The Pristine Paradise
Why visit Palau
Palau is an ecotravel destination. It has hundreds of islands in the western Pacific, known worldwide for its marvelous environment, with turquoise waters, unexplored lands and rich biodiversity. Palau is also a world leader in innovative environmental regulations and nature conservation that have been implemented to ensure its pristine condition, therefore it is an ecotravel experience.
Palau ecotravel is known as a world leader in the nature conservation field, with very innovative policies and regulations.
In 2009 it created the world’s first shark sanctuary. Being conscious that half of the world’s oceanic sharks are at risk of extinction, this sanctuary protects an area about the size of France where commercial shark fishing is banned. In 2015, it created the world’s sixth-largest marine sanctuary, protecting 80% of its maritime territory, meaning no fishing, or other uses such as drilling for oil in an area of tuna-rich ocean.
The latest and most innovative regulation is the “reef-toxic” sunscreens ban. From 2020, the sale and use of sunscreens that contain toxic chemicals that can lead to coral bleaching is restricted. This is a world-first initiative to avoid the chemical pollution that is proved to be killing the corals.
Palau is an archipelago that contains approximately 340 islands. You can fly to Babeldaob, the main island, and reach the other islands by boat or local flights.
To move through the archipelago during your ecotravel in Palau you can choose different modes of transport, with respect to the distance between the islands. There is a regular ferry service to Peleliu and Angaur; for other islands, you will need a private yacht or charter vessels instead. Also, most tour operators organize boat trips to the Rock Islands combined with a stop at Jellyfish Lake.
Tourism & People
To protect the planet for children worldwide and preserve its vibrant culture and the beauty of its natural environment, Palau as an ecotravel destination has created a world-first conservation pledge that incoming tourists have to sign on their passport.
The pioneering project focuses the attention on the ecological challenges related to tourism, seeking to change the damaging impact of human activity on the local ecosystem, especially as the number of visitors to the island continues to rise.
Culture & Local Life
Palau ecotravel stresses the importance of traditional folklore. The villages are organized around matrilineal clans, where men and women have defined roles. A chiefs council governs the villages, while a parallel council of women hold an advisory role in the control of land, money, and the selection of chiefs. Today the people of Palau are putting much effort into the preservation of their culture, especially for younger generations. Cultural activities are held regularly and involve Palau’s sixteen states representing their unique qualities through dance, chanting, arts and crafts, specialty dishes, and much more. Another important event is the Palau Women’s Conference, held to discuss the improvements and initiatives needed to strengthen Palau’s culture.
Nature & Wildlife
Of the volcanic, coral atoll, and limestone islands of Palau, approximately three-fourths is covered in native forest and mangrove. These pristine forests of Palau are the most species-diverse in Micronesia with 1400 species of plants, and an estimated 194 endemic plant species, including 23 endemic species of orchids.
Past the seagrass bed is Palau’s inner reef, where you may find the giant trevally, white-tip reef shark, green turtle, giant grouper, eel and rainbows of reef fish. The clear waters of the reef crest, like a pristine garden, contain beautiful species of coral (polyps) and small reef fish.
Travel tips from our editors
Robinson Crusoe's experience
Some of the islands have been set up for camping, with toilet facilities and shelters. You can arrange for a dive shop to drop you off on a deserted island and pick you up later at an arranged time. You can also combine experiences, such as camping with kayaking.
Natural mud bath
The Milky Way is located in the Rock Islands. You can reach the spot with a boat trip and on the seabed you will discover grey clayey material. Locals state that if you sprinkle the mud on your body you will look 10 years younger!