Last week I asked: Where is Palau?
Imagine a group of islands that look like they have been untouched by the hand of man, and yet has resorts and services that are top notch.
Palau, in the western Pacific Ocean and part of Micronesia, only has a population of 20,000 but offers wonderful adventures.
1. Early history:
The Belau National Museum, the oldest museum in the Micronesian region, is the perfect place to learn about Palau from the authentic full-sized men’s meeting hall (bai) to displays connecting the culture of Palau to other Pacific Island nations.
2. Mysterious past:
At the northern end of the island of Babeldaob are ancient monoliths left by the early Palauans. The locals believe the monoliths may have supported a huge bai. Besides the 37 stone monoliths Palau is home to other mysterious stonework.
3. The war:
It is hard to imagine the horror that took place on the serene islands of Palau during World War II. The Peleliu WWII Memorial Museum recalls the Battle of Peleliu, called “The Bloodiest Battle of the Pacific.” Peleliu is a memorial site for both American and Japanese troops. Many of the military installations, such as the airstrip, are still intact.
A short and informative jungle trail lined with fern trees, wild orchids, gorilla arm trees, and canon ball trees leads to Ngerdorch River and the riverboat. On the walk learn about the Noni Tree, which can “cure anything.” On the river cruise through a mangrove forest catch site of a Palau Fruit Dove, Bush Warbler, Rusty Capped Kingfisher, and even a crocodile.
5. The reefs:
Learn about the reefs and its denizens at the Palau International Coral Reef Center. Their aquarium features a series of both outdoor pools and marine tanks, which showcase the variety of habitats and marine life found in Palau. It gives an intimate firsthand look into the diverse world of the coral reef.
6. Jellyfish ballet:
Join one of Sam’s Tours to Jellyfish Lake, one of the Underwater Wonders of the World. In a landlocked saltwater lake, snorkel with thousands of delicate pink stingless jellyfish that seem to be performing an underwater ballet. Getting to Jellyfish Lake requires a short but steep hike up then down a rocky path, but it is worth it.
7. Dive in:
Palau is all about diving. The Rock Islands, a collection of beautiful foliage-covered isles are surrounded with waters that are home to a diverse Technicolor paradise of fabulous drop-offs, blue holes, breathtaking reefs, and an amazing variety of fish. Few places in the world can compare to the variety and density of underwater life found in the waters around Palau.
8. Go fish:
Fish ‘n Fins offers fishing trips daily with local fishermen who know the right time and place for fishing. Trolling, casting, bone fishing, bottom fishing and spear fishing trips are available. Catch the great prizes of the ocean such as Blue Marlin, Yellow Fin Tuna, sailfish, barracuda, and wahoo.
9. Sense of Wonder:
The eco tour starts with sipping an energizing tea that prevents heat stroke then slathering the soft white part of a sprouted coconut on exposed body parts as sun and bug protection. Kayak through the amazing mangrove stopping at a mystifying site created by the Taro Goddess. End with a lunch of locally inspired specialties.
10. Giant money:
Carp Island Resort is a sanctuary to frigate birds, white egrets and a variety of additional birds, After kayaking, hike a jungle trail to see Yap stone money, the world largest money.
Travel Trivia Tease™: What city is on the north shore of Lake Managua?
Look for the answer next week.
Sandra and her husband, John, have been exploring the world for decades, always on the lookout for something new and unique to experience. We have sailed down the Nile for a week on a felucca, stayed with the Pesch Indians in La Mosquitia, visited schools in a variety of countries, and — to add balance to our life — stayed at some of the most luxurious hotels in the world. Let the fun continue!