The chain of over 250 islands, located 650 km (528mi) to the southwest of the Philippines, make up Palau, a scuba diver’s dream. The water is warm year around, the islands are sparsely populated and the marine wildlife is abundant. If you are a serious diver, a Palau liveaboard trip is probably on your list already.
A combination of big groups of fish, manta rays, sharks, WWII wrecks and the famous Jellyfish Lake make Palau an terrific diving destination.
Diving in Palau requires a budget for it. Due to its remoteness, the bill will start to add up quick. The islands are far and the logistics are not easy. However, there are some great liveaboard options depending on your preferences and budget.
To help you out when choosing a boat for your liveaboard vacation to Palau, we’ve put together this quick guide that highlights the best boats and also gives you some things to consider when it comes time to book.
THE BEST PALAU LIVEABOARD BOATS – A COMPARISON
4 THINGS TO CONSIDER ABOUT LIVEABOARD DIVING IN PALAU
Not every boat is the best for everyone. Depending on your preferences, budget and schedule, some trips might be better for you than others. With that in mind let’s talk about what to consider to choose the right boat for you and your dive buddies. Here’s a few points to consider.
1. WHAT TIME OF THE YEAR ARE YOU GOING?
The diving season in Palau is all year around as water temperatures are pretty stable averaging 26-30º C (78-86º F). Only between July and September the visibility can be reduced to 15-20m (50-65ft), but it’s normally exceeding 40m (130ft).
The islands are not in the typhoon path, although they might get some rain in the wet season. For that reason, most people consider November to May as the best time to dive in Palau on a liveaaboard.
2. WHAT MARINE LIFE DO YOU WANT TO SEE?
If you’re coming to Palau to see some specific marine life, you might want to consider coming in a specific month to increase your chances of seeing it.
Eagle rays, dolphins and hammerhead sharks are seen all year around. However, the best time to see whale sharks and manta rays is between January and April. If turtles are your thing, then plan to visit Palau between April and July.
3. LOOKING FOR SOME EXCLUSIVITY OR REDUCED GROUPS?
Palau is not a busy diving destination if you compare it with the neighbouring south-east asian countries. However, if you’d like to dive in very reduce groups, the Ocean Hunter I might be your best choice, as they cater to small groups of divers (maximum 6).
4. WHAT’S YOUR BUDGET?
Liveaboards in Palau range from $3,000 to $5,000 depending on the type of boat, duration of the trip and itinerary. Make sure you check what additional fees are not included in the trip before you book. The “Port fee”, departure tax and “Green fee” that are normally not included in the final price. Some operators also charge for hotel transfers, nitrox and sale taxes separately.
See a boat that catches your eye? The following section shows you the main features of each boat has with a link to check the latest prices and availability.
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Photo Credit: Palau Siren Liveaboard
The 40 meters long Palau Siren is a luxury liveaboard designed to provide superior comfort for divers. The boat has a maximum capacity of 16 divers and it’s run by a crew of 12. It offers plenty of space including an air conditioned lounge with cocktail bar, outdoor covered deck and sun deck. Its 8 large cabins are equipped with individual climate control, entertainment systems and bathrooms. The diving gear is included in the price (except for dive computers) and the nitrox is free.
PALAU AGGRESSOR II
Photo Credit: Palau Aggressor II Liveaboard
The Palau Aggressor II is 34 meters long, has capacity for up to 18 guests and it’s run by a crew of 6. The 9 staterooms are equipped with an onsite bathroom and shower, storage and individual climate control, and the meals are a combination of American and local dishes. There is an air conditioned lounge and a sundeck and they offer up to 5 dives per day. And the best thing is beer and wine are complimentary.
ROCK ISLANDS AGGRESSOR
Photo Credit: Rock Islands Aggressor Liveaboard
The other boat of the Aggressor group, the Rock Islands Aggressor is very similar to its counterpart. It also has capacity for up to 18 divers and it’s run by a crew of 6. All rooms come with an individual climate control, storage and on-suite bathroom and shower. And as it happens with all Aggressor trips, wine and beer are free of charge.
Photo Credit: Solitude One Liveaboard
At 52 meters long, the Solitude One is the biggest boat on this list. Fully renovated in 2013, it provides luxury rooms for up to 26 divers, all equipped with individual climate control, flat screen TVs with USB, hair driers, bath robs and much more. The boat also has an indoor lounge, a sun deck and a dedicated camera room. If you are looking for a roomy boat with all the commodities, the Solitude One is the one for you.
OCEAN HUNTER I
Photo Credit: Ocean Hunter I Liveaboard
The Ocean Hunter I is a liveaboard that caters only to small groups. The 3 cabins accomodate a maximum capacity of 6 divers, and they all have air conditioning and private bathroom. They specialize in custom itineraries and professional photographers, providing a big work area with plenty of outlets and overnight E6 processing. If you want to dive without many other divers around, the Ocean Hunter I is definitely the best choice in Palau.
OCEAN HUNTER 3
Photo Credit: Ocean Hunter 3 Liveaboard
At 29 meters long, the Ocean Hunter 3 is the newest addition to the Ocean Hunter fleet. With a maximum capacity of 16 divers, all the cabins have their own bathroom and air conditioning. There’s lots of room for photography equipment as well as electrical outlets to charge your batteries after every dive. And an added bonus, there are 2 jacuzzi baths to enjoy at the sundeck!