Diving in Palau is simply superlative. This diver’s paradise, in the center of Micronesia, offers drop-offs, blue holes, overhangs, caves, channels, and shipwrecks with unbelievable visibility. Expect big fish and shark action at one of the world’s best dive destinations.
Palau in Pictures
A collection of photos of Palau both over and underwater.
Marine Life in Palau
There isn’t a dive site in Palau that won’t be full of marine life and activity. In 2009, the island country established a shark sanctuary the size of France. The result is plenty of shark sightings including whitetip, grey reef, and blacktip sharks. They are often accompanied by other predators like tuna, giant trevally, and other big pelagics. Manta rays often make appearances too and Palau is also known for the spawning of the two-spot red snapper or green humphead parrotfish. Spawning usually happens at the new or full moon and is a unique experience where you can encounter thousands of these fish.
The reef life is excellent and pristine, hosting over 300 species of coral, nine species of seagrass, and 2,000 species of fish and many species of giant clam.
Dive Conditions in Palau
This Micronesian archipelago is located in the Pacific Ocean about 1,523 km ( 946 m) east of the Philippines. Its warm water diving at its best. Exposed to the strong currents of the Pacific, it is recommended for advanced divers with drift diving experience. Diving is from the shore by speedboat or by liveaboard. The liveaboards operate from Koror and run week-long trips. Booking is recommended many months in advance as liveaboard places get sold out quickly. The diving areas are clustered around the islands of Ngemelis and Peleliu.
Best Time to Dive in Palau
Palau has a tropical rainforest climate. You can expect constant water temperatures throughout the year, making it a year-round dive destination. Wet season is July to October and the best time to dive in Palau is from December to March. Conditions are generally calmer and more pleasant with the greatest number of pelagics, and excellent visibility.
Water temperature is usually warm 27-30°C (81-86°F)
Best Dive Sites in Palau
Palau is an oceanic archipelago of over 300 islands. Like all the diving in Micronesia, the dive sites here are teeming with incredible creatures and you can’t really go wrong. Here are the must-dives.
Top of the best dives in Palau is Blue Corner. Well-known around the world for its incredible hard and soft corals, gorgonian fan corals, and anemones on the wall at the start of the dive. The dive site has strong currents that increase with depth and you’ll need a reef hook, but that’s where you’ll find what you came for – shark action! Patrolling the reef are numerous, schooling grey reef sharks, white tip sharks and more. Barracudas, jacks, and Napoleon wrasses also hang about at this magical site.
Created by German miners about 100 years ago, wonderful coral formations have colonized the channel making this now narrow channel an epic dive site. With a sandy bottom at 17m (55 ft.) that drops away even deeper, it’s frequented by numerous manta rays (there is a cleaning station), grey reef sharks and other pelagics.
Known as one of the best drift dive sites in the world, the entrance is filled with corals and the site attracts many game fish and their predators. At the exit of the channel, you’ll come face-to-face with grey reef sharks.
For an out-of-this-world dive, this small cave system is not for claustrophobes. The stunning formations of the 5 small caves are an incredible and unique sight. Glistening stalactites and stalagmites line the caves which also have air pockets. Along the cave walls are small shrimp and crabs living on the sponges
For a unique snorkeling experience, don’t miss this marine lake located on Eil Malk Island. Millions of golden jellyfish migrate across the lake daily.
How to Get to Palau
Fly to Koror, the main commercial center of Palau, from Manila, Guam, Japan, Taipei, and even Korea on several airlines.
Good to Know
Palau is also worth exploring inland. Nature Parks and waterfalls await.