Almost three thousand years before Europeans explored the vast Indian and Pacific Oceans, local seafarers from the Pacific rim had navigated thousands of miles of ocean to discover the islands of Micronesia. Scattered over three million square miles of the Pacific Ocean are more than two thousand tiny, tropical islands. These postcard-perfect island paradises with swaying palms and shimmering white sand beaches, azure lagoons and unspoiled coral reefs are teeming with vibrant life and color. Together with the lush rainforests and cascading waterfalls, Micronesia is truly magnificent.
The ancient seafarers made the journey in flimsy sailing canoes using primitive methods of navigation and taking months at a time. Today the trip takes just a few short hours in the comfort and quiet of modern jet aircraft, but it is no less of an adventure. A lively population of mixed cultures, traditions, festivals, legends and history wait to welcome modern travelers to Micronesia. Its exotic, unspoiled natural beauty, both above and below the water, now attracts more than one and a half million visitors annually.
Micronesia consists of the archipelago of Palau and four large island groups: the Northern Mariana Islands which include Guam, Rota, Tinian and Saipan; the Caroline Islands which include the States of Yap, Truk, Pohnpei and Kosrae; and the Marshall Islands including Majuro, Kwajalein and Bikini. Of the more than 2,000 islands only 125 are inhabited and the total land mass of the over 2000 islands is less than 1,500 square miles (half the size of the island Bali). The islands are a mix of high volcanic islands and low sand and coral atolls, with the majority being made up of tiny coral atolls. The largest island is Guam with 227 square miles. The highest point in Micronesia is on the island of Agrihan in the Northern Marianas at almost 3,000 feet above sea level. Kwajalein is the world`s largest atoll covering almost 1,000 square miles.
Micronesia enjoys one of the world`s most equable climates. Temperatures average a consistent 80ºF, dropping only slightly in the Northern Marianas during the winter months, November through March. Rainfall is uniformly spread and again lowest in the Northern Marianas during winter making them a very popular and pleasant destination for tourists at this time of the year. Pohnpei and Kosrae are exceptions and are among the wettest places on the planet with annual rainfalls in excess of 400 inches. The rainfall is evenly spread over the year and generally occurs only for a short period each day, serving to cool the air and replenish the lush vegetation, rivers and waterfalls, causing little discomfort or inconvenience. The northeast tradewinds blow steadily across Micronesia in the winter months bringing cool, fresh air to the islands. These tradewinds turn to calm, south easterlies and occasional typhoons in summer, but apart from typhoons there is so little seasonal change that the casual visitor would hardly notice the difference.
Passports and visas are not required for U.S. citizens for entry into the Micronesian islands. However, proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate or naturalization papers must be produced. Throughout Micronesia the U.S. dollar is the local currency. Major credit cards are widely accepted.