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Help Derek Bugley

Derek Bugley is looking for advice on Palau :

I want to go to Palau next year with my girlfriend, we dive. What do we do?

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.almost 3 years ago . Flag
Pro 2014
Harold Smith-Franzen (@smithfranzen) recommended Palau Pacific Resort
Palau Pacific ResortPO BOX 308, Koror 96940, Palau
PPR is located about 30 minutes from Koror airport in a part of Palau that is very convenient to the Rock Islands. All of the dive sites that we visited were within 45 minutes of the resort and the ... read more
dive shop connected to the resort, Splash, is excellent. Rooms are fairly basic but the hotel grounds and public spaces are attractive and well maintained. Some of the hotel staff can seem a bit gruff at first but we found everyone to be very friendly. Service runs on Palau time and can be a bit slow at times but is generally quite good. Best things about the property: - local design / feel with modern comforts - excellent on-site dive shop (Splash). friendly, professional and safety conscious - friendly staff - excellent snorkeling at the house reef (giant clams, star fish, parrot fish, etc.) - convenient access to the Rock Islands and world class diving The property definitely caters to Japanese guests who seem to account for the vast majority of visitors -- most staff speak some Japanese, Japanese food is offered for lunch on excursions / dives, and rooms have Japanese-style washlet toilettes (i.e., automated with bidet functions). We visited during the peak Golden Week season. For the most part, the hotel did a good job of managing high occupancy. The poolside bar was a bit overwhelmed one evening but all-in-all the property did quite well at handling the volume of guests. We thought the property was enjoyable despite the crowd; however, I'd recommend avoiding the Golden Week period if you have the option. A few things to consider when you visit: - due to the remote location, internet access is very slow at the property and on the island - the primary restaurant, Coconut Terrace, specializes in buffets. food quality was fine but a bit over priced for what it was. there is also a fine dining option that serves seafood which we thought was quite good (chili coconut rice is incredible) - the beach itself is fine but not exceptional. i would not choose this resort (or Palau) if your primary interest is a beach vacation. the best things to see in Palau are under the water - the property can feel a bit isolated if you don't have a vehicle; however, some restaurants in town offer a pick up service so you don't need a car to escape - if you don't speak Japanese, you may find it hard to socialize with other guests. there were a few Westerners when we visited but the vast majority were non-English speaking Japanese - if you want to visit jelly fish lake, note that visits are conducted after your second dive. be sure to request a visit in advance. unfortunately, divers that don't want to go also have to tag along for the ride. it doesn't take more than 30-40 min and it is definitely worth a visit but might be annoying if you are in a hurry to get back We had an ocean front room. The beach view itself probably isn't worth the extra $$$ if you are going to spend most of your day diving or out in a chaise. If I were to visit again, I would probably opt for a less expensive room without the view. Since most flights arrive and depart in the middle of the night, you may want to consider paying extra for a late check out. Their standard rate seems to be a 1/2 day charge for check out at 6 p.m. and full day for anything later. Not sure if there is a similar option for an early check in. Don't expect a free late check out. It seems to be policy to charge even if the room isn't needed (which is more in line with Japanese hotel norms). PPR is a nice relaxed property in a good location. It would get a bit boring after a day or two if you weren't diving but is a nice place to spend your surface time. Many of the guests that we spoke to had made a significant number of repeat visits (i.e., 10-20x!) so they are clearly doing something right.
.Comment.almost 3 years ago. Report
Harold Smith-Franzen (@smithfranzen)

This is the best place in town and they have a fantastic dive shop (Splash). Highly recommended. There is very little to do above water in Palau but this is a great base for exploring. You might also want to look at live aboards.

I'd avoid going during major Japanese holidays.

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