Travelers seeking a travel experience that includes both unspoiled tropical beauty and luxurious accommodations should visit the small nation of Palau.
The small island nation of Palau has raised its international profile in recent years. Whether it was two separate seasons of Survivor being filmed there, or the nation’s waters being declared one of the first shark sanctuaries in the world, this small island nation of roughly 20,000 people, located roughly 800 miles east of the Philippines, is becoming known as a premiere destination for anyone who wants to see the unspoiled beauty of the equatorial pacific while having access to accommodations similar to those found in more heavily trafficked tropical destinations.
Travel to Palau
The ease of getting to Palau depends largely on your country of origin. For those coming from the Philippines, Taiwan, Japan, Brisbane, Australia, or Guam, there are a number of direct commercial and charter flights. But those coming from Europe and the United States may have a longer trip in store, which may include an overnight stay in Guam or Manila. After getting through the epic flight to this small nation, travelers will likely want to do little more than get to their hotel rooms and sleep off their jet lag. Although the investment of money and travel time may be substantial for these travelers, the pay-off will be well worth it.
Activities in Palau — An Eco-Tourist’s Dream
Those who have heard of Palau — Particularly those who know of it outside of its Survivor fame — know it as one of the top destination for SCUBA diving in the world. Indeed the country’s reputation is well deserved. With a few well-known dive destinations — such as the lush, current-ripping Blue corner or the Manta Ray feeding stations of German Channel — sitting as its centerpiece, Palau also has a number of lesser-known dive sites as well. These sites include the drift diving hot spot of Ulong Channel or the deep caves of Blue Holes, and all of them can keep even the most active divers occupied for weeks. Divers also have many options in dive shops in Palau, and may choose from daily dive trips or multi-day live-aboard vessels other dive charters. Divers may want to get their SCUBA certification before reaching Palau, but for those who do not, there are plenty of opportunities to get the necessary certifications on the island.
For those not ready for the investment or adventure of SCUBA diving, but who want to still see the underwater beauty of Palau, snorkel tours provide an excellent option to experience Palau’s underwater ecosystem. Nearly all the dive shops that offer dive tours offer snorkel excursions as well. These snorkel trips may include a kayak tour as well. Be sure to pick your snorkel tour wisely, and know that your tour guide is experienced and well versed in the local ecosystem before you head out on the water. As with all other adventures in life, it is best to go with an experienced professional who knows the area and know what he or she is doing. Travelers out visiting the islands of Palau, whether it be for a snorkel tour or otherwise, should also take the chance to see the ship wrecks and other World War II remnants still throughout the island. As a major battle location during that war, Palau now tells a fascinating story of the Second World War not known by many people.
Those looking to fulfill their sportsman itch, Palau is also known for excellent recreational fishing opportunities. Whether interested in casting for snapper or trevally, spearfishing the reefs, or heading out to sea for tuna, marlin, or sailfish, Palau truly is a paradise for tropical anglers. Depending on the friends you make while in Palau you may have the chance to head out with a local for a long day of fishing on the water. Or you can seek out a fishing charter for a deep sea fishing adventure. Any way you go, one of the best parts of fishing in Palau is bringing your catch back to a local restaurant and having it prepared for you and your friends.
Accommodations in Palau
Although Palau provides many opportunities to escape civilization and dive deep into nature, the island also provides many luxurious accommodations once you’re ready to grab a bite to eat, sleep in a bed, or just find some air conditioning. Head into the island’s main city of Koror for the most options. Or you can make a trip up to the big island of Babeldoab if you want to relax in a more rustic setting. If you’re looking for food in Koror, there are a number of Japanese restaurants from which to choose, from the cool elegance of Dragon Tei to the open-air calm of Jive where jazz plays quietly over the restaurant’s stereo. Perhaps the only, and definitely the best, Indian food in Micronesia can be found at the Taj. Travelers looking for more western fair could grab a burger and a beer at the Drop-Off Bar and Grill or check out Kramer’s, which sports regular specials and a constant supply of Red Rooster Beer from Palau’s only brewing company.
Hotels range in both price and luxury depending on what travelers are seeking. Those looking for the high-end resort experience can check out full resorts such as Palau Pacific Resort or Palau Royal Resort. Smaller hotel operations such as Palau Plantation Resort or the Landmark also provide a high level of comfort, catering mainly to Palau’s Asian tourists. Or those looking for accommodations with reasonable rates can check out operations such as the Penthouse or the West Plaza Hotels.
Palau is a place of contrast. It’s small and remote, but has an international profile. Its citizens are deeply rooted in their traditional culture, but people from throughout the world visit the island and many expatriates call the island their home. And for travelers visiting Palau on vacation, it is a place that provides luxurious hotel accommodations without sacrificing the natural beauty that has drawn tourists for decades. Travelers should take advantage of all this nation has to offer.