Travel Information - Yap - Micronesia
Yap is located in the Southwestern corner of Micronesia. It lies between Palau and Guam, approximately 955 km East of the Philippines. One side of Yap is bordered by the Pacific Ocean while the other side borders the Philippine Sea.
Yap consists of 4 major islands linked by road. The cluster is shaped like a kite and is 27 km long by 10 km wide, at the widest point, ringed by mangrove shoreline, protected lagoons, secluded beaches and a coral barrier reef.
Yap's famous manta rays and the diverse marine life that make their home in Yap's coral reefs and tidal channels have made Yap one of the fastest growing diving destinations in the world today.
The clear waters and sheer drop-offs make for a spectacular variety of diving experiences, but the divers all come for one thing: Yap is the world capital of manta ray diving. More than 45 individual mantas have been identified and given individual names, each easily recognized by the distinct markings. Mantas are by no means all that Yap has to offer divers. Yap is located below the Pacific typhoon belt and for the same reason the mantas are on show year-round, divers can dive all year in consistent conditions. Reef sharks and big oceanic greys regularly patrol Yap's fringing reefs and have made several new sites and walls popular on the east and southeast coast. These sites also offer caverns, large gorgonian and fan corals, numerous varieties of reef fish and schools of tuna and jacks. Eagle rays also school in several areas in shallow water providing yet another exciting photographic and diving experience for divers visiting these legendary waters.
Culture and Customs
The people of Yap are proud and secure in their culture and traditions, which have been incorporated into daily life in the 21st century. Village life centers around majestic Men's Houses where the local Chief conducts village meetings. Cooking is done over open fires with meals of reef fish, yams and bananas as the staples.
Dance is a living art form in Yap with each village presenting dances to the High Chiefs on Yap Day (March 1). Dancers in richly appointed costumes of hibiscus and flowers perform exciting and graphic tales of the culture and history of Yap. Stone money and Shell Money are still used in traditional exchanges and a council of High Chiefs still yields great influence and respect among the people.
Time: +10 GMT
Currency: The U.S. dollar is the official currency of Yap. There is only one bank machine (ATM) on the island, so it is recommended that you bring enough cash with you prior to arrival.
Visa, MasterCard and American Express cards are accepted at the Manta Ray Bay Resort & Yap Divers for all purchases and services.
Yap is famous for its Stone Money which is still in use for traditional exchanges such as the purchase of land or in village ceremonies.
Tips: Tipping is an accepted practice in restaurants, hotels and for baggage handling. (15% of bill in restaurants, $3-5/ day for housekeeping staff, $3 per bag carried)
Language: There are four indigenous languages in Yap: Yapese, Ulithian, Woleian and Satawalese. English is the official language of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) and is commonly spoken and understood. Many elderly Yapese are fluent in Japanese.
Visa: A valid passport with 6 months validity remaining is required for Yap. Other required items include a return ticket, confirmation of hotel reservation, and another form of picture ID.
Airport Departure Taxes: Not applicable
Health: Please contact your local vaccination clinic to see what you specifically need. Yap's drinking water is safe to drink. The water system is tested continuously to ensure the safety of the drinking water.
Bifolac or similar (ask in your local pharmacy), that helps to build up a good bacteria culture in the stomach and Immodium or similar that helps with tourist diarrhea.
Headache tablets, nose spray (one that will not dry out the nasal membrane) and sea/ motion sickness tablets are all useful to have.
Pharmacies and doctors are available for customers doing shore based diving.
Electricity: Yap uses the same electrical standards as the USA (110 Volt, 60 cycles). All electric outlets are American style. International visitors should bring plug adapters to convert to their appliances. 220 and 240 voltage is available for International visitors using this power system.
Climate: The climate is maritime tropical, with little seasonal variation in temperature, which averages 27° C. The islands are subject to typhoons. The short and torrential nature of the rainfall, which decreases from east to west, results in an annual average of 305 cm in Yap.
Average temperature: 27 degrees.
Average water temperature: 27 degrees
Clothing recommendations: Attire is very casual and formal wear is considered unnecessary and impractical. Men will find pants and a Hawaiian style shirt appropriate for the most formal occasion in Yap.
Flip-flops are acceptable footwear anyplace on the island. Lightweight cotton dresses, blouses and skirts that cover down to the knees make the best island wear for women. In Yap, toplessness is common and socially acceptable, but it is considered highly offensive for women to bare their thighs in public. Short shorts, bikinis and miniskirts are a definite no-no. These dress restrictions don't apply to women when diving or sunbathing on some private beaches, but bring a wraparound with you for when you get out of the water or leave the beach.
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