Nan Madol

“Nan Madol is a prehistoric ‘city’ of more than ninety man-made islets off the coast of Temwen Island, constructed of naturally-occurring prismatic basalt columns, basalt boulders, and coral fill. Many of the islets have large, complicated structures on them composed of the same types of rock — stones as heavy as 90 tons. Together, the islets formed a powerful administrative and religious complex from which the island of Pohnpei was ruled for several hundred years by a line of tyrannical monarchs called Saudeleurs. The lower city, Madol Pah, was the administrative center, while the upper city, Madol Powe, was the ceremonial heart of the complex.

Megalithic sites like Nan Madol are rare around the world and even rarer in the Pacific. Anyone who has seen the city would place it alongside other more famous megalithic feats such as the pyramids of Egypt and Central America, Stonehenge, Machu Picchu, and Rapa Nui’s moai. And yet, Nan Madol is little-known outside the archaeological community and visited by a surprisingly small number of people each year. Nan Madol was inscribed onto the UNESCO World Heritage List in July 2016.”

For more information regarding Nan Madol and its history visit: Nan Madol Ruins – Pohnpei Eco-Adventure Guide.


The main attraction of the Nan Madol ruins is Nan Dauwas. The name means “in the mouth of the High Chief”. Nan Dauwas was a place of war, where chiefs and high priests gathered during times of war to strategize and ask for help from the gods, which is why it has the highest walls among all the structures at Nan Madol. It is the only structure left at Nan Madol that has not been reclaimed by nature. Most of Nan Madol is overgrown with trees and mangroves and is very unaccessible.
Work is being done to clear other parts of Nan Madol and give visitors more access to other sections of Nan Madol but as of today, it is still mostly impenetrable.

Visiting Nan Madol via Car

We can take you to Nan Madol with our vans, with one stop at Kepirohi waterfall on the way to or back from Nan Madol.This trip can take around 6 hours, so prepare for an all day out, or you can do it in the morning or afternoon. It all depends on how much time you want to spend around the ruins.Included on this trip are all landing fees, drinking water, banana bread, cold coconuts. There is no food for sale around Nan Madol so feel free to bring some additional food. Like anywhere in Pohnpei, you could get wet, whether from rain or from crossing the small channel that gives access to Nan Madol. Good shoes/slippers and sunblock are highly recommended.

Visiting Nan Madol via Boat

We also offer trips to Nan Madol via boat. This trip is done in two parts. We first drive with one of our vans to Kepirohi waterfall. After you have refreshed yourself, we drive to a nearby location where we get a boat to circle around Temwen island. This boat ride is around 6 to 8 miles, depending on the route chosen, passing through some amazing ecosystems of mangroves, reefs, rivers and a sand bar loaded with manta rays. On the boat ride around Nan Madol you can see a lot more of the ruins’ outer walls and channels. It is an amazing trip and by far the best way to see Nan Madol. One important thing to note however, to do Nan Madol tour by boat we need mother nature’s cooperation. Especially having the tides and the weather working in our favor. During the summer months tides are really low making it hard to access Nan Madol by boat during peak day hours. If you are coming to Pohnpei we can always advise you in advance and whether a trip to Nan Madol via boat is possible. This car and boat ride to Nan Madol takes around 6 hours. It’s a ride on a small boat, so you will most likely be getting wet. Bring sun and rain protection, a swimming outfit, and some extra food for this adventure. On this trip all landing fees, and snacks like banana bread, drinking water, and cold coconuts are included.

For more information on Nan Madol go to: Nan Madol Ruins – Pohnpei Eco-Adventure Guide


Reclaiming the Hidden Islets of the Nan Madol World Heritage Site – YouTube

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