The Marshall Islands is one of the most unique places in the world to visit, made up of 29 coral atolls and 5 single islands spread out over an exclusive economic zone of nearly 1 million square miles (one of the largest in the Pacific!). The Marshalls is one of only four atoll nations in the world and is also one of the world’s youngest nations, independent since just 1986.
These beautiful islands are a collection of 1,225 islands and islets of which only five are single islands. The rest are grouped into 29 coral atolls which together make up more than one-tenth of all the atolls in the world. They resemble strings of pearls in a blue ocean backdrop, which is why they are referred to as the’ Pearl of The Pacific’.
They lie in two parallel chains known as Sunrise and Sunset (Ratak and Ralik) and in true atoll form, they are narrow and low and encircle large central lagoons. All the islands have glorious white sandy beaches, tall palms and are lapped by crystal clear waters. Of the 29 atolls, 27 are accessible by small plane (Air Marshall Islands ).
Most Marshallese are Protestants, and as a whole they are very religious. While the largest church in the nation is the United Church of Christ, there are many other Protestant denominations represented, like Assembly of God, Baptist, Seventh Day Adventists. The Catholic Church also has established a strong presence in the islands. In recent years, the Church of Latter-day Saints has also become established. Sundays are set aside for rest and relaxation and attending church services.
The Marshall Islands sit amid some of the world’s most spectacular underwater scenery, and the traveler who never looks below the water’s surface is missing out on some incredible sights. The water temperature is pretty warm year-round, so wetsuits aren’t a necessity (some people wear them for coral-scrape protection, but they shouldn’t swim that close to the coral anyway).
For natural attractions, Mili Atoll’s waters boast some of the most pristine diving conditions in the country. Another popular site is Calalin Channel, which for all the right reasons has been dubbed’ Shark Alley.’Bikini and Jaluit atolls have some of the best WWII-era wreck diving found anywhere, with scores of warplanes, submarines and battleships to explore. Other good wreck dives are found near Kwajalein . Aur and Ailinglaplap atolls have excellent snorkeling , with a wide variety of tropical fish and corals, plus the odd sea turtle and shark.
Virtually all of the Marshalls have beautiful white-sand beaches , perfect for lounging in the sun even where the waters aren’t the safest nor the most sanitary. Some of the best swimming spots are found at Ailinglaplap, Mili Island and Laura Beach at Majuro.
The islands’prime sportfishing catches include marlin, sailfish, yellowfin tuna, skipjack tuna, mahi-mahi and wahoo. Arno Atoll is famous for its abundant catches, as is Mejit, which also has octopus and lobster.
Birdwatchers will want to visit Bikar and Taongi (Bokaak) atolls, as they’ve both been tagged as potential national preservation areas. The latter was cited as being’ possibly the only example of a completely natural, unaltered, semiarid atoll ecosystem remaining in the world today.’Bikar has an especially large population of green sea turtles.
While in Majuro, you can also play tennis or go bowling , should the mood strike.