Micronesia — Shopping and Leisure
Each of the Pacific Islands of Micronesia have their own unique souvenirs, from Chuuk’s love sticks to Yap’s bright grass skirts to Pohnpei’s elaborately carved model canoes. Fresh coconut is the most common ingredient in locally made lotions, soaps, and shampoos. Most Micronesian shops are open on weekdays, some are open for limited hours on Saturdays, and no shops on any of the islands are open on Sundays.
Fin Chuuk and Truk Stop, Chuuk’s two main gift shops, boast the island’s largest selections of the slender carved wooden rods called love sticks. Many of these love sticks were carved by craftsmen on the Truk Lagoon island of Fefan. War clubs, weaving, handmade bags, and scuba diving T-shirts are some of Chuuk’s other unique souvenirs. Several Chuuk souvenir shops and stalls are situated within walking distance of the island’s main cruise terminal.
A large supermarket called Wall Mart, not to be confused with the far more famous and very similarly named United States discount department chain, stands on the site of a former 1880s Pohnpei fort near the Spanish Wall. Pohnpei’s Wall Mart may boast the biggest number and variety of groceries of any shop on any of the Pacific Islands of Micronesia.
The handicrafts on Pohnpei also tend to be more affordable than on the other islands. Kolonia’s streets are lined with woodcarving, turtle shell jewelry, and woven wall hanging shops. However, an even bigger variety of affordable handmade jewelry, carvings, weavings, and traditional Pohnpeian skirts are sold in Kapinga Village. On Pohnpei, women traditionally weave intricate wall hangings while men meticulously carve dolphins, sharks, and other animals from mangrove wood. Ivory nuts and mother-of-pearl shell are among the traditional jewelry making materials.
Even more souvenir T-shirts and handicrafts are sold at several Kosrae hotel gift shops as well as the island’s visitor’s bureau. However, several Kosrae artisans sell their wares directly from their homes and will even come to the Kosrae Village Resort to barter with hotel guests upon request. Many more general stores and craft workshops are situated throughout this small island.
Crafts and souvenirs on Yap can cost more than those sold on the other Pacific Islands of Micronesia, but visitors can find bargains at the local artist night the Pathways Hotel hosts twice per week. The talented artists and artisans of Kaday Village are also happy to sell their wares. The biggest grocery stores on Yap are the Yap Cooperative Association and Colonia’s Blue Lagoon, both of which sell alcohol.