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Palau Travel Guide

The Republic of Palau consumes a total of 180 square kilometres of land and is an oceanic island made up of a group of islands, in the North Pacific Ocean, southeast of the Philippines. There are about 18,500 folk living around Palau who are mainly of Malayan, Polynesian and Melanesian descent and Modeknegi faith. The inhabitants speak mainly English, Palauan and Japanese and money-wise make their trade from tourism, handicrafts and agriculture, trading with countries such as Japan and the USA.

Palau plumped for independence in 1978, a set of islands that had been under US administration and part of the United Nations Trust Territory of the Pacific, for thirty years. It wasn’t until 1986 though, that a Compact of Free Association was approved with the United States, with another seven year wait for the endorsement, which eventually took place in 1993. A year later the Compact of Free Association went into rule, making the Palau islands, at last, an independent state.

Many people come to Palau to scuba dive, and no wonder with its blue holes, coral reefs, WWII wrecks, tunnels, hidden caves and over 60 vertical drop-offs. The island is the region where three major ocean currents meet, bringing a plentiful supply of food and a vast range of marine life to the area. Staying around the tourist areas, visitors will find some great snorkelling regions, where colourful tropical fish, mushroom and platter coral and giant clams can be seen. Outside these areas though, visitors will find a more varied array of sea life with Jellyfish Lake being the favourite, a saltwater lake, attainable via a ten-minute forest trek, which teems with millions of transparent jellyfish who swim around in groups following the sunlight. Any sun worshippers need to head down to a good beach whilst on the island, three of which are Babeldaob, Peleliu and the Rock Islands, where the sand is white, the sea is blue and the bodies are perfectly bronzed! The financial hub and capital of Palau is Koror, an area where two-thirds of the country’s population work and live. The place is more of a traditional Micronesian town, with an easygoing kind of attitude than it is a busy, business centre and will provide visitors with many historic ruins to examine for at least a day or so.

The best ways for visitors to travel around Palau are by shuttle bus, taxi or hire car, with the latter only being allowed for a maximum of 30 days when using their own drivers licence. There are also sporadic flights aboard Cessna planes, which will take passengers from Koror to Angaur and Peleliu, a bit more expensive, but definitely worth it! The best time to visit Palau is February through March when the weather is drier, the roads are much safer and festivals abound.

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