One of the wettest places in the world, the state of Pohnpei is the largest and most developed of the Federated States of Micronesia. The state includes the main island of Pohnpei, eight atolls, 25 small islands and another 137 scattered atolls. Sometimes known as the Garden Island, Pohnpei is a lush green volcanic island that is covered with dense tropical jungle with its highest point at Mount Nanlaud, which is 2,566ft (782m) high. Due to the heavy rainfall, the island has many waterfalls and rivers which lead into mangrove swamps and channels along the island’s jagged coastlines.
Pohnpei’s history can be traced back to before c.1100 from the existence of the Nan Madol basalt ruins which lies on the eastern shores of the island. The rule of the island was by the Saudeleur Dynasty and they developed a tribal culture which was fiercely protective of the island. The islanders chased away many European voyagers through the 16th to 18th century and only in the 19th century fell subject to colonial occupation right until the 20th century.
Fast forward to today, Pohnpei is mostly slow and quiet with a population of 34,000 people. Palikir town is the administrative center and capital of the Federated States of Micronesia but the most populous town in Pohnpei is Kolonia. Pohnpei is growing in popularity amongst the surfing community for excellent waves at the Palikir Pass. Besides that, Pohnpei offers travelers activities like scuba diving, snorkeling, kayaking and hiking.
Visit the basalt ruins of Nan Madol which was once the capital of the island. Head to the magnificent Sokehs Rock which can be climbed on a dry day. Either that, head into the jungle for a hike and hopes of spotting endemic bird and animal species on the island. Surfing season runs from October to May and is mostly at Palikir Pass.
United Airlines offers an island hopper service that starts from Guam, stopping at Chuuk, before arriving at Pohnpei. There is also a flight from the Marshall Islands.