The wonder of travelers begins from the airplane, to the spectacular sight of thousands of points of an intense green, scattered in an infinite mass of ocean. The low and clear water confuses the dry land and the seabed, so that the boundaries of the islands does not stand out from the reef. These are the Caroline, the most western of the Micronesia's archipelagos, which can really be called one of the last natural paradises.
The archipelago of Palau (West Caroline) is located at the western end of Micronesia, in the Philippine Sea, about 1600 km south-east of Manila (2 hours and a half flight), 4000 km south of Taipei (about 4 hours and 30 minutes flight) and 1250 km south-west of Guam (about 1 hour and 50 minutes flight).
The Republic of Palau (traditional name Belau) is the most western of the archipelago of the Caroline, made up of seven main islands (including Badeldaob, Koror, Peleliu and Angaur) and many others smaller, for a total of more than 340 islands. The capital is Koror, situated north-east on the island and connected to the nearby islands of Ngerkebesang and Malakal using artificial bridges that allow the passage of cars. At Koror, economic and administrative center, are living 2/3 of the population of the archipelago.
The State of Koror encloses a vast archipelago which also includes the famous Rock Islands, one of the most spectacular wonders of the planet.
The Rock Islands
are a true natural wonder declared UNESCO HERITAGE
in 2012. More than 200 of these limestone lumps covered with jungle dotting the waters for a strip of 35 km south of Koror.
Their bases, having been consumed by the action of the tides and the grazing of marine creatures, they are narrower than the top making them look similar to mushrooms from the emerald nuances that arise from a turquoise sea. From the top offer spectacular views and worth, if only for the view, take a flight from Koror to Angaur or Peleliu. Inside are 35 lakes and some islets are surrounded by white and soft beaches. One of these, the "Seventy Islands", are protected marine area, where turtles nest.
, besides the beauty of the seabed, offers beautiful white beaches, spectacular waterfalls, fascinating geological formations, important archaeological sites and many places where you can discover the ancient local culture. Travel within the largest island, it is the best way to find the true nature of the local people and learn about culture and traditions. It will be sufficient to enter a few kilometers inland, through beautiful jungles, climbing over muddy rivers, driving on muddy roads, to make a "leap into the past." Small and poor villages, out of time, but with the people who with a smile express their warm hospitality.
Among the various excursions one of the most interesting is the one to the Waterfalls of Ngardmau's State
on the island of Babeldaob. The waterfalls descend from Mount Ngarchelechuus which is the highest peak, and offer an amazing sight. To reach them you must walk through the dense vegetation for a few minutes, until the roar of the water will not make you understand to be close to the destination. Among the leaves will open a show of nature among the most beautiful, where the power of water has created corners of a surreal beauty, materializing small lakes. If you love this kind of shows, do not forget to visit also the waterfall of Ngatpang
Another wonderful opportunity to enjoy nature, is the "bird watching"
, with 50 species of birds that here reside on the sea, in the jungle, in the lagoons and even in residential areas. Lake Ngerdok
is another very special place to visit to watch the local wildlife.
This is a big crocodile farm, where you can study the habits and behaviors of these great reptiles.
For those who love the ancient cultures and traditions
, an example is the legendary houses for meetings, called the "Bai"
. Every village possessed several, architectural masterpieces that only used simple materials such as wood and straw. They existed two types, one was reserved for the village leaders who gathered here for the important meetings and decision-making; other kind of hut was reserved for young men who met to talk about hunting, fishing and carpentry. Many of these huts were destroyed by typhoons, local wars and finally by the world war. To date, only one original of 1890 is still standing.
Among the various places to visit prehistoric one is particularly disquieting: "Badrulchau Stone Monoliths
". It is a road in the forest north of the big island, where there are 37 large stone monoliths, whose origin and function remains to this day a mystery. The "Imeungs"
ruins also deserve to be seen among the places that, with their legends, they manage to bring the tourist in a journey into the past.
A real step back
into the past is given by the many findings of the World War II
, scattered 'everywhere. In 1943, Palau became a military area, launch pads for aircraft were built and cannons were placed everywhere. In 1944 Koror was heavily bombed by the Americans who invaded Angaur and Peleliu
after three long months of battles. These two islands still retain in the sea and in the jungle the memories of those moments of destruction. Tanks, machine guns, cannons, airplanes, bombs, are still there as if time had stopped in those terrible moments.
For water sports
enthusiasts a ride in a canoe is the best way to visit the Rock Island. The vast archipelago offers intense emotions, also the silent "kayak" is perfect for exploring the intricate system of protected bays, tropical beaches, mangrove canals, lagoons and coral gardens.
Within the Rock Islands
not to be missed is the “Jellyfish Lake”
, where you can practice snorkel and dive among hundreds and hundreds of non stinging jellyfish
Deserted beaches, enchanted lagoons and sharks undisputed masters of the sea; this is what you can find in Palau. If we look at a map Micronesia seems far away, the first outpost in the Pacific islands overcome the Philippines, the beginning of what is called Oceania. Famous for its diving, Palau is ranked as one of the most attractive diving destinations on the planet. White beaches, crystal clear waters, vast coral gardens, lagoons inhabited by shimmering and harmless jellyfish, forests, waterfalls and caves unexplored by man with hundreds of pure beauty islands that abound along an ancestral archipelago.
The variety of his views is also due to the fact that here the islands are of four types: volcanic, coral reefs and atolls, low platform and limestone. The marine ecosystem of Palau is home to 1300 species of fish, pelagic fish abundance and more than 700 species of corals. They are also found here 7 of 9 species of Giant Clam along with the oldest population of dugongs in the world. Chosen by the National Geographic Society as the first of the wonders of the underwater world and ranks among one of the last "living havens".
Although well known for its exceptional marine biodiversity and as a wonderland for diving, its terrestrial biodiversity is just as rich and surprising: we find here very rare and numerous bird populations, animals and plants included in the largest tropical and pristine rainforest of Micronesia.
The marine life in Palau is dominated by the tides and currents. It is evident from the deep grooves of each of the islands that make up one of the world wonders, the "Rock Island", rock mushrooms topped with an incredible vegetation whose roots cling to the naked rock giving life to an impenetrable forest where only the Japanese during the World War II had dared to penetrate for build some outpost.
Scattered in the larger islands there are still many remnants of war, now rusty and decaying, witnesses of the fierce fighting that took place here, and that are still alive in the older Papuan citizens memory.
The climate during the year, differs slightly with air temperatures between 27°C ed i 29°C.
The best time to visit the Caroline remains between the months of November and May when the humidity is lowered.
At times during this period manifests some rain, that, even if intense, is of short duration.
for access: the electronic passport
with 6 months
validity. The tourist VISA is valid for 30 days and is issued upon arrival in Palau on presentation of a valid passport and a return ticket to Italy or to other destination. The outgoing tax from the country costs USD 50 and includes the GREEN FEE. Stays of more than 30 days duration must be approved by the Chief of Immigration, Department of Justice, FSM and it is released upon payment of the appropriate fee.
: None in particular. Palau is a country without health risks, therefore, no prophylaxis is necessary or required.
Currency / bank / post
: The official currency in Palau is the US Dollar (US $), which is divided into 100 cents. They find banknotes from 1000, 500, 100, 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 dollar; then coins from 50, 25, 10, 5:01 cents. The Euro is considered foreign currency and hardly accepted. Major credit cards are accepted in Hotels & Resorts and in almost all business activities. No problem for Traveller's Chèque, especially in US $. Postal services in Micronesia are operated by the US Postal Service.
Opening hours for bank branches
are as follows: Monday - Friday from 08:00 to 12:00 and 13:00 to 17:00.
Shopping opening hours
: Monday - Friday from 08:00 to 12:00 and 13:00 to 17:00. Saturday from 08:30 to 13:30.
can be made thanks to some satellites. You may need to use an international telephone operator.
- Government: Republic of Palau (Federal Republic)
- Surface (Km2): 707
- Population: 122,950
- Population density (per Km2): 170 inhab. per Km2
- Capital: Ngerulmud
- Economic Capital: Koror
- Spoken languages: English (official)
- Religions: Catholics 53% - Protestants 47%
- Ethnic groups: Nine Micronesian and Polynesian groups
- Time zone: +8 (+7 with daylight saving time)
- Electrical power: EU/USA type plugs, voltage from 110V to 230 V