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Scuba diving in Palau

Wild and beautiful, Palau continues to hold true to its reputation as one of the best diving destinations in the world.
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Diving in Palau

Quick facts

Many who have dived in Palau often describe the diving there with superlatives. Most dive sites are world-class and unique, with memorable underwater features like blue holes, drop-offs, caverns, caves and channels. Visibility often seems endless and can go up to 200ft (61m) on good days. For wreck dives nearer to Koror though, do expect only 16-33ft (5-10m) of visibility.

Palau can be dived year-round but it tends to rain frequently during July to October. Water temperature is usually warm at a range of 81-86°F (27-30°C) and a 3mm wetsuit will suffice. There are several reputable dive operators in Palau which offer day trip boat dive packages or liveaboard diving. Most of the dive sites are located about 45-60 minutes away by speed boat from Koror. Key areas for diving are concentrated around the islands of Ngemelis and Peleliu.

With the strong currents of the Pacific Ocean sweeping through Palau, most of the dive sites are recommended for divers with experience. A reef hook is critical to have for several dive sites at the outer walls of the barrier reef, especially at the world-famous Blue Corner. For a very unique drift dive, head to Ulong Channel, a natural underwater channel which resembles a river. Another dive site not to be missed is the German Channel which is often visited by manta rays.

Shipwreck enthusiast will be spoilt for choice in Palau as there are many sunken remnants around Koror from World War II. Many are easily accessible and intact, and divers can take their pick from cargo ships, transport vessels, navy destroyers and Japanese Zero planes.

When to go

Rain and temperature

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Water temperature

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USD 2,201Per trip
USD 2,201Per trip
USD 3,704Per trip

What to see

Almost every dive site in Palau is bustling with activity. Large schools of fusilier and bigeye trevally are often found at channels and drop-offs and these fish attract many predators. Sharks are especially plentiful in Palau and whitetip, grey reef, and blacktip sharks are everywhere. Joining the sharks are other predators like tuna, giant trevally, and even sailfish. At Blue Corner, you will be met by friendly humphead wrasse, which love to come close to divers.

A very unique event to be witnessed in Palau is the spawning of the two-spot red snapper or green humphead parrotfish. Spawning usually takes place around the times of a new moon or full moon and are an otherworldly experience for divers as they involve thousands of these fish. To see manta rays, head to the German Channel and hang around on the sandy bottom. Manta rays often pass overhead or right in front of you at cleaning stations at the mouth of the channel.

Palau is also one of the few places in the world to see the nautilus so do check with your dive operator about these special dives. For macro lovers, do try out dusk dives near Koror to find mandarinfish. Also check out the many shipwrecks which are littered with nudibranch, scorpionfish, pipefish and other critters.

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