Palau is magical. For such a tiny area of land, it packs a huge punch. You will be overwhelmed by Palau’s extraordinary array of natural wonders. It is made up of about 200 mostly pristine limestone and volcanic islands, covered in an emerald forest, and surrounded by a beautiful turquoise lagoon. So of course, diving is the number one activity here, with world class dive sites. Divers affirm that Palau has an exciting seascape, with fascinating wrecks and a stunning marine life, dubbed the underwater Serengeti. When the underwater wonders have finished working their magic on you, there are other adventure options. Kayaking, snorkeling and off-road driving are great, with the added appeal of fantastic settings. And for history buffs there are plenty of WWII relics scattered in the jungle, as well as a handful of well-organized museums in Koror, Palau’s largest town. Our Palau Travel Guide will give you all the information and tools to start planning your vacation to this wonderful place.
Weather (When to Go)
Being so close to the equator, Palau enjoys a steady warm climate all year round with an average temperature of 86°F. Dry season runs November to April with maximum temperatures of 90°F and lows of 81°F. Humidity is high all year round.
The high season in Palau is December – March. During this time hotels are going to be hard to find, and reserving your hotel early is essential. Hotel prices will be 50% higher than any other time of the year. The seas are calm and the weather is dry. This is the premium time for diving, so dive sites will be crowded. The shoulder season is April, July, August, October and November. During this time you will find great discounts on hotels and availability. The downside is that this when Palau see heavy rainfall. Winds whip up the waves and some dive sites are not accessible. An alternative to the high season is the low season during May, June and September. Hotel prices will be about 30% lower than in high season, and airfares will also be lower flying into Palau. There will be fewer travelers, so dive sites will not be crowded.
Getting Around Palau
There’s no public transport in Palau. Getting a car rental is the only way to see Koror and Babeldaob independently. You’ll find rental car agencies in Koror and at the airport and prices start at around US$40 to US$45 per day with unlimited mileage. There are also a number of operators that can organize tours and day trips from Koror.
Best Attractions in Palau
Fancy a dip? Make a beeline for this little jungle waterfall that drops into a broad pool. It’s only a five-minute walk down the main road, but there’s no sign. To get there from Koror, follow the road to the airport and turn left (west) at the T-junction just after the Japan-Palau Friendship Bridge. Follow this road for about 12.5km until you see the rusty remnants of a plane on your right; the path leading to the waterfall is just across the road.
On Peleliu’s east coast, this stellar stretch of white sand lapped by emerald waters is ideal for splashing about, sunbathing or picnicking.
Housed in a concrete building that was a dispensary during WWII, this well-organised museum is an excellent starting point to understand the historical significance of the battle for Peleliu. It contains a fine collection of period photographs and war artifacts, including weapons, uniforms and proclamations.Justacross the road, a path leads to WhiteBeach.
One of Babeldaob’s premier attractions, Ngardmau Waterfall flows from Palau’s tallest peak, 217m-high Mt Ngerchelchuus. It’s the tallest waterfall in Micronesia. It can be accessed on foot – a tough but rewarding 20- to 30-minute hike along a jungle path – or, for the less energetic, by a clunky monorail. A dip in the cool pools at the base of the falls is not to be missed.
On the southwestern tip of the island, the Japanese government built this memorial in 1985 for those who perished on Palau during WWII. The monument comprises a rectangular concrete block with basaltic inlays, supported by two massive concrete slabs. During a visit in April 2015, Japan’s Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko offered flowers and prayers at the cenotaph.
Things to Do in Palau
At Palau Dive Adventures, they offer small, flexible, flawlessly organized dive adventures. You choose the dive spots you want to see and they take care of everything else. Live-Aboard Adventures by day, shore based freedom and comfort at night. Their impeccably organized 5-day itinerary packs in 13 stunning dives (plus 2 land tour options) during the day, leaving you free to relax and enjoy the culture,conveniences and comfort of the island at night. For more information call +680 488 5387, or visit them on the web at Palau Dive Adventures.
Sam’s Tours, a PADI Five Star IDC Facility, is Palau’s most award-winning dive center, eco-adventure tour company and home to the SY Palau Siren. They provide a full range of guided tours and services that includes full day or half-day trips and customized private charters for individuals, families and groups. Complete value-packed hotel & tour packages are offered in conjunction with Palau’s preferred hotel properties. Complimentary round trip shuttle service is provided daily to all Koror based hotels from early morning until late evening. For more information call +680 488 7267, or visit them on the web at Sam’s Tours Palau.
Fish ‘n Fins Palau’s premium PADI 5 Star IDC and Diving Center, Ocean Hunter Liveaboards, Fish ‘n Fins Kayaking & Paddle Boarding Tours, Palau Island Tours, Skydive Palau, Palau Helicopters, Off Road Jungle Tours & Barracuda Restaurant – Mediterranean, Vegan & Vegetarian cuisine. For more information call +680 488 2637, or visit them on the web at Fish n’ Fins Palau.
It is said that you must see Palau from under water, from the beach and from the air. They’d love to help with that last one! They operate two Cessna 206’s for trips to Peleliu and Angaur, scenic flights, and charter flights. For more information call +680 587 4567, or visit them on the web at Pacific Mission Aviation.
Guided WWII historical tours of Peleliu. Sites visited will include Japanese tanks and planes, US tanks, Japanese HQ, Battle sites, WWII Historical museum and more. For more information call +680 345 2090, or visit them on the web at Peleliu Adventures.
Best Palau Restaurants
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Drop Off Bar & Grill
The Drop Off has a great selection of fish delivered daily from the harbour, including blue marlin, yellowfin tuna and red snapper. It’s also known for its knockout burgers, kebabs (skewers) and sashimi. The open-air terrace overlooking the marina is perfect for enjoying the cool, ocean breezes. Even if you aren’t dining, it’s a great place to pause for a drink. For more information call +680 488 7505, or visit them on the web at Drop Off Bar & Grill.
Elilai Restaurant & Bar
Currently the best spot in the city for real gourmet cuisine, Elilai has achieved a fantastic reputation thanks to its painstakingly constructed menu featuring Palauan and Asian dishes with a contemporary twist. Start with fabulous local crustaceans – the ukaeb (Palauan land crab) is succulent – then dig into a mangrove clam risotto, grilled tuna, or pork ribs, all beautifully presented. There are vegetarian options, too. The elegant decor, airy spaces, light music and outstanding views of Koror bay add to the appeal – visit when the sun’s going down for the ultimate dining experience. For more information call +680 488 8866, or visit them on the web at Elilai Restaurant & Bar.
Katey’s Healing Garden
Delicious food, healthy ingredients, a serene setting and cracking views from the terrace – if you’re after an authentic Palauan experience, this place is hard to beat. The charismatic owner is committed to using traditional recipes based on local, organic produce. There’s also first-rate coffee and vitamin-packed fruit juices. For more information call +680 488 2200, or visit them on the web at Katey’s Healing Garden.
Krämers Bar & Restaurant
This popular restaurant next to the ferry dock on Malakal Island is great, thanks to its breezy verandah with great bay views, eclectic menu and jovial atmosphere. Dishes on offer might include blackened sashimi, BBQ banana-wrapped fish, and pumpkin schnitzel (a delicious vegetarian dish). The bar here is a lively meet-and-greet zone and stays open until 2am. For more information call +608 488 8448, or visit them on the web at Krämers Bar & Restaurant.
One of the most reputable restaurants in town, the Taj serves authentic, richly flavoured korma, curry and tandoori dishes, all prepared with the best ingredients available. Tandoori chicken is brought to your table impaled on what looks like a short sword. A good selection of vegetarian options also grace the menu. Crisp, elegant and fresh food, served by lovely sari-clad staff. For more information call +608 488 2227, or visit them on the web at The Taj.
Best Palau Hotels
Boasting a garden and a terrace, Ocean Star Hotel is located in Koror. This 4-star hotel offers free shuttle service and free WiFi. There is a restaurant and a shared lounge. The units are equipped with a flat-screen TV with satellite channels, a kettle, a shower, free toiletries and a desk. The rooms come with a private bathroom and a hair dryer, and certain rooms come with a balcony. At the hotel, rooms have a seating area. Breakfast is available each morning, and includes buffet and Asian options. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room visit Ocean Star Hotel.
When visiting Koror Island, you’ll feel right at home at Garden Palace Downtown Koror, which offers quality accommodation and great service. The hotel is not too far from the city center: just 0.1 km away, and it normally takes about 20 minutes to reach the airport. With its convenient location, the hotel offers easy access to the city’s must-see destinations. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room, visit Garden Palace Downtown Koror.
Palau Hotel is centrally located in Koror, just 5 minutes’ walk from the waterfront. Free WiFi is available in public areas. Palau Hotel is 1 minute walk from a variety of shops and dining options, including a supermarket and local restaurants. It is 10 minutes’ drive from Koror Airport. All rooms are air-conditioned and feature a TV with satellite channels, including Chinese channels. The offer a private bathroom with a shower and free toiletries including a toothbrush and toothpaste. Some rooms include sea views. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room visit Palau Hotel.
Surround yourself among the cool blue waters by this hotel in Palau and enrich yourself with bright smiles of the island people. Spacious & clean guest rooms with a gorgeous view of quiet ocean or a relaxing harbor scene over the balcony of each rooms, or fantastic dining restaurant & Bar surrounded by green garden, sea and the private beach in the hotel facility, etc will ensure your journey unforgettable. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room visit Palau Royal Resort.
Palau Pacific Resort offers cottage type villas with traditional Palauan A-frame style structure across 64 acres of lush tropical gardens to enhance the island sensation for all our guests while in Palau for vacation. Palau Pacific Resort offers an array of luxurious resort facilities including a private Palau beach with sun loungers and bar, hiking trails and snorkeling. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room visit Palau Pacific Resort.