Yap is one of the four Federated States of Micronesia.
Yap is comprised of the main island atoll of Yap with Maap and Gagil connected by road and Rumung, commonly referred to as "The Forbidden Island", is accessible by boat but still within the reef. Outside the reef, Yap extends towards Chuuk (FKA Truuk) and has many outer islands and atolls; some of which are accessible by plane.
The island is famous for its stone money, which is rather large and cannot easily be moved. The island was opened for tourism in 1989 and has seen a good amount of tourists visiting, especially for the scuba diving and to catch a glimpse of the traditional Micronesian island culture. Skin Diver Magazine has called Yap "the most interesting island in Micronesia" and gives Yap the honor of being one of the magazine's top 3 dive sites.
The state of Yap consists of 134 islands and atolls. Twenty two of these are populated, stretching across an excess of 100,000 square miles in total area. Yap's main island is made up of four high volcanic islands, accounting for 38 of Yap’s approximate total 50 square miles of land area. The main island of Yap is where the state capital and commercial center, Colonia, is located. Most of the outer islands stretching approximately 600 miles east of Yap Island are coral atolls. These atolls are sparsely populated by people different from the Yapese in both culture and language.
The US dollar is the official currency in Yap, and Micronesia.
Standard 110 volt and the same US type outlets are used on Yap.
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- Yap Day - Observed in first week of March Annually.
- FSM Constitution Day – May 10
- UN Day – October 24
- FSM Independence Day – November 3
- Yap State Constitution Day – December 24
Yapese, Ulithian, Woleaian and Satawalese are the island's official languages (all of which are indigenous), but English is also spoken by many of the locals and travelers will have no problem getting by knowing little if any of the indigenous languages. Many of the elderly Yapese people are fluent in the Japanese language as well.
Visas are not required for tourists staying 30 days or fewer. Travelers must have a valid passport and/or documentation of citizenship. All visitors to Yap must have an onward or return ticket. Entry authorization for stays greater than 30 days must be obtained in advance from Immigration and Labor, FSM National Government, Kolonia, Pohnpei, FSM 96941.
Taxis are plentiful and inexpensive in Colonia, and travelers are free to use the public bus system in Colonia to get around. These busses are often used to transport students and government workers and run between Colonia and the outer villages in early mornings and evenings. Car and moped rentals are available too.
Most hotels provide transportation to and from the airport free of charge.
While on Yap, visitors may charter boats to the outlying Islands, which can be taken care of at a variety of places on the island. There are also flights from Yap to Ulithi, the closest outer island.
- There are quite a few villages and places to learn about the unique island life. As always, you should ask permission before wandering about. An alternative is the display village at the Yap Visitor's Bureau, just across the bridge from Colonia, where you can see traditional houses and stone money.
- Beaches are relatively few on Yap, and since they are all privately owned, you should always ask permission to use the beaches. The beach at the Village View Hotel is a popular picnic spot among the locals, as it has several pavilions with picnic tables. While reasonably picturesque (if only at high tide), swimming is not suggested, since the area near the beach is more muddy than sandy. Once you wade out far enough, snorkeling will reveal a few lonely outcroppings of coral with attached marine life, but it's nothing compared to the reef.
- The outer reefs around Yap are full of aquatic life (not just mantas), and they attract divers from all corners of the globe.
Inquire about ship rides, private planes or for the more adventurous might consider looking into sailing on a tradition canoe.
- Scuba dive, looking for Manta Rays.
- Snorkel on the reef. The coral, fish, and even the giant clam species are similar to Palau, except that they are virtually untouched and unspoiled. And, if you go to the right spots, you can see manta rays or stingrays. A word of caution, however-- The tidal currents in Yap are extremely strong, and at certain times of the day you cannot hope to swim against it even if you are Michael Phelps with fins. Therefore, *do not* attempt to go out yourself-- Hire a boat, let the current take you where it wants, and wait for the captain to pick you up on the other side.
- Surf the islands legendary waves.
- Take a cultural tour and check out the local island life.
- Visit the Traditional Navigation Society and take a ride in a traditional outrigger canoe.
Yap offers few restaurants, with most found in the Colonia area. In Colonia, you can choose between; O'Keefe's ($5.00 lunch specials include tea, rice, cabbage salad, soup and meat), MNUW (The schooner behind the Manta Ray resort - relatively pricey, but if you eat on Wednesday or Friday night, you may catch a movie!), Ganir (Filipino food with a raised veranda style dining area), ESA (a variety of options priced very well) and Trader's Ridge (more great food and still reasonable). Outside of the Colonia area you may find other eating options scattered, including a beach house with Japanese food. Be sure to inquire about getting a taste of the local food, which includes 3 types of crab, shrimp, lobster, tuna, wahoo, snapper and much more; and yes, Yapese do eat fruit bats and turtles.
. 7D pool open every Friday night up to saturday morning. A kind of beer garden with a dancing stage animated with live music and 5 pool tables where locals hang out.
Travelers should just reserve the first night at the hotel. Look around in Colonia next day if there is another hotel you rather prefere! The walkabout takes around 30 minutes.
- Manta Ray Bay Hotel, . One of the larger hotels on Yap. Here you can make arrangements to scuba dive, and view the Manta Rays that the waters around the island are famous for.
- Yap Pacific Dive Resort, . The hotel is on the site of the original pre-war Japanese command post. Good service, nice outside area with swimmingpool and restaurante.
- ESA Bayview Hotel,  A family owned and operated hotel located in the heart of Colonia. Two scuba/snorkeling operators are located directly next door, to the right of the lobby entrance-- Beyond the Reef, and Nature's Way.
- O'Keefe's Waterfront Inn, . A very private and stylish guest house, right on Yap's waterfront.
- Pathways Hotel, . A more traditional design hotel with 9 local style cottages and full service restaurant.
- Village View Resort, Wacholab, Maap (30 Minutes North of Colonia), ☎ 691-350-4679 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . Yap's only beach-front resort with a full restaurant, bar, and diveshop. Free pickup/dropoff to airport. Rooms have 110V, AC, mini-fridge, hot water. Rates start at $65/night for single occupancy; $75/night for double; $85/night triple. $65+. edit
Yap practises a rigid caste system creating an additional element of control over would be trouble makers. So, as long as you are culturally sensitive and respectful, you will be able to experience an entire cultural immersion. Do not wear shorts in public, except at beaches or swimming areas - showing female thighs is considered vulgar and immodest, but toplessness is considered very normal.
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