Chuuk Atoll, located in the Caroline Islands has one of the largest lagoons in the world.
Beneath the blue waters of the lagoon encrusted with coral, are more than 60 sunken ships from the Japanese WWII fleet. Lashed to the decks of freighters are the rusty remains of fighter planes and trucks.
The lagoon has been declared a monument, with the salvage and taking of relics prohibited by law. Divers must obtain a permit before diving around the ships.
One of the two top scuba diving locations in the world. Chuuk’s water temperatures are 29ºC and incredibly calm between December and May. Average temperature above water is 30ºC.
The main island of Weno is the capital and commercial centre and Chuuk’s State Centre is where visitors can experience a taste of island life by visiting the local stores jammed with everything from kerosene stoves to ladies wear and handicrafts.
For an outstanding view of Weno and the lagoon, climb into the old lighthouse built during Japanese occupation and visit the Blue Lagoon Resort for a stroll in the coconut palm grounds with splendid views across the water to Dublon Island, formerly the Japanese military headquarters.
American dollars are used while travellers cheques and currency can be changed at banks and at some hotels.
When visiting traditional areas, respect local customs and note that the locals frown upon mini skirts and short shorts.
Chuuk is a small island but there is plenty to see and do here. Children will especially enjoy hiking trails atop Mt. Tonaachaw. The locals revere the mountain as holy and consider it the home of their local deity. Visitors can scale the peak Iras (229 m) or enjoy the falls and the pool at the base of the mountain. Another place of interest on Chuuk is the lighthouse built by the Japanese. It offers panoramic view of the Weno Island – the state capital and the main commercial center of Chuuk.
Children can explore more of history in the Nefo Cave, where one can see preserved remains of Japanese guns. The unique activity Chuuk is most famous for is wreck diving. The lagoon site with ship wrecks is a monument and divers need permit to use the area. The best time to dive in the Chuuk waters is from December to May when the water temperature at about 30 degree Celsius, ideal for sea diving.
Visitors to Chuuk can feast on local delicacies as well as Japanese and American cuisines. Most restaurants here serve multiple cuisines, catering to visitors from all across the world. Try Truk Stop restaurant or the Blue Lagoon resort for American and Pacific cuisines. Go to Oriental restaurant for some Korean food or try Sunrise restaurant for some local flavors.
Chuuk is the ideal place for those who love to sample local produce. The staples here are fish from the reef, shellfish, octopus, crabs, chicken, pigs and plant sources like yam, banana, coconut and breadfruit. When in Chuuk, get your fill of tropical fruits such as star fruit, sour sop, mango, pineapple, wild apples, papaya and many other fruits native to the region. Families can also enjoy a beach day with a basket full of local fruits and quench their thirst with the fresh coconut available in plenty on the island.
There is not much on the island in terms of nightlife. It is an island with a small population and simple way of life. But there is so much more Chuuk has to offer its visitors. Chuuk is a great place for kids to come and experience a unique way of life. Visitors can shop for handicrafts that are made by the locals. Bags made from palm tree or banana fibers, wooden tools and accessories made from sea shells are a delight to take back home. Devil masks popular in the region are a part of the island folklore. Story has it that it was first used to scare a ghost that stole food from the people! Children can watch and may even partake in building huts, weaving mats, making ropes, carving canoes and climbing palm trees. Chuuk is a great place to witness a slower pace of island life.