Situated in the western Pacific Ocean, Palau is renown for its unique islands, jellyfish lake, and superb scuba diving (especially wreck diving), and is starting to become a tourist hot spot over the past few years. Though the island nation is relatively small, there is plenty to do. Get in before things really start heating up.
Read on for incredible things to do in Palau!
Swim with non-stinging jellyfish
Palau’s most famous attraction, the Jellyfish Lake is seriously like no other place on earth. Over the course of millennia, the jellyfish in the saltwater lake were cut off from the ocean. With no predators around, they evolved to lose their stings and are completely safe to swim with!
Visitors can snorkel in the lake, though scuba diving is not permitted. This is truly one of the most fascinating experiences, and completely reminded me of the scene with the jellies (albeit non-stinging) in Finding Nemo!
Scuba diving (wreck diving, drift diving, caves, etc.)
Palau has some fantastic scuba diving, with numerous wrecks left over from WWII and gorgeous caves/swim throughs. There’s also the chance to spot manta rays (the German Channel is one of the best sites), turtles, and extremely friendly Napoleon wrasse. A super curious Napoleon even started following me around for at least half an hour, coming up and studying me with its big, curious eyes. This is a scuba aficionado’s paradise!
Go island hopping
It is extremely easy to charter your own boat and visit the number of uninhabited islands in Palau, with stretches of beautiful sand banks to see. You can drop by uninhabited beaches and visit “Milky Way,” a shallow area near islands that contain mud supposedly good for your skin. The possibilities are endless!
Another option is to explore the islands on your own. Rent a kayak and paddle around, exploring little nooks and crannies with no one else in sight.
Picnic on a private island
No matter if you’re island hopping via boat or kayak, I cannot stress enough the wonders of picnicking on an island you have all to yourself! Many tour operators will pack a bento box or set lunch for you, or you can ask your hotel to do so as well.
Discover remnants of World War II
If you’re not a scuba diver but still want to see relics of WWII, Palau is the place to go. Spot leftover cannons poking out from caves as you cruise past islands and discarded remnants of the past. So. Cool.
For history buffs who have the time, a short trip over to Guam or Yap is a wonderful way to visit battle sites with tanks, artillery and ammunition left over from the war.
Try to spot wild dugongs
Though you can’t get too close as they are incredibly shy, Palau does have a population of dugongs that feed on seagrass in the area, and if you’re lucky, you can even see them in the wild.
With the water incredibly calm and reflecting the setting sun, we turned off the engine to our boat and just drifted, listening and searching. Soon enough, we saw a nostril pop up here, a tail flip there. We were even fortunate enough to witness a baby calf swimming with its mother. Recommended for a serene finish to a busy day.
Swim with dolphins
There’s a dolphin sanctuary off of Koror. This is a large educational and research facility with the great chance to swim with dolphins.
Try some local cuisine
Palau is known for its seafood, but also some unique local delicacies…aka fruit bat! These fruit bats are plentiful in Palau, and became a traditional dish. I’m experimental in what I eat, so I stomached down a small bite – it was gamey, strangely fragrant, and not something I’d eat again, but hey, you traveled all the way to a remote island in the Pacific, right? Why not?
For those who are asking, I used Sam’s Tour to help plan the activities. They are absolutely wonderful to work with, and incredibly accommodating with a great staff!
Ever been to Palau? Let me know what else you enjoyed!