Palau Dive Sites
With drop-offs, blue holes, walls and pinnacles, Palau diving has some great pelagic action and divers have the opportunity to swim with sharks on many dive sites.
The Palau dive sites are diverse with abundant marine life, 1300 reef fish and over 700 coral species.
The topography here is varied with drop-offs, pinnacles, caves and reefs. Many manta cleaning stations with multiple sightings of the graceful creatures are on the dive sites. The liveaboard cruises plan shark dives with hammerheads, grey, white and black tip reef sharks and more. Macro life is not to be forgotten and the elusive mandarin fish can be seen dancing at sunset in some locations.
Jellyfish Lake is an option on most of the liveaboard cruises, here a species of jellyfish has developed with no stinging cells. This unusual genetic development enables guests to swim with no danger in the lake.
Take a look at the Liveaboard Cruise options below.
Palau Dive Sites - 8 LIVEABOARDS
Black Pearl I Liveaboard in Palau
Enjoy Palau’s best diving from this new world-class luxury liveaboard.Book Now
PalauSport Liveaboard in Palau
A flexible option Palau liveaboard that also offers dives in Tubattaha in the Philippines.Book Now
Palau diving is along walls, reefs with drift dives and drop-offs. For wreck enthusiasts, there are many World War II sites with artefacts.
Palau Diving Highlights
Big Drop-Off is a wall dive starting very shallow but descending to over 200m, this site is considered to be the best wall dive in Palau. Healthy coral and song life cover the sub straight with 3m gorgonian sea fans and black corals. Pyramid butterflyfish are amongst the many reef fish found here.
Blue Corner is one of the most famous sites in Palau and Micronesia. It is a shallow coral shelf with vertical drop-offs on either side that has upwellings from the deep water to create a nutrient-rich environment. Not a dive for beginners as there can be substantial currents, the best diving in between 15 to 24m
There are schools of grey reef sharks found at the edge of the wall and two resident Napoleon wrasse. Pelagic life sightings include manta rays, eagle rays, hammerhead sharks turtles, schools of barracuda and tuna. Coral coverage is very high with large gorgonian sea fans and plateaus of hard corals.
This is a set of four large holes in the top of the reef that merge to form a massive underwater chamber. The chamber has a huge opening on a wall that is home to soft corals, sea fans, sea whips and hard corals. Large pelagics often encountered here include tuna, jacks, grey and white tip reef sharks, barracuda and eagle rays. Groupers, Napoleon wrasse, triggerfish, Moorish idols, butterflyfish, anemones and turtles are typical at this site, which is situated next to Blue Corner.
The large cave on the north side of Ngemelis Island, has holes on the roof allow natural light to enter the cave and to create an unusual environment underwater that is ideal for photographers.
Turtle Cove is a shallow reef with a swim through from the top to the base of this drift dive. Large schools of snapper, surgeonfish, butterfly fish and triggerfish can be seen here. There is a plateau near the end with anemones and clownfish where turtles are often seen and the occasional leopard shark.
As the name suggests a series of 5 caves, (4 flooded), starting at 10m with a short tunnel. At the entrance, there are sergeant and cardinal fish, and mandarin fish can also be found here.
Inside the caves stalactites are hanging from the ceiling, giving the site its name. The caves are pitch black, so divers need torches to be able to look at the structures, sponge life and many crabs and shrimp that are found inside.
Visibility is generally good, but the substrate is sand and silt, so care is needed not to disturb this and reduce it in this unique environment. Air pockets are present in all the chambers.
German Channel is as the name suggests a channel that was man made by German miners in the early 1900’s to aid in the transportation of phosphates by creating a route from the lagoon to the open ocean.
There are very strong currents in the channel, which means it cannot be dived safely. There is to the southwest is one of the best manta cleaning stations worldwide. Grey reef sharks also patrol the area with barracuda, trevally and snappers.
There is a coral garden in the shallow water with leash, octopus, nudibranchs, crocodile fish and many more.
There are two dive sites here, Ngerchong outside and Coral gardens.
Outside is a sloping wall with sea fans, soft corals and anemones covering it. Sharks, bumphead parrotfish and the occasional manta ray can be seen here.
The Coral Gardens has a great variety of hard coral including staghorn, table corals, elkhorn, mushroom and brain corals. Here anemone fish, cuttlefish and turtles are common.
This very deep site is close to Ulong channel, the sheer wall has a tunnel that starts at 24m that runs inside it for 50m, there is a ‘window’ opening at around 24m looking into the blue and allows natural light into the area. Cup corals, soft coral and invertebrates are seen here.
Inside is a cavern at between 25m to 40m of depth. The exit is at 22m, where white tips sleep on the bottom trevally and turtles are also around.
The entrance is surrounded by walls covered in corals and reef on the top ledges, the maximum depth is 18m, and is 30m in width, and it is about 800m in length.
The hard and soft corals with sea fans and anemones make this one of the best dives in Palau. Schools of sharks can be seen at the entrance to the channel along with other pelagic life. The site has lettuce leaf coral unique to Palau, with groupers, squirrelfish and soldierfish among other reef fish.
Iro Maru Wreck
This is a navy oil tanker sunk in World War II that sits upright in 25 to 35m of water. She has three masts and gun turrets at the bow and stern, the hold is open, and there are oil drums and machinery seen there. A wreck diving certification is needed to penetrate it.
She is encrusted with many corals, clams and oysters and has many invertebrates especially nudibranchs over her structure. Look for large groupers and schooling batfish around the mooring line.
Jellyfish Lake is one of the inland lakes where the golden jellyfish have adapted and no longer have stinging cells, allowing guest to snorkel with them without any risk of painful stings.
The Jellyfish use the sunlight to feed as it creates the algae needed, so each day the appear with the morning rays and retire as it sets. There is a hiking track to the lake which is short but can be steep in parts. Only snorkelling is allowed so as not to disrupt the delicate ecosystem. No predators mean the numbers of jellyfish can rise very high as they feed on the algae produced from the sun.
Marine Park and Conservation in Palau
In 2015, Palau established its first national marine reserve which is the sixth largest in the world, protecting an area of 499,900 sq km. Marine park fees are payable by every diver to support this.
There is also a departure tax of $20.00 and a $30.00 “Green Fee” that each guest must pay. The proceeds of this are used to fund Palau’s Protected Area Networks for conservation purposes.