...Good for: Large animals, advanced divers, underwater photography...
...Not so good for: Non-diving activities...
Palau is recognised by divers-in-the-know as being among the best in the world. Unusually, there is not one main attraction in Palau - it has everything: big schools of fish, lots of sharks, healthy reefs, World War II wrecks and history, and the world-famous Jellyfish Lake and Blue Corner. It all adds up to an outrageously good dive destination and one that rarely disappoints.
Palau is a chain of 200 islands in the western Pacific lying some 650 km (528 miles) to the southeast of the Philippines. You can expect excellent visibility and constant water temperatures throughout almost the entire year, meaning that it is always a 'good time' to hop on a liveaboard boat in Palau for an unforgettable scuba adventure. Show more
Blue Corner (and Blue Holes) - The first site on everyone's lips in relation to Palau is usually Blue Corner. Here it's all about the schools of fish. Big schools and lots of them. Even the most experienced scuba diver can be left dumbstruck by the volume of fish and sharks; sharks galore ... You can expect to see snappers, jacks, chevron barracuda and red-toothed triggerfish in vast numbers. There are also plenty of sharks, tuna, wahoo, groupers and eagle rays as well as green and hawksbill turtles. Show more
Most holiday makers who come to Palau want to dive as much as possible. If you are the same then we recommend a Palau liveaboard as your best option. There is no easier way to get to see the whole region than on a boat that moves from one glorious dive spot to the next. For more information on the cruises and all the travel information you might need to visit Palau, view:
The flexibility of movement also allows liveaboards to offer more dives per day (often 5) than a land-based operator can provide. Travel time to the sites from land on day trip boats can be an annoyance. The liveaboards all operate out of the town of Koror (where you fly into) and run trips of a minimum of a week long.
As for the diving, there is a great variety including easy, shallow sites, drift, reef-hook and wreck dives. While Palau tends to attract more experienced scuba divers, intermediates can also enjoy many of the sites. Currents however, are often present so as long as you are comfortable in some current, you will learn how best to dive these sites and work with the current to allow you to enjoy the amazing shark and big fish action.
Palau is a year-round diving destination and liveaboard safaris operate here every month of the year. Water temperatures are very stable throughout the year with most months averaging between 29 and 30°C. Only in February and March is it likely to dip below that range and even then only to 26°C. So 3mm full-length wetsuits are the most common exposure suit and hoods are popular in cooler months. Air temperatures are usually in the 20s (70 to 85F).
Unusually for a destination with nutrient-rich water and current, the visibility is often magnificent. During July to September it can drop to 15-20m, but otherwise it is often in excess of 40m. The visibility drops a little at this time due to heavier rains and stronger winds. General wisdom is that although it is always a good time to dive Palau, the very best conditions exist between November and May.
Despite its relative proximity to the Philippines, typhoons do not commonly strike Palau as it lies just beyond the main typhoon path. However, June to December is typhoon season and there are occasional storms and high winds that reach the islands of Palau. Typhoons (and their fringe effects) are least likely from February to April.
Several sought-after creatures are present in Palau all year long including blacktip reef sharks, eagle rays, hammerhead sharks, dolphins, whitetips and oceanic whitetips. Other creatures are a little more seasonal, although they too can be spotted at any time. Sightings of whale sharks and manta rays are more likely from January to April. Green and hawksbill turtles can be seen year round but most frequently during the April to July period.
Review our map below of Palau and its location in the world. Here, you will find information on how to get to Palau.
Depth: 5m - >40m
Visibility: 15m - >35m
Currents: Moderate to very strong
Surface conditions: Often calm, can be choppy further from shore
Water temperature: 28°C - 30°C
Experience level: Intermediate - advanced
Number of dive sites: >30
Recommended length of stay: 8 - 11 days