Country guides Australasia
Palau Travel Guide
A sprinkling of emeralds within the vastness of the Pacific Ocean, the exquisite islands of Palau are honeycombed with underwater caverns and natural reefs, and are the quintessential diver's paradise. With more than 700 species of corals and 1,500 species of fish, the destination has earned its reputation as an underwater wonder of the world, attracting around 50,000 visitors a year. Palau has been fondly dubbed 'The Underwater Serengeti'; in fact, the country is virtually unknown outside of diving circles, despite being almost as pristine above the surface as below.
Filled with historic sites dating back to at least 1,000 BC, Palau was first explored by Europeans in the 16th century and has since been under the control of Spain, Germany, Japan, and the USA, before becoming an independent nation in 1994. The islands were occupied by the Japanese during World War II and played host to one of the bloodiest battles of the conflict, relics of which can be seen on Peleliu Island with former battlefields, tanks, artillery, and shrines.
Palau is an archipelago of about 250 limestone and volcanic islands, most of which have barely been marked by human settlement and remain blanketed in dense forest. The most populous island is Koror, but the capital of Ngerulmud, along with an international airport, can be found on nearby Babeldaod Island.
Palau offers beaches, turquoise waters, sunny weather, and a plethora of activities including swimming, fishing, kayaking, dolphin watching, snorkelling, and sailing. Palau has just enough amenities to comfortably host tourists without compromising the natural beauty and island atmosphere.