Marshall Islands Travel Profile
After almost four decades under US administration as the easternmost part of the UN Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, the Marshall Islands attained independence in 1986 under a Compact of Free Association. Compensation claims continue as a result of US nuclear testing on some of the atolls between 1947 and 1962. The Marshall Islands have been home to the US Army Post Kwajalein (USAKA) since 1964. A number of islands are off-limits to tourism (and even to locals) due to US military presence or the residue of nuclear testing.
Wet season from May to November; hot and humid; islands border typhoon belt.
The Marshall Islands consist of two island chains of 30 atolls and 1,152 islands, of low coral limestone and sand. Bikini and Enewetak are former US nuclear test sites; Kwajalein, the famous World War II battleground, is now used as a US missile test range.
Most Marshallese speak the two official languages - Marshallese and English. One important word in Marshallese is "yokwe" which is similar to the Hawaiian "aloha" and means "hello", "goodbye" and "love".
There are many types of different fruits that are available at different seasons. There are also farms (mostly local) that produce vegetable or raise pigs. Most, if not all, the produce that can be seen are as follows: breadfruit, pandanus, coconut, corn, tomato, sweet potato, cassava, papaya, pumpkin, "nin" (noni), lime, pigs, and chicken. In addition to these, there are regular stands that sell fruit and traditional food along the road from Ajeltake to Laura.
The Marshall Islands was once known as the world's "fishiest" place, meaning that there was an over-abundance of species of fish that dwell in Marshallese waters. However, there is great uncertainty as to whether this is still true today. This is due to the fact that data concerning overfishing and destruction of natural habitat (by means of anchors, harmful chemicals, climate change, and such) are indicating a dramatic change in the health of the sea area covered by the Marshall Islands.
There are also several restaurants that serve international food. The Marshall Islands Resort's (MIR) Enra Restaurant and Robert Reimers Enterprises' (RRE) Tide Table are among the most well known. There are also several non-Marshallese owned eateries that are available, such as Monica's (Chinese), La Bojie's (Filipino), China Restaurant (Chinese), Special Restaurant (Chinese), Oriental Noodle (Chinese), The Stone House (Japanese) and Aliang Restaurant (Chinese).
Nudity is not appreciated on Marshall Islands, and conservatism increases as one travels further from the capital island. Snorkeling and swimming should be done with as minimal bare skin exposed as possible (male and female). It is a religious society, and social norms are generally quite conservative, with limits being set on alcohol consumption and nudity in most communities throughout the islands.
The family unit is held as vital and there is a strong sense of community. As an outsider, you are seen as slightly strange in your loneliness, but then welcomed or even symbolically adopted into local families as a gesture of welcoming.