Palau, a tiny archipelago of islands in Micronesia, is a paradise destination for scuba divers from all over the world. What makes Palau so special? The tropical climate here is welcoming, with plenty of warm sunny days for visitors to enjoy. The people are friendly. There is plenty to do above land (more on that later!). For divers though, the draw card here is the variety in the diving. This destination has something to offer every diver, from reef, to wreck, to macro, to pelagic, as the crew on the Allways Dive trip recently discovered when we went to check out Palau for ourselves.
There are a few options for accommodation in Palau. Our recommendation for those wanting to stay in central Koror, Palau’s capital, is Palau Central Hotel. This is a mid range option for the budget, but is a great choice as it has recently been renovated and is really comfortable. Make sure you check out the Omelettes made to order for breakfast, and the pizza from the Canoe Bar! For travellers preferring to be near the dive operation, Palau Royal Resort is the way to go. This is a fantastic standard 4 star property, offering an amazing buffet breakfast every day, free Yoga every Wednesday and boasting its own man made white sand beach.
Let’s crack on with the fun bit – the diving! Our groups choose to dive with Sam’s Tours, and there are a few great reasons for this. Sam’s have a fantastic set up for divers, with boats boasting twin 150hp engines to make sure you get to your dive site FAST! The crew at Sam’s have all the knowledge to make your trip unforgettable – and a little tip from us, ask for Ray who has 7 years captaining experience and 17 years as a dive guide here under his belt! Sam’s can cater for some tech heads too, with sorb, O2 and 3 litre tanks available. Even better is if you are travelling as part of a group and are nitrox certified Sam’s will provide FREE nitrox!
To get to the dive sites in Palauan waters, prepare yourself – and your Go Pro – the view is amazing as you jet through the stunning Rock Islands every day. This adds to the list of reasons that Palau is in the list of the worlds top 10 dive sites! One of the most popular dive sites here is Blue Corner. On this site divers can expect up to FOUR different species of shark! The white tip, black tip, grey reef and leopard sharks love the current here. Sam’s will provide reef hooks for this dive so that you can hook on and watch the fish action, including tuna, barracuda, trevally and also plenty of turtles.
German Channel is another very popular dive site. This is a manta feeding station, and it is really something else to be among these graceful giants of the sea as the glide along. This can be better later in the afternoon depending on feeding conditions. Divers here will also be sure to check out Chandelier Cave, a site closer to the dive centre than the others. This is a great residual air dive, with several different chambers at only 5m or so. The photographers will really love this one, as there are some great shots to be had of sunlight streaming in to the caves.
Wreck divers need not worry – there is plenty in Palauan waters to check out! Our group visited the Iro Maru. This is a fantastic, easy wreck dive. This Japanese oil tanker was a victim of WWII, and lies in 18-35m. There’s plenty of fish life and great sponge corals on her now. The Iro Maru is just one of 60 wrecks in this region ready for exploring. Another highlight of diving with Sam’s is the offer of residual air dives on Sam’s Jetty, a fantastic opportunity to find the elusive Frog Fish!
Above the water, our crew sourced the best highlights for travellers to Palau on this trip. We recommend paying a visit to the ice cream parlour in the centre of town, where Stefano and his wife hand make up to 15 flavours of delicious ice cream and gelato – and they do a mean coffee too! The Raj Indian restaurant is also a great hot tip, as there is nothing better than the combination of excellent food and cold beers after a long day in the water! Robert, the owner, offers fantastic personal service and they even provide free pick up / drop off to most hotels.
Arguably one of Palau’s most recognisable spots, Jellyfish Lake is an absolute “Must Do”. This inland lake is home to millions of sting-less jellyfish. Only one of a handful of places where this is possible in the world, snorkellers can jump in and swim among these peaceful creatures, an experience that is absolutely once in a lifetime. The lake has only recently re-opened after being closed for 18 months to allow for jellyfish re-generation. A permit is required for this experience, however we all agreed it is an essential part of any trip to Palau.
For your final de-saturation day at this tropical island paradise, a fantastic option is to organise a full day kayak tour with Blue Planet. This tour will take you to wonders such as inland caves, and japanese out post lookouts hidden in the jungle used for allied invasion. We finished our trip off with this tour and could not have ended on more of a high note! We can absolutely see why divers return to Palau time and time again. The high quality of the diving and the amazing experiences we had have made us all true Palau converts.
To chat about your own trip to Palau shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1800 338 239.