The Island of Yap
Yap is a lush tropical island located just 9 degrees north of the equator (9.5557° N, 138.1399° E). Unlike many South Pacific islands, Yap is an uplifted portion of the Asian Continental Shelf. It is surrounded by a broad shallow lagoon and nearly 90 miles of the barrier reef.
Long before Yap became famous in the diving community for its Manta Rays, it was known as the Land of Stone Money. The huge disks of stone, some over 12 feet (3.5 meters) in diameter are still used today in major transactions. Our land tours will take you into villages with stone money banks as well as traditionally constructed men’s meeting houses called “faluw”.
The dances of Yap tell stories and relate the history of the island. By learning the dances, children learn about the ancient heritage of their people. Dances are performed every week, and Manta Ray Bay Hotel can arrange a tour for you to witness them and see a bit of village life.
Yapese traditions are still taught to all children. The islanders are determined to ensure that their culture does not succumb to westernization. While the island has modern facilities, many Yapese still live an idyllic traditional lifestyle.
Every village has a Men’s House constructed of large logs, bamboo, and thatch where visitors from other villages who have strayed too far to reach home before dark can spend the night. The men meet in the evening to tell stories and educate the village boys in the arts of fishing, sailing and crafts.