The Federated States of Micronesia boast some of the clearest-blue seas you'll ever see, with white, crumbly sand shores. In islands like Chuuk are shallow and vast lagoons of monumental beauty, filled with shipwrecks and kaleidoscopic corals. The islands are a paradise for divers, and many argue that the area's diving and snorkelling ranks among the best in the world.
The Micronesians combine a profusion of languages, customs and folklore. On the island of Yap, islanders still trade using the ancient stone currency. Micronesians may still be glimpsed in traditional garments. Throughout, you are likely to stumble across snatches of unique island music and witness zesty, time-honoured dances.
The area became a US-administered Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands in 1947. This followed colonisation by the Portuguese, Spanish, Germans and Japanese. In 1986, the Federated States signed a Compact of Free Association with the USA, allowing for near-independence with US defence support.
The islands suffer from remoteness and lack of industry and infrastructure. There is development potential, but as yet Micronesia remains dependent on US aid. Tourism is one industry that could potentially boost the island's fiscal situation. However, even if tourism takes off, with over 600 islands to this country's name, finding some desert island bliss of your own here shouldn't be hard.