Palau: Swimming with Jellyfish, WWII Relics and the Rock Islands

Palau: Swimming with Jellyfish, WWII Relics and the Rock Islands

Welcome to Palau, one of my great travel secrets.

The Republic of Palau – a speck of a country that’s part of Micronesia – gained independence in 1994. Sitting south of Japan and just east of the Philippines, only nine of its isles are inhabited. Angaur, Babeldaob, Koror and Peleliu are the most populated with a little more than 200,000 people (about the size of Akron, Ohio).

The main island and city are both called Koror. Due to Palau’s long shape, most travelers stay on Koror and get around by boat departing from the central island. You can get around by air, but there is only one four-seater seaplane that visitors can book and reservations must be secured well ahead of time.

In Koror, there are more than 30 restaurants, a few local shops and markets, internet cafes, a gas station and two Palauan museums along a two-mile long main street. Down a few blocks on that main street, there are a dozen family-run restaurants serving everything from traditional Japanese food to pizza, to Indian to local barbeque. The Forrest Garden Restaurant serves an unusual combination pizza made with taro crust and fresh-caught seafood toppings. The Palau Pacific Resort’s King and Queen seven-course dinner includs a fresh catch of lobster and prawns from local fisherman. Course seven will blow you away, serving up une fin étonnante of delicate truffles and cakes.

War history buffs will appreciate an all-day tour of the relics on Palau’s southern island of Peleliu which gives a snapshot of the battlefields during World War II. Follow forested paths to find dilapidated tanks and massive canons left behind in the brush by troops, tour secret bunkers and underground cave routes and discover antiquated weapons, artillery and planes.

More than 200 uninhabited islands make up an area called the Rock Islands. These pod-like protrusions jetting up from the sea are famous for snorkeling coves, diving spots, perfect sandy beaches and crystal clear waters. Their beauty rivals that of Thailand’s now very polluted and touristy Phi Phi and James Bond islands.

Half-day tours of the Rock Islands include a visit to the Milky Way where guides pull up white clay from the sea bottom for guests to slather on. You’ll enjoy lunch in a beautiful cove, before your final stop at Jellyfish Lake.

Jellyfish Lake, a 12,000-year-old marine lake, land locked its inhabitants, Mastigias Papua Etpisoni, better known as the golden jellyfish. Isolated with no predators, the once aggressive jellyfish evolved and lost their capacity to sting, making the lake the only location where one can swim with jellyfish.

Divers from around the globe agree that Palau is one of the superlative diving locales in the world with average visibility at about 30 meters. When diving isn’t an option, snorkelers can easily relish in Palau’s sea life.

Palau’s only five-star resort, the Palau Pacific, is known for the best snorkeling off a resort’s beach. The gin colored waters, rival aquarium sea life, and include large, colorful clams the size of car tires, cobalt blue starfish and an unbelievable amount of colorful schools of fish. It makes for a perfect day spent floating atop the sea.

Original Post @ Exclusive Resorts