Why visiting Palau from Europe is currently COVID-complicated

What happened in the Republic of Palau during the Covid Pandemic?

After the outbreak of the Covid pandemic, the government of Palau behaved, as is so often the case, in an exemplary manner, and immediately took all necessary measures to protect the population from disease and death. As a result, Palau was one of the few countries in the world to show ZERO Covid cases.

Aerial View over the Rock islands of Palau

Are the people of Palau Covid vaccinated?

As a logical next step, our Ministry of Health has started to vaccinate the residents with the mRNA vaccine Moderna. On August 13, 2021, our Ministry of Health published the following figures to inform about the current state of vaccinations in the country.

  • Adults (18+ years old) with at least one vaccination 80.54%
  • Adults (18+ years old) with two vaccinations 79.97%
  • Adolescents (12-17 years old) with at least one vaccination 5.6%
  • Population with at least one vaccination 86.14%
The numbers are based on a total population of 18,000

Is Palau open for Tourism?

Palau started a travel bubble with Taiwan in April 2021, but it was suspended shortly after its introduction as a result of increasing COVID cases in Taiwan. The Travel Bubble has resumed on August 14, 2021. United Airlines has resumed air traffic between Guam (USA) and Palau and currently operates 1 flight per week between the two islands.

A reason for some Guam tourists to enjoy the new freedom to visit Palau. With the reopening of Palau we received a lot of inquiries and bookings from Europe. Some for hotel and diving packages with Fish ’n Fins and a lot for a liveaboard trip on our luxury vessel, the Ocean Hunter Palau. The travel period for these trips was October, November and December 2021.

Photo of a stone arch in Palau's famous Rock Islands

Can I currently travel from Europe to Palau?

A few days ago, however, most of these travelers contacted us to reschedule their trips, or even to cancel them because the booked tickets had been canceled. Since then we have been trying to find out how to get to Palau from Europe under reasonable and affordable conditions.

Fish ’n Fins & Ocean Hunter GREEN BOOKING BADGE for 2021
Since Fish ’n Fins and Ocean Hunter Palau always strive to deliver the best possible customer service, we offer the GREEN BOOKING BADGE to all our customers for all packages booked for travel during 2021.

Fish ’n Fins Hotel & Dive Packages

10% deposit within 14 days after booking, the balance is due 14 days prior to arrival in Palau. If the trip has to be canceled due to Covid, free rescheduling for up to 24 months, or a 90% reimbursement of the sum paid. 10% of the money will be used for processing and financial expenses.

Ocean Hunter Liveaboard Packages

10% deposit within 14 days after booking, the balance is due 30 days prior to arrival in Palau. If the trip has to be canceled due to Covid, free rescheduling for up to 24 months, or a 90% reimbursement of the sum paid. 10% of the money will be used for processing and financial expenses.

How do I get to Palau in times of Covid?

Usually one flies from Europe to either Japan, South Korea, Taiwan or the Philippines and connects from there to Palau. But in times of Covid this is difficult, or should we say currently almost impossible, as it seems. In order to give you an overview of Covid travel regulations for the individual hubs that connect to Palau, we have summarized each country and the corresponding entry regulations below.

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Detail photo of a temple in Seould South Korea Getting from Europe to Palau via South Korea

Sprichst Du Deutsch? Hier findest Du die aktuelle Information zu Süd Korea auf der Seite des Deutschen Aussenamts

Epidemiological situation

The infection rate in South Korea is at a low level. Regional focal points are the capital Seoul and the surrounding province of Gyeonggi. It is not possible for Schengen citizens to enter South Korea without a visa. The previous regulation that tourists and business travelers can enter the country without a visa for stays of up to 90 days is suspended until further notice. No visas are currently issued for tourist purposes.

Entry

To enter South Korea, a negative PCR test result issued within 72 hours prior to departure, must be presented at the airport prior to departure. The original test result must be submitted in English or Korean. For other languages, a certified translation must be enclosed. This rule applies to all travelers. Exceptions are only made for children under six years of age and transit travelers who do not leave the international transit area. In principle, all passengers entering Korea are obliged to go directly to a 14-day home quarantine after entry (or, if they do not have a place of residence, to a paid one - approx. 150,000 KRW (approx. 110 EUR) per day, 2,100. 000 KRW for 14 days - provided quarantine location). A person in the right corner of the photo looking over the rice terraces in Banaue in the northern Philippines

Getting from Europe to Palau via the Philippines

Sprichst Du Deutsch? Hier findest Du die aktuelle Information zu den Philippinen auf der Seite des Deutschen Aussenamts

Epidemiological situation

The Philippines are severely affected by COVID-19, with a high number of unreported cases in the number of infections. The health system is very strained. The regional focus is the metropolitan area of Metro Manila. The Philippines are classified as a high risk area. Until further notice, foreigners are prohibited from entering the Philippines for tourist purposes. Filipino entry visas that have been issued have been declared invalid, and new tourist visas are not currently being issued. Exceptions apply exclusively to aircraft and ship crews, to family members (spouses, children, parents) of Filipino nationals, to diplomats and members of international organizations who are accredited in the Philippines, as well as to foreigners who already have long-term visas. Travelers are subject to a 14-day quarantine obligation after entry, during which a PCR test must be carried out on the seventh day. All travelers, with the exception of diplomats and members of international organizations, must present a booking for an accredited quarantine facility for at least 10 days. Red Japanese building resembling a japanese letter standing in the water

Getting from Europe to Palau via Japan

Sprichst Du Deutsch? Hier findest Du die aktuelle Information zu Japan auf der Seite des Deutschen Aussenamts

Epidemiological situation

The Japanese government generally urges caution. A high number of unrecorded infections is also assumed in Japan.

Entry

There is an entry ban for third-country nationals. Non-Japanese nationals who have stayed in a risk country in the 14 days prior to their planned entry into Japan are generally not permitted to enter Japan. Foreign nationals with “residence” status in Japan and a valid re-entry permit are exempt under certain conditions. Information on this is available from the Japanese embassy in Berlin. The visa exemption is suspended for Schengen citizens. The possibility of applying for a visa for business trips, study visits and medium and long-term stays (with Certificate of Eligibility) and entry with such a visa has also been suspended by the Japanese government until further notice. There are also strict quarantine rules to be observed. A COVID-19 test will always be carried out at the airport upon arrival. If the test result is negative, it is possible for people arriving from Europe to spend the 14-day quarantine in their own apartment or in a self-organized accommodation. This also applies to Japanese nationals and holders of a permanent residence permit. For people entering from virus variant areas, accommodation for at least three days in an accommodation specified by the quarantine authorities will be ordered even if a negative PCR test is presented. So far, there are no deviating regulations for vaccinated or convalescent people. If the test result is positive, the quarantine period is extended to up to 14 days. A quarantine of several days in a quarantine hotel can also be ordered for contact persons who tested negative, even with a complete vaccination certificate.

Photo of a famous temple in Taiwan

Getting from Europe to Palau via Taiwan

Sprichst Du Deutsch? Hier findest Du die aktuelle Information zu Taiwan auf der Seite des Deutschen Aussenamts

Epidemiological situation

Taiwan was less affected by COVID-19, but has seen an increase in new infections with COVID-19 since the beginning of May 2021

Entry

Entry to Taiwan is only permitted to Taiwanese nationals and foreigners with a permanent residence permit (Alien Residence Certificate, ARC) until August 9, 2021. Exceptions can be granted for emergencies and humanitarian reasons by the CEEC (Central Epidemic Command Center). All travelers must present a negative PCR test in English upon entry, which must not be older than three days. Travelers must present a negative PCR test upon check-in at the overseas airport. This applies regardless of the nationality of the traveler or the purpose of the trip. The test must not be older than three days (working days) at the time of boarding. The test result must be issued by a laboratory recognized in the country of departure in English or Chinese or in both languages. In addition to the paper form, test results in electronic form are also accepted if they meet the requirements. All travelers, regardless of their nationality or country of origin, must be in isolation for 14 days after entry in a quarantine accommodation (hotel) specified by the government, which they must book themselves before entry. The airline will only take them along if a quarantine hotel booking can be presented. The isolation must take place in a single room. The cost of COVID-19 tests as well as any COVID-19 treatment must be borne by the traveler. Another PCR test is mandatory on the last day of quarantine. The tests are arranged by the police and the quarantine hotel. These tests are free of charge. Entrants from Brazil, India, the United Kingdom, Peru, Israel, Indonesia and Bangladesh must quarantine in government group quarantine facilities. There are no costs for this. The Taiwanese health authorities strictly monitor compliance with the quarantine measures and punish non-compliance with heavy fines.

frontal photo of the statue of liberty in new york city, USA

Getting from Europe to Palau via the USA

Sprichst Du Deutsch? Hier findest Du die aktuelle Information zu den USA auf der Seite des Deutschen Aussenamts

Epidemiological situation

The United States is severely affected by COVID-19. Recently, the number of infections has increased significantly. With effect from August 15, 2021, the United States is classified as a high risk area

Entry

The US government has renewed the current entry ban for people who have been in Schengen area within a period of 14 days prior to entry with a Presidential Proclamation until further notice. There are also entry restrictions for prior stays in the UK, Ireland, Brazil, China, Iran, India and South Africa. US citizens, persons with permanent legal residence in the USA (“green card” holders), close relatives of US citizens, diplomats or employees of international organizations are exempt from the ban on entry. The US representations in Germany will publish more details on further exceptions and on the issuing of National Interest Exceptions (NIE).

Transit and onward travel

The entry ban also severely restricts the possibility of airport transit. Airport transit is currently not possible for people who have been in any Schengen area countries in the 14 days prior to their journey.

Front part of a grounded United Airlines commercial airplane

Traveling from Europe to the Republic of Palau in 2021 - Synopsis

After the Covid-free Palau, which has vaccinated record numbers of its population, is again open to tourism, it currently seems impossible to visit the island paradise from Europe, as the transit countries have made entry and transit almost impossible for Europeans.

Travelers who have been looking forward to their diving holidays with Fish 'n Fins and Ocean Hunter Liveaboard Palau will unfortunately have to be patient and hope that the regulations in the hubs will soon change.

Please feel free to reach out to our team (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.), who checks the regulations daily and is happy to help you with information so that you can enjoy your Palau diving trip at the right time.

Hopefully see you soon in Pristine Palau!