Manta Rays and Rainy Days in Yap

We spent 3 nights in Yap, a small island near Palau in Micronesia. Pete got us award tickets here, and we were looking forward to two main things about this island: scuba diving with manta rays and seeing the famous stone currency. Unfortunately, there was torrential downpour for our first two days, so we basically chilled in our hotel until the third day. Even more unfortunately, our hotel didn’t have wifi. On the plus side, we got to relax, unwind, read a bunch of books, and eat some home cooked meals. We dubbed Yap The Land of Good Sleep and Relaxation. When we finally got to dive on the third day, our luck turned around and we saw seven different manta rays! Here are the details behind our three nights in Yap.

Accommodation

Our bungalow
Our bungalow

Just like Palau, Yap is pretty expensive. We didn’t find many budget options online, but we found one that wasn’t too bad: Village View Resort. We booked it (months in advance) for about $75/night. It’s on the far end of the island, away from the airport and the main town Colonia, but it’s closest to the dive sites for which Yap is famous.

(Most of) Yap; we stayed near the grey marker
(Most of) Yap; we stayed at the grey marker

Here’s what you need to know about Village View Resort:

  • It’s the only beachfront hotel in Yap, which would be fantastic if you get good weather.
The beach in front of Village View
The beach in front of Village View
  • The owner, Al, is adorable and truly cares about his guests. He provides complimentary transport to and from the airport. He also helped us book our scuba dive.
  • There’s a restaurant on the property, and Al’s friend will serve you breakfast and dinner. They charge $12/person per meal, which seems pricey, but there aren’t really many options, unless you cook for yourself. Plus, the food is fresh and pretty delicious. To save money, grocery shop before you get there.
A typical meal at Village View: fresh fish, veggies and rice
A typical dinner at Village View: fresh fish, veggies and rice
  • Supposedly Internet is available in the hotel restaurant, but to use it, you need to purchase an access card. You’ll need to purchase these cards in Colonia.
  • The rooms themselves are basic and slightly worn, but they are clean, spacious, and cozy.
room at Village View
Our bedroom at Village View

If we went back to Yap, we’d stay here again.

Activities

Explore the Beach

As I mentioned above, we didn’t do much in Yap except scuba dive. The second day of being cooped up, we started getting cabin fever and took a walk down the beach in the rain. It was actually really enjoyable – we saw all kinds of wildlife crabs, fish & birds and played in some streams.
img_4372

 

img_4368

Stone Money

We planned on taking a cultural tour of the island to learn more about the stone money, but Al gave us some good advice – we’d see the famous stone money all around if we just walked around the local village, where our hotel was, and we’d probably get a better idea of the local life that way. Plus, it had the added benefit of being free 🙂

Yap Rai stone money
Stone Money in front of the hotel

The stone money, or Rai, is really neat – the stones are all different colors, shapes and sizes and each hold a different meaning. If you’re interested in learning more, check out this Wiki page.

Mission Crack-a-Coconut

All this excitement took about…2 hours. For our afternoon entertainment, Pete set out on an admirable mission: to open a coconut (without a machete). Let me tell you, the journey was riveting – expletives were spoken, neighborhood stray dogs were frightened, and the dream was all but crushed when the coconut rolled under our bungalow into spider territory. Never fear; Pete (fearless adventurer that he is) didn’t let a few spiders get in the way of his goal.

Victorious!
Victorious!

We’ve never had such a delicious coconut.

And of Course, Scuba Diving

Sadly, Al’s dive contact’s boat got wrecked in the storm. So even though the resort is really close to the popular dive sites, we had to drive down to Colonia to dive with Manta Ray Bay, and boat all the way back up to the dive site. We felt really lucky that the weather cleared up enough for us to dive. They took us to the most popular site in Yap: Mi’l Channel.

3 of the 7 rays we saw in Mi'l Channel
3 of the 7 rays we saw in Mi’l Channel

The dive cost $103 each, including the equipment we had to rent. Even though the water was murky and the current was strong, we were so glad we went and got the chance to witness these massive beauties up close & personal. Each one had a different personality; they were breathtaking to watch (or maybe our regulators weren’t giving us enough air…) as they slowly glided over the cleaning stations.

Is there anything else you’d like to know about Yap?

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge