OK, SO IT'S NOT EXACTLY in the South Pacific, but Yap is worth crossing the equator for. This collection of more than 130 low-lying atolls pockmarking the North Pacific between Guam and the Philippines has a mere 3,000 annual visitors. (By comparison, neighboring Palau sees 90,000 tourists a year.) The lack of outsiders, combined with sporadic access to Internet and TV, makes Yap's culture the most intact in Micronesiano staged luaus with stuffed pigs here. And at Traders' Ridge Resort, the native staff loves to teach guests about their traditions, like the national addiction to chewing betel nuts. Bartender James Funwog makes it easy by shaking up betel-nut martinis.
THE GOOD LIFE: Atop a ridge overlooking Chamorro Bay, in the quiet capital town of Colonia, the 22-room Traders' Ridge was built to resemble the 19th-century clipper ships that came here to trade. Each airy room has rich wood floors, carved paneling, and private decks. Expect Yap-inspired spa treatments (turmeric is a favorite ingredient) and seafood often caught by the chef himself. And don't miss the spicy tuna sashimi.
SPORTS ON-SITE: Hike miles and miles through breadfruit, noni, and monkey pod trees lining millennia-old stone pathways.
BEYOND THE SAND: Hop in a skiff for the half-hour ride to Mill Channel, where you can dive with giant manta rays. Be sure not to miss the dancing in the resort's Ethnic Art Amphitheater. The dozen basic steps are arranged into an infinite variety of hopping combinations.
THE FINE PRINT: Doubles, $215, including airport transfers; 877-350-1300, www.tradersridge.com. Continental Micronesia (800-525-0280, www.continental.com) offers flights from LAX, via Guam, starting at $1,925.