Liveaboard Diving in Palau

What To Expect On A Palau Liveaboard

Liveaboard diving in Palau must surely be at the top of most divers 'must dive' list and so it should be!! The Republic of Palau is an island country located in the western Pacific Ocean in Micronesia with a population of 21,000. The capital of Palau is Ngerulmund located on the island of Babeldaob, however, the largest city is Koror with two-thirds of Palau's population living there and where most of the tourism goes to. Palau is made up of 250 islands and some of these make up the western chain of the Caroline islands of Micronesia. Palau liveaboards will visit some spectacular sites where the marine life is astounding. From the famous Blue Corner to the wrecks at Peleliu, Micronesia liveaboards can offer an itinerary to suit.

The first settlers to Palau were from the Philippines and arrived over 3000 years ago, but 900 years ago the Europeans started exploring the area and from then till now multiple nations have had power of Palau. In 1947 it became part of the US governed Trust Territory of Pacific Islands and it gained sovereignty in 1994. This also means that they use the US dollar as currency. The population is a mix of Japanese, Micronesian and Melanesian and speak mainly Palauan and English. The islands are mostly volcanic and limestone rock islands and the overall area is 465 kilometres squared (179 miles squared). One of the most famous parts of Palau are the Rock islands, a unique phenomenon of forest covered, limestone islands clustered together within 35km (20mi) creating a spectacular area for diving and exploration.

Palau Underwater

Liveaboards in Palau have so much to offer divers when it comes to dive sites and marine life, most likely whatever you are hoping to find, you will find here. Many dive sites in Palau visited by liveaboards have flourishing reefs inhabited by large schools of colourful fish, living around the jungles of corals, sea fans and sponges. Some of the larger species include green turtles, hawksbill turtles, quite a few species of sharks including grey reef, white tip and leopard sharks, there are also Wahoos, Napoleon Wrasse and the elusive Mandarin fish. There are also multiple wreck sites with sunken ships and many other World War II artefacts.

Dive Sites Of Palau

Palau has many unique dive sites at which you can see a high abundance of different marine life. In general, this area will provide divers with thriving reefs, drop-offs, drift dives, vast amounts of marine life, caves, and wreck dives. Along with that they have averaged that this area has over 1300 species of fish and over 700 species of coral.

BLUE CORNER is possibly the most famous dive site in Palau, a literal environmental corner which is located on the South West reefs of Palau islands and on the Northwest end of Ngemelis Island. It is located about 46 km (25 mi) from Koror and will offer divers a great chance for seeing sharks. Here you will also see extremely large schools of fish and also many larger marine animals. There are strong currents here so it is not suitable for beginner divers but this does make it a great drift dive spot.

GERMAN CHANNEL is another of the more popular dive sites; this channel was created when the Germans needed to transport phosphorous from the lagoon out to the ocean. The channel itself has extremely strong currents but the dive site is located on the southwest mouth of the channel. This is one of the best dive sites in the world to see and come close to Manta Rays which can have a wingspan up to 3m (10ft).

JELLYFISH LAKE Whilst not a site for scuba diving, as the bubbles can harm the jellyfish, it is a unique experience to snorkel and swim amongst millions of harmless (no stingers) jellyfish. One of the best known in water experiences to do in Palau.

IRO MARU WRECK is one of the wreck dives you may visit on a Palau itinerary, a large fleet oiler which lies at 23-35m (75-114ft) with coral encrusted canon guns and much, much more. There are multiple wrecks to be seen in this area, mostly all from WWII, all which have created their own personal ecosystems underwater.

CHANDELIER CAVES is a cave system made up of 5 separate caves, all which have stalagmites and stalactites formed inside them which resemble sparkling chandeliers. You will need to bring a torch and be a confident diver within caves, if so then they are beautiful caves to explore.

Top Tips For Divers

There are three main seasons, the high season runs from December to March and during this time there are flat, calm seas and drier weather, the shoulder seasons are April, July and August, October and November when where the winds are stronger and more rainfall, and lastly the low season, May, June and September where the weather fluctuates the most, but during these months there are the least amount of visitors and lowest prices. Many of the dive sites have specific requirements, such as needing to be a wreck diver or cave diver, so please do check before going.

Getting To Palau

To get to these sites, or to get to any Micronesia liveaboards which will be visiting this area, then you will need to make your way to Koror, which is the largest city in Palau. The airport is located on the island of Babeldaob which is connected by a bridge to Koror. The airport is called The Roman Tmetuchl International Airport. There are only five destinations which have outgoing flights to Palau, so you would have to fly to one of these first; Philippines, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan and Guam. Once in Palau, everything is organised mostly from Koror, most dive shops are located there and any liveaboards will depart from the Malakal Harbour in Koror.

Palau Diving Reviews

  • 9.2 Superb
  • 27 Verified Reviews
  • 8.8 Fabulous
  • Ronald M
  • United States United States

Doing a liveaboard was the way to dive Palau. Quick boat rides to dive sites

Diving Palau in August on the Palau Aggressor II

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Richard V
  • United States United States

Simply world class! Palau does an excellent job of protecting their valuable resource for all to enjoy.

Diving Palau in August on the Palau Aggressor II

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Scott A
  • United States United States

Beatiful and clear. Outstanding biodiversity.

Diving Palau in July on the Palau Aggressor II

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Gene F
  • United States United States

The best I have ever experienced.

Diving Palau in April on the Ocean Hunter 3

  • 8.4 Very good
  • Lyn L
  • United States United States

There is something for everyone.

Diving Palau in September on the Palau Siren

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • United States United States

Really good but we were unlucky with the weather and visibility. I imagine the diving is even better with sunshine and good conditions.

Diving Palau in February on the Rock Islands Aggressor

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Paul B
  • France France

Really high level, amazing corral life + many grey reef sharks, schools of fishes

Diving Palau in December on the Rock Islands Aggressor

  • 8.8 Fabulous
  • United States United States

100 feet plus visibility; enormous density of sea life; warm waters; pelagics; beautiful corals.

Diving Palau in December on the Palau Siren

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Michal V
  • Czech Republic Czech Republic

In the Palau was the diving better than average.

Diving Palau in November on the Palau Aggressor II

  • 8.0 Very good
  • Ewa P
  • Poland Poland

Palau is of course on of the top locations and it still shows - the reefs are great and relatively unspoiled (not much bleaching). But... I feel the biodiversity is largely reduced compared to other locations in the larger region. I have seen very little macro on this trip and this is surprising vs nearby Philippines, Indonesia, PNG.

Diving Palau in November on the Palau Aggressor II

  • 7.6 Good
  • Christian S
  • Germany Germany

Great dive area. Unfortunately We could not dive at Blue Hole due to a weather change. The boat was great and the diving very convenient.

Diving Palau in July on the Rock Islands Aggressor

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Marcio C
  • Brazil Brazil

Clean water, warm and such a beautiful sites!

Diving Palau in June on the Rock Islands Aggressor

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Alexandros K
  • Greece Greece

I really enjoyed the whole trip

Diving Palau in April on the Palau Siren

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Brenton S
  • Australia Australia

Great, we were unlucky with the Mantas, but that was at no short effort from the crew. Lots of sharks, great coral gardens and some great hook on dives.

Diving Palau in February on the Palau Aggressor II

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Steven V
  • United States United States

diving was great although according to the staff the variable visibility and cold currents were not typical

Diving Palau in January on the Palau Aggressor II

  • 7.6 Good
  • May C
  • Hong Kong Hong Kong

Not as good as expected - not as many big fishes nor current as expected. Also a lot of corels were broken.

Diving Palau in December on the Tropic Dancer

  • 8.0 Very good
  • Zayn F
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom

Excellent dive sites. Experience somewhat diminished by large numbers of novice Asian divers all scrambling for selfies and photos underwater. Operators can do more to educate their customers on dive etiquette.

Diving Palau in December on the Solitude One

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Chris S
  • United States United States

Diving in Palau lived up to its reputation as one of the worlds best dive destinations. The Sharks at blue corner, the mantas at German channel, jellyfish lake, and mandarin fish at chandelier caves exceeded expectations!

Diving Palau in December on the Tropic Dancer