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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.

COUNTRY PAGE
  • Capital: Melekeok

  • 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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SEASONS AT A GLANCE

Most destinations have different times of the year when they’re more or less popular with tourists. 

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Peak Season

Shoulder Season

Off Peak Season

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Climate Chart with avergae monthly temperatues and rainfall

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.

BEST TIME FOR:

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.

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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)

Total: $2,625

 

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.

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TRAVEL TIPS FOR PALAU

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.

REGIONS & 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.

WHAT TO SEE AND DO IN PALAU

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 diving is unique, thrilling and very diverse. Hook into the reef or drift through the channel as sharks, mantas, and large schools of fish coast by in the current. Explore historic World War II wrecks, or soak up the view as shafts of sunlight pierce the transparent waters of undersea caverns like Blue Hole… And don't forget a visit to the world-renowned Jellyfish Lake to complete your trip. Palau scuba diving is great year-round, however, the dry season which lasts from October to May is considered to be the best time to dive Palau. Scuba diving around Palau can be done via liveaboard or dive resort - check out BLUEWATER TRAVEL if you're looking for a tailormade, once in a lifetime experience.

  • 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.

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 diving is unique, thrilling and very diverse. Hook into the reef or drift through the channel as sharks, mantas, and large schools of fish coast by in the current. Explore historic World War II wrecks, or soak up the view as shafts of sunlight pierce the transparent waters of undersea caverns like Blue Hole… And don't forget a visit to the world-renowned Jellyfish Lake to complete your trip. Palau scuba diving is great year-round, however, the dry season which lasts from October to May is considered to be the best time to dive Palau. Scuba diving around Palau can be done via liveaboard or dive resort - check out BLUEWATER TRAVEL if you're looking for a tailormade, once in a lifetime experience.

  • 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

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WHERE TO STAY IN PALAU

For your first visit to Palau, it's essential to choose a base that offers access to the country's pristine beaches, vibrant marine life, and stunning natural attractions. Here's a breakdown of top areas and accommodations:


Where to stay in Koror:

Koror is Palau's commercial center and gateway to its renowned dive sites, including the world-famous Blue Corner and Jellyfish Lake.

  • Budget: Consider staying at Palau Central Hotel for affordable rooms and a central location near Koror's main attractions and restaurants.

  • Mid-range: West Plaza Downtown offers comfortable accommodations with modern amenities and easy access to dive shops and tour operators.

  • Luxury: Opt for the luxurious ambiance of Palau Royal Resort, featuring upscale rooms, private beaches, and a range of water sports activities.

Best Value Tip: Visit during the off-peak season (June to October) for lower accommodation rates and fewer crowds.


Where to stay in Malakal Island:

Malakal Island is a popular choice for divers, with easy access to dive sites like German Channel and Ulong Channel, as well as restaurants and nightlife.

  • Budget: Stay at Sea Passion Hotel for affordable rooms and a waterfront location with stunning sunset views.

  • Mid-range: Palau Paradise Hotel offers comfortable accommodations with a relaxed atmosphere and easy access to dive shops and restaurants.

  • Luxury: Opt for the luxurious ambiance of Palau Pacific Resort, featuring upscale rooms, private beaches, and a range of water sports activities.

Best Value Tip: Book accommodation in advance for better rates, especially during peak diving season (December to April).


Where to stay in Peleliu Island:

Peleliu Island offers a tranquil escape with historical sites like WWII relics and pristine beaches ideal for snorkeling and relaxation.

  • Budget: Consider staying at Peleliu Divers Guesthouse for affordable rooms and a peaceful atmosphere near the island's dive sites.

  • Mid-range: The Green Bay Resort offers comfortable accommodations with ocean views and easy access to Peleliu's attractions.

  • Luxury: Opt for the luxurious ambiance of Carp Island Resort, featuring upscale bungalows, private beaches, and guided snorkeling tours.

Best Value Tip: Visit during the shoulder seasons (May-June, September-November) for pleasant weather and better accommodation deals.


By choosing a base in Koror, Malakal Island, or Peleliu Island, you'll have access to Palau's diverse attractions while enjoying a range of accommodation options to suit your budget and preferences. Consider visiting during the optimal seasons for each location to maximize your travel experience while getting the best value for your stay.


For hassle-free bookings, use platforms like Booking.com for competitive rates or Holiday Swap for unique homes worldwide. Ensure to book in advance, especially during peak seasons, and align your preferences with nearby activities such as surfing, snorkeling, or cultural exploration.

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FLIGHTS
Find a cheap flight by using Skyscanner or Momondo. These are our favorite flight search engines. They index other travel websites and airlines across the globe to easily find you the best deal.

ACCOMMODATION

Booking.com is our number one resource for researching and booking accommodation. In addition to Booking.com, we have found Agoda.com to consistently returns the cheapest rates in Southeast Asia. For longer stays, find unique homes worldwide on Holiday Swap, the most affordable travel platform that allows you to book homes anytime, anywhere in only a few clicks.

TRANSPORT

DiscoverCars.com is a leader in online car rental bookings; we compare car rental deals from many companies so that you can choose which is best for your trip. 12Go connects the world door-to-door, from transfers to flights, under the same user-friendly ticket.

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