Palau, a small archipelago of about 400 islands in the western Pacific Ocean, is one of the best places to go snorkeling in the world.
The marine environment here is pristine, with spectacular and lively reefs stretching for miles, several shallow cleaning stations that attract sharks and manta rays, and lush mushroom-shaped limestone islands dotted throughout the turquoise waters, Palau makes for really special snorkeling destination.
Most easily reached via Manila, Taiwan, Seoul or Hawaii and Yap, Palau is rather isolated but well worth the journey.
Reasons to visit go to Palau snorkeling:
Palau has some of the most pristine reefs in the world, having experienced very little bleaching, pollution, over fishing and other negative changes in recent years. There is estimated to be over 450 species of coral in these reefs, hard and soft, of all shapes, sizes and colours. The reefs vary from shallow and protected coral gardens, to more exposed pinnacles and sloping walls.
2. Fish and Sharks
As one would probably imagine, this healthy thriving reef provides excellent food and shelter for reef dwellers, which in turn provide superb hunting grounds for lager pelagic creatures. Several hundred species of fish (over 1350) can be found in the waters of Palau. Frequently seen over the reefs are big gatherings of large potato groupers, schools of trevally, loads of turtles, schools of bumphead parrot fish and several species of sharks and rays, including manta rays.
3. Jellyfish Lake
One of the highlights of Palau snorkeling is swimming in this special marine lake. After being affected by the El Nino conditions , authorities closed this lake to the public for a few years, to allow the jellyfish population to regenerate. We can now again snorkel with these incredible creatures. Over several hundred years, the sting from these jellyfish has weakened and is not toxic or painful to humans. Being surrounded but thousands of (harmless) jellyfish is really a special experience.
4. Terrestrial splendor
The Rock Islands are some of the most beautiful islands in the Pacific. The subject of most postcard photos, these limestone islands mushroom dramatically out of the clear warm water, over grown with lush jungle. truly breathtaking.