Yap is one of the four states of the 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 (formerly "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 number 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. 22 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 50 sq mi (130 km2) 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 (1000 km) 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.
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 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, and cost roughly $1.
Rental cars are also available through a number of businesses within walking distance of hotels in Colonia. Prices range from about $38-60 per day.
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.
- On the island of Yap there are quite a few villages, as well as endless beaches and places to learn about the unique island life.
- The outer reefs around Yap are full of other aquatic life, 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.
- Surf the islands legendary waves.
- Take a cultural tour and check out the local island life.
Yap offers a variety of restaurants, with most found in the Colonia area. In Colonia, you can choose between O'Keefe's ($5 lunch specials include tea, rice, cabbage salad, soup and meat), Manta Ray Bar & Grill (aboard the converted Indonesian phinisi schooner SV Mnuw, behind the Manta Ray resort - great food at a reasonable price and if you eat on Wednesday or Friday night, you may catch a movie!), Ganir (more local style with a raised veranda style dining area), ESA (German cook with a variety of options priced very well) and Trader's Ridge (more great food and still reasonable). Outside of the Colonia area you will 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 many other fish; and yes, Yapese do eat fruit bats.
Travelers should just reserve the first night at the hotel. Look around in Colonia the next day if you would prefer to switch to another hotel. 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. Manta Ray Bay Hotel also owns and operates the Manta Ray Bar & Grill aboard the converted Indonesian phinisi schooner SV Mnuw.
- Yap Pacific Dive Resort. The hotel is on the site of the original pre-war Japanese command post. Good service, nice outside area with swimming pool and restaurant.
- ESA Bayview Hotel. A family-owned and -operated hotel located in the heart of Colonia.
- O'Keefe's Waterfront Inn. A very private and stylish guest house, right on Yap's waterfront.
- Home Stays - Home stays with a local family or in a room in a Yapese house, bungalows or men's house, in Colonia or other parts, villages and beaches of Yap and Ulithi Atolls are possible.
- Oceania Hotel. Formerly Pathways Hotel. Nine individual cottages elevated on a hillside and overlooking the bay. Interconnected by elevated walkways, these enclosed wood and thatch-roofed cottages are clean, comfortable, and include a small private balcony. Oceania Hotel also operates a full service restaurant.
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 the thighs is considered vulgar and immodest.
From Yap you can make the journey by boat or plane to Palau or to the other nearby islands of Micronesia.