Frequently asked questions

Palau

Before Your Trip

On 1st January 2020, Palau introduced a ban on sunscreens which contain ingredients that are toxic to reefs. This directive means it is illegal to sell reef-toxic sunscreen products and also illegal to bring any into the Republic of Palau; any prohibited reef-toxic sunscreen shall be confiscated upon entry into the Republic of Palau.

Reef-toxic sunscreens are those which containoxybenzone, octylmethoxycinnamate, octocrylene, 4-methyl-benzylidene camphor, triclosan, methyl paraben, ethyl paraben, butyl paraben, benzyl paraben, phenoxythanol, or other chemical ingredients that are considered harmful to the marine environment. 

To support this environmental protection regulation, Palau Siren has a locally made, non-toxic natural sunscreen, with plastic-free packaging available to purchase on board.

Travel

See our COVID-19 Travel Requirements page for the latest COVID-19 travel updates.

Passport validity 
Your passport should be valid for a period of at least 6 months from the date of your arrival in Palau.

Visa Information
US, UK, EU, Australian and Canadian nationals visiting Palau do not require a visa for visits of up to 30 days. To find out if you need a visa to enter Palau, please visit the Palau embassy/consulate website at: https://www.passportsandvisas.com/embassy-consulate/palau

Extensions of stay cost 50 USD for an additional 30 days and must be applied for with the Bureau of Immigration at least 7 days before the current permitted stay expires. Contact details for extensions are (+680) 488 2498 or 2678 (Monday to Friday from 7:30am to 4:30pm); email imm@palaunet.com

Transit via Guam and Hawaii - ESTA or Visas
Non-US citizens travelling to Palau via Guam or Hawaii  will need to apply for an ESTA under the Visa Waiver Program or acquire a US transit visa prior to departure from your home country.

IMPORTANT: All travellers wishing to enter the US or its territories under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) need to hold a passport with an integrated chip (an ePassport).

If you are in any doubt about whether you qualify for the VWP, or if you are concerned that an existing ESTA may have been cancelled, you should contact the nearest US Embassy or Consulate.

Guests arriving from countries which are affected by Cholera or Yellow Fever must show proof of immunisation upon arrival.

Travellers should ensure that routine vaccinations (MMR, Polio, Tetanus, etc.) are up-to-date prior to travelling. Immunisation against Typhoid and Hepatitis is recommended. We advise guests to check with their nearest travel health clinic for the latest advice and recommendations at least 4 weeks prior to travelling.

Country Information

The Palau Pledge was introduced in 2017 in recognition of the need to protect the natural and cultural environment of the Republic of Palau, and is now part of the nation's immigration laws.

Please take the time to read our Palau Pledge blog to learn more about this ground-breaking initiative and how it applies to you as a visitor to the Palau Islands.

UTC+9

Palauan and English are the official languages of the Republic of Palau, although you may hear Tagalog, Japanese and Mandarin too. The population is predominantly Christian and there is approximately 10% of the population adhering to traditional Palauan customs. We recommend our guests are respectful and wear suitable attire when making island tours or visiting religious buildings.

The official currency of Palau is the US Dollar (USD).
The majority of established hotels, shops and restaurants accept major credit cards or travellers' cheques. Occasionally smaller, family-run business will only accept cash. There are several US operated banks and plenty of ATMs so cash is readily accessible although the rate of exchange is very poor. Therefore, guests are advised to change money prior to arrival in Palau.

Power outlets on land in Palau are 110v. Guests whose electrical items are designed to charge or operate on a 220v supply should bring power adapters with them. (Outlets on board Palau Siren are 220v).

Mobile phone coverage in Palau is with PNCC (Palau National Communications Company) which might not be compatible with most international mobile phone systems. Please note that while some international phone carriers say they are compatible with Palau, in reality many are not.

Data only, visitor sims and other pre-paid packages can be purchased from the PNCC kiosk at Koror Airport and other outlets, including Sam's Tours. Further information can be found on the PNCC website, here: https://www.pnccpalau.com/visitors

Internet access is available in most major towns and at resorts/restaurants.

Palau is 7 degrees north of the equator and enjoys a warm tropical climate year round. Temperatures average 27°C (82°F) and as a tropical island Palau is subject to rainfall throughout the year though more frequently between July and October. Diving is excellent year around though the peak season is considered to be November through May.

Health care is readily available in Palau, but are not free. The Belau National Hospital is a professionally staffed hospital for outpatient and emergency cases. The hospital also has an operational Hyperbaric Chamber staffed with an experienced barotrauma team.

Follow normal precautions with food whilst travelling to prevent stomach upsets and be sure to drink bottled water only.

Guests are also advised to use insect repellent and cover exposed skin when on land to reduce the risk of Dengue Fever and other insect borne diseases.

For diving related emergencies there is a recompression chamber in Koror. Speedboat evacuation from the Palau Siren may be necessary thus diving specific insurance is a must on any liveaboard dive trip.

The use of drones is allowed as long as the drone has been registered and a permit obtained from the Palau National Aviation Administration office in advance.

Permits are free of charge and usually take 2-3 working days to process. Drone registration can be submitted online via the Palau Visitors Authority website, here: https://palau.travel/drone-registration/

During Your Trip

In addition to respecting The Palau Pledge which all visitors are required to sign upon arrival into Palau, we ask Palau Siren guests to also consider the following to help with our mission to reduce our environmental impact.

Although there are recycling programs and facilities in place in Palau, they are limited. 

Batteries
While some batteries may be available to purchase on board, please bring extras if your personal dive equipment may require a unique size, or need a lot of replacement batteries during your trip. We respectfully ask that you take spent batteries home so that they can be recycled or disposed of properly. Alternatively, consider using rechargeable batteries as there are plenty of sockets to plug in a charger on board.

Water Bottles
Plastic straws and stirrers have been banned on all  Siren Fleet and Master Liveaboards vessels and we do not provide water or any other drinks in single use plastic bottles.

If you own a sports bottle, we simply ask that you bring it with you, or you can purchase one on board. If you don’t have one and you don’t want to purchase one, we have plenty of cups on board which you can use to ensure you remain well hydrated.

Plastic bags and wrappers
We do not provide plastic bags for purchases made on board, although reusable canvas bags are available for sale. Please help us minimise plastic waste by removing plastic wrappers and packaging from items before travelling. If you bring plastic bags with you, please reuse them, and take them home.

Toiletries
We kindly ask that guests consider the type of products which they are bringing with them and, where possible, to bring only environmentally friendly toiletries for use on board, and to take partially or unused products home with them.

Sun Protection
Suntan lotions that contain environmentally harmful ingredients are illegal in Palau and will be confiscated. If you wish to use sunscreen, please ensure any products you bring with you are marked as reef safe, or you can purchase locally made Pura Vida Palau - Reef Safe Sunscreen on board Palau Siren.

We also suggest wearing sun hats, lightweight clothing that covers arms and legs, long-sleeve rash guards and remaining in shaded areas as natural forms of sun protection.

Our dedicated spawning itineraries are scheduled around the new and full moon phases when you will have the chance to see different species of fishes aggregating to reproduce. These large groups also normally attract predators, giving you a great chance to see different types of sharks. Spawning itineraries often involve more challenging conditions with strong currents and black-water night dives so, we recommend a minimum of 50 logged dives, including experience with currents.

The warm tropical waters of Palau average a pleasant 27°C throughout the year. Most guests find that a 3mm wetsuit or shorty is suitable and many dive with just a skin. For guests who tend to get cold easily, especially after repetitive dives, we recommend bringing whatever you feel most comfortable in.

Palau Siren has 3 dedicated skiffs named Buils, Sils and Melek which are almost vessels of their own. Two of the skiffs will accompany the main vessel for the duration of the cruise itinerary and diving will take place from them. Palau Siren is normally at anchor away from the dive sites so the skiffs will take you to the entry points of your dive and back to the liveaboard vessel afterwards. The skiff journey to most dive sites generally takes 5 - 15 minutes although in some cases may be longer. 

Power outlets onboard Palau Siren are 220V, universal sockets that compatible with most electrical equipment and plugs.  We also have some USB power outlets available in the common areas and cabins. 

Guests whose equipment requires 110V output are advised to bring adapters with them.

You should be within range for the greater part of your trip (about 60% of the time), but please note that some of the areas are not covered and you may be un-contactable for up to 3 days.

Marine, park and port fees are dependent on the duration of your trip and cover State Permits and local taxes. The applicable amount will be added to your invoice to be paid on board Palau Siren before disembarkation.

PLEASE NOTE: Koror State and Peleliu State permits which are covered by the marine, park and port fees are valid for 10 days only. If are doing back-to-back trips you will need to pay the fees on both trips. Likewise, if will be extending your stay in Palau and doing any activities either before or after your liveaboard, you may need to pay for additional permits if the total number of days including your time on Palau Siren exceeds 10 days.

You can pay Marine, Park and Port fees as well as any other onboard extras by card or in cash (USD, EUR & GBP). Please note that cash payments in EUR and GBP  are subject to a cash handling fee. We therefore strongly recommend only bringing cash in USD.

We can accept Visa and Mastercard payments on board with are subject to a 3% surcharge.