Difference between revisions of "Kosrae"
Revision as of 17:24, 16 September 2010
Kosrae is one of the four states of the Federated States of Micronesia.
Kosrae is unlike most Micronesian island that have other nearby islands that can be easily traveled to by boat in one to two hours. Kosrae is hundreds of miles from the nearest island, so a day trip to an outer island is out of the question.
Kosraean is the native language, but most people speak at least enough English to understand visitors. It is a requirement of all government staff to be able to speak and write English, and the staff at all of the hotels, restaurants, and rental car companies speak English. Some of the older residents are able to speak Japanese, a legacy of WW2.
Continental Micronesia (continental.com) has been flying to the islands of the western and central Pacific since 1986. Numerous East and West bound flights make Kosrae easily accessible even for short visits.
The Kosrae International Airport, in Tafunsak Village is located at the north-western corner of Kosrae. The air terminal features handicraft shops, food service, and car rental agencies.
Kosrae's airport currently handles direct 737 flights that leave Honolulu on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings around 7AM, and after crossing the international dateline, and traveling a total of around 8 hours, you arrive the next day, Kosrae local time at around 12.30PM. During this trip you will have two 45-minute stops, one in Kwajalein and the other in Majuro. Kosrae also receives flights from Guam on Monday, Wednesday and Friday that leave around 8AM. There are two 45-minute stops, one in Chuuk and one in Pohnpei along the way, and the flight arrives in Kosrae around 2.45PM local time.
If you are traveling to Kosrae from Europe, the common flight paths are via Manila (Philippines), Seoul (Korea), or Tokyo (Narita Inl, Japan), and then connecting through Guam.
From Australia the most common way is to take a Continental flight from Cairns to Guam, which then has a short connection time onto Kosrae.
From the U.S. mainland, the common flight path is via Honolulu, but you can also take a direct flight to Tokyo from many U.S. cities, and then travel via Guam.
Taxis are available on Kosrae. They are very cheap ($2 to $5), but you get what you pay for, and they are rather unreliable. They're OK if you don't mind long waits, or walking if they don't arrive. Rental cars are relatively modern and normally in good condition. Most are US standard auto, left hand drive, and cost around US$50 per day. Most hotels can pre-arrange them. Most of the roads are flat and run around the edge of the island near the ocean. Bicycles are not readily available to hire.
Take a 2-hour outrigger canoe trip through the Utwe/Walung Biosphere Marine Reserve. This tour can be booked through most hotels and is a must do when visiting Kosrae. The guide has an 8-hp engine on the canoe that has been made by hand from a local breadfruit tree, so you don't even need to paddle, just sit back and take in the amazing scenery. At $25 per person (max 4 guests), it's great value for money. Take a look at the following youtube video that runs for less than 2 minutes to see the tour first hand. 
There are three licensed restaurants on Kosrae where anyone 21 or older can buy a drink. Due to strong church influences, consumption of alcohol on Sundays is prohibited. DO NOT DRINK TAP OR STREAM WATER. Bottled water is widely available.
Kosrae easily ranks amongst one of the safest places on the planet. Crime is uncommon, and normally petty. At 5 degrees above the equator it rarely experiences winds above 20 knots. It does receive a lot of rain when a tropical depression forms north of the island that will head east north-east and turn into a typhoon about a week later somewhere near Guam, Japan or The Philippines. There are no snakes, crocodiles or any other nasty animals on the island. Kosrae is like a pin coming up from the rather deep ocean floor, and because of this, it is believed that tsunami's pass right on by it without being noticed, as there is nowhere for the energy to build up.