The secluded island of Pohnpei, which fittingly translates to ‘Upon A Stone Alter’, is one of four states and a cluster of atolls that make up the Federation of Micronesia (FSM). A lush volcanic island fringed with pristine reef and exploding with natural wonders of tangled mangrove forests, cascading waterfalls, verdant jungles and dominant basalt cliffs bursting from the coral floor towering over the island like a protective guardian.
With almost no sandy beaches, the island is for those venturers who love to explore rather than flop and drop. With balmy waters, the crystal lagoon encompassing the island offers an underwater utopia. Home to vivid coral gardens, sheer drop offs and surreal marine life encounters, such as Manta Alley, where you glide alongside the gentle mantas – the underwater world has limitless sites to discover.
Surfers will enjoy the guarantee of no crowds and many passes on offer including the famed beast that is ‘P-Pass’.
Pohnpei is for the determined traveller. Taking a handful of flights to reach, makes for an almost untouched paradise. Hotels are in low numbers and also low rise – no higher than the coconut trees. The lack of tourist trinket shops and fast food restaurants gives Pohnpei its untrammelled splendour.
Circumbulated by a single road, the island is easy to navigate as you cruise through time frozen villages, bend past wandering dogs and skittish chickens who are testing the age old question of why they cross the road. Children wave furiously with grins stretched from cheek to check, women bustle about in their bloom patterned dresses.
For the adventurous, opportunities to hike the spine of the island to the summit of the ‘Big Mountain’, Nahna Laud, will reward you with the island of Pohnpei at your feet. This is not for the faint hearted. For those wanting to get their survivor on, zip across the bombay sapphire waters to Ant Atoll. Offering extraordinary diving and snorkelling as well as the opportunity to camp on this coralline islet which rings around the shallow turquoise lagoon makes for a true barefoot luxury experience. Sleep under the swish of palms and silent blanket of sky glittered with stars.
The six waterfall hike is a full day adventure as you traverse the island through the the sun dappled rainforest. The power of the falls and crystal pools at the bottom make for an invigorating swim between hikes.
For those keen on mythology and history, you cannot go past the world heritage listed site, Nan Madol. Best accessed by boat when the tides are right, you can also reach these dramatic ruins on foot by following a cracked coral path through a labyrinth of mangrove forest. These megalithic ruins are located over a series of islets threaded by canals which you can weave through via kayak or paddle board for those keen to venture deeper in the ruins.
Mythology and local beliefs envelop Nan Madol. How and when it was built, no-one knows for sure. It is said that giants (who’s bone are securely protected by the spirits in a nearby site) and magic brothers who flew the stones in, are responsible for the imposing construction. Today, the ruins are just that. Ruins. A complex of fallen columns strangled by jungle, the border of a fortress like structure still stands, proudly framing what was once a grand entrance and the gentle lap of the clear waters slaps the stones in the distance.
Due its location in the central Pacific, Pohnpei has its share of tumultuous WWII history, rusting relics and crumbling Japanese ruins. For those keen to delve into into the jumble of jungle, there are Japanese tunnels to navigate, oxidised barrels from Japanese artillery piercing through the foliage and another level of history to embrace.
An island perfect for the independent traveller wanting to truly head off beat, avoid the crowds and sink into true pacific life.
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This category of tours involves light trekking, walking, cycling, rafting or kayaking for a few hours each day with a small amount of inclines and declines. You will require a reasonable level of fitness and good health to participate. It is important to note that due to the nature of some of our trips, they may take place in remote areas (with basic facilities) and can involve long travelling days on various modes of transport.
Suggested preparation : At least 3 months prior to departure, it is recommended that you undertake aerobic exercise (this may include jogging, cycling or fast walking) for 30 minutes, three times a week. It is also advised to walk on variable terrain and in variable weather conditions. For a cycling adventure, road cycling twice a week is recommended and for adventures which involve paddling and kayaking, it is important to gain confidence and rhythm rather than speed prior to departure.
This category of tours involve trekking, kayaking and cycling for period of 6 to 8 hours a day at a fairly consistent pace. Ideal for people looking to slightly increase the heart rate. For our moderately rated tours, you must have a good level of fitness and also be in good health. It is also important to be prepared for variable weather conditions. Altitude may also come into play. This category of tours may involve visiting remote areas where facilities can be quite basic. Accommodation may also involve camping, homestays or basic accommodation where facilities may not be considered of western standards. To enjoy this style of travel, it is suggested for travellers to have a reasonable level of fitness and health, a positive attitude, as well as a fairly active lifestyle. An open mind is also required.
Suggested preparation: At least 3 months prior to departure, it is recommended that you undertake 45mins – 1 hour of aerobic exercise, three to four times a week. Some potential exercises that could be beneficial include hill walking with a backpack on over variable terrain and weather conditions, as well as running and cycling dependent on the activity you plan on undertaking.
This category of tours involves trekking, kayaking, cycling or other adventure activities in remote areas for up to 8 to 10 hours a day. It is important to note that with the remoteness of some regions comes a variety of other challenges such as variable weather conditions, accommodation as well as facilities. You must have an excellent level of fitness and good health to be able to partake in this category of tour. You must have confidence in your own ability and be in good physical condition. Includes extended periods of endurance.
Suggested preparation: At least 3 to 4 months of strenuous exercise, four times a week. When preparing for treks it would be beneficial to participate in hill walks with a weighted day pack (approximately 5-8 kg) once a week for aerobic fitness and strengthening of leg muscles. It is also important to do this on variable terrain to prepare for challenging adventures. When preparing for cycling adventures, regular bike riding (at least 4 to 5 times a week for 1-4 hours is essential). It is also important to cycle on uneven surfaces or even participate in other aerobic exercises such as running or swimming to build up strength and stamina. Altitude may also be a factor in these tours.
This category of tour often involves extreme trekking, cycling or other extreme adventure activities. It is important to expect remote and poorly defined tracks and to be prepared for variable weather conditions for 10 to 12 hours per day (may sometimes be more depending on weather and altitude). These adventures are suitable for travellers who have prior experience in strenuous travel and activities, are extremely fit and have excellent health. It is also important to note that some of the terrain on these adventures will involve trekking in snow, at high attitude levels and may require technical equipment.
Suggested preparation: It is important to note that physical fitness should be an ongoing activity, commencing around 5-6 months prior to departure, or even before if you have no prior fitness. Exercise should focus on building maximum endurance and stamina. Four to five hard sessions of 40-60 mins per week should be completed and can include exercises such as going to the gym, running, swimming or cycling to focus on building aerobic stamina. It could also be beneficial to prepare by hiking on rough terrain, in extreme weather conditions or partake in altitude training.