26 – 29 °C / 79 – 84 °F
15 – 50 meters / 45 – 165ft
Skin – 3mm – 5mm
Best time to travel
Year round, best November to May
Recommended dive sites
Palau: Blue Corner, Ulong Channel, Peleliu Wall, Iro, Teshio Maru, Chandelier Cave, Jellyfish Lake (snorkel)
Yap: Mi'il Channel, Lionfish Wall, Valley of the Rays, Yap Caverns
Chuuk: Shinkoku Maru, Heian Maru, Nippo Maru, Susuki Destroyer, San Francisco Maru, Hoki Maru, Fujikawa Maru, Yamagiri Maru, Sankisan Maru
Above water activities
Palau: Kayak tour Rock Islands, Dolphin Pacific, Peleliu land tour
Yap: Hike or bike the Stone Paths, sail a traditional Yapese outrigger, visit the remains of a Japanese WWII aircraft at the old airport, visit the Ethnic Art Institute at Trader's Ridge
Chuuk: Island tours, kayaking
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East of the Philippines, in the west of the Pacific, over 2,000 islands lie sprinkled across a vast expanse of sparkling azure tropical ocean. Travel to Micronesia is recognized as one of the top dive destinations in the world.
The Republic of Palau is Micronesia's western most island chain and is home to one of the world's unique phenomena, the Rock Islands. Their bases, having been worn away by tidal action and grazing sea creatures, are narrower than their tops, causing them to look like mushrooms rising from the turquoise sea.
Three ocean currents meet in Palau’s waters to bring in some of the most varied and dazzling marine life in the world. Palau diving has become a world-renowned dive destination for those seeking adventure and big animal encounters. It offers an endless variety of dive sites - an almost limitless variety of marine life with schools of sharks, manta rays, turtles, impressive schools of jacks and visiting pelagics to mention just a few.
Although Palau is known for strong currents, this is not the general rule and most currents are quite gentle. Many dives are slow drifts along the reef walls, giving divers the opportunity to study the vibrantly lively and fascinating marine spectacle. For some adrenaline-pumping drift dives there are several dive sites where, when the tide is running, you are in for a roller-coaster ride. All this and beautiful soft coral walls where you can enjoy great visibility are the essence of Micronesia scuba diving.
Dive sites like Blue Corner and German Drop-off are known far and wide, as some of the best dive spots in the world. Palau is home to over 1,300 species of fish and more than 700 species of coral. The majority of Palau diving is drift diving along the walls, plateaus and coral gardens of the outer reef; dives begin in knee deep water and plunge straight down to depths of 1000 feet and more. Blue holes, huge caverns and an immense variety of rare and exotic marine species are easily accessible in the pristine water with visibility exceeding 200 feet. From current swept plateaus to sheltered coral gardens, Palau diving offers a wonderful range for every level of interest and skill. Imagine the whitest beaches you will ever see, gardens of coral just beneath the clearest waters, lakes filled to the brim with "sting less" jellyfish. World renowned for its' marine bio-diversity and abundance of large pelagic animals, it is not uncommon to see grey reef and whitetip sharks, eagle rays, hundreds of schooling barracuda, vast amounts of blue trigger fish, moray eels, lion fish, schooling humphead parrotfish, nudibranchs, several turtles and a leaf fish all on one dive.
The luxurious Palau Pacific Resort, one of the finest hotels in the Pacific region, is surrounded by the crystal blue water of the Pacific Ocean. Set in 64 acres of verdant tropical gardens that are often filled with brilliant tropical flowers, the hotel has its own private white sandy beach. Palau beckons to you with some of the world's most awesome natural wonders.
Traveling to Palau? Why not take in Yap and its incredible Manta Rays or Truk and its remarkable wrecks? Make the most of your visit to this part of the world; you could even stop off to dive in the Philippines. Talk to us about possible itineraries.
About 300 miles northeast of Palau lies Yap, also known as Wa’ab by locals, an island where stone money known as Rai, is still in use today but mostly for traditional or ceremonial transactions. So don’t worry, everyday transactions are in US dollar. Yap is a wonderful mixture of past and present where ancient culture still exists alongside the 21st century. Diving in Yap is excellent in its clear and unexplored waters and virgin reefs. Yap may not have the luxury and bright lights of a big island but it has managed to let most of the modern world pass by and practices Micronesia's most reserved and traditional lifestyle. Culture remains almost unchanged and calls on its people to treat a guest with warmth and hospitality.
It wasn’t until late 1980s when it was discovered that large numbers of Manta Rays could be observed here at very close range. There is no other place on earth where they can be seen on such a consistent basis year 'round. The mantas come to the cleaning stations to be tended to by cleaner wrasse and certain species of other reef fish that pick parasites from their skin and their cavernous mouths. During certain times of the year, mantas also mate, forming a train-like chain as the males court the females. It is assumed that the mantas also use the shallow and protected inner lagoons and mangroves to give birth to their live young, though this is still yet to be witnessed firsthand.
However, there is more to Yap than Manta Rays. Yap is famous for its clear waters where schools of tuna, dolphins and reef fish are found in abundance. Observing the greatly varied marine life on the reefs and in the channels has become a must for divers around the world. The outer reefs and spectacularly deep walls that drop off into the ocean abyss are teeming with life, from schooling shoals of reef fish to turtles, sharks and eagle rays.
Diving in Yap has something for everyone and the diving is relatively easy at most sites. Beginners can feel comfortable right from the start, and experienced divers will cherish the freedom to explore and the variety of attractions. Vertical walls, wonderfully healthy reefs, schools of Spotted Eagle Rays and grottos with swim-throughs full of tropical fish are just some of the diving highlights that can be found in Yap.
The Chuuk Islands, known to most divers as Truk, because of Truk Lagoon, are part of the Caroline Islands in the South Pacific. The calm waters hold the remains of the Japanese fleet that was targeted by Operation Hailstone in February 1944 during World War II and is a Mecca for wreck divers. Diving in Chuuk is, according to many ‘the world’s ultimate wreck site’. This maritime graveyard with over 60 ships now resting on the sea floor, encrusted in a wealth of corals and sponges and shrouded in colorful clouds of fish is something to behold. Some of the wrecks are too deep from conventional scuba diving but the majority is accessible to divers of all experiences.
Many wrecks, such as the San Francisco, start at a depth of only 150ft and are therefore easily reached by sport divers. The variety of wrecks within the sport diving range is impressive: a submarine, Japanese Zeros, Betty bombers, destroyers, submarine tenders and supply ships with trucks, jeeps, planes and equipment they were carrying still intact. The wrecks are addictive; visiting once is never enough.
The warm tropical water, prolific marine life and ocean currents have transformed the wrecks at Truk Lagoon into breathtakingly beautiful coral gardens and artificial reefs, home to hundreds of exotic marine animals and fish. Today, diving in Chuuk and especially Truk lagoon remains a Mecca to sport divers, underwater photographers and marine scientists alike.
Less dived and spectacular in its own right is the outer reef with peaks, caves and drop-offs with hard and soft corals in a kaleidoscope of colors and shapes. Here you can experience hundreds of species of fishes and lots of pelagics.
VISA Palau: All visitors must have a valid passport not less than 6 months from date of expiration and proof of return arrangements. Visas are not required. 30-days Tourist Visa will be issued upon arrival. Yap: A valid passport with 6 months validity remaining is required for Yap. Other required items include a return ticket, confirmation of hotel reservation, and another form of picture ID required. Chuuk: All visitors must have a valid passport not less than 6 months from date of expiration and proof of return arrangements.
LANGUAGE Palau: The languages are English and Palauan. Yap: There are four indigenous languages in Yap: Yapese, Ulithian, Woleian and Satawalese. English is the official language of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) and is commonly spoken and understood. Many elderly Yapese are fluent in Japanese. Chuuk: English is the official language, commonly spoken and understood. The people of Chuuk also speak their own indigenous language, Chuukese. Many elderly people are fluent in Japanese.
TIME GMT Palau: +9. Yap and Chuuk: +10
CURRENCY The official currency is the U.S. Dollar. Visa, JCB, Master Card and American Express cards are widely accepted at stores and visitor facilities. There are FDIC insured banks and major hotels with limited foreign currency exchange. In addition, Palau has money transfers such as Western Union or through Bank Institution. Giant stone money remains in use on Yap, but not for ordinary transactions or any that are likely to involve visitors.
CLIMATE Micronesia enjoys a pleasantly warm climate all year round with an annual mean temperature of 27°C / 82 °F. Rainfall can occur throughout the year. The average relative humidity is 82%, and although rain falls more frequently between July and October, there is still much sunshine.
VACCINES Cholera and Yellow Fever immunizations are required for those arriving from infected areas. Check with your embassy or consulate, as well as with a knowledgeable doctor, for detailed information on current health issues.
ELECTRICITY Palau: 110 Volts 50/60Hz with U.S. type flat 2-pin plug or 3-pin (two flat pins and rounded ground pin). Yap: 120 volts AC, 60Hz. Plugs are of the round two-pin type. Chuuk: 110/120V, 60Hz and US type outlets are used.
AIRPORT TAX All visitors departing from Palau pay a US$ 20 Departure Tax, payable in US $ only. For Yap there is no airport departure tax. Chuuk: All visitors departing from Chuuk pay a 15 US$ departure tax, payable in US$ only.