“Palau and historically Belau, Palaos or Pelew, is an island country in the western Pacific. The nation has approximately 340 islands and connects the western chain of the Caroline Islands with parts of the Federated States of Micronesia. It has a total area of 466 square kilometers. Palau shares maritime boundaries with international waters to the north, Micronesia to the east, Indonesia to the south, and the Philippines to the west.”
“Palau were originally settled approximately 3,000 - 4,000 years ago, by migrants traveling from Indonesia or the Philippines. Traditional Palauan culture, as well as the Palauan language, are relatively unique within the region. Palau is one of the few places in Micronesia where a version of the indigenous religious system (called Modekngei) is still in place.”
“While much of Palau remains free of environmental degradation, areas of concern include illegal dynamite fishing, inadequate solid waste disposal facilities in Koror and extensive sand and coral dredging in the Palau lagoon. As with other Pacific island nations, rising sea level presents a major environmental threat. Also, vulnerable to earthquakes, volcanic activity, and tropical storms.”
World’s highest density of tropical marine habitats, Micronesia’s most diverse coral fauna
Palau boasts an impressive list of over 400 hard coral and over 300 soft coral species, the most diverse coral fauna in Micronesia. Many snorkel sites offer easy and safe access to healthy coral gardens at depths of only 3-5 feet. And while coral reefs worldwide are declining due to global warming and ocean acidification, many of Palau’s reefs have been found to be naturally resilient to these forces due to unique environmental conditions.