- Shore based
- Expeditions & Safaris
- Group trips
- Liveaboard Departures
- Learn to dive!
Palau has a very steady, year round climate and the temperature remains around 30°C in both the air and water. Here you will discover caverns and colourful wall dives, to dramatic drop-offs. Jellyfish Lake is a unique opportunity to snorkel amongst thousands of stingless jelly fish. Throughout Palau you can enjoy fantastic visibility and some of the world’s best dive sites.
Palau was initially settled more than 4,000 years ago, probably by migrants from what today is Indonesia. British traders became prominent visitors in the 18th century, followed by expanding Spanish influence in the 19th century. Following its defeat in the Spanish-American War, Spain sold Palau and most of the rest of the Caroline Islands to Germany in 1899. Control passed to Japan in 1914 and then to the United States under UN auspices in 1947 as part of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands.
Four of the Trust Territory districts formed a single federated Micronesian state in 1979, but this eventually dissolved as the individual districts--long culturally distinct--opted for more locally popular status. Palau approved a new constitution in 1981, subsequently signing a Compact of Free Association with the United States in 1982. After eight referenda and an amendment to the Palauan constitution, the Compact went into effect on October 1, 1994, marking Palau's emergence from trusteeship to independence.
The capital and major population center is Koror, the small set of islands to the south of the main island of Babelthuap.
Culture and Customs
The name Palau may be derived from the Palauan word for village, beluu (Pelew). Some trace the name to the Spanish word for mast, palao.
Palau comprises several cultures and languages. Ethnic Palauans predominate, inhabiting the main islands of the archipelago. Descendants of the Carolinean atolls, especially Ulithi, settled on Palau's southern atolls.
Most of Palau's important cultural symbols are derived from its chiefly past, in particular the gable of the community meetinghouse, bai. This impressive thatched building was the center of political, social, and artistic life. Today the decorated bai gable is used in most national and state seals and to decorate Palauan buildings. Respect toward elders and leaders is still pronounced. In particular the head is considered sacred and should not be touched.