Palau is a paradisaical, unspoiled and remote travel destination located in the middle of the Pacific ocean. This small archipelago is made up of 26 main islands and more than 300 smaller islets, which are hooped by barrier reefs, blanketed in emerald forest and virtually all uninhabited. With its pristine limestone and volcanic islands surrounded by turquoise waters and its kaleidoscopic marine life, it's hard not to be overwhelmed by Palau's extraordinary array of natural wonders.
There is basically no public transport and if you want to see everything in the main island of Babeldaob you will need a car and boat tours.
In the serene midst of the Rock Islands, where lush mushroom-shaped rocks dot the ocean glimmering in all possible shades of blue in the pristine water and unpolluted skies of Palau lies the Milky Way. A natural spa, where sulfur sand fizzes through the rock, offering the most natural skin scrub that even the most luxurious beauty salon cannot deliver. After rubbing some mud from the sea bed all over your body, you can rinse it all off with a swim in the refreshing lagoon.
Located on an uninhabited rock island off the coast of Koror, the Jellyfish Lake is a saltwater lake that was once connected to the ocean, but is now cut off. The isolated lake became the perfect setting for a jellyfish explosion, which some speculate were trapped in the lake 12,000 years ago after a rise in sea levels post-ice Age. The jellyfish, with no natural predators present, are non venomous so you can swim among them worry free. Though they do have stingers, they are too small to be felt by humans. During the day, the jellyfish migrate from the west side to the east side of the lake to follow the path of the sun, which feeds the algae the jellyfish survives on.
Trips can sometimes be temporarily discontinued due to environmental conditions. Unfortunately, there has been a drastic decline in jellyfish numbers in the recent years and scientists say droughts and warmer temperatures effects of El Niño are to blame. The Jellyfish Lake was closed in late April 2017 until 2019. The jellyfish population somewhat recovered, but it's always best to monitor the news.
The Rock Islands are 445 uninhabited limestone islands. Covered in vegetation right to the waterline, these green islands, vertically erected from the water, create a labyrinth in perfectly calm turquoise lagoons, with hidden marine lakes, rocky arches, caverns and rich coral reefs. There are aerial tours by plane (pricey), luckily I relied on my drone instead.
Babeldaob is the biggest island of Palau, home to the capital Koror, and probably where you will be spending most of your time. It's home to the magnificent Ngardmau waterfall, accessible via a short-ish hike through the jungle.
Koror, the capital, is the center of Palau where most of the population resides. Hotels, restaurants, government offices, museum, shops, etc are all located in Koror. There's not much to do in Koror, the main thing is the national museum where you can get a glimpse into Palau’s history. On occasional friday & saturday nights, there is a night market with live dance performances.
Around the island
We rented a car from a local guy and drove around. There is only one road going all around the Babeldaob island. You will see beautiful waterfalls, cultural and historical sites from ancient Palauan time including Bai (traditional meeting house for the men), ancient terraces, small farms, World War II relics, mangroves, and nature trails. One place that sticks out is the ultra modern capital building which looks out of place in contrast to rest of the island.