Capital | Palikir
Population | 106,836 (July 2011 est.)
Area | 702 SQ KM
Official Language | English
Holidays | Constitution Day, 10 May (1979)
Currency | Dollar (USD)
Time Zone | UTC +11
Best Time to Visit | Temperatures hover around 81˚F (27˚C) year round, but it’s a little less humid December to June.
Connecting with the Culture | Diving the sunken Japanese fleet resting in Chuuk lagoon. Bashing through thick rainforest interiors or snorkeling the fringing reef of Kosrae. Staying amongst the hibiscus flowers and jungle hillsides on Pohnpei. Rocking on at Nan Madol, Pohnpei’s ancient stone city. Embracing traditional life in Yap, where some people still wear loincloths and everyone has a bulge of betel nut in their cheek. Collecting seashells on Nukuoro, an uninhibited Polynesian haven.
Read | Islands Islands: A Special Good, by Bernadette V Wehrly- a collection of poems, songs and legends.
Listen | to Randall Mathias’ album Little Refonuwach, a blend of contemporary and traditional Chuukese melodies.
Watch | The Paradise Islands, Micronesia- a video designed to show off the islands as a tourist destination.
Eat | (or rather chew) buw (betel nut), sometimes with tobacco added on Yap.
Drink | sakau (kava), a narcotic drink made from the roots of pepper shrubs, which is hugely popular on Pohnpei.
In a Word | Mogethin (Yapese), Kaselehia (Pohnpeian), Ran annim (Chuukese)- greetings from respective islands.
Characteristics | Giant stone money; red-stained lips from betel nut chewing; divine in underwater maritime ‘museums’; bountiful seafood feasts; dark jungle interiors; friendly villagers; empty beaches.
Surprises | Micronesian societies are made up of clan groupings, with descent traced through the mother (except on Yap, where descent is patrilineal); the head clan on each island can trace its lineage back to the island’s original settlers.