Micronesia Travel Guide

Micronesia is a real mixed bag of islands. They include annoyingly commercialized destinations, cultural communities, WWII battle zones and some of the most stunning underwater scenery on the planet. Some Micronesian islands are politically and economically tethered to the United States, but most of the islands have managed to maintain their traditional way of life.

On the downside, Micronesia has its share of WWII leftovers such as Guam, Wake Island and Nauru which can all be passed over. If you prefer having your entire vacation arranged, and spending it with like-minded people, then the Northern Marianas are ideal.

Kiribati has more coconut trees than locals, providing all the isolation you’ll need. Fortunately, you’ll have plenty to distract yourself if you enjoy diving, walking along the sand and swimming in peace. Far-flung Kiribati is the world’s largest coral atoll, composed of hundreds of tiny specks of sand surrounded by magnificent coral gardens and sea life. The diving here is superb, offering highlights such as the Bay of Wrecks.

Similar to Kiribati are the 1,000 or so flat coral atolls that make up the Marshall Islands. Slightly closer to civilization, the Marshalls are little known but well worth exploring. With crystal lagoons and perfect powder-white sand everywhere you turn, these islands are a great place to lose yourself.

To experience authentic South Pacific culture, make your way to Woleai, one of Yap’s many islands. Only 800 people live on friendly Woleai, and enforce strict rules on themselves against wearing or doing anything that isn’t traditional. The result is a fascinating environment of canoes, traditional dress and lifestyle.

Scuba divers will find the islands of Chuuk worth a visit for its unique dive sites littered with sunken wrecks from WWII. An entire Japanese fleet lays intact and undisturbed on the ocean floor.

But Palau is really the highlight of Micronesia. This wonderful island is an excellent blend of kava-drinking culture, gracious locals and the region’s finest natural scenery both above and below the water. Scuba diving is the big thing in Palau as it features world-famous dive sites like the psychedelic Ngemelis Wall and the shark infested Blue Corner among its roster of highlights.