Pohnpei is the largest and tallest island in the FSM. Its peaks get plenty of rainfall annually and this creates more than 40 rivers that feed the lush upper rain forest. Pohnpei’s waterfalls range from pleasant to spectacular, creating a refreshing and breathtaking experience for those venturing to the base of the falls. There are even camping areas at some sites for those who want to hear the tumble of the water as they sleep under the tropical sky. The streams are great for cooling off after a hike in the hills.
Pohnpei is famous for its energetic dances and also for the relaxing drink sakau, a kava-like brew. Watching sakau being prepared is an experience unique to Pohnpei. The pepper plant is taken from the wild and presented at a special ceremony. The root is then pounded and mixed with water to form an earthy tasting drink that inspires both myth and magic. This host to the nation’s capital has much to offer the visiting nature lover, explorer and hiker.
The fishing and diving around the island is superb. Surrounded largely by rich mangrove forests, Pohnpei’s jagged coastline is intersected by numerous channels that carry nutrients into the vast lagoon. These nutrients attract marine life and make Pohnpei one of the most varied marine environments in Micronesia. The island’s hard coral reefs and colorful dropoffs are enchanting. Sea anemones, soft corals and colorful gorgonian sea fans dot the walls. Sharks, sea turtles and manta rays are seen at many sites around Pohnpei.
A short boat trip can be made to two neighboring atolls, Ant and Pakin, that exude the aura of paradise unspoiled. Here, the true meaning of pristine diving comes to the fore. Whether it be riding a raging current out to sea through an island pass or exploring a deep fan laden chasm, the atolls are a fantastic experience.
Pohnpei’s people offer a look at family life island style. Communities come together to weave a new boat house or just wash the daily clothes. Kids frolic in the water of the many rivers that flow from the mountains and down past the villages.
Much is still to be learned about the mysterious Nan Madol ruins. Called the Venice of the Pacific, this manmade city with ocean-filled channels once housed a thriving, royal civilization. Huge basalt pillars form the residences of kings and sorcerers. These remnants of an ancient Pohnpeian civilization are still being studied and explored. They can be visited as part of an overall nature tour or studied in depth all day with one of Pohnpei’s knowledgeable history guides.