Palau is a tiny country made up of 200 small islands, scattered over 400 miles in the South Pacific, between the Philippines, Guam and Papua New Guinea. It became an independent nation in 1994. Increased international travel connections with the Philippines and Australia have opened up Palau as a tourist destination, particularly for divers. The remote islands gained fame as the location for the Survivor reality TV shows.
The islands are a South Pacific paradise where you can relax on live-aboard cruise ships or get adventurous with a dive boat tour in a spectacular marine environment, largely unspoilt by modern industrial development and pollution. It's the meeting place of three major ocean currents which ensure an abundant supply of food for the marine wildlife.
Only eight islands are inhabited, and 70 per cent of the population lives in the capital city, Koror, where you can enjoy a variety of restaurants, bars and clubs. The largest of the islands are volcanic formations covered with jungle. The Floating Garden Islands are different - limestone coral reefs covered with vegetation and fringed with white beaches, where the waters are particularly popular for diving. The sea teems with over 1,500 species of fish, 700 types of coral as well as sponges, giant clams, barracuda and sharks. The Ngemelis Wall is the world's greatest wall dive site. Jellyfish Lake is an enclosed body of sea water where you can swim and snorkel among a mass of harmless sting-free jellyfish.
The remote islands of Palau show signs of human occupation going back many centuries. Mysterious stone monoliths stand in open spaces, hillsides have terraces carved into them and you may come across ancient rock paintings. In Peleliu you will also find military relics from a fierce battle during the Second World War. Kayangel, at the north end of the archipelago, is a picture-postcard coral atoll, with pristine beaches and a blue lagoon; truly a Pacific island paradise.