Home to coral reefs, historical sites, rich culture, and abundant biodiversity, Palau, an archipelago in Micronesia, is considered one of the last near-unspoilt destinations on the planet. The maintaining of these healthy wild places and huge amounts of biodiversity is the result of a conscious effort by the Palau government to protect marine areas and promote sustainability.
The hundreds of islands that make up Palau consist of limestone or volcanic sediments draped with lush green jungle forests. Coral reefs, shallow areas, and vibrant lagoons characterize the waters of the nation, attracting visitors for diving and snorkelling. Other activities include kayaking, hiking, off-road driving, visiting World War II historical sites or historical-cultural sites and centers.
A variety of tourist agencies with different choices of activities offer guided adventures throughout the islands. Most of these agencies are based in the city of Koror, the biggest city in the nation and the stepping off point to many attractions.
This city is packed with an eclectic mix of restaurants and cafes as well as craft shops. The food scene here draws influence from American, Japanese, Indonesian, Malaysian, and Filipino cuisines, a reflection of both the geographical location and the political history of Palau. As for food that is specific to the nation, dishes of broiled whole fish with garlic, ginger, and banana leaf are popular as well as Tinola a soup of chicken, papaya, and ginger, or Pinchu-Pinchu a dessert made with coconut and cassava.
This landlocked lake is on the Rock Islands, accessible by boat from Koror, and is very aptly named. Cut off from the ocean millions of years ago, the jellyfish of this lake evolved to be stingless. After a quick 10 minute hike through the jungle, visitors can snorkel among the huge cloud of transparent creatures for an otherworldly experience.
The Blue Corner
One of the world’s top dive sites, this area is best for more experienced divers as there is a strong undercurrent and hook diving is necessary. The point that extends into the open ocean is known for its huge diversity of marine life, for example, reef sharks are a particularly iconic species seen here. If you aren’t very familiar with diving, there are plenty of other spots for diving or snorkelling in Palau that are just as beautiful and easier to navigate.
Badrulchau Stone Monoliths
On Babeldaob, these huge basalt monoliths are estimated to be close to 2000 years old and could have supported a huge bai, a men’s meeting house. The archeological site is accessible by hike and a great picnic spot.
Cultural Centers and Museums
Several historic bais, the Belau National Museum, or the Ngarachamayong Cultural Center set up by a group of women to preserve the culture and educate, are great places to experience and learn about the cultural history of Palau.
World War II Sites
A Japanese controlled territory and military base in the early 20th century, the islands were the place of fierce battles between Japan and the US during World War II. There are abandoned command posts and bunkers or submerged planes and shipwrecks to explore throughout the islands which give visitors a chance to understand the political history of the nation.