Friday, February 20, 2015

Rock Islands of Palau

Located in the Western Pacific Ocean this group of limestone islands and coral reefs are considered the crown jewels of Micronesia. 

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In 2012 the islands were turned into a World Heritage Site which means they are considered to have special cultural and/or physical significance that needs to be protected.  

How to get there:
No matter where you are in the world these islands are remote and it will take a few stops to get there.
But basically every major international airport will get you there most likely with your final departure out of south east Asia.
United Military Travel 

When booking my airfare I personally would spread out the departure dates so I could spend a little bit of time in Asia or spend a few days in Hawaii before heading home.  

General Information:

Time zone: GMT + 9 
Climate: Average 82 degrees with more rainfall during the months of July and October but still has plenty of sunshine.  
Currency: The U.S. Dollar is the official currency and all major credit cards are excepted.
Tipping:  Optional and always appreciated.
Documentation:  all visitors require a passport than is not less than 6 months from expiration AND proof of return arrangements.  Citizens of the U.S., Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Guam, and the Northern Marianas Islands with valid passports receive a Visa good for 1 year upon arrival.  

Things to do:
Diving: Go with Fish N' Fins as they have been described as one of the best diving operations in the world!
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Snorkel:  I would definitely check out Jellyfish Lake.  Thousands of years ago this lake was connected to the ocean but over time the limestone formed cutting off all access trapping the jelly fish inside.  What that means is that over the years since there were no predators they evolved and lost their stinging capabilities.  Over 10 million jellies now call Jellyfish Lake home so go, see, and swim!

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Or if jellyfish aren't your thing head to the beach for an inshore swim!
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Need I say more???

Hike: Ngardmau Waterfall is the largest waterfall in Palau is the primary source for all life.  After a 40 minute hike through pristine jungle you will be able to refresh your soul in this beautiful waterfall! 

WWII History Tour: 
Here is what Sam's Tours of Palau has to say about the history significance of the island.
"The nowadays peaceful ambiance in Palau was not always as such. Since WWI, Palau was under Japanese occupation, serving as a territory for mining, agriculture and more, as well as one of the biggest Japanese Marine Bases in the Pacific.
During WWII, Palau was a fierce battlefield between the US and Japan, with the longest battle conducted in Peleliu, where the Japanese built a small yet effective landing strip.
Peleliu Island was the scene of one of the Pacific's bloodiest battles when U.S. Marines made an amphibious assault on the beaches in 1944 to liberate the island from Japanese forces. Peleliu was heavily fortified with massive concrete bunkers and over 300 man-made and reinforced natural caves used to shelter the Japanese forces during massive naval bombardments prior to the assault. The battle lasted several months, resulting in victory for the US, ending the Japanese occupation of Palau and beginning the US involvement in the archipelago."
photo credit: Tony Cherbas

Where to stay:
From an aerial view it is quite deciving because you really just see water and jungle but Palau does offer a diverse number of accommodations.  Take your pick from luxury resorts, bungalows, motels, hotels, b&bs, live aboard a boat, or stay with a local family!  It seems that the majority of travelers choose to call the island of Koror home because that is where the majority of resorts and hotels are located but if you are in search of privacy try the northern and southern islands for a bungalow.  
The visitor guide website is a great reference to find the perfect accommodations for your needs! 

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You only live once so get out there and live!!!

United Military Travel

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