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“Fascinating History, Sketchy Location”

Pohnpaid Petroglyphs
Ranked #9 of 10 things to do in Pohnpei
Attraction details
Reviewed January 4, 2013

We rented a car from Micronesian Car Rental and circumnavigated Pohnpei on the last day of our visit. We had purchased a map at Joy restaurant ($3) that showed several attractions around the island. The Pohnpaid Petroglyphs was the only attraction with a sign on the main road (though spelled Pohnpaip on the sign). I guess you need a local guide to find everything else.

The site is located about 20-30 min. southeast of The Village, north of Nan Madol. There is a 2-space parking area by the roadsign, with a 5 min. easy walk to the site. The petroglyphs themselves are quite interesting. They consist of a few dozen images chipped into a basalt flow over an area about the size of a tennis court. Prominent images include a dagger motif repeated several times, a human foot, a human face, fish, and crosses. The images are about a foot across at the most, and are only a millimeter or so deep. They are hard to see in the bright sun -- I found that the contrast was better when viewed on my camera's LCD screen. There is no information at the site, but I have read elsewhere that they are estimated to be between 500-1000 years old.

My experience was marred somewhat by some strange behavior by the locals. After exiting my vehicle and walking a few feet up the footpath, I was asked by a lounging man where I was headed. I mentioned the petroglyphs, and he requested a $4 fee to see them. I paid, after which he motioned for me to follow a silent teenage boy up the path. Walking up the path, I was informed by a second man that the person I paid was not the landowner (who is the rightful payee), but I was in luck because the landowner was not home. The whole thing made me a bit uneasy as I was alone, and potentially walking into a trap. Fortunately, nothing untoward happened.

After recounting my tale to The Village proprietor, he said that they do not bring people to the petroglyphs anymore because of numerous fees imposed by the owners of each section of the footpath. In retrospect, I should probably have brought a guide from The Village with me to deal with the locals and help me find the other roadside attractions that I never found.

By the way, the car, a late model KIA Sportage, was in like-new condition (<10kmi) and cost $60 for 24 hours. It was good to have AWD because the road around the island is quite rough in places.

4  Thank PacificFleet
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed September 29, 2015
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Thank isekisan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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