Palau is located in Micronesia and is made up of over three hundred different islands, although only nine are inhabited.
Here you’ll find some of the best snorkeling and diving in the world, including reefs, wrecks, caves and tunnels, as well as giant clams, stingless jellyfish and crocodiles. With more than 1300 species of fish, Palau was also the first place in the world to create a shark sanctuary.
Flights depart Los Angeles every day, with Delta stopping in Tokyo and United Airlines stopping in Honolulu and Guam before landing in Koror. Expect to pay between $1000 and $1400 although the further you book in advance the cheaper the ticket. It’ll take around 20 hours to get to Palau, but the flight is well worth it.
Where to stay:
Koror is the capital of Palau, and the best place to stay for restaurants and bars. Most of the dive operators are here, as well as the majority of the 25,000 residents of Palau. There is accommodation for all budgets, ranging from the Guest Lodge Motel to the Palau Pacific Resort.
When to go:
It often rains in Palau-at least once a day in summer and twice a day in winter. Temperatures are relatively consistent, with an average temperature of 82 degrees. The warmest month is April, with more rain between July and October. The water can get rough in August and September which can make getting out to the other islands and diving difficult.
One of the main reasons many people go to Palau is to go snorkeling in the Jellyfish Lake. Located in Karor, here you’ll find over 21 million jellyfish. Without any predators, and with nothing to hunt, have no need to sting and have evolved enough that they no longer sting at all.
Palau also has many different wrecks available to dive, and is famous for both ship and plane wrecks from World War II. You can also expect to see over 700 species of coral, as well as sea turtles, sea horses and barracuda.
Those who want to get up close to sharks are almost guaranteed to see them on every dive, and you can also dive with Manta Rays, watching them dance as they feed.
Palau is not a “flop-and-drop” vacation spot, and those who like to lie on a beach would be better spending their money on a trip to Florida. But for the more adventurous at heart, specifically those who want to snorkel or scuba dive, Palau is a once in a lifetime experience. This is not yet a place that has been overrun with tourism, but it is becoming increasingly popular so make sure you visit soon.