Planning your dream holiday over Christmas? Perhaps the Palau Islands would be the perfect spot to help you recharge your batteries before you take on 2015. Located in the Western Pacific Ocean between Indonesia and the Philippines is a chain of 250 islands known as the Palau Islands. Aside from its interesting history (have been subject to Spanish/German/Japanese/American rule over the years), thanks to its unique location and the dozens of sandy-white beaches with crystal-clear waters, Palau has become one of the hottest scuba diving sites in the world. While it's certainly an adventure to even reach this island chain, the once-in-a-lifetime dives make it worth it in the end.
Tourism, snorkeling and scuba diving remain at the top of the list for Paula's economy. People come from all over the world to experience the island chain's lush aquatic wildlife and seemingly untouched beaches. It's estimated that around 100,000 tourists visit Paula each year, many of whom do so specifically for scuba diving off the coastal waters.
One of islands of Palau is a tiny, uninhabited rock formation known as Jellyfish Lake. It lives up to its namesake by housing tens of thousands of jellyfish. It was first widely believed that the otherwise small and harmless jellyfish species found here were safe to swim with. Palau natives would jump into the waters of Jellyfish Lake without suffering any stings. Later, scientists concluded that the jellyfish still possessed stinging cells but they are simply too small for humans to detect. In any case, officials placed a ban on swimming in the waters of Jellyfish Lake to protect this critical species and their role in the ecosystem. You can, however, still visit the Lake to observe the jellyfish populations from above.
Diving With Sharks
If you're looking to scuba dive with sharks, there's no better place to do so than Palau. The gray reef and white tip are two of the most common species found in the waters here. Thankfully, these sharks are quite predictable, showing up at the same location each day. This allows scuba divers and tourists a chance to safely see these amazing creatures without the normal fear of “unpredictability” that usually comes with sharks.
Palau's shark dives have garnered praise for helping to preserve the shark populations. Far too many countries turn a blind eye on international laws regulating shark hunting, leading to dismal population numbers for some species. By having shark dives in place, the Palau encourages their sharks to grow and thrive.
These are just a few of the countless number of Palau's attractions. To top it all off, the official currency there is the US Dollar so you don’t even have to worry about currency fluctuations in your holiday planning. If you are feeling adventurous and really want to experience a unique tropical location with plenty to see below and above the water or perhaps you just wish to get away from the cold over Christmas, this might be the place for you.