Micronesia (Marshall Islands)
Majuro Atoll
Most visitors to the Marshalls get only as far as Majuro Atoll, the nation's political and economic center and home to nearly half its populace. The atoll has 57 small islets, the largest of which are connected by a single 55 kilometre (35 mi) stretch of paved road, making Majuro appear to be one long, narrow island. Robert Louis Stevenson called the atoll the 'Pearl of the Pacific' when he visited in 1889, but it's a far less pristine Majuro that one sees today.

Majuro is the most Westernized of the Marshall Islands, but there's still a lot that can be learned about life in the islands from a visit. You can grasp what it's like to live on a ribbon of land so narrow that as often as not you can see the ocean on both sides. By visiting Laura Village, at the westernmost end of the mainland, you can find a rural lifestyle somewhat similar to that of the outer islands. While there, make use of the islands' best beach and Majuro Peace Park, a memorial built by the Japanese and dedicated to those who died in the East Pacific during WWII.

Three of Majuro's islands - Delap, Uliga and Darrit (Rita) - combine to form the D-U-D Municipality, the nation's capital and the most populous spot in the country. It's certainly no tropical paradise, but there are a few sights worth seeing. The Alele Museum is small, but its quality exhibits include displays of early Marshallese culture, stick charts, model canoes and shell tools. There's also a copra processing plant and the shockingly modernistic capitol building to visit.



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