Unspoiled Beauty of Yap, Micronesia’s Tropical Paradise

in Oceania

With so much of the Pacific now transformed by tourism, the unspoiled wonder of Yap in Micronesia is even more enticing.

This is the kind of place which gives us a glimpse into what all of the Pacific must have been like centuries ago.

The locals don loincloths and hibiscus skirts. They build their houses from thatch and bamboo, and exchange currency made of stone.

It might sound like something from The Flinstones, but Yap’s stone money is used primarily for traditional reasons. Villages might give the large donut-shaped discs, which can weigh as much as five tons, as a gift to another village. The oversized coins are also used to buy canoes or land.

While many Pacific Islanders invite tourists into their villages, the Yapese people are notoriously shy. However visitors to Micronesia can learn more about their way of life at the Bechiyal Cultural Center.

One of the treats you’ll experience here is the Betel nut, a food that is revered by the Yapese as Westerners do coffee. The nuts are dusted with dry coral lime, wrapped up in pepper leaves, and then crunched. The nuts give a mild high which lasts approximately 10 minutes. There’s no hiding that you’ve had some either, as your lips will turn bright red!

manta ray off coast of Yap

A giant manta ray off the coast of Yap

As you might imagine, the ocean surrounding Yap is as clear and untouched as dry land. Scuba divers enjoy swimming in the warm waters amongst giant manta rays, tuna, dolphins, and reef fish. Ocean kayak tours can also be arranged for travelers preferring to explore the ocean while staying dry.

There are several small hotels in Yap, including The Pathways Hotel, Trader’s Ridge Resort, and The Manta Ray Bay Hotel, the first dedicated dive resort in Micronesia.

Continental Micronesia, a subsidiary of Continental Airlines, makes regular flights to Yap International Airport.

[Image Source: Bartek.cieslak at pl.wikipedia]

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