Palau

Introduction
Location
Resorts
Liveaboards
Local Info
Dive Sites
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Palau Scuba Diving Resorts & Liveaboards offer the Holy Grail of scuba diving: incredible biodiversity and plenty of pelagic action. Diving Palau you’ll have encounters with mantas and sharks as well as large breeding aggregations of snapper, butterflyfish, bumphead parrotfish and more. There are numerous currents from far and near making the waters highly nutritious and supporting a food chain from plankton upwards.

Sharks from Paul Collins on Vimeo.

Palau was created as a raised limestone plateau, which the forces of nature have carved into hundreds of islands, each with a tropical green coat of foliage. Its formation has also lead to its incomparable Jellyfish Lake – a lake literally teeming with harmless orange jellyfish.  The terrain below the water line is similarly varied with shallow reefs, deep drop-offs, vertical holes, horizontal caves and tunnels.  You might want to read about some of the dive sites before you come back to find out how to dive this fascinating place.

ManyMantaShallow from Paul Collins on Vimeo.

Palau is approximately 800 km due east of the Philippines. It’s fairly remote but as such obeys Richie’s Inverse Law of Diving which states: ‘The harder it is to get to – the better the diving will be!’ Its nearest neighbour is Yap, about 300 km to the north east, and in the same direction, Guam, which is another 600 km onwards.

Guam

Yap, Federated States of Micronesia

Palau

Getting There

China Airlines (Taiwan – not to be confused with some Chinese airlines with similar names) fly directly to Palau from Taipei – but not every day.  There are direct flights from Sydney and Brisbane to Taipei, but again – not every day.  You’ll need to play with dates if you don’t want a layover in Taipei.  We had a very interesting 24 hours in Taiwan on our way there, and direct connection on our way back. China Airlines also fly directly from many other cities to Taipei, so well worth keeping them in mind if your trip to Palau is part of a bigger adventure.

Where to Stay

The Cove

Cove Resort Palau is an ideal place to stay for adventure, relaxation, and luxury accommodation. Comprising of 71 nautically themed rooms. Each room has a flat screen tv, minibar, and access to all the resort’s facilities. Choose from Poolside Rooms, Balcony Rooms, and Bay Rooms with views of the largest lagoon swimming pool in Palau, each with complimentary breakfast menu items included each morning.

Cove Lagoon Pool

7 cove resort palau micronesia pool view

Restaurant

8 cove resort palau micronesia restaurant

Double Room

9 cove resort palau micronesia double room

Twin Room

10 cove resort palau micronesia twin room

Palau Central Hotel

The Palau Central Hotel offers newly renovated Western style rooms in the center of Palau’s downtown only steps away from restaurants, shopping and activities. We pride ourselves on service and comfort while offering some of the best value in Palau. As a landmark property, the original hotel opened in the 80’s to serve Palau’s budding tourism market as well as Trust Territory representatives and regional investors. Now fully renovated, the new Palau Central Hotel offers 50+ state of the art rooms, in-house restaurant, gift shop, spa, gym and conference center. All backed by outstanding service.

Pool View

15 palau central palau micronesia pool view

Standard Room

17 palau central palau micronesia standard room

Canoe Bar

16 palau central palau micronesia canoe bar

Palau Royal Resort

Palau Royal Resort is a 4-star resort with spacious and well appointed rooms each with a balcony overlooking the peaceful ocean, gardens or surrounding harbour scene. The resort is located in Malakal and is a few minutes drive, or 30 minutes walk, to the Fish ‘n Fins Dive Shop. This resort features a pool, tennis courts, fitness centre, private beach, and a restaurant offering Western and Asian cuisine.

11 palau royal palau micronesia external view

Premium Deluxe Ocean View Room

7 fish n fins and palau royal resort palau micronesia double room

Deluxe Harbour View Room

13 palau royal palau micronesia deluxe harbour twin

 

In most respects, Palau is western. The currency is the US dollar, power sockets are US.  There are no dangerous snakes, spiders or box jellyfish.  Safety standards are at Western levels.  You’ll be granted a free 30 day Visa on arrival, and be charged $50 ‘Departure & Green tax’ (cash only) on departure.  Still, ensure you have travel insurance.

Where to Eat

Let’s be honest, Palau’s terrain does not lend itself to acres of flat arable farmland, so most of what you’ll be eating and drinking there has been shipped in in a container.  However, that doesn’t mean that it’s not good, or that you won’t be able to find exactly what you fancy.  Here are some establishments I can personally recommend.

  • The Bottom Time Bar and Grill at Sam’s Tours.  Fully licensed bar, and exactly the kind of grub you need after a full days diving. Beautiful sunsets guaranteed.
  • The Drop Off Bar and Grill on the other side of Main St from Sam’s adjacent NECO’s, has an extensive selection of both food and drinks, and a relaxed ambiance about the place.  The previous president dropped in for quiet beer and a chat with friends whilst we were having a pleasant drink there.
  • Kramer’s Café at Pirate’s Cove – also nearby to the above – serves International and Pacific Island dishes in generous portions. Try the famous Hammerhead sauce!  This venue also has live music some evenings which certainly beats your typical hotel lobby light muzak!
  • Finally, the Indian Restaurant on Main St in Koror is a must.  The proprietor personally selects and imports his own ingredients, and the flavours and aromas in the dishes are testament to his culinary skills.  Perhaps save this one until last – before your non-diving day before you fly.

How to Get Around

There are three main islands – north to south and in rapidly decreasing size are Babeldaob, Koror and Malakai – all connected via a tar-sealed road: Main St.  The airport is on Babeldaob about 10 kms from Koror centre, where we stayed, and our dive operator was on Malakai.

However, getting around is no problem as the accommodation and dive operators have air-condition people movers and will typically ferry you to or from their establishment.  If you’re heading out to a restaurant – book a transport or a cab.  The ‘down-town’ area is about 1 km long and walkable.

Other Activities

Here are four activities for the non-divers or non-diving day.

  • Hire a Kayak for a day or half a day
  • Take a helicopter tour around the islands
  • Go snorkelling in Jellyfish Lake
  • Go on a walking tour of one of the islands.

Note that some marine park activities require permits, which will be available via the operator.  just check whether then are included in the price quoted.

Much of Palau’s diving is on walls, down through holes, or caverns, and drifting along reefs. But there are also spots where you can simple hang (or hang on – take a reef hook), and watch the pelagic action around you. The reefs and walls around the islands fall away pretty quickly to considerable depths, and with the excellent visibility you can often see the sharks circling below. So watch your MOD if you’re on Nitrox and make sure your camera/torch etc is firmly secured.

AUD 2,890
Palau rock islands shutterstock 305510270 sp 500

Palau Paradise Express Offer: 10% off dives + free Nitrox!

Take advantage of the new Palau Paradise Express – direct flights from Brisbane to Koror – spend a week diving Palau for as little as AUD 2,950 per person!

Travel between: 28 May 24 and 31 Dec 24

Dive destination: Palau

FREE Nitrox for Nitrox certified divers!

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