Part of the Federated States of Micronesia, Yap is situated in the Western Caroline, between Guam and Palau. It is off the main tourist route and is made up of four main islands - Yap Proper, Tamil - Gagil, Maap and Rumung, plus ten small islands all within the boundaries of a beautiful coral reef.
Click here for a space shuttle photograph of Yap
The landscape consists of rolling hills and lowlands covered with thick jungle like vegetation. Most of the coastal areas are mangroves with occasional coral beaches. Like other FSM islands, there is a coral reef, so snorkelling is popular as is diving in the crystal clear lagoon with the giant manta rays which appear at certain times of the year. The town of Colonia on Yap Proper is the capital and is slightly more urbanized than the village area.
Yap also has 130 outer islands stretching nearly 600 miles east of Yap Island. Most of the other islands are coral atolls and are sparsely populated by a people different from the Yapese in culture and language. Four indigenous languages are spoken. These are Yapese, Ulithian, Woleaian and Satawalese. English is the official language so some local Government organizations still conduct business in the Yapese language. Because of its position, Yap was minimally affected when the Spanish colonized Micronesia in the 1500s and again during German occupation from the end of the 1800s to the beginning of World War I.
The same thing occurred during the Japanese occupation, so by Micronesian standards, Yap remains relatively unaffected by modern society. Most of the land outside of Colonia is private property so visitors are asked not to litter or to take pictures of people without their permission. The stone money of Yap (largest in the world) is not legal tender in the international currency market, but is still used as legal tender on the islands. The value of these limestone, doughnut-shaped coins varies though not according to size. Today, the money is still owned but not moved, even though ownership may change.
Visitors can still see some of the traditional houses in the villages. The villages of Yap Proper still retain the foundations of meeting houses and platforms used by the elder male residence to discuss community matters. Only a limited number of visitors come to Yap each year, so the people, who are naturally shy, are more responsive to those who respect their culture and customs.
All land and beaches on Yap Proper and the outer islands are privately owned by the traditional leaders and chiefs. If you want to get off the beaten track, request to explore further by asking permission from the tribal elders. You may have to pay a small fee for the privilege. Yap remains a distinctive destination because of the way the people value their history. The traditional dress is brightly coloured loin cloth for men and grass or woven hibiscus skirts for women.
The official currency is the U.S. dollar and credit cards are accepted only by Bank of Hawaii, Manta Ray Bay Hotel, Yap Divers and the Airlines, so travellers cheques and cash are recommended for hotels, restaurants, shopping, diving and other purchases.
Yap is known as the island of manta rays because you can see mantas here consistently. A new find is the manta ray cleaning station where the mantas queue up to have parasites removed from them by small wrasses. These rays have a wing span of 3-6 metres and weigh in at approximately 460 kilograms. Popular dives here are Mill channel, Manta Ray Pass and Gufnuw channel.
For More Information Contact:
Micronesia - Aspects of Yap
Micronesia Postcards and Picture Galleries
Pacific Islands Radio Stations
Welcome everybody to Micronesia Music Anthology which is available on
The anthology can be accessed by clicking on the 'Broadcast Schedule' after logging in to Micronesia Music Radio. This should allow you to determine when the anthology is available in your part of the world. For example, in Brisbane and the Gold Coast, Australia, the anthology is available at 12 noon each Saturday. In Kiribati, the anthology is available each Saturday afternoon at 2 pm; California at 7 pm each Friday evening; New York at 10 pm each Friday evening, along with Florida and Boston, Massachusetts, USA, etc.
The anthology runs for 90 minutes in which the traditional chants are introduced, including many from the Federated States of Micronesia (Pohnpei, Chuuk, Kosrae and Yap), followed by the beautiful songs of Micronesia. Thank you!
The schedule can also be accessed here