References and Recommendations, Palau—February, 2012

This page lists places to stay, things to do, to see, or to avoid that I picked up along the way. But first, here are a few things that I learned for myself.

Two of the divers, Bobby and Ron, have been on this trip five times now. Although Lori and I tend to explore new places on each trip, we both agreed that this might be one of those trips that might be worth repeating. The diving is world class, the Aggressor II service is great, and the accomodations at the PPR are excellent. The power is 110 volts so you can bring all your electronics (from the US), the unit of currency is dollars, and the official language is English. Like Bonaire and Roatan, it's an easy and impressive travel destination.

Despite the general warnings from our doctors and the CDC, it seems that the water in the restaurants and hotels, at least, is safe to drink. While we skipped the water at the Penthouse upon our arrival, we noticed that every other guest drank it. Because other divers had drank the water at the PPR before the diving, we decided to drink the water at the PPR. Heck, we did everything they tell you not to: we ate salads, rinsed fruits, and buffets. Palau, after all, has American infrastructure.

We didn't notice any sand flies at all. Mosquitos were rare on the water and by the coast. Lori got a few mosquito bites during the two weeks that we were there. I did not use any repellent and didn't get a single bite. We saw a couple of mosquitos on the boat, but only when it was moored near land; otherwise, there weren't any during our dive week. We noticed more mosquitos during our hike to the waterfalls, but they weren't bad.

We ate at the Penthouse (for tasty local fare), the Taj (the vindaloo was hot enough to get me to sweat, but Gary wasn't phased), the Fresh Noodle (for large bowls of yummy noodle soup), Kramer's (for European-influenced cuisine), Emaimelei (for Asian fare), as well as the restaurants at the PPR. All were good.

Smoking is prevalent, unfortunately, on the island. Smoking does not seem to be allowed inside buildings, but smoking in outdoor restaurants is common.

We checked out the Carolines cottages one rainy night as Wendy and Gary were staying there. They are very charming little cottages. They are located at the top of a hill and are very private. There was a cacophony of nighttime noises: bugs, frogs, geckos, bats. The resort has a shuttle to the PPR and an agreement to share the beach, pool, and restaurant facilities, so it could be a consideration for the future.

I'd suggest getting rooms on the 2nd floor of the PPR. Since they are on the second floor, there is more privacy. You don't have to keep your curtains shut, and you can leave your stuff drying out on the patio. (Although the notes below mention that you shouldn't leave your gear drying outside in general, I noticed that guests on the first floor left their gear out.) Another benefit of the second floor is that you don't have to hear the goings-on of your upstairs neighbor. If you splurge for the Ocean Front Rooms, you'll get vaulted ceilings and carved furniture which is very nice. We were in building 11 and building 12 was at the end These buildings were much quieter than the buildings closer to the pool, beach, and restaurant. But not far enough from the roosters who roamed freely and made a racket. Buildings 13 and 14 faced the lagoon and would also be nice, although you wouldn't be able to see the sunset from their patio. Unfortunately, smoking is prevalent in the lobby and outdoor bar area.

Here are the notes I collected from other divers and the web before the trip. Star ratings are from TripAdvisor.

Liveaboard

Land-based diving

Top-side

Food

Culture

Flights

Hotels

Bring

Dengue fever

According to the CDC map, it doesn’t appear that Palau has had recent cases, nor is it listed as a location at risk. There have been a couple of recent cases in the Marshall Islands, so we should avoid flying through there if convenient.

Symptoms of dengue include:

Usually dengue fever causes a mild illness, but it can be severe and lead to dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF), which can be fatal if not treated. People who have previously been infected with dengue fever are more at risk of getting severe dengue.

No vaccine is available to prevent dengue, and there is no specific medicine to cure illness caused by dengue. Those who become ill with dengue fever can be given medicine to reduce fever, such as acetaminophen, and may need oral rehydration or intravenous fluids and, in severe cases, treatment to support their blood pressure. Aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid), aspirin-containing drugs, and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (e.g., ibuprofen) should be avoided because of the possibility of bleeding. Early recognition and treatment of severe dengue (e.g., signs and symptoms consistent with impending blood pressure failure) can reduce the risk of death.

If you return from a trip abroad and get sick with a fever, you should seek medical care right away. Be sure to tell the doctor or other health care provider about your recent travel.

References


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