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Diving in Palau

Wild and beautiful, Palau continues to hold true to its reputation as one of the best diving destinations in the world.

Diving in Palau

Quick facts

Many who have dived in Palau often describe the diving there with superlatives. Most dive sites are world-class and unique, with memorable underwater features like blue holes, drop-offs, caverns, caves and channels. Visibility often seems endless and can go up to 200ft (61m) on good days. For wreck dives nearer to Koror though, do expect only 16-33ft (5-10m) of visibility.

Palau can be dived year-round but it tends to rain frequently during July to October. Water temperature is usually warm at a range of 81-86°F (27-30°C) and a 3mm wetsuit will suffice. There are several reputable dive operators in Palau which offer day trip boat dive packages or liveaboard diving. Most of the dive sites are located about 45-60 minutes away by speed boat from Koror. Key areas for diving are concentrated around the islands of Ngemelis and Peleliu.

With the strong currents of the Pacific Ocean sweeping through Palau, most of the dive sites are recommended for divers with experience. A reef hook is critical to have for several dive sites at the outer walls of the barrier reef, especially at the world-famous Blue Corner. For a very unique drift dive, head to Ulong Channel, a natural underwater channel which resembles a river. Another dive site not to be missed is the German Channel which is often visited by manta rays.

Shipwreck enthusiast will be spoilt for choice in Palau as there are many sunken remnants around Koror from World War II. Many are easily accessible and intact, and divers can take their pick from cargo ships, transport vessels, navy destroyers and Japanese Zero planes.

When to go

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USD 1,755Per person for 7 nights for 2 divers
228 Reviews
USD 3,220Per trip
8 Reviews
USD 3,335Per trip
4 Reviews
USD 2,632Per trip

What to see

Almost every dive site in Palau is bustling with activity. Large schools of fusilier and bigeye trevally are often found at channels and drop-offs and these fish attract many predators. Sharks are especially plentiful in Palau and whitetip, grey reef, and blacktip sharks are everywhere. Joining the sharks are other predators like tuna, giant trevally, and even sailfish. At Blue Corner, you will be met by friendly humphead wrasse, which love to come close to divers.

A very unique event to be witnessed in Palau is the spawning of the two-spot red snapper or green humphead parrotfish. Spawning usually takes place around the times of a new moon or full moon and are an otherworldly experience for divers as they involve thousands of these fish. To see manta rays, head to the German Channel and hang around on the sandy bottom. Manta rays often pass overhead or right in front of you at cleaning stations at the mouth of the channel.

Palau is also one of the few places in the world to see the nautilus so do check with your dive operator about these special dives. For macro lovers, do try out dusk dives near Koror to find mandarinfish. Also check out the many shipwrecks which are littered with nudibranch, scorpionfish, pipefish and other critters.


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Palau is a warm and sunny country consisting of some 250 islands that lie in the western Pacific Ocean. Palau has a small population of 21,000 people and the most populated island is Koror. Geographically, Palau is part of the Caroline Islands archipelago and it shares maritime boundaries with Indonesia, Philippines and the Federated States of Micronesia.

Some 3,000 years ago, Palau was settled by Philippine migrants and was first visited by European explorers only in the 18th century, eventually becoming part of the Spanish East Indies. Palau then changed hands to the Germans, Japanese, and finally Americans during World War II. You can still see the effects of war in Palau, especially on Peleliu Island, where the epic Battle of Peleliu took place in 1944. Palau is now a presidential republic in free association with the United States of America.

Palau is a very sought after tourist destination and it is advisable to make bookings well in advance. Many flock there to see the famous Rock Islands, snorkel in the mysterious Jellyfish Lake and to scuba dive. Palau is often considered as one of the top five places to scuba dive in the world with renowned dive sites like Blue Corner and the German Channel. To preserve its natural treasures, Palau created the world’s first shark sanctuary in 2009 and all commercial shark fishing has since been banned.

Other attractions

Snorkeling at Jellyfish Lake on Eil Malk within the Rock Islands is compulsory when visiting Palau. Kayaking around the islets around Koror is also recommended or you can book a tour to visit a lagoon called Milky Way for a white mud bath. Other than that, there are many snorkeling trips to choose from and land tours on Peleliu to learn more about the Battle of Peleliu.

Getting there

Fly to Koror from Manila, Guam, Japan, Taipei and even Korea on several airlines like United Airlines, Delta Air, China Airlines, Korean Air and Asiana Airlines.


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Note - Travel to any destination may be adversely affected by conditions including (but not limited) to security, entry and exit requirements, health conditions, local laws and culture, natural disasters and climate. Regardless of your destination, check your local travel advisory board or department for travel advice about that location when planning your trip and again shortly before you leave.

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