PalauBlue Holes and stunning drop-offs, teeming with sharks
In the south west corner of the Pacific Ocean, 600 miles east of the Philippines and just north of the Equator, is a group of 328 islands called the Republic of Palau in Micronesia.
Often described as one of the seven underwater wonders of the world, with 700 species of coral and 1500 species of fish, Palau offers some of the best diving in Micronesia. With its huge barrier reef, fascinating Rock Islands and unique freshwater lakes, Palau provides divers with a tremendous variety of experiences and is famous for the large numbers of schooling sharks and spectacular wall diving.
The island of Koror is the main centre of population. This island is linked to the much larger coral island of Babeldaob to the north where the airport is located. A chain of islands stretches out to the south of Koror with beautiful sandy beaches and craggy inlets.
A liveaboard trip will take you through these islands, possibly as far as Angaur and Pelilieu in the south where World War II hideouts and remnants can still be found.
How to get there
Palau is most easily reached through Manila, in the Philippines. There are many airlines operating flights to Manila from the UK and you would need to take a night’s accommodation there prior to continuing your journey to Palau the next day. From Manila, there are direct flights to Palau operating two times per week, travelling on United Airlines. Flight time is just two and a half hours, although the flight times can be at unsociable hours!
Stay a bit a longer
Palau has so much to offer it is likely that you may not be looking to add any other destination to your trip, but there are several options to consider. In Palau itself, there are some wonderful day tours into the heart of the islands and there is so much to see. You can hike into the jungle to stand beneath huge, stunning waterfalls, visit cultural and historical sights including Bai (traditional meeting houses for the men), and see ancient Stone Monoliths dating back to 161 A.D. There are also countless World War II relics scattered around the islands to see.
If you fancy more diving, then you could combine Palau with a stay at either Yap or Truk Lagoon. United Airlines service all these areas, with flights to Yap and Truk Lagoon operating via Guam.
Whatever you fancy doing, we will be happy to guide you and assist with all your travel needs.
Sam’s Tours is a privately owned and managed PADI 5-Star IDC dive centre, which started its operation in Palau in 1990. The spacious area with its excellent infrastructure is located next to the private yacht club of Palau and is also home of Planet Blue Kayak Tours, a local provider of kayak tours.
Sam’s Tours has 9 boats that can each take between 8-12 divers (max 8 per guide) and daily dive trips are scheduled to the best dive sites around Palau. Each boat has twin engines, VHF radio, cell phone, DAN Emergency Oxygen & full canopy for sun protection. The dive centre has 12 ltr aluminium tanks with US/INT valves and DIN adapters are provided free of charge. Nitrox 32% is also free for certified divers.
Sam’s Tours offers complimentary transfers to and from your hotel to the dive centre on dive days.
Diving with Sam’s Tours
Sam’s Tours offers diving to all levels, including technical diving and the very best dive sites around Palau can easily be reached in one of their fast fleet of 9 boats. Dive groups are kept small, to a maximum of 8 divers per guide.
Sam’s Tours offers diving 365 dives per year, setting off for 2 day dives, with a lunch served in between. A third dive can be added in the afternoon if desired.All dive packages booked include a free snorkel stop at the legendary Jellyfish Lake and a complimentary third dive on one of the dive days in Chandelier Cave. Sam’s Tours also offers unlimited diving on ‘Sam’s Macro Wall’, right in front of the dive centre, where resident mandarin fish can be seen.
Sam’s Tours can also arrange guided land tours on non-dive days to see local culture and historic sites, including World War II wrecks scattered around the island.
With “Unique Dive Expeditions”, Sam’s Tours offers extraordinary dives for divers who are experienced with currents and night dives. Twice a month, around full moon and new moon, large groups of fish gather for mass spawning. At full moon, there are snapper aggregations and at new moon, bumphead parrot fish get together for their mating rituals. Marine biologists working for Sam’s Tours and conducting their studies in Palau, take a small group of no more than 7 divers on their research trips and are a great source of knowledge about the aggregations.
In the weeks without spawning activity, black water diving, a very unique type of a night dive, is offered. The dive boat is several miles/kilometers away from the reef and about 1,000 meters above the sea bottom. A bar with strong light is tied at a depth of 12 meters under the boat, attracting tiny critters and creatures from the depth, such as baby pufferfish, luminescent jellyfish, invertebrates and many more, that. A photographer’s dream.
Cove Resort Palau
The Cove Resort Palau opened in July 2016 and is conveniently located within a short walk of Sam’s Tours. It is a waterfront oasis with a nautical theme, from its Hungry Marlin restaurant down to the rustic boat wood furniture.
Cove Resort Palau also is home to the largest lagoon swimming pool in Palau, complete with a pool bar that invites to relax after a day of diving. All 71 rooms have ocean view, the rooms on the ground and first floor have a terrace or balcony.
Palau Royal Resort
The Palau Royal Resort is close to the city centre of Palau and only a few minutes away from the dive centre of Sam’s Tours. The resort features 157 guestrooms and suites overlooking the seascape of Malakal harbour.
The hotel offers several leisure facilities. Guests can use the hotel’s own fitness centre, play tennis, relax at the pool area or have a drink at the beach bar. In addition, the resort includes a private white sand beach, two restaurants, a children’s play area, a spa area and several shops.
The Palau Royal Resort is part of the international hotel chain of Nikko hotels.
Palau Pacific Resort
The Palau Pacific Resort is the most luxurious Resort in Palau. The location could not be better; the guests find themselves surrounded by a 250.000 square meter garden with the famous orchid nursery and the exclusive private sand beach is only a few meters away. Koror city centre is only a few minutes away.
The 5* Resort features 160 rooms and 5 luxurious water bungalows with traditional island décor and offers all kind of imaginable comfort. The Hotel has two tennis courts, a hotel’s own beauty salon and a well-equipped spa area. Both restaurants offer traditional and national dishes.
Rose Garden Resort
The Rose Garden Resort offers 20 Garden View and Scenic View rooms which are only five minutes away from Koror downtown. Each bungalow style setting has its own private balcony.
The resort is located on a hilltop overlooking the ocean and the Rock Islands. The room types range from family size to single room. Each room features air conditioning, flat screen TV and laundry services.
The Rose Garden Resort is commendable for guests who prefer quiet and cosy lodging. The Rose Garden Bar & Grill offers its guests a variety of cuisines and dishes.
West Plaza Hotels
There are four West Plaza Hotels conveniently located in Koror; West Plaza’s By-The-Sea, Desekel, Malakal and Downtown.
All four of them offer clean, standard accommodation. For guests who wish to dive with Sam’s Tours it’s recommendable to stay at the West Plaza Malakal as it is only a 10 minutes’ walk from the hotel to the diving centre.
All rooms feature air conditioning, TV and a small fridge.
Ready for your next adventure?
Great Escapes Diving Holidays Ltd
Office hours: Mondays to Fridays, 9am - 5pm
Tel: 01449 535010
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