A day trip with Sam’s Tours (samtours.com) is an alternately thrilling and relaxing water adventure. Rise early to depart on a speedboat, whizzing through the majestic Rock Islands with their plumes of grass sprouting from limestone mushroom heads. Stop to snorkel and you may catch a glimpse of an elusive sea turtle or a family of black-tipped sharks, two- to three-feet long and as curiously cautious as you.
Palau is also home to giant mantas with up to 20-foot wingspans, especially in the German Channel, a dive spot ascending in popularity among visitors.
Glide through the hamlets of Long Lake on your double-occupancy kayak (let the backseat do the rowing) with its canopy of Mangrove forest shielding you from the morning sun.
Enjoy a packed lunch on an uninhabited island beach. Send a postcard back home that says, “I landed on ‘Survivor’ island.” Locals are quick to boast of the many “Survivor” series filmed in Palau.
As Palau was part of the WWII Pacific stage and has tons of submerged Japanese Zeros in shallow waters, your charismatic guide will revel in the history of bygone Japanese pilots, crash landing on the reef, some even surviving. Make a mental note of his fantastical tales for future blog entries.
Frolic in the Milky Way, a cove where visitors are keen to smother their bodies with white silt from the ocean floor. It is rumored to have rejuvenating properties for the skin, but it’s really just rotting vegetation and fish waste. Be the designated photographer or clay up yourself — you won’t be able to do both without thoroughly soiling your camera. Wrap up the day with a sunset photo at the picturesque natural arch.
Dinner at Little Italy in Koror (+680-488-6637) feels like dining in any modern metropolis. It’s the little things that make this cozy new restaurant stand out — a carafe of fresh cucumber water, homemade olive, rosemary and cheese bread, and locally grown vegetables. You start with carpaccio — thinly sliced raw fish in olive oil and capers — and a classic starter — bruschetta on perfectly crisp crostini. You savor both while waiting for your penne with anchovies. Topping off dinner with a creamy glass of tiramisu leaves you satisfied, but eager to hit the sack.