PALAU TRAVEL GUIDE
Palau is an archipelago of over 500 islands, part of the Micronesia region in the western Pacific Ocean. Koror Island is home to the former capital, also named Koror, and is the islands’ commercial centre. The larger Babeldaob has the present capital, Ngerulmud, plus mountains and sandy beaches on its east coast. In its north, ancient basalt monoliths known as Badrulchau lie in grassy fields surrounded by palm trees.
Palau is a popular destination for its stunning beaches, clear blue waters, and diverse marine life, making it a great destination for activities such as snorkeling, diving, and swimming. It also has a rich culture and history, with ancient ruins, traditional villages, and unique customs to explore. If you're looking for a tropical vacation with plenty of outdoor activities and the opportunity to immerse yourself in a new culture, Palau could be a great choice. However, if you're looking for a more urban or fast-paced vacation, Palau may not be the best fit.
PALAU QUICK FACTS
Currency: US dollar ($, USD)
Area: 458 km²
Population: 17 907 (2018)
Language: English and Palauan; also Sonsorolese, Tobi, Angaur, Japanese
Electricity: 120V, 60Hz (North American plug)
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PALAU PUBLIC HOLIDAYS
- 15 March, Youth Day
- 5 May, Senior Citizens’ Day
- Last Monday in May, Memorial Day
- 1 June, President’s Day
- 9 July, Constitution Day
- 1st Monday in September, Labor Day
- 1 October, Independence Day
- 24 October, United Nations Day
Last Thursday in November, Thanksgiving Day
FESTIVALS IN PALAU
BEST TIME TO VISIT PALAU
Palau has a tropical climate with two main seasons: the dry season and the rainy season.
- The dry season runs from December to April and is characterized by warm temperatures and low humidity. This is the peak tourist season, and the weather is generally pleasant and sunny. It's also the best time to visit Palau for water activities such as snorkeling, diving, and swimming.
- The rainy season runs from May to November, temperatures are still warm but with higher humidity and more frequent rain. During this time, you can still enjoy the many activities the island has to offer, but the weather may not be as favorable. Additionally, accommodations and flights tend to be less expensive and less crowded during this time.
Palau's climate is quite stable, the temperature ranges between 25-30°C (77-86°F) all year round, it is located in a typhoon-free zone.
The best time to visit Palau is typically between December and April, when the weather is dry and pleasant. This is also the peak tourist season, so accommodations and flights may be more expensive and crowded during this time. The rainy season is from May to November, and while the weather may be less favorable, it can also be a good time to visit as there are fewer tourists and lower prices. Ultimately, the best time to visit Palau will depend on your personal preferences and travel plans.
PALAU WEATHER SYNOPSIS
Palau’s climate is hot and humid (average relative humidity is 82%) with mean daily air temperature at around 28°C. There is little season variability in its temperature. The difference between its hottest and its coldest months is 0.8°C approximately. The main wet season is between May and October, with June and August having the largest rainfall. Rainfall can vary between years as a result of El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO). El Niño years are drier and La Niña years are on average wetter.
PALAU TOURIST SEASONS
Most destinations have different times of the year when they’re more or less popular with tourists.
Off Peak Season
SPORT & ACTIVITIES
SNOW SPORT IN PALAU
HIKING & CYCLING IN PALAU
The best time for outdoor activities in Palau is during the drier months from October to April. Note that humidity is high all year round.
BEACH OPTIONS IN PALAU
The best time for relaxing on the beaches of Palau is during the drier months from October to April with the best Scuba Diving season being from December to March. Note that humidity is high all year round.
SURFING IN PALAU
It's not easy to reach the remote destination of Palau, but if you do, there are good waves during the summer months. The most consistent waves can be found around Melekeok (Babelthuap), in particular during August.
KITESURF IN PALAU
The lonely paradise of Palau remains predominantly unexplored by kitesurfers. The wind conditions are not the best in the world but Palau offers some good conditions for kitesurfing and windsurfing from mid October to June or July even.
For more details on kite surfing in Palau expand this section!
HEALTH RISKS IN PALAU
Be aware of possible health risks in
Yellow fever - The yellow fever virus is found in tropical and subtropical areas of Africa and South America. The virus is spread to people by the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no medicine to treat or cure an infection. To prevent getting sick from yellow fever, use insect repellent, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants, and get vaccinated.
Zika Virus - Zika is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These mosquitoes bite during the day and night. Zika can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus. Infection during pregnancy can cause certain birth defects. There is no vaccine or medicine for Zika.
Malaria - Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease caused by a parasite that commonly infects a certain type of mosquito which feeds on humans. People who get malaria are typically very sick with high fevers, shaking chills, and flu-like illness. Although malaria can be a deadly disease, illness and death from malaria can usually be prevented.
Dengue - Dengue is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These mosquitoes bite during the day and night. About one in four people infected with dengue will get sick. For people who get sick with dengue, symptoms can be mild or severe.
PALAU TRAVEL COSTS
he cost of traveling to Palau can vary depending on a number of factors, including the time of year, the duration of your trip, and your travel style. Some estimates for budgeting a trip to Palau include:
- Airfare: Round-trip flights to Palau can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000 or more, depending on your departure location and the time of year.
- Accommodations: Prices for hotels and resorts in Palau range from budget-friendly options at around $50 per night to luxury resorts that can cost $300 or more per night.
- Food and drink: Food and drink can be relatively expensive in Palau, with meals at restaurants averaging around $15 to $25 per person.
- Activities: Activities such as snorkeling, diving, and island hopping can add up quickly. Expect to pay around $30-50 for snorkeling or diving and $50-100 for a day tour.
- Transportation: Taxis and rental cars are available, but many visitors choose to rent a scooter to explore the island. Expect to pay around $25-30 per day for a scooter rental.
Overall, a budget of around $150 to $200 per day per person is a good estimate for a moderate trip to Palau, this does not include airfare. However, it's worth noting that this is just a rough estimate, and costs can vary widely depending on your specific travel plans and preferences.
Here is a sample budget for a moderate trip to Palau for one person, for 7 days:
- Airfare: $1,200 (round-trip from Los Angeles)
- Accommodations: $700 (7 nights at a moderate hotel or resort)
- Food and drink: $175 (average of $25 per day for meals)
- Activities: $400 (diving or snorkeling, island hopping)
- Transportation: $150 (rental scooter or car)
It's worth noting that this is just a rough estimate, and costs can vary depending on your specific travel plans and preferences. Additionally, the cost of the airfare can vary depending on your departure location and the time of year you plan to travel.
Also, this budget does not include other expenses such as travel insurance, tips, souvenirs, or personal expenses. You may also want to consider having a bit extra for unexpected expenses.
Keep in mind that this is a moderate budget, and you can definitely travel to Palau on a tighter budget by opting for budget-friendly accommodations and activities, or on a higher budget by choosing luxury options.
PALAU TRAVEL TIPS
Here are some travel tips for Palau to help you make the most of your trip:
- Plan ahead: Palau is a popular destination, so it's a good idea to book your accommodations and activities in advance to avoid disappointment.
- Bring cash: While credit cards are accepted at some hotels and restaurants, many places in Palau only accept cash.
- Pack for the weather: Palau has a tropical climate, so pack light and breathable clothing, as well as a hat, sunscreen, and insect repellent.
- Respect the culture: Palau has a rich culture and history, and it's important to be respectful of local customs and traditions when you visit.
- Explore the islands: Palau is made up of over 200 islands, and there are plenty of opportunities to explore them. Whether by boat or by air, there are many opportunities to see different islands, rock islands, and the famous Jellyfish lake.
- Be environmentally conscious: Palau is known for its beautiful coral reefs and marine life, so be sure to take care not to damage the environment while you're there. Follow guidelines when snorkeling or diving, and be mindful of your actions while on the islands.
- Get a SIM card: If you need to stay connected, it's a good idea to get a SIM card for your phone so you can use data and make calls while you're in Palau.
- Learn about the history: Palau was occupied by various countries throughout history, learn about the story of the islands it is fascinating.
- Be flexible: Palau is a small island nation, and things can change quickly. Be open to new experiences and be flexible with your plans, as this will help you make the most of your time in Palau.
SIGHTS & HIGHLIGHTS OF PALAU
Palau is made up of over 200 islands, but the main regions of the country include:
- Koror: Koror is the largest city in Palau and the former capital. It is the main hub for tourism and offers plenty of accommodations, restaurants, and shops. Highlights of Koror include the Palau National Museum, which showcases the country's history and culture, and the Etpison Museum, which features a collection of traditional Palauan artifacts.
- Babeldaob: Babeldaob is the largest island in Palau and is home to the current capital, Melekeok. This island is known for its beautiful landscapes and outdoor activities, including hiking, kayaking, and bird watching. Visitors can also explore the ancient ruins of the former capital, Ngerulmud, and the traditional village of Ollei.
- Rock Islands: The Rock Islands are a group of over 200 small limestone islands located in the southern lagoon of Palau. These islands are known for their unique and beautiful rock formations, as well as their excellent diving and snorkeling opportunities. Visitors can explore the islands by boat or by kayak, and some of the highlights include the famous Jellyfish Lake and the Blue Corner dive site.
- Angaur: Angaur is a small island located to the south of Babeldaob. It is known for its WWII history, as it was occupied by Japanese and American forces during the war. Visitors can explore the remains of the Japanese fortifications and the American military base, as well as the beautiful beaches on the island.
- Kayangel: Kayangel is the northernmost state of Palau, it is the only atoll of the country and it is known for its stunning beaches and crystal clear waters. Visitors can go snorkeling, diving, or fishing, and can also explore the island's traditional village, where they can learn about the culture and customs of the Kayangel people.
Each region of Palau has its own unique highlights, and visitors can choose to explore one region in depth or to see a bit of everything, depending on their interests and the time they have available.
Palau offers a wide variety of activities and attractions for visitors to enjoy. Some of the best things to see and do when visiting Palau include:
- Snorkeling and diving: Palau's crystal-clear waters and diverse marine life make it a popular destination for snorkeling and diving. Visitors can explore the coral reefs, see colorful fish and sea turtles, and even swim with jellyfish in Jellyfish Lake.
- Rock Islands: The Rock Islands are a group of over 200 small limestone islands located in the southern lagoon of Palau. These islands are known for their unique and beautiful rock formations, as well as their excellent diving and snorkeling opportunities. Visitors can explore the islands by boat or by kayak.
- Visit World War II sites: Palau was the site of many battles during World War II, and visitors can explore the remains of the Japanese fortifications and the American military base, as well as the beautiful beaches on the island.
- Visit the Palau National Museum: This museum showcases the country's history and culture, and features a collection of traditional Palauan artifacts.
- Visit the Etpison Museum: The Etpison Museum features a collection of traditional Palauan artifacts, it is a great way to learn about the history and culture of the island nation.
- Kayaking and Canoeing: Visitors can rent kayaks or canoes to explore the beautiful waters around the Rock Islands and other islands of the country.
- Visit the traditional village of Ollei: Visitors can visit the traditional village of Ollei and learn about the culture and customs of the Palauan people.
- Take a boat tour of the islands: Visitors can take boat tours to explore the different islands and the famous Jellyfish Lake.
- Hiking and bird watching: Babeldaob island, which is the largest island in Palau and home to the current capital, Melekeok, offers great opportunities for hiking, bird watching and other outdoor activities.
- Swimming and beach relaxation: Palau is known for its beautiful beaches, visitors can relax and enjoy the sun, swimming, and other beach activities.
WHAT TO EAT IN PALAU
Palau has a diverse culinary scene that combines traditional Palauan dishes with international flavors. Some of the traditional foods and dishes you should try when visiting Palau include:
- Taro: Taro is a staple food in Palau and is often prepared as a traditional Palauan dish called "uht" or "boiled taro." It is often served with fish, meat, or coconut milk.
- Coconut milk: Coconut milk is used in many Palauan dishes and is also consumed as a beverage.
- Fish: Fish is a staple food in Palau and is often prepared in a variety of ways, including grilled, smoked, or fermented. Some popular fish dishes include "ngimajng" (grilled fish) and "ngang" (fermented fish).
- Cassava: Cassava is a root vegetable that is often prepared as a traditional Palauan dish called "ngeruem" or "cassava pudding."
- Tapioca: Tapioca is a traditional Palauan dish made from the root of the cassava plant. It is often served as a dessert.
- Sashimi: Sashimi is a popular dish in Palau and is often made from locally caught tuna, mahi-mahi, or wahoo.
- Barbecue: Barbecue is a popular way to prepare meats, fish, and seafood in Palau.
- Meals with a mix of American, Asian and Pacific Islander cuisine: You can find a variety of international foods in Palau, such as Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean and American food.
In addition to traditional Palauan cuisine, visitors can also find a variety of international cuisine in Palau, including Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, and American food. Some restaurants in Koror, the main tourism hub, specialize in serving international food. It's always good to ask locals for recommendations on where to find the best food.
LGBTQ IN PALAU
WHERE TO STAY IN PALAU
Palau offers a wide variety of accommodations for visitors to choose from, depending on your preferences and budget. Some options for where to stay when visiting Palau for the first time include:
- Hotels: Koror, the main tourism hub, has a variety of hotels to choose from, ranging from budget-friendly options to luxury resorts. Some popular hotel options include the Palau Pacific Resort, the Palau Royal Resort, and the Palau Plantation Resort.
- Guesthouses: Guesthouses are a popular and budget-friendly option for visitors to Palau. They offer a more intimate and personal experience and can be found throughout the main island of Koror.
- Vacation Rentals: Vacation rentals such as apartments and villas are another popular option for visitors, they offer a more private and comfortable stay, and can be found throughout the main island of Koror.
- Eco-lodges: For those who want to experience Palau's natural beauty in a more sustainable and eco-friendly way, there are a few eco-lodges located on the outer islands. These options offer a more secluded and rustic experience, and are often used as a base for diving and snorkeling trips.
- Liveaboard boats: For those who want to explore Palau's marine life and outer islands by diving, you may consider staying on a liveaboard boat. It is a great way to experience Palau's diving spots in a more exclusive way.
Ultimately, the best place to stay in Palau will depend on your personal preferences and travel itinerary. If you plan to spend most of your time diving and snorkeling, staying on one of the outer islands or on a liveaboard boat may be the best option. If you prefer to be close to restaurants and shops, Koror might be a better choice. It's always good to check online reviews, ask locals and also consider your budget before making a decision.
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