Operators and hotels on Palau include:
Fish N Fins
Address: Box 142,Koror, Palau PW 96940
Address: Box 129, Koror, Palau PW 96940
Address: Box 7076, Koror, Palau PW 96940
Palau Pacific Resort
Address: Box 308 Koror, Palau PW 96940
Rates: Ocean view room from $350
When divers first submerge into Jellyfish
Lake, the water is a little murky and the hovering trees above
contribute to the lack of clarity. But as they swim forward,
sunlight illuminates the lake to capture a surreal moment:
stingless mastiga jellyfish come into view, transparent and serene,
ranging from the size of a fingertip to the palm of a hand.
Before they know
it, divers have swum toward the motherload in the warm sunlight's
glow, millions of jellyfish surrounding them, pulsating and
nonchalant, unresponsive as there are no predators in the lake. The
experience is surreal -- borderline divine, in fact -- and utterly
This is the
island nation of Palau, where natural wonders raise the bar for
other unspoiled destinations. An independent commonwealth
comprising more than 400 islands (only eight are inhabited, by
19,000 natives), Palau is Micronesia's jewel.
beauty, wealth of unique water- and sun-drenched activities and
effortless knack for ecofriendliness attracts those seeking both
adventure and relaxation.
While the TV
reality show "Survivor" may have put Palau on the map when
producers shot the second season there, it didn't exactly result in
skyrocketing tourism arrivals from the U.S. (Continental Airlines
is the only U.S. carrier that provides service to and in
Micronesia, with a hub in Guam.)
line with the laid-back Palauan lifestyle, there's no rush. The
steady increase in tourism suits everyone and keeps the island's
leisurely pace as it should be.
A diver's paradise
Diving is the
main attraction on Palau, and Jacques Cousteau wasn't bluffing when
he said the island was one of the best diving spots in the
aficionados paid attention. In fact, Tova and Navot
Borrovski, owners of local tour operator Fish N Fins, were so
enthralled with the island's underwater world that they never left
after they sailed here in 1993.
diving tours explore a range of approximately 40 dive sites,
including the Big Drop Off, hailed as one of Palau's best, and
diversity of dives, including wreck, wall, cavern and drift
If clients are
not certified, the crystal-clear waters make the perfect underwater
paradise for snorkelers who'll find themselves among more than
1,000 species of fish, diverse sea creatures, artifacts from World
War II and colorful coral reefs.
giant clams, as much as four feet wide, make the waters
plunge-worthy in Clam City.
Jellyfish Lake is
a popular stop on Fish N Fins' day-trip itinerary, and spa
enthusiasts will love lathering themselves at the Milky Way, a
marine lake inlet where the chalk-gray sediment makes a great mud
Kayaking is one
of the most popular methods to navigate the waters of
Neco Marine offers the most sought-after route in the Airai area,
weaving through lush island formations to discover limestone caves.
(The caves are natural formations and not the result of World War
II bombing, as some tour guides claim.)
Some caves are
large enough to explore inside, leaving visitors in awe of the
natural erosion and coral. Protruding near the shore is a Japanese
war plane propeller; the remains of the body are submerged just a
few feet away.
En route to Nikko
Bay, several pill boxes (or bunkers) are cleverly masked in the
shrubbery where Japanese soldiers hid as lookouts. A nice way to
end the tour is a quick snorkel along Rembrandt's Wall, the
well-known, colorful coral formation.
Though Palau is
water-centric, activities abound on land, as well. Sam's Tours
offers a scenic itinerary that takes clients to historical stone
monoliths and small villages in several of Palau's states on the
eastern coast of Babeldaob.
The trip ends
with a hike in Ngardmau, home to natural stream pools
and a sublime waterfall hidden in the rain forest. When the sun
hits at the right angle, a rainbow manifests in the
off-the-beaten-path explorations can venture deep into the jungles
and find wartime artifacts, including beer bottles, guns, shrapnel
be surprised if their guide (ask for Malahi) stops at local homes
to visit a macaque monkey who will eat dirt from your hair, or to
feed caged fruit bats with mangos shaken down from a nearby tree.
Sam's Tours ends the seven-hour journey with a sip of Titum, a cold
fruit drink unique to the island, at one of the local
motifs and decor are reflected throughout Palau Pacific Resort, the
only beachfront resort on the island.
Guest rooms are
large, with private terraces, and most face the ocean.
Guests can unwind
in a private cabana, watch the sunset and, if they are feeling
bold, try chewing betle nut. It's a traditional Palauan treat
concocted of buuch nut, lime powder and tobacco, wrapped in a
pepper vine leaf and known to keep indulgers relaxed.
sworn by it since the 1700s.
information, visit the Palau Visitors Authority online at www.visit-palau.com or call (680) 488-1965. Or contact
Burditch Marketing Communications at (323) 932-6262.
To contact the reporter who wrote this article, send e-mail
to [email protected].