Pohnpei (sometimes still called Ponape) is located about halfway between Guam and Nauru, directly north of Papua New Guinea. It is now the capital island of the Federated States of Micronesia. Pohnpei is the island paradise that everyone dreams of visiting.
There are coconut palms everywhere, jungle waterfalls, swimming holes, a lagoon, rugged mountains, and Nan Madol ancient Micronesian ruins. There are no beaches on the main island – just mangroves down to the water – but the islands in the outer lagoon have excellent beaches, although I didn’t have the time to visit them.
The main town, Kolonia, is like a frontier town. When I visited, Pohnpei didn’t really have much of a developed tourist industry. The only real souvenirs are local coconut products: coconut soap, coconut shampoo, coconut milk, etc. And, Pohnpeian pepper was said to be the world’s best.
I found some great food. I ate superb Japanese food, including a mangrove crab. The sashimi was great – Pohnpei is in a major tuna fishing area.
I found Pohnpei to be remote, non-commercialised, friendly and very beautiful. If only I could have stayed longer…
Thanks to Yalmer Helgenberger at the Pacific Skylite Hotel for making my stay lots of fun, including the sakau.