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General travel and country information can be found on the Marshall Islands Guide site by local journalist Karen Earnshaw
After almost four decades under US administration as the easternmost part of the UN Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, the Marshall Islands attained independence in 1986 under a Compact of Free Association. Compensation claims continue as a result of US nuclear testing on some of the atolls between 1947 and 1962. The Marshall Islands have been home to the US Army Post Kwajalein (USAKA) since 1964. A number of islands are off-limits to tourism (and even to locals) due to US military presence or the residue of nuclear testing.
Wet season from May to November; hot and humid; islands border typhoon belt.
The Marshall Islands consist of two island chains of 30 atolls and 1,152 islands, of low coral limestone and sand. Bikini and Enewetak are former US nuclear test sites; Kwajalein, the famous World War II battleground, is now used as a US missile test range.
The Marshall Islands consists of 29 atolls and 5 isolated islands, of which 24 are inhabited. They can be grouped into two island chains:
The western island chain consists of: Enewetak Atoll, Ujelang Atoll, Bikini Atoll, Rongdrik Atoll, Rongelap Atoll, Ailinginae Atoll, Wotho Atoll, Ujae Atoll, Lae Atoll, Kwajalein Atoll, Lib Island, Namu Atoll, Jabat Island, Ailinglaplap Atoll, Jaluit Atoll, Kili Island, Namdrik Atoll and Ebon Atoll
The eastern island chain consists of: Bokak Atoll, Bikar Atoll, Utirik Atoll, Taka Atoll, Mejit Island, Ailuk Atoll, Jemo Island, Likiep Atol, Wotje Atoll, Erikub Atoll, Maloelap Atoll, Aur Atoll, Majuro Atoll, Arno Atoll, Mili Atoll and Knox Atoll
Everyone is required to possess a valid passport.
United States and all its territories, Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of Palau, Pacific Islands Forum Countries including Australia and New Zealand are exempted from the requirements of entry visa.
Entry visa will be issued upon arrival to citizens of Japan, Korea, Republic of China (ROC), Philippines and some others provided the duration of the intended visit is no more than 30 days, the visitor have a roundtrip or a transit ticket and a passport valid for at six months.
Citizens of all countries not listed above must present a passport valid for at least six months with an entry visa, a roundtrip or transit ticket before boarding and traveling to the Marshall Islands. The entry visa to Majuro is issued by our Attorney General in the Marshall Islands. It suggested that you email the Immigration Director to request for issuance of entry visa upon arrival at Majuro Airport. Send by email to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org a request for issuance of a visa upon arrival and an attached copy of your passport, visa application, itinerary and entry visa to the next country stop. You will be given a confirmation via email on the issuance of visa upon arrival.
Visas cost $25 for a tourist visa that lasts 3 months. Business visas cost $50. Visas are valid for 30 days, but can be extended for up to 90 days once in the Marshall Islands. You must show that you can pay for your entire time in the Marshall Islands and that you can pay for a departure ticket, or demonstrate that you already have a purchased one. There is a departure tax of $20 tax, although those over 60 years old are exempt.
If you come from a country infected with cholera, you must present an immunization certificate. You must get an HIV test if you plan to work or live in the Marshall Islands, or if you will be staying for more than 30 days.
Air Marshall Islands (CW) provides regular scheduled internal flights to 10 of the atolls in the Marshall Islands and has planes available for charter. Flights are available between Honolulu and the Marshall Islands and to Fiji via Kiribati and Tuvalu. United Airlines stops in Majuro and Kwajalein on its island-hopper service between Guam and Honolulu.
Approximate flight times: From New York to Majuro is 14 hours; from Tokyo it is 11, from Guam it is eight hours to Majuro and five hours from Honolulu.
International airports: Majuro International Airport (MAJ). There are taxis and hotel transport from the airport to the town.
Air travel between the islands is provided by Air Marshall Islands. However, the company is fraught with financial and technical problems, and one or both of the two planes in the fleet are often downed for days, weeks or months at a time.
Transportation by ship is also available. Field trip ships travel throughout the islands, typically to pick up copra and deliver supplies; they usually provide passenger service as well.
To give a sense of scale, the journey from Majuro to Jaluit is approximately 40 minutes by plane and 24 hours by boat.
On Majuro There is a plethora of taxis available on the main road that travels the length of Majuro Atoll, and anywhere in the Majuro city area will cost no more than seventy-five cents. To get to Laura, on the other end of the island, there is a bus that leaves about once an hour from Robert Reimers Hotel.
Most Marshallese speak Marshallese and English. One important word in Marshallese is "yokwe" which is similar to the Hawaiian "aloha" and means "hello", "goodbye" and "love".
The charm of the Marshall Islands lies not in a great number of attractions. This small country, home to less than 70,000 people and comprising 1,156 (!) islands and islets, is however... quite unique. Don't expect any spectacular sights, but enjoy the pristine beauty of picture-perfect tropical islands, great scuba diving and windsurfing opportunities and the warm hospitality of the people.
Watch the sunset from your beachchair in one of the luxurious resorts or make your way to one of the more deserted beaches for a day of almost Robinson Crusoe-like tranquillity. On the far west side of the Majuro-atoll, the quiet beaches of Laura are a fine choice. If you've had enough of sun and sand, head to the capital Majuro for some shopping.
Head to the Longar area on Arno, where young women were once taught the tips and tricks for a happy sexual life in so-called love schools. This is a perfect place for deep-sea fishing too. In Uliga you'll find the Alele Museum and Public Library. Although small, it has some nice artefacts of the nation's culture on display. Note the stick charts, used by the indigenous people to help remember the complex wave patterns between the many atolls.
Bikini Atoll Nuclear Test Site
The Bikini Atoll Nuclear Test Site in the Ralik island chain is the first UNESCO world heritage site of Marshall Islands added to the list in 2010. It contains many remainders to 20th Century Cold war nuclear weapon race and destructive power of nuclear weapons. Part of the landscape are sunken ships sent to the bottom of the lagoon by the explosions and a huge crater formed by 1954 Castle Bravo test.
There are many types of different fruits that are available in the different seasons. There are also farms that produce vegetable or raise pigs. Most, if not all, the produce are: breadfruit, pandanus, coconut, corn, tomato, sweet potato, cassava, papaya, pumpkin, "nin" (noni), lime, pigs and chicken. In addition to these, there are stands that sell fruit and traditional food along the road from Ajeltake to Laura.
The Marshall Islands was once known as the world's "fishiest" place, meaning that there was an over-abundance of species of fish that dwell in Marshallese waters. However, there is great uncertainty as to whether this is still true today due to concern over overfishing and destruction of natural habitat by ships' anchors, harmful chemicals & climate change.
There are several restaurants that serve international food. The Marshall Islands Resort's (MIR) Enra Restaurant and Robert Reimers Enterprises' (RRE) Tide Table are among the most well known.
Non-Marshallese owned restaurants include Monica's (Chinese), La Bojie's (Filipino), China Restaurant (Chinese), Special Restaurant (Chinese), Oriental Noodle (Chinese), The Stone House (Japanese) and Aliang Restaurant (Chinese).
It is possible for Americans to get work on either Kwajalein or Roi-Namur Islands in Kwajalein Atoll. Only citizens of the Marshall Islands and US Military personnel are allowed to work at Kwajalein Atoll.
Mobile phone service is available from the National Telecommunications Authority. Visitors with a foreign SIM card may receive a SMS offering a local number for use with their foreign SIM card. You just need to top up the account to activate the service. Follow the instructions in the SMS. It may take a few attempts to make it work.
NTA offer internet through a chain of wifi hotspots. There are 3 ways to connect:
- Buy a card which will give time limited connection - $5 for 50 minutes.
- Buy a fixed amount of data online. the service will be offered when connecting to one of the NTA-UniFi hotspots. $10 give\ 100MB. Credit cards or Paypal are accepted.
- Register for a months access at the NTA office. This costs $35 per month, plus $5 setup charge. The MAC address of your device will be programmed into the NTA system, giving access to just that device. It might take a few attempts to get this to work.
Internet speeds can be quite good, but the system is not wholly reliable.
- Philippines (Honorary), PO Box 79, ☎ , fax: .