Ebeye is in Kwajalein atoll. Most of the residents of Ebeye are, or are the descendants of, islanders evacuated from other islands in the Kwajalein atoll. It is the most populous island of Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands, and the center for Marshallese culture in the Ralik Chain of the archipelago. Islanders are hospitable and welcoming to foreigners, but Ebeye has very little to offer tourists.
The main income for Ebeye residents is from the relatively small number of people employed on the Kwajalein military base. The money earned supports the population of around 15,000 on 80 acres (32 hectacres) of land. Over 50% of the population is estimated to be under the age of 18, and Ebeye is one of the most densely populated places in the world. Most people are very poor.
A coral reef (visible and able to be traveled at low tide) links them to Kwajalein and the rest of the outside world. A causeway at the northern end of the island provides a roadway that connects to several other islands, forming a chain of inhabited islands about 10 km (6.2 mi) long.
Before the early 1950s, many Marshallese lived on small islands throughout Kwajalein Atoll. When Kwajalein island started to be used as a support base for the nuclear tests conducted at Bikini Atoll and Enewetak Atoll, Marshallese residents of Kwajalein were relocated by U.S. authorities to a small, planned community constructed on Ebeye, which was largely unpopulated and had served as a Japanese seaplane base before the Pacific War.
With the advent of the anti-ballistic missile testing program of the 1960s, the U.S. military decided for safety and security reasons to evacuate slightly more than 100 residents of the central part of the atoll to create a zone where unarmed guided missiles could be targeted from the continental United States.
Subsequent population growth by migration from outlying rural atolls and islands throughout the Marshalls created a housing shortage and problems with resources throughout the following decades. Some of the original Ebeye inhabitants with land rights did not feel adequately compensated for the tenants who came to live on their land even though their paramount chief had worked with the Trust Territory to move them there.
The atoll has a tropical rainforest climate. While tropical rainforest climates have no true dry season, the atoll's noticeably drier season occurs from January through March.
The United Airlines island hopper will drop visitors at the US Kwajalein base. Depending on your nationality, a visa and/or authorizations may be needed. Once security processing by the US authorities is complete, a free boat, run by the US military will take you to Ebeye. The boat takes base employees to and from Ebeye where they live. So the boat runs early in the morning and at the end of the working day. This must be allowed for when departing. It may be necessary to take the boat long before the flight.
At the US base end of the journey, there is an American Diner where fast food is available. Some people from Ebeye even go there as a day trip.
Ebeye is small and can be walked quite easily. There are also shared taxies driving along the few roads, which cost $0.75 for a single journey.
There can be good views across the lagoon if you choose a spot where there is not too much litter.
There really is very little to do.
There is a reasonably well stocked Payless supermarket near the ferry terminal.
There is only one cafe on the island. La bojie is on the road heading north from the ferry terminal. It is about 200 m on the left, before the health center which is on the right.
Another possibility is the seating area inside the JJJ Shopping Center. They will microwave a burger, pizza slice or some other pastry for you.
There is a restaurant at the Ebeye hotel, but it is rarely open.
There are no bars, so get a beer from the Payless supermarket.
There is only one hotel in Ebeye. The Ebeye Hotel is 100 m on the road south from the ferry terminal. Rooms are clean and air conditioned. A single costs $90, which must be paid in cash, with a $20 deposit for the key. Rooms have TV (with AFN channels from the US base), fridge and en-suite bathroom/shower.
Internet is available from the NTA Unifi wifi service. It is quite fast, but fairly expensive. It can be paid for by credit card or by visiting the NTA office at the south of the island. Cellular telephone service is available from NTA.
Radio fans can listen to the 3 AFN FM radio services from the Kwajalein military base. One of these carries NPR and the other two AFN music services.