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The world is filled with so many islands that come with their unique experiences. While some are popular and often overcrowded by tourists, others are uncrowded and untouched. Not that they do not offer exciting adventures, but because they remain unknown to the majority of the world. Palau is one such island that has remained unknown for years. There’s no denying that this island is a great place to enjoy a unique and undisturbed vacation. Although it may soon be overrun by tourists like the others, that time is still quite far. Which makes now the best time to visit the island. However, before visiting, here’s what to know about this hidden gem in the pacific.

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About Palau

  • Population: 18,000
  • Currency: US Dollars

Palau is an island country in the Western Pacific with a total area of approximately 177 square miles and more than 300 islands. Its capital is Melekeok, and its official languages are Palauan and English. The majority (about 70%) of the country’s population reside in the state of Koror, but people also live in small villages across the different islands of the country. Even though there are hundreds of islands in the country, only less than ten are permanently inhabited.

Weather And Climate

The climate of Palau is characterized as a tropical rainforest which means that the country is warm for most of the year. The island is also windy all year round, and this is what makes surfing so enjoyable here. Palau experiences rain all year round, although the rainiest period of the year is between June and September. The high rainfall of the island, however, does not deter the sunshine, which can be felt intensely throughout the year.

Attractions and Activities

Visitors to the island country will first be met with the island’s laid-back lifestyle. Time also seems to favor that slow lifestyle. There are lots of beautiful white beaches and numerous hiking trails all over the island country, giving opportunities for a wide variety of outdoor activities. Hidden deep in remote areas are waterfalls that run into pools and create great swimming opportunities for visitors. Stunning rock formations, unique lagoons, and beautiful lakes

Palau is also a mecca for diving and snorkeling, as there are rich coral reefs in the waters of the islands. The diverse marine life and the clear nature of the water also make this experience enjoyable here. Besides, there are several shipwrecks underwater that also offer unique underwater adventures. Japanese wrecks from WWII can also be found in many parts of the island, offering opportunities to see some war weapons.

Besides the numerous natural attractions, there are also some man-made things one can explore in this secluded island country. The museums are great man-made attractions to begin with for those who wish to learn about the history of the island. Visitors can also proceed to check out the farmers market, the churches, restaurants, and stone monoliths.

Related: Island Nation Of Palau Bans Sunscreens To Protect Coral Reefs

Culture And Food In Palau

The involvement of American, European, and Asian powers in Palau has made the country a more liberal one. While its culture is still strong, the island country is an easy place to blend into as the people’s ethics are easy to emulate. A handshake is basic for greeting, although close friends or relatives can greet each other with hugs. Everyone knows each other in Palau, especially in smaller communities. This means that people check up on themselves regularly, and even though it may be disturbing, tourists are not left out of this frequent check-up.

Palauans love their church services. Since the majority of the island are Christians, they often head to church on Sundays, which leaves some businesses closed until the end of the service. Palauans also take other social events seriously, so tourists in the island country who have local friends can expect at least one invitation from them, and a yes is always expected.

Food In Palau

Food in Palau usually consists of vegetables, fruits, fish, and meat (pork, chicken, or meat). Tubers like potatoes, yam, and cassava are staple food, and rice is also a popular food. The island is also big on seafood, as it can be found on the menu of different restaurants across the island. The sight of the island’s favorite dish, however, might not sit well with tourists, although it's delicious.

The meal is referred to as Fruit Bat Soup, and it is made up of fruit bats, lemon juice, coconut milk, aromatics, and ingredients. The fruit bat is placed into the dish whole, which makes it even scarier as it looks alive.

Related: Here Are 10 Best Things To Do On The Unique Island Of Samoa

Getting Around And Staying Safe In Palau

Palau has great roads, and although public transport is available, the best way to get around the islands is by hiring a car. This is more affordable and will offer the flexibility needed to easily explore all that the island country has to offer. Steering wheels are positioned on the right-hand side, and patience is required to drive around the island as the roads can get rowdy and disorganized.

The crime rate in Palau is pretty low, but one can still get into danger if one is not careful. A general rule of thumb is for tourists to avoid walking in lonely areas after sunset to avoid becoming targets. Besides the dangers in the cities and the roads, the water can be dangerous as it hosts creatures such as Saltwater crocodiles and Bull sharks.