The Marshall Islands, officially the Republic of the Marshall Islands, is an island country situated near the equator in the Pacific Ocean, just slightly west of the International Date Line. It is a group of atolls and reefs (specifically 24 low-lying coral atolls, comprising 1,156 individual islands and islets) in the Pacific Ocean, and is geographically a part of the larger island group of Micronesia. It has a population of around 68,480 people. Its capital and largest city is Majuro. The Marshall Islands share maritime boundaries with the Federated States of Micronesia to the west, Wake Island to the north, Kiribati to the southeast, and Nauru to the south. It gained independence from the US administration (as the easternmost part of the UN Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands) in 1986, although the US continues to provide defence, subsidies, and access to social services. Its two official languages are Marshallese, which is a member of the Malayo-Polynesian languages, and English.
What to see & do
Take a drive along the palm-lined road to Laura, located at the far western end of Majuro. It’s the best place to head to when you’re looking for peace and quiet, and a way to relax as well. Its famous quiet beaches are perfect for swimming and snorkelling, among other things. There’s also Arno atoll, with its 133 islands, including Longar, which is well-known for its ‘love school’, where young women were once taught how to perfect their sexual techniques. Furthermore, the waters off Longar Point are known for great deep-sea fishing for yellowfin tuna, marlin, mahi-mahi, and sailfish. Another place to visit is Alele Museum & Public Library, located next to the courthouse in Uliga. This small museum hosts good-quality exhibits of early Marshallese culture, which include stick charts, model canoes, and shell tools.
How to get around within Marshall Islands
It is possible to travel in between islands by air travel, via Air Marshall Islands. Water transport is also available. There are field trip ships that ply throughout the islands for picking up copra and delivering supplies, as well as passenger services. You can also get around by taxi, which are plentiful, especially on the main road. These taxis travel the length of Majuro Atoll. If you want to travel to Laura, which is located on the other end of the island, there is a bus that leaves infrequently – usually about once an hour – from Robert Reimers Hotel. Outer atolls like Arno can be reached from Uliga dock, via a small cargo boat that goes to Arno twice a week, depending on the weather. You can also arrange for a private charter with one of the “yachties” that moor in the lagoon alongside the docks.
How to get there
Travellers who wish to visit the country can book (scheduled or connecting) flights to Marshall Islands International Airport, also known as Amata Kabua International Airport. It is situated in the western part of Rairok on the south side of Majuro Atoll. Currently, there are three airlines that serve the airport: Air Marshall Islands (Airok, Aur, South Tarawa, Ebon, Enejit, Jaluit, Jeh, Kaben, Kili, Kwajalein, Majkin, Maloelap, Mejit, Mili, Namdrik, Utirik, Wotje), Our Airline (Brisbane, Nauru, Nadi, Tarawa), and United Airlines (Chuuk, Guam, Honolulu, Kosrae, Kwajalein, Pohnpei).