THE EYES HAVE IT – Where did I hop on the Island Hopper

In my last column I provided an overview of my South Pacific Island Hopper adventure trip. There is nothing wrong with camping out at a Hawaiian beach resort for a week, on Kauai or the Big Island, but sadly not Maui these days. But if you want a real look at the South Pacific islands, try United’s Island Hopper.

Our first Island was Majuro in the Marshall Islands. This nation with a population of 42 thousand is spread out over 5 islands and 29 coral atolls. It is not clear exactly how an atoll forms but the simplest way to look at is that there was once a massive volcano that over millions of years sank into the sea. As the rim reached sea level, coral grew along the rim forming a circular lagoon. Any geologists in the audience are free to weigh in.

Majuro has a single road running around the circular rim. On either side of the main road are small simple waterfront homes. There are a few small hotels and restaurants. You can easily see the island in a day and hop back onto the plane, next to Micronesia.

That brought us to Pohnpei in the Federated States of Micronesia. Unlike flat and narrow Majuro, Pohnpei was lush and Hilly, a smaller version of Kauai. 

We took a short hike to the Kepirohi waterfall for some photos and a swim (see photo). We then visited Nan Madol, an ancient fortress or palace for ancient Micronesian rulers. Building began in the 1100s and had been abandoned ty the time Europeans arrived early in the 19th century. 

Think of it as a South Pacific version of Machu Pichu. Hiking through the jungle to the beachfront ruins had an Indiana Jones vibe to it!

Another challenging hike to Sokehs Ridge carried us over wet rocks and steep pitches. Fortunately, no bones were broken. Our island tour was via a taxi hired for the day.

The Island Hopper journey ended in Guam. When getting off the plane we immediately felt like we were in America. From the airport halls and configuration to the signage, and finally the immigration officials, we felt like we were home despite being half a world away.

In Guam we sampled local cuisine and visited several beautiful beaches. The hotels are big, and shopping includes the same big box stores we see at home.

From Guam one can fly back to Honolulu to conclude the official Island Hopper adventure. Or it’s a relatively short flight to Palau, the Philippines or even Japan for some further adventure if you have additional time.

For a different type of warm weather vacation, consider hopping across the South Pacific Islands!