As Palau heats up as a travel destination, more and more articles about where to go and what to do are popping up. But what sorts of things should you avoid? If you want to make the most of your trip to Palau, don’t make these mistakes.
Don’t book your activities when you get there
This was actually a piece of advice given to me by a friend, a native Palauan. He warned me that arranging tours, snorkeling trips, and other activities would be much more expensive if I did it in Palau, and recommended that I book everything in advance. One of my friends learned this the hard way when she went to Palau on vacation with her family of four. Every time they wanted to go somewhere, they either had to wait for the boat to fill up with people, or pay to charter the entire boat themselves, which was very expensive. If you don’t want to spend your vacation sitting around hoping people will join your boat so you can head out, then definitely book a tour before hand.
Don’t eat all your meals with your tour group (if you can)
Of course there are downsides to being part of a tour group. Most of them seem to have some sort of deal with local restaurants, so they’ll try to take you to the same place for most of your meals. Many of these restaurants aren’t owned by locals and so the food is only pseudo-Palauan, and only interesting the first time around. Fortunately my Palauan friend was able to pick us up for meals and take us to places that locals actually eat. I understand not everyone has the advantage of having a native Palauan friend, but if you’re interested in trying a variety of foods while in Palau, you can hire a taxi to take you any place you want to try.
Don’t skimp on the sunscreen
I cannot stress this enough. My Palauan friend is so dark he is often mistaken for African American, but he says even he burns under the Palauan sun. Both he and our tour guide told us that sunscreen should be applied every time you get out of the water, somewhere between 4-6 times a day. I applied mine religiously and still came back with a tan. My English boyfriend, on the other hand, only applied sunscreen about two times a day. After the second day of snorkeling, the backs of his knees were burned to a shiny, angry red. The pain was so bad he could barely walk, sit, stand, take the stairs, or do any of the other things legs are designed to do. If you don’t want to spend the rest of your vacation laying in bed rubbing salve all over your burns, make sure you stock up on sunscreen and don’t forget to keep reapplying!
If you make sure to avoid these mistakes, you’ll easily make the most of your trip to this beautiful island nation!