networks of canals. Modern history buffs are equally rewarded with a treasure trove of sites dating to the Second World War. In addition to offering a storied past, the islands are also places of contemporary charm, with populations known for warmth and welcome.
- Best for: All travelers including divers, snorkelers, kayaking and exploring
- Best season to visit: Year round
- Weather: The tropical climate has very little seasonal variation, with air temperatures ranging between the low and high 80s from night to midday, and minimal variations in water temperatures. Dec - May are drier and rain is most common from July - Sept
Cultural Activities in Micronesia Overview
The social fabric of modern Micronesia reflects influences from Europe and the Far East, but these have not obscured the deeper roots of a culture dating back nearly 3,000 years. In addition to physical evidence such as huge stone statues and lost cities, the ways of the ancestors can be found in the customs and traditions of the local people.
Cultural Activities in Micronesia Tips
Don't expect the tour bus to drop you off at the gift shop or the interpretive center. Many historic sites on the islands of Micronesia remain in their natural state. Some can be reached by a short walk from a roadside stop, while others will require a bit of trekking through the jungle, or maybe even a boat ride.
Best Places for Cultural Activities in Micronesia
A tour of Kosrae's Menka Ruins reveals details of an ancient oceanic culture. The carved basalt monoliths of Babeldaob Island are nearly 2,000 years old. The trail to Palau's German Lighthouse leads to secret bunkers filled with forgotten war relics. On Yap, huge carved stones are used as local trading currency. The hidden coves of Risong Bay hold a treasure trove of exotic plants used by islanders for traditional medicines, dyes and poisons. Canals cut through Phonpei's lost city of Nam Madol, which is known as the Venice of the Pacific.
What to Pack for Cultural Activities in Micronesia
Hiking boots are probably overkill, but a good pair of lace-up walking shoes will be appreciated. Loose fitting shirts and pants that breathe will add comfort in the tropical climate. An island visit might be a good time to pick up a traditional local garment known as a lavalava, which is worn by both men and women.
Manta Ray Bay Resort
Options to downgrade your dive package to only 2-dives per day, drop Nitrox and Lunch during dive. Ask your Caradonna Travel Specialist about deduction in price details.
From $1,799 per person double diverBook Now
SY Palau Siren
From $3,950 per person double diverBook Now
From $3,095 per person double diverBook Now
Palau Pacific Resort
See Packages & Learn More
Manta Ray Bay Resort
See Packages & Learn More
Palau Royal Resort
See Packages & Learn More
Passport and/or Visa Requirements
A valid passport is required for entry which must be valid for 6 months beyond your date of entry. The passport should have one blank page for entry stamp. No visa is required for stays less than 30 days. Proof of onward or return ticket may be required. Palau has a $50 departure tax and Green Fee, Yap, Pohnpei and Truk have a $20 departure tax and Kosrae has a $15 departure tax, all of which are not included and must be paid in the destination.
Thre are no vaccines required for entering Micronesia, but you should always check with your doctor the Centers for Disease Control on recommended vaccinations for travel here.
Culture and Customs
The group of more than 2,100 islands known collectively as Micronesia cover an expanse of the Pacific Ocean the size of the United States but have a combined landmass less than the state of Rhode Island. The region's ethnicity and culture is a mixture of Melanesians, Polynesians, and Filipinos. Due to their historic isolation from each other and the wider world, each island group developed unique traditions and beliefs. Colonial influences and the advent of jet-age tourism have brought metropolitan centers into the 21st century, while more remote out islands still hold to many of the old ways. Yap, in particular, is a land where daily life is centered around villages where the local chiefs conduct community affairs from the men's longhouse. Positioned outside many of these houses are giant stone wheels that represent one of the island's most interesting traditions. While the US dollar is now the official currency of Yap, hand-carved circular stones of up to 12 feet in diameter are still used as the local legal tender for the payment of dowry or the purchase of land. Fishing has long been an important staple of life on Palau and Chuuk. The traditions of craftsmanship once used to hand-build boats and weave palm-fiber clothing are also expressed in such as intricate wood carvings and decorative accessories fashioned from sea shells and ivory nuts. Reminders of the conflicts of World War II are found across the islands, with bunkers, gun placements and fortified caves now overgrown by the jungle, and every manner of discarded or lost war materiel from rifles to tanks lying hidden below the water.
Electricity, Phone and Internet Access
Electricity in Palau, Truk & Yap is 110 Volts, 60 cycles. If you travel with a device that does not accept 110 Volts at 60 Hertz, you will need a voltage converter.
Micronesia has a modern reliable telecommunication system. WiFi is available at many hotels. It is recommended that you check with your cell phone provider to see what international plans are available for voice, data and texting.
It is recommended by the CDC to not drink the tap water in Micronesia. Bottled water or purified water if supplied by the resort are best.
Language & Currency
There are four indigenous languages in Yap: Yapese, Ulithian, Woleaian and Satawalese. English is the official language of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) and is commonly spoken and understood. Many elderly Yapese are fluent in Japanese.
The official currency in Yap is the US Dollar. Yap is famous for its Stone Money which is still in use for traditional exchanges such as the purchase of land or in village ceremonies.
There are two commercial banks in Yap, the Bank of the FSM and the Bank of Hawaii. U.S. currency is used. Major credit cards are accepted by most hotels, traveler's checks are recommended for purchases at restaurants and for shopping.
The official language of Palau is English and Palauan.
Currency is the US Dollar (USD). There are banks in all the major tourist areas, where credit cards are widely accepted, at visitor-oriented businesses.
The official language of Truk is English, but Chuukese is also spoken.
The official currency is the U.S. Dollar (USD). There is a branch of The Bank of FSM located in Truk, although the hotel will be able to accept your major credit cards.
Micronesia follows the American custom and tipping is an accepted practice in restaurants, hotels, baggage handling.
The Federated States of Micronesia and Palau to not observe Daylight Savings Time. Yap and Truk/Chuuk are 10 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (+10 GMT). Pohnpei and Kosrae are 11 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (+11 GMT). Palau is 9 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (+9 GMT).
Location, Size and Population
The Federated States of Micronesia which includes Yap, Truk, Kosrae and Pohnpei are located in the western pacific approximately 2,500 miles southwest of Hawaii, 450 miles southwest of Guam and 360 miles northeast of Palau. The Republic of Palau is an archipelago of over 500 islands in the western Pacific Ocean, the size of roughly 460 square miles. Palau is part of the Micronesia region. The most populated islands are Koror, Angaur, Peleliu and Babeldaob, the capital. About 2/3 of the population of Palau live on the island of Koror.
The population of Micronesia is 104,966 (2016), with 21,501 in Palau, 11,377 in Yap, and an estimated 53,000 in Truk.