Palau: Crime, Natural Hazards & Local Laws → Stay safe!

If you come to Palau you will likely spend most of your time underwater - the diving and snorkelling is brilliant!

If you come to Palau you will likely spend most of your time underwater - the diving and snorkelling is brilliant!

But be aware that even though you are underwater the sun is brutal and you should wear t-shirts or some sort of body cover. Sunscreen is not only a pollutant to this natural environment, it will also become ineffective after an hour or so.

A major attraction on Palau are the famous "Jellyfish" Lakes. There are 4 in total, but the only one you are allowed to dive in is the lake on Eil Malk Island. Free diving and snorkelling only, scuba diving is not allowed as the bubbles may affect the jellyfish.

Crime and Curfew

Koror State, where most tourist facilities are located, enforces a curfew between 2:30 a.m. and 5:00 a.m., Monday through Thursday, and between 4:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. Friday to Sunday, and on national holidays. Maybe this is connected, but the crime rate is very low.

Natural Hazards

There is still a significant amount of unexploded ordnance in Palau left over from World War II, particularly in Peleliu and Angaur.

(The wreck of a Japanese Zero fighter.)

There have not been any casualties as a result of this but you should still exercise caution, particularly when diving or exploring caves.

There are over 60 vertical drop-offs in the diving areas and some are for experienced divers only.

There are saltwater crocodiles in parts of Palau and no warning signs to indicate their presence. Check with local authorities before considering water activities in mangrove areas.

(der-dum, der-dum, der-dum.....)

Bull sharks are also common, although they seem content enough with the abundance of fish life and seem to leave divers alone.

The road network quickly deteriorates in wet weather.  A 4x4 is required to travel across much of the country.

Local Laws

The legal drinking age in Palau is 21 years. It is illegal to drink alcohol in public (apart from licensed premises).

Palau is vulnerable to natural disasters, such as hurricanes, cyclones, and floods.

It is illegal to disturb or take historical items (including from sunken vessels).

Homosexuality is illegal, so limit the 'buddy system' to scuba diving till you get home, eh?

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