The Marshall Islands

Majuro, Majuro Atoll, Marshall Islands, diving, Eneko, beach, boat
The Marshall Islands have seen their share of conflict in the past century. Originally settled by the Germans, the Japanese took over when they declared war on Germany in World War I. It stayed that way until the US defeated the Japanese to end World War II. Since the end of the war, the islands have been used for nuclear testing by the United States, gained their independence and now the Marshall Islands and the main atoll of Majuro are a bustling, westernized place that’s popular with military, divers and yachties.
Majuro, Marshall Islands, diving, beach, airport
The only way to get to the Marshall Islands is to fly into Majuro via the United Airlines hopper that runs from Honolulu to Guam and back every other day. Once in Majuro, you can fly Air Marshall Islands to the outer atolls including the famous Bikini Atoll.
Majuro, Majuro Atoll, Marshall Islands, diving, beach, Bikini Atoll
Bikini was made famous as the place that Harry Truman chose to conduct nuclear bomb tests between 1946-1956. It is said that there were 67 powerful nuclear bomb tests; which were the equivalent of 1.6 Hiroshima bombs being detonated every days for 12 years. As you may have guessed the islanders experienced a lot of health problems as a result and the US never fully rectified the situation.
Majuro, Majuro Atoll, Marshall Islands, Hotel Robert Reimers, RRE, hotel
My Uncle David (who you may remember from some of my other trips like the ferry to Ogasawara, Chichijima or Algeria) and I flew in and checked into the Hotel Robert Reimers or the RRE; which is smack dab in the middle of town.
Majuro, Majuro Atoll, Marshall Islands, diving, beach, Hotel Robert Reimers, RRE, hotel
The capital “city” of Majuro is called the D-U-D Municipality; which is comprised of three islands. The D-U-D has all the major businesses, restaurants, shops and governmental buildings on Majuro. It is a pleasant place to be but there’s not a whole lot going on.
Laura Beach, Majuro, Marshall Islands, beach, Marshallese
The highlight of the capital is eating time. DAR Coffee Corner has good breakfast and lunch and is located in town right behind the Formosa Supermarket; which is a good place to grab some snacks or drinks. We also ate the Tide Table restaurant in the RRE and the Marshall Islands Resort restaurant. Both were OK with the latter having great sunset sea views.
Majuro, Majuro Atoll, Marshall Islands, diving, Laura Beach, beach
All the history and city details aside, the best thing about Majuro and the Marshall Islands in general are the beaches and the diving/snorkeling. The best beach on Majuro is Laura Beach at the far end of the main island of Majuro Atoll.
Majuro, Majuro Atoll, Marshall Islands, diving, Laura Beach, beach
Renting a car is the best way to get to Laura Beach; which is an hours drive or so from town. It’s a nice drive because you see the whole island including the Majuro Peace Park as you drive through the suburbs.
Majuro, Majuro Atoll, Marshall Islands, diving, Majuro Peace Park, World War II Memorial
The beach is gorgeous. You will likely be the only one there. You are supposed to be charged a dollar for using the beach but nobody was there to ask us for money so I guess we got away with one!
Majuro, Majuro Atoll, Marshall Islands, diving, Majuro Peace Park, World War II Memorial
Another great thing in Majuro is to catch a boat to the outer islands of the atoll. We caught a boat to Eneko and had a great day. Eneko is about seven miles or so from town via fast boat. It is a small island with a gorgeous beach. Depending on the tide, you can walk around the island pretty easily although you should bring flip-flops because the coral on the Pacific side is pretty rough. If you’re lucky, you’ll have a little canine guide like we did. We named him Henry!
Majuro, Majuro Atoll, Marshall Islands, diving, Eneko, beach
Eneko is a great place to get away from town and chill out for an afternoon. You can kayak, snorkel, lie on the beach, swim or just laze in a hammock for a few hours as yours truly did. Also, if you do go to Eneko or the neighboring island of Kiddenen, you can actually snorkel over a US fighter jet that was shot down in World War II. It is really cool and well worth a look.
Majuro, Majuro Atoll, Marshall Islands, diving, Eneko, beach, hammock
That’s basically it for Majuro Atoll. To get to the outer islands and atolls like Bikini you have to rely on the spotty air service and the minimum stay is a week but Bikini is supposed to have some of the world’s best wreck dives.
Kwajelein Airport, Kwajelein, Marshall Islands, Majuro, military installation
Also, I should mention Kwajelein. Kwajelein is a $4 billion space tracking and missile defense facility operated by the US Department of Defense. The island has been at the heart of the US nuclear weapons program for some 60 years. Some 2500 US military and contract workers live on Kwajelein; which is very Americanized. I saw nice swimming pools, tennis courts and baseball fields from the air. This is very unusual for the Pacific islands as you might expect.
Kwajelein Airport, Kwajelein, Marshall Islands, Majuro, military installation, view
Access to the island is severely restricted. The only way you can stay overnight is if you have an on-island sponsor who secures your permit-apparently it is very difficult to get one. That aside, you can land on Kwajelein to be ushered to a water taxi to get to the nearby Marshall Island of Ebeye. I have landed at Kwajelein airport twice now and each time the only view I have got is from the sky and of course the tarmac.
Majuro, Majuro Atoll, Marshall Islands, diving, Eneko, beach, low tide
The Marshall Islands are a well-kept secret. It’s one of those places that people go to for work or to volunteer and just kind of end up staying. People get used to the slow paced island life and can’t leave. The islands are cheap and pretty comfortable. I would definitely recommend coming down for a few days and certainly including it on a bigger tour of Micronesia.
Majuro, Majuro Atoll, Marshall Islands, diving, Eneko, beach, pig, dog

Comments

  1. This is a great trip report on the Marshall Islands. I would love to visit one day. It seems very peaceful and undeveloped compare to Hawaii. The pictures are amazing.

    • It is the polar opposite of Hawaii in all ways! Thanks Jonathan!

    • Ryan Ybanez says:

      Thanks for sharing and hopefully more people will know about the Marshall Islands, lived on Ebeye for about 7 yrs, loved the people there. I have done my own adventures and have found pristine beaches on uninhabited islands. Diving is awesome, WW2 relics likethe german battleship Prinz Eugen, which is 2nd to the Bismarck.

  2. Amazing pictures Lee. Looks awesome in the Marshalls!

  3. Hey lee, amazing post and pictures. I had never heard of the Marshall Islands until you started posting on them on Facebook and now I am obsessed and want to go! Thanks for sharing as always!

  4. Beautiful photos!

  5. How do the Marshalls compare to Micronesia?

    • Well Micronesia is a federation of 4 distinct islands and the Marshalls are essentially just Majuro atoll which is much less developed than say Pohnpei where I am now. I feel like even Yap is more developed than Majuro but in a different way. They’re both cool in their own ways.

  6. The story behind the Bikini Atoll was not the story I was expecting to hear when I saw the picture! i figured it was going to be some crazy story about politician’s and bikini babes!

  7. Excellent article and photos, thanks for sharing! As an avid Scuba Diver for many years on the west coast of Canada, this has always been one part of the world I have always wanted to Dive and visit!

  8. I am pretty sure these are my favorite pictures you’ve ever posted! WOW!

  9. Alison Starr says:

    I lived on Kili Island from 1987-1988..have you taken time to go where many of the Bikinians life? I am so curious as to how they are doing.

  10. I had the privilege to go to Majuro in October of 2011. It is exactly as you recorded it here. Most amazing water I have ever seen. Only thing you missed was Te AMAZING Sashimi! Fresh off the boats. Eneko was fabulous. I also stayed at RRE. You sparked many fond memories. I will be returning within the next year. Many of my friends are Marshallese living in Northwest Arkansas which is home to the largest population of Marshallese outside of the islands. Thanks.

  11. Lee, I really think you need to get out more. Sounds like a fantastic trip! How long did it take to get there?

  12. Lee, amazing report and I want to be there immediately! How did you pick to go here? I’ve never even heard of it. This is why I read your site though. You write about places no other travel bloggers write about. It’s like a geography lesson for me each time you post!

    • Thanks for the very nice comment Pattie! I really appreciate that and I try to write about different places as I like remote places. I chose the Marshalls because I wanted to go back and explore more than I got a chance to do the first time and also because it fit nicely with the rest of the Micronesian trip I am doing.

  13. Wow those are amazing photos, what a beautiful place

  14. I was born in Ebeye and my sister was in Kwajelein. We both moved to the states when we were young so we don’t remember much of the islands. Thank you for the great information.

    • Wow, that’s awesome and thanks for sharing! I was also on Kwajelein but only at the airport as you’re not allowed to leave without being military or local.

  15. Wow, if paradise exist, then paradise is here!

  16. but why not pose with them?

  17. Nice post with beautiful pictures. It is pretty obvious that you are living very interesting life. Keep rolling. :)

  18. Hi! I was lucky enough to live on Kwajalein from 1981 to late 1984. It is everything you said and more. One of the things I enjoyed the most (since I’m not a diver) was walking the reef, looking for shells. I also had the opportunity to go to Ebeye on several occasions and attended services in their church. It’s a gorgeous place. I’m just sorry our tour ended and there is no way to go back except to work there!

  19. Michele says:

    I was blessed to work and live on Kwajalein from 2005 to 2007! It is the most beautiful and amazing place this girl has ever been to..It is truly paradise. :)

  20. Lived on Kwajalein (Kwaj) from 73 – 81 (4th to the end of my junior year). Visited Majuro with the girl scouts and band. Visited Pohnpei for vacation. Still have friends on Pohnpei. Still have friends living on Kwaj. Unless you’ve lived there, you never understand the ties that bind all who have lived on Kwajalein. No TVs for the first four years, two radio stations, no cars, only bikes and taxis ((look like a white UPS truck, no fresh milk (frozen concentrate and/or powdered milk). Wouldn’t trade it for the world. White, sandy beaches with water as warm as a bath, 80-90° year round, palm trees, warm rain, the worst crime is having your bike stolen, some of the best schools in the world! Look up the name Kwajalein on You Tube.

  21. Sharon Sullivan says:

    It is a pearl in the ocean. But keep in mind you can’t just drop in unless you have security clearance and a job waiting. Lived on Kwaj 64′-67′. No cable or satellite for TV. Great years!!

  22. Sandi Hult says:

    I grew up on Kwaj from 1959 until I graduated in 1975. My sister DeeDee was born there. This will always be home for us even though we can’t show our family where we grew up, where we roller skated down the hallways of George Seitz School, how we walked to the commissary and our groceries were taxied to us! Double feature movie night at the Richardson, a theatre you ride up to on bikes and sit on benches (or perhaps cuddled with a boyfriend on a lounge chair you brought with you)! I’ve wonderful memories of my family growing up here! We, the Moseleys, lived on Kwaj for over 18 years. I would love to come home if only for a few weeks, just to share those memories with my husband or kids! It is a little sad when we travel to where my husband grew up and he says “over there I did this” or “that’s where my first girlfriend lived” and I can’t take him to see my home. I still wouldn’t trade it for the world! I’ve made my best and closest friends on Kwaj and that I will always treasure!! Sandi Moseley Hult

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