Whether you are visiting Yap for the extraordinary diving or the dazzling local culture, make sure you have the best experience by staying in the most comfortable. Hospitable hotel on the island – The manta Ray Ban
Referred to by leading dive magazines as "The best little dive hotel in the world”, the Manta Ray Ban is conveniently located on the waterfront in Colonia, offers a full range of sophisticated modern facilities, superb service and a first class restaurant. Yet the hotel also retains its own unique charm and intimacy.
The hotel’s dive operation, Yap Divers, is acclaimed throughout the dive world for superb standards of service – they’ve won manyinternational awards – and is your guarantee of full access to the top diving sites around the island.
Yap is an unforgettable experience, make the most of it by staying at the Manta Ray ban Hotel.
An exotic island culture and unforgettable manta dives make this an irresistible destination.
Yap is a traditional Micronesian island that is just a little more than an hour from Guam — but worlds away in terms of culture. In the last couple of years, Yap has made cautious steps to cash in on Micronesia's growing popularity as a holiday destina¬tion. There are new businesses popping up to cater to visitors, making Yap a "con¬venient adventure".
Tradition plays an important role in daily life on the islands of Yap. The pave¬ment ends as soon as you leave the only town, Kolonia, and in the villages life con¬tinues much as it has for hundreds of years. The Yapese have long been known as great ocean navigators. Those residents of the outer atolls still sail vast distances in open canoes using only the stars to guide them. Yapese dress is still traditional, not so much in town but in the small vil¬lages. Men still wear loincloths and women wear grass skirts or lava-lavas. If visiting, women should wear clothing that covers their thighs. Toplessness is not considered offensive on Yap, but a woman wearing a miniskirt would be thought as shocking as a topless woman strolling through a US shopping mall.
The real adventure in diving Yap is the ex¬ploration factor. Yap Divers now has some favourite dive sites that are rich in sea life and coral, but there are still kilometres of reefline and channels that haven't been explored yet. Depending on sea conditions and your sense of adventure, it is possible to be blowing bubbles in a place where no one has dived before.
The most popular sites are located at Yap's southern tip and along the southern and south-central coastline. Gilman Tip is one such spot. It offers a breathtaking sheer vertical face covered with a rich array of hard, soft and gorgonian corals. This is a place to see golden and multi coloured crinoids on top of sea fans and coral heads. Pilot whales have also been spotted here at different times.
Nearby Lionfish Wall offers dives of 740m. The sea floor is at 45m and baby grey reef sharks in schools of a dozen or more are seen here regularly. Sleeping sharks are seen frequently along the bottom; big groupers can be seen along with snapper, and lots of big eyes and soldier fish hang out in the crevices. Lionfish, especially the incredibly beautiful pterois volitans, hide under the ledges of the wall.
Yap's biggest attraction for divers are its manta rays. It has taken years of observation by scientists to figure out what the mantas' feeding and mating patterns are and to design ways to watch them that al¬low the average sport diver to swim near them without disturbing their natural rou¬tine. Now, Yap offers the diver a glimpse of these creatures that can rarely be seen elsewhere. At Miil Channel they tend to congregate in a place called Manta Clean¬ing Station. The channel is up to 20m deep, but the station sits along the wall at 12m. Hawksbill turtles and white tip sharks rest on the bottom. There are also various hard corals, especially on the coral heads in the channel centre.
Where to stay
Yap Divers at the Manta Ray Bay Hotel is the major operator on Yap, and the only dedicated dive resort in the island group. Beyond that Reef Divers and Nature's Way dive shops cater to small groups. They of¬ten use the rustically-set Pathways Hotel for diving/accommodation package deals. The ESA Hotel on the bay has recently ex¬panded. Yap Divers also have facilities for film processing, camera rental and video editing. Dive lessons are also available for novices. Flights to Yap run twice weekly, so package tours are best. Yap Divers has a guaranteed manta sighting scheme where you get the week free if you don't spot one when you're diving.
Yap holds many attractions for dive travellers: a laid-hack atmosphere and traditional lifestyle, the chance to swim with manta rays, and the opportunity to dive unexplored sites.