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Fish 'n Fins - Palau - Geography

Seen from above, the islands of Palau look like green calligraphy on an empty corner of the sea. Over 470 miles east of the Philippines and locked in by the stretching Pacific Ocean, Palau is a rare oasis, a self-contained, isolated archipelago thriving with biodiversity and abundance. Exact location is at 7 ∞ 30' North Latitude, 133 ∞ 30' East Latitude. Palau is the western most island group of a region called the West Caroline Islands, which is part of a larger region called Micronesia. Nations in the Micronesia region include the U.S. Territory of Guam, The Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia (of which Yap is a state), and the Republic of Palau.

Palau Maps:

Oceania Region Map:
Palau Map

KOROR
Photo by Michael Poliza
Koror is a charming, quirky small town. Of Palau's approximately 17,500 inhabitants, including approximately 4,500 foreign workers mostly from the Philippines, half the population lives on Koror, a 3.5-mile long town stretching over four islands connected by bridge and causeway. There are paved roads, cars, shopping centers (though not more than four stories high) and more than 25 restaurants for any taste bud. One main two-lane road runs through the town. All the shops and neighborhoods are built on either side of this mini highway, similar to the layout of the Florida Keys in the US.

Koror is safe to walk about at night, though nightlife remains limited to a few bars, including our very own Barracuda, which overlooks the Rock Islands on the Fish 'n Fins dock. Other night spots include the dockside Kramer's, favored by ex-pats, Riptide, with a dance floor and occasional live music located on Palau's small public beach, and Peleliu Club, a local favorite that gets quite rowdy with Palauan cha-cha.

Although the best action is on the water, for activities around the town of Koror, you will find they are very tourist friendly. A smile goes a long way here. There are two museums to visit (Etpison Museum and Belau National Museum), the Palau International Coral Reef Center (next door to us!) that houses an aquarium, a mariculture project where you can see a nursery of giant clams, a crocodile farm, an old Japanese shrine with a majestic view, WWII relics and monuments, traditional Bai meeting houses, a shop for traditional arts and crafts at the Senior Citizens Center, a public library with a rare collection on Palau, a center to swim with dolphins, and a movie theater. You can take a dip in the water right off the rocky shore from underneath the KB Bridge, or on Long Island, a public cement dock and swimming area in the middle of town. To get around Koror you can rent a car, take taxis (2-4 dollars anywhere), bike or walk. Koror acts as a gateway to the other islands of Palau which you can visit by boat, plane or 4x4 vehicle.

The lifestyle on Palau is very easy and laid-back for all. No one goes hungry here, as they can rely on family members or friends if they're unemployed. Palauans are very family-centered, it seems almost everybody is related here, and clan ties still run strong. Though appearing Americanized, Palauans preserve much of their traditional culture--ceremonies, exchanges and councils--on land and in the sea.