Many tourists visit Palau to take boat tours of the beautiful Rock Islands and pay lots of money for these tours.

With Global Diving Adventures you travel each day through the Rock Islands on your way to and from the dive sites at no additional cost and receive the same tour the tourists are paying for. It's hard to come up with the name of a pacific fish that doesn't call the waters of Palau, Peleliu or the Rock Islands themselves home.

Besides the world famous dive sites you can drop in the water anywhere and see the underwater world whether you are a snorkeler or diver. Of course the divers do see things much closer but..... I have found the local dive operators and boat drivers which Global Diving Adventures provides to be the best in the world.

Palau was home to two seasons of "Survivor". The people of Palau and the surrounding islands are unsurpassed! Roberta Skidds, Founding Member since 1999.

Resorts/Yachts/Dive Ops

Our Favorite Palau Resort

Our Favorite Palau Dive Operator

Our Favorite Dive Resort- Palau Pacific Resort

Palau Pacific Resort (PPR) is THE five star property on the island of Palau. Nestled within the palm trees it is unobtrusive yet complete with amenities. It boasts a 1000 foot white sandy private beach and sunsets to match. The 160 rooms are on one of only two floors so the resort blends in with its surroundings. Just a one hour ride by boat to some of the most magnificent diving in the world, PPR is the perfect get away for divers. The proximity to the town of Koror, the spa, and the wonderful snorkeling off the beach makes this idyllic for non divers as well. It is the ultimate in surf and turf travel.

From www.palauppr.com.

The Palau Pacific Resort is the Eden’s nest, nestled in 64 acres of lush tropical gardens with the great Pacific Ocean caressing its pristine white sand beach. This luxury resort features rooms decorated in an island motif setting including amenities of a world class resort.
Palau Pacific Resort offers an array of leisure activities and resort facilities right on the property making it convenient for staying guests. Awarded “2007 Asia’s Leading Resort” by World Travel Awards and “2010 Best Diving Resort” by Dive & Travel Awards 10-years consecutive.
Palau Pacific Resort is an island haven for divers and non-divers alike. It is truly like no other island dream…..

Overall Feel of Palau Pacific Resort

With 160 rooms you might think that PPR has a big resort feel but I simply never feel that way. Once I step out of the open air lobby and see the inviting swimming pool and beach in the small, calm bay and I instantly relax. The resort never feels crowded as most guests are out enjoying the island or the diving each day.

PPR definitely caters mostly to an Asian market and the advantage to this is that the meals at the restaurants have a wonderful Asian flair. Breakfast can be ordered or chosen from a buffet of delicious Asian delicacies. There are some theme nights at the COCONUT TERRACE restaurant or you can enjoy a finer dining experience of continental cuisine in the air conditioned MEDUU RIBTAL restaurant.

The beach is never crowded and the water in the protected bay is almost always calm so you can put on your snorkel gear at leisure and paddle around in the warm, clear water. There is a short nature trail around the 64 acre property and a large saltwater fish pond which adds to the tranquility of the resort.

Rooms are in cottage style buildings with traditional A-frame Palauan style.

Resort Spec Highlights

  • 160 rooms
  • 2 restaurants
  • 2 bars (one lobby one beachside/poolside
  • The only resort in Palau featuring a private beach
  • Two outdoor tennis courts
  • Great snorkeling right off the beach
  • Beachside swimming pool and Jacuzzi
  • Full service spa
  • On site dive center

Beach

I love the PPR beach. It’s a great place to flop out after a day of diving or sit in the sand with a glass of wine at sunset. I also like to walk the beach at night after dinner. Since we are usually diving each day, I rarely spend a day there but our guests who choose not to dive love to spend a relaxing day there. While some divers like the fast paced five dive a day schedule of a live aboard, most enjoy sticking their toes in the sand at the end of the day and PPR is a perfect place for this.

Snorkeling

The snorkeling off PPR beach is very good. In fact, we often go out on a cloudy day or late afternoon to watch the mandarian fish. The bay is protected from most all winds that blow so it is usually calm and easy to get in and out off the beach. There is also a boat dock and you can find great fish right there! Often juvenile batfish and lionfish hang out just under the dock. I could just sit on the dock with my fish ID book and have a great day of it! You can also rent a tank from the on site dive shop and have a shore dive.

Swimming Pool/Jacuzzi

I don’t often use the swimming pool at PPR. Not because it’s not tempting but because with the ocean just a few steps away, I prefer that route! PPR does allow children at the resort and it’s not uncommon to find them in the pool though it’s rarely a kid-fest.

Splash Dive Center

Splash is the on site dive center. Splash caters to the Asian divers and snorkelers who dive differently than Americans. I don’t think that the American market would be as happy there as at other dive centers on the island. I utilize Splash for its convenience if I need to purchase last minute items or a tank to do a shore dive. However, we prefer to use NECO Marine as our dive center of choice. NECO picks us up each day at the dock for our diving. More on that in the dive operator review section.

Bars and Restaurants

There are two bars at the resort. The lobby bar, or AKOI-KOI BAR, is very small. We use the area for our happy hour gatherings for about 15 people to watch the daily video and photos from our dives. But aside from that I prefer the outdoor poolside/beachside bar, MESEKIU WATERHOLE. At Mesekiu you can find tropical drinks as well as an all day snack menu. It’s a great end of the day meeting place. It’s a square, covered bar with bar stools surrounding it. Sometimes the service can be a bit slow but what the heck, you’ve just had an amazing day of diving, the sun is sinking low and glistening on the water….relax and don’t worry about it!

The main restaurant, THE COCONUT TERRACE, is not a romantic venue but it is outdoors and does offer very good food. In the morning, you can choose off the buffet with awesome Asian fare or order more typical American fare. In the evenings you can order off the menu from continental to Palauan to pizza or join in the theme nights of BBQ or Italian or Palauan. The theme night food is done buffet style and while not five star cuisine, it is flavorful and satisfying though often you do have to wait in line to get your food.

The fine dining restaurant MEDUU RIBTAL is indoors and air conditioned and it offers a more upscale experience with good food. Prices are also higher.

You can also dine literally ON THE BEACH. PPR offers you a king and queen experience in high backed ratan chairs with torchlight and a private waiter on the beach for special occasions. We offered this to one of our couples for a special anniversary and they loved it. It does come at a hefty price though, $300/couple.

Elilai Spa

I love that the spa villas are built on an elevated area over looking the bay to provide a soothing and peaceful surrounding for massage and body treatments. The tranquility Centre is next to the beach and features a manicure/pedicure. At the end of a week of diving most of our guests take advantage of the spa services and have really enjoyed them judging from their faces afterwards! You can download the spa menu by going to the website below.

http://www.mandaraspa.com/Main/SpaView.aspx?SpaID=67

Accommodations

PPR offers four different room types. The garden view, ocean view and ocean front rooms are all the same size (36-40sm) and have the same amenities, it’s just the view that differs. Personally, if I’m going on a vacation to the water, I want to look at the water from my room. I want to wake up in the morning and see what the ocean is doing. However, Garden view rooms are a good way to keep the price down if that’s important or if you just don’t care what’s outside the balcony. Sometimes I find garden view rooms a bit claustrophobic if I’m just looking into the trees. Some of the garden view rooms at PPR look out over the fish pond which gives a more open view.

I love the Junior Suites (55sm)here because I like to have the extra sitting area and room for gear and diving type things. Also, if you are traveling with another couple you have a nice place to meet in the room. For me, they are worth the extra cost. There are only four Junior Suites.

The suites are up to 70sm and have a full living room/bar area separate from the bedroom. There are only four of these.

All the rooms at PPR have a comfortable and upscale feel but without going over the top which helps to keep prices reasonable. PPR does still have smoking rooms so be sure to designate what you want ahead of time.

Overall

Overall, PPR is my favorite and really ONLY choice for upscale land based accommodations in Palau. It’s only 30 minutes from the airport but far enough away from town to feel like you are on your own private beach.

The staff is warm and friendly and the management is accommodating to special needs. It’s an easy place to spend a couple of weeks or lose yourself forever!

Our Favorite Palau Dive Operation- Neco Marine

NECO Marine

The origin of the name of NECO Marine goes all the way back to Ngiratkel Etpison, the former president of Palau who started the company by selling ice candy using a scrapped generator at the end of WWII. The company grew to include the first tour bus on the island, PPR resort and even the local bottled water company. NECO is still a family run business and in my opinion a family who truly cares about Palau and it’s natural resources.

NECO has been our dive operator of choice in Palau going back at least a decade. Dive Operations Manager, Bert Yates has been with NECO for the past 14 years or so and always gets the job done for us, and keeps us in hysterics. You can’t even type Bert’s name without a smile on your face. Bert hails from Arkansas and you get the full flavor whenever you are with him. Don’t get me wrong, Bert may come from a land locked state but he is an extremely accomplished dive instructor and underwater photographer. He has helped to build the NECO Marine dive facility to a new level in the past decade.

The Facility

When we first started going to NECO, it was a typical dive shop but with always with an a-typical feel. You could tell that the staff really cared about what they were doing every day. They wanted to take you to the best diving and show you a good time along the way. That part hasn’t changed. The staff are still awesome and handle all of our special requests with ease. We tell them when and where we want to go and they make it happen.

What’s changed is the facility. Over the past few years, NECO has built an amazing facility featuring the best training pool in all of Micronesia with changing rooms and showers! They have a well stocked shop in case you forgot anything and a great selection of t-shirts and diving souvenirs. They have also added an internet cafe with broadband free if you have your laptop or for a small fee to use their computers.

The Boats

Dive boats vary around the world and are dependent on the type of diving you are doing as well as the conditions in the area. The 33′ covered dive boats at NECO are perfect for the trip out and back each day. It takes about an hour to reach the diving area and I love this ride in the early morning as we wind our way through the famous rock islands. These boats are idyll for cruising around them and have more than enough speed to make the trip exciting. They are easy to get off and on by a back roll and are quick to maneuver to make a pick up of divers. They are not luxurious set ups with lots of sunning deck space. The problem when you get boats big enough for lots of sunning space is that unless you have charted the boat you will probably be disappointed in the number of divers on the boat.

NECO also now has boats up to 42′ so there is flexibility depending on the size of the group. They are all equipped with up to date safety equipment including first aid, O2, and communications systems as well as padded seats and dry storage.

The Diving Operation

When we lead dive groups we tend to be pretty demanding in order to get our divers to the best places at the right times. As Palau continues to increase in popularity, we decided to make changes to our start times in the day to be sure to get the dive sites we want at the times we want. NECO does a great job in helping us arrange this and while sometimes the boats were not always on time, they definitely hustle for us.

The boat drivers give us fun rides out to the dive sites and stop at interesting beaches and places along the way to add to the fun. We vary our lunch locations (we always brought boxed Asian lunches) to be able to see as much of the area as possible. A two tank dive usually gets us back by 1:30 or 2:00pm since we usually have a leisurely lunch on a beach somewhere.

Safety and Environment

NECO maintains both their boats and their operation to high safety standards. Not once in all these years have we had a mechanical failure of a boat. They maintain all the required safety equipment on board and divemasters do briefings with safety as well as fun in mind.

Palau is not a place where we see divemasters handling fish or grabbing coral. We use and brief on the use of reef hooks at all the sites where we want to sit and watch the action. I really appreciate the concern for the environment.

Overall

There are a number of dive operators in Palau and many of them are very good. NECO, however, is the grand dame and I know that with the family of the president behind it, it will remain viable and with good finances behind it. The addition of the new facility gives me security that the company is moving forward. They have a large family of divemasters/instructors/boat mechanics and administrators to keep them running smoothly and efficiently.

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