Palau (officially the Republic of Palau)

Palau is an island country in the Micronesia area of Oceania.
The country contains approximately 340 islands, forming the western chain of the Caroline Islands in Micronesia, and has an area of 466 square kilometers.
It's an archipelago of pristine limestone and volcanic islands, blanketed in emerald forest, surrounded by a shimmering turquoise lagoon.

Palau enjoys a tropical climate all year round with an annual mean temperature of 28°C. Rainfall can occur throughout the year. The average humidity over the year is 82%, and although rain falls more frequently between July and October, there is still much sunshine.
The hotel

Our first choice for an hotel was the Landmark Marina hotel, because it's located next to the Fish 'n Fins dive center. However it was fully booked, so we had to find another hotel.

The alternative was the Palau Royal Resort, of the Nikko hotel group.

The Palau Royal Resort offers luxurious rooms overlooking the scenic seascape of Palau' s pristine waters.
Palau Royal Resort is one of the larger and more expensive oceanfront resorts in Koror, featuring multiple restaurants and bars on the premises and also a small, private sand beach.
The resort is in walking distance to Sam's Tours.

The rooms

All guestrooms and suites are equipped with LCD TV, in-room safe, mini bar, air- condition, overhead ceiling fan and balcony. Rooms are serviced once daily, and guests enjoy free coffee & tea.
All rooms have a WiFi service.

We didn't had any complains about the room, the are large enough and give you the most beautiful view over the bay.

Palau Royal Resort is equipped with excellent facilities to cater everyone’s need. It has a panoramic restaurant for excellent all day-dining with wide array of international and Asian cuisine.
It also has two bars: Coral Bar inside the restaurant and Beach Bar Breeze situated next to the ocean with a picturesque location facing the rock islands.

For recreational activities they offer a Game Room, a Kids Room, a Gym and a Tennis court.

For full relaxation a visit to Manadara SPA at Palau Royal Resort is totally an invigorating experience. All-natural treatments draw on the ancient health and beauty traditions of Asia, from cultures that celebrate beauty and refinement and honor nature's precious gifts.


The dive center

Sam's tours

Sam’s Tours, is a 5 star IDC diving and eco adventure center, it is located in Malakal Harbor, a short distance from the main town of Koror.

Sam’s award winning staff of marine biologists and naturalists lead daily excursions showcasing Palau’s amazing natural wonders below water.
These are also known as the 'Unique Dive Expeditions'

That was the reason we booked (only 1 day) at Sam's tours. We liked to witness the natural spawning event of red snappers in this 'Unique Dive Expedition' lead by the microbiologist Paul Collins.

This is something we didn't want to miss, it's rare to see anywhere else in the world.

The dive center is quite large. It has a large rental section and a dive shop.
From the dive center you can directly jump in the dive boat which resides in the small harbor directly in front of the dive center.
There is fresh water available for rinsing your dive equipment.

We used a special boot used for the expeditions, everything was arranged well. The staff was very helpful. We were a little bit disappointed that Paul didn't provide us more background information with regards to the spawning and his research, but that didn't spoil our 'unique' experience!

PS The food at the restaurant / bar of the dive center is delicious.
Fish n Fins PADI Five Star Gold Palm IDC Centre

Fish 'n Fins Dive center (along with the Ocean Hunter fleet of liveaboards) is owned and run by Navot & Tova Bornovski.
It's a large dive center with over 40 crew members!

We dived here for 7 days, Fish 'n Fins is recognized by divers, agents and magazines as one of the most professional diving center in the world!

The history of Fish 'n Fins

Established in 1972, they were the first dive center in palau and the true pioneer in dive operation.
Fish 'n Fins started systematically exploring the reefs.
What they discovered was beyond their imagination. they actually discovered 'Blue Corner', the most famous dive site in the world. Also dive sites like Peleliu Corner, and Ngemelis Wall are discovered by Fish 'n Fins.
In the 80's they started finding and documenting a fleet of lost Japanese war ships, also known as the "Lost Fleet of the Rock Islands". Together with Klaus Lindemann they rediscovered over 30 Japanese WWII wrecks.

In 1996, Fish ‘n Fins became the star of the Academy Award nominated IMAX documentary film, "The Living Sea," which focuses on the incredible wonders in the living sea of Palau.

Blue Corner Palau

In 2000, Navot led a crew of technical divers in the discovery of the USS Perry, the only US shipwreck in Palau, continuing the Fish ‘n Fins tradition of pioneering the waters of Palau.

Tova & Navot

Tova and Navot have contributed their expertise and services to numerous projects in Palau, including research expeditions, articles and movies (Skin Diver, National Geographic, Discovery Channel, BBC), and conservation efforts.
They founded the Micronesian Shark Foundation in conjunction with an annual Shark Week festival at Fish ‘n Fins, aimed at gathering research and raising awareness to protect sharks throughout Micronesia.

Their dive center includes:

Dive Shop, Photo Shop, Repair Shop, Rinsing Facilities, Gear Room and hot showers !!
Hotel Pickups service is also available.

We also had a very good experience with Fish ‘n Fins!

The pickups from our hotel was well arranged and in time.
We usually dived with Tova and Nabot’s son ‘Udi’, who grow up in the waters of Palau. He’s an excellent guide and showed us the most beautiful places.

The dive center is very well managed, and you can see that the entire crew is one big team.

The center has a (large) dive Shop, a Photo Shop and a repair Shop.
They have excellent rinsing facilities, and a gear room where you can store your personal diving gear.
After the dives you can also enjoy a hot shower at the dive center !!

The (small) restaurant serves great food and icecold drinks, great location to chill-out after a hard day of diving.....

Their 14 boats are decent and fast! Lunch onboard is really good as well.
Under each seat there a dry compound to store your stuff.
They also provide free Nitrox to all (certified) divers.

Our evaluation

Our ratings below are based on our personal experiences. They are also adapted to our needs as divers. Meaning that we’re less focused on additional features.
Therefore you should only pay attention to our ratings if you’re planning a diving holiday.

Where we base our score on:

Accommodation: Room size, beds, cleaning, bathroom, location, environmentally friendly, etc.
Hotel / area facilities: Pool, sport activities, organized trips, TV, Internet, phone, etc.
Dive center: Quality of equipment, boats, crew, dive guides, location, service, marine conservation, etc.

Scoring matrix


The Palau Royal Resort is a high standard hotel. It has all the features you might expect from a 4 star classified Luxury resort.
The location is beautiful, especially the view on the Rock Islands directly from your balcony is breathtaking.
The service is great, you feel welcome and appreciated.

Don't expect this resort to be cheap... maybe it’s even overpriced
(They easily charge $450,- per night for a standard double room)
However that choice is up to you.

The divecenter(s)

Sam’s Tours
First of all we don’t want to include Sam’s Tours in our overall rating because we only dived there for 1 day.
However we can ensure you that Sam’s tours is a good diving center. Compared to Fish ‘n Find we missed the ‘personal touch’ with this dive center. It feels more a scuba diving factory… However that only based on a 1 day diving trip.
Our verdict (Dive center = Fish 'n Fins)
Hotel / area facilities:
Dive Center (FnF):
Total score:

Fish ‘n Fins
We can be really short about them, this is the dive center you always want to dive!
We knew about their reputation, and they didn’t let us down. Especially the personal involvement with each customer and the tremendous work they do on a conservation level is exceptional.
The staff, equipment, boats and the dive center itself are absolutely high standard.

So, if you have a choice, we would absolutely recommend Fish ‘n Fins !