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 Truk) 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 US type outlets are used on Yap.
Many facts which you can still find in descriptions and even in new booklets from the visitor bureau are outdated. The Living Museum in the center of Colonia is dead. You can see some men houses, but nobody is there to show cultural skills. If you walk along the Eastern shore to the South, after 1 km you will see a stone money bank and an old stone street. If you make a sightseeing tour through the island, you woun't see much more then again men houses, stone money and stone streets.
The same applies to Rumung: men houses, stone money (at least the biggest one of Yap), and stone streets. The stone streets are in bad condition because nobody is there to keep them clean and tidy. Indeed: Rumung is dead. Most of the people work in Colonia during the week and come back to Rumung only on the weekend. Also the children have to go to school, and the school is in Colonia. The few people you can meet are wearing cotton clothes. The people of Rumung even plan to build a new bridge to the next island.
Mostly only on the Yap Day you can watch traditional dancing and singing. The girls are getting shy to wear traditional gras shirts, and they buy the paint for the beautiful colors fron the shop. They are not interested to learn how to make paint out of plants, and the boys find it boring to make ropes out of coconut fibre. They prefer GPS instead of learning traditional navigation skills from their fathers. The young generation is more interested of using mobile phones instead of keeping their culture alive. If you are lucky and talk with the people, you may find somebody who shows you how to make a basket out of a coconut leaf, how to make a gras shirt, how to make a mat or how to make a rope out of Hibiscus leaves or coconut fibre.
Yap tried to establish an "annual canoe festival" but they gave it up. The last canoe festival was in 2017. But it is still possible to sail on a traditional canoe. You can find some canoes on the Northeast shore of Maap. They use sails made from plastic, but the canoes are still really hand-made without using any part of metal.
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.
United Airlines offers flights to Yap a few times a week from Guam.
Taxis cost $1 to $1.25 each way to go anywhere in Colonia. It's generally best to call for one rather than try to flag one down, as they are typically unmarked. While there are a few taxi companies to choose from, the cheapest appears to be the one run by Outer Islanders (350-6666).
Travelers are also free to use the public bus system in Colonia to get around. These buses are often used to transport students and government workers and run between Colonia and the outer villages in early mornings and evenings.
Car rentals are available from companies such as 7D and Pacific Bus Company, both located nearby the Manta Ray Bay Resort. Japanese right-hand drive cars are generally cheaper, with typical low-end prices ranging from $22 to $33 per day.
Most hotels provide transportation to and from the airport free of charge.
From Yap, visitors may charter a boat or take the government ferry to the Outer Islands. PMA Pacific also provides flights from Yap to Ulithi Atoll.
Inquire about ship rides, private planes or for the more adventurous might consider looking into sailing on a tradition 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. Grocery stores and convenience stores may also sell prepared food in takeaway containers in the morning and/or around lunchtime.
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. Public toplessness remains an accepted practice, though generally limited to ceremonial events and/or the older generation.