Palau is one of the most magical places on earth! With over 1,387 species of fish 52 marine lakes and some of the World’s most breathtaking coral ~ it’s easy to see why tourists and locals tend to spend most of their time exploring the underwaters of Palau!
Fish ‘n Fins is the oldest, leading dive center in Palau. Owned an operated by Tova & Navot Bornovski, guests enjoy scuba diving trips on their liveaboard, snorkeling, kayaking, land tours, fishing trips, Rock Island tours and much more!
Listen in on our interview with Tova Harel-Bornovski and make sure to check out our Chef’s Corner interview with this woman of many talents!
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Just 2 hours away from Guam, Continental Micronesia takes you to the Jewel of the Pacific - Palau! Divers and snorkelers have found their nirvana at such sites as Blue Corner, the German Channel, Shark City & Jellyfish Lake. Get covered in volcanic mud at the popular Milky Way cove, hike down to the Ngardmau Waterfall, swim with Dolphins at Dolphin Pacific, or explore the history of Palau by visiting stone monoliths, a traditional Bai meeting house, Palau’s National Capital, Belau National Museum and the Etpison Museum. Other fun things to do include a daytrip to Carp Island, exploring the Rock Islands and going on a Jungle River Cruise.
Stay at the luxurious Palau Pacific Resort, Landmark Marina Resort, Airai Water Paradise Hotel, M&A Riverside Beach Bungalows or the North Beach Cottages.
Celebrities who have visited this magnificent island include Paul Allen, Laurence Fishburne, John F. Kennedy Jr. and Metallica’s drummer Lars Ulrich.
content courtesy of Luxury Travel
As One of the Seven (Underwater) Wonders of the World Palau Micronesia is Home to the First Shark Sanctuary
The Pacific nation of Palau has created the world’s first officially-recognized shark sanctuary, a biological sanctuary to protect great hammerheads, leopard sharks, oceanic whitetip sharks and more than 130 other species fighting extinction in the Pacific Ocean.
Johnson Toribiong, president of the island republic, said , “Palau will become the world’s first national shark sanctuary, ending all commercial shark fishing in our waters and giving a sanctuary for sharks to live and reproduce unmolested in our 237,000 square miles of ocean.”
President Toribiong’s announcement on the commercial shark-fishing ban came on September 25, 2009 at the United Nations General Assembly. He comments, “The strength and beauty of sharks are a natural barometer for the health of our oceans.”
During his address, President Toribiong called for a global ban on shark-finning and rallied for other nations to join the cause. Through his actions, along with those of the Palau Shark Sanctuary, President Toribiong has put Palau on the map in terms of global efforts to protect sharks.
Some might ask, “What is the motivation behind President Toribiong’s initiatives and his efforts to call upon support of these world-wide efforts?” Shark populations are in danger of demise because of limited protective measures, to date. As a matter of fact, shark fishing has grown rapidly since the mid-1980s, because of the rising demand for shark fin soup, a highly coveted expression of wealth. Sharks, in general, have a long life span and low fertility rates, which makes them vulnerable to extinction.
As a result, Palau formally established a protective zone to help preserve the predatory fish by protecting its 135 Western Pacific species of sharks and rays, considered endangered or vulnerable.
Dermot Keane, of the Palau Shark Sanctuary, “(We) Deeply commend President Toribiong for his international leadership in global efforts to protect sharks.” Keane continues, “We are very proud of President Toribiong and of Palau on this momentous occasion.”
Palau Shark Sanctuary was founded in 2001 in an effort to end the annihilation of Palau's sharks, which come as a result of rampant shark-finning at the hands of foreign long-line fishing vessels licensed by Palau to fish in their waters. Palau Shark Sanctuary seeks a declaration by Palau to establish the waters of Palau's Exclusive Economic Zone as a sanctuary for all sharks.
For more information about President Toribiong’s initiatives and the Palau Shark Sanctuary’s efforts, visit www.sharksanctuary.com. For those interested in speaking directly with the shark preservation activists in Palau, contact Dermot Keane of Palau Shark Sanctuary at firstname.lastname@example.org or Tova Harel Bornovski of Micronesia Shark Foundation at email@example.com.
Our culinary journey through Palau continues as we get close and personal with chef extraordinaire, Tova Harel Bornovski. Along with her husband Navot, Tova owns Fish ‘n Fins, the leading dive and tour center, Ocean Hunter I&III Liveaboard (for the extreme divers), as well as Barracuda Bar & Restaurant.
Winning the hearts (and stomachs) of both the locals and tourists – Tova knows how to make guests feel right at home. Infusing her Israeli heritage with Palauan recipes – the menu is completely unique and absolutely delicious! Carb counters are missing out if they opt not to try the wonderful fresh breads made from taro, spinach or cheese accompanied with a mezze of dips like Hummus, Eggplant & Pumpkin.Make sure to ask your server about the weekly specials!
Let’s follow Tova into the kitchen:
How has traveling influenced your flavors and recipes?
Tremendously! We’ve sailed and lived in remote destinations and learned so much from people we’ve met along the way and all the foods we’ve tasted. My childhood has influenced my recipes as I grew up in Israel – a melting pot of different cultures.
What defines Palauan cuisine?
Palauans like to cook with very little flavors and do not like to disguise what they cook. Fish should taste like fish and vegetables should have that fresh taste.
Tell us about your cookbook “A Taste of Rainbow’s End”
It’s been on my wish list of things to do and I finally went for it. Everyone I was talking to kept saying that they were going to publish a book but I got them all together and put the smells and tastes into text. It was a lot of fun to do! I wanted to present these unique dishes in a way that would make people say “I’ve got to go to Palau and try this food!”
Who do you admire in the culinary world?
I admire the mom ‘n pop spots that serve some of the most amazing dishes! It’s the grass root places I enjoy the most. Some of my favorite memories include dining at small trattorias in Italy or trying out the local favorite Shokudo in Japan.
What’s one ingredient you can’t cook without?
Love – it’s the only way the food is going to taste good! Chefs who don’t love what they do won’t cook great food.
What advice can you give a cooking enthusiast?
Use your love and imagination to create something truly special!
Here’s journeyPod’s favorite recipe from Tova’s cookbook “A Taste of Rainbow’s End”
Demok Taro Leaf Soup
By: Tova Harel-Bornovski, Delphina & Itelatk Benjamin
2-3 lb very young taro leaves (may substitute spinach)
10 pieces of rekung land crab (may substitute fish or chicken)
10 cups water
1 ½ – 2 cups coconut milk
1 teaspoon salt
Cook taro leaves (or spinach) for 2 hours
Wash crabs well, break and remove the back part – take only belly and legs
Cook crab meat with teaspoon salt for 20-30 minutes
Add coconut milk and bring to a boil
Remove from heat and serve
Makes 10 servings
You read the reviews, listen to the praises from friends and colleagues, or happen to catch one of your favorite celebrities exiting that very spot you’ve been meaning to check out.
You know what the folks on the outside are saying, but have you ever gotten the story from someone on the inside?
journeyPod goes behind-the-scenes in Chef’s Corner with some of the World’s most esteemed, critically-acclaimed, award-winning (and naturally, our favorite) culinary masterminds to get the real scoop!
Come away with us on a tasting excursion to the island of Palau as we explore the local fish, giant clams, fruit bat soup, taro & unique Palauan recipes. journeyPod gets up close and personal with Executive Chef Alex Suzuki for the Palau Pacific Resort.
How did you get your start in cooking?
I used to watch my parents take turns cooking for our big family when I was younger. I decided that I wanted to start cooking for a living and moved to Hawaii for 3 years to learn the trade at Victorias Station. As most of the dishes in Palau are comprised of seafood, I was able to add BBQ and the art of cooking meat to my resume.
Tell us about the cuisine of Palau as well as the food at the Palau Pacific Resort:
I would say Palauan cuisine is made up fish prepared in very unique ways like being wrapped up in coconut leaves, or cooked in coconut milk. I used to cook a lot of fish in coconut milk – the magic ingredient for Palauan cuisine, but once people started getting too big they realized that the fat from the coconut milk was not helping with their diet.
What three ingredients are always in your kitchen?
Soy sauce, oil and fish.
Is there anything you won’t eat?
I’ll try everything at least once.
If you were on Iron Chef Japan, what would you hope would be the key themed ingredient?
Tuna which, believe it or not, is very versatile. For the dessert I would make a grilled teriyake seared tuna in a chili fruit salsa.
What’s the strangest request you have ever received from a customer?
A group of Malaysians visited my restaurant here at the Palau Pacific Resort and asked for their meat to be cooked Halal. This is not an easy thing to do in Palau – the guests spent the rest of the week as vegetarians unfortunately.
What celebrities have you cooked for?
John F. Kennedy Jr. and his wife Carolyn Bessette as well as the Prime Minister of Japan and Malaysia.
Would you kindly share the recipe of one of your signature dishes with us?
Sure here is the recipe for Steamed Local Fish with Palauan Nuts:
Debone one whole fresh fish, season with salt and pepper. Steam for 10 minutes. Add salad oil, sliced ginger and diced onions to a saucepan and cook for a few minutes. In a third saucepan cook soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil and water. Add juliened green onions to the third saucepan and combine the heated ginger and onions with this sauce. Add chili, garlic and palauan nuts (may be substituted with walnuts or almonds) and cook for a few more minutes. Once this sauce is done, pour slowly over steamed fish.
Q: Where have you been recently that you liked or were surprised by?
A: Obviously I travel a lot internationally, but I recently took a road trip to
Q: What's your favorite vacation spot?
A: Survivor has taken me to some breathtaking spots around the world. I think the most beautiful is
Q: What's the best place you've ever visited?
Q: What's the most surprising/unexpected place you're ever visited?
A: I was most surprised to discover that the Amazon rainforest is so fun! We all know that the Amazon provides more than 20% of the world's oxygen and is home to the anaconda. But you spend a few days there and you'll discover more mammals, lizards and bugs than you ever dreamed existed. We stayed at the Ariaú Amazon Towers (in Brazil), which sits atop 70-foot catwalks to allow for the incredible rising water levels that happen seasonally.
Q: Can you offer an insider tip for your favorite vacation spot?
A: If you find yourself in
Alligators, aboard the River Jungle Boat Cruise
Betel nut, the nut of the betel palm that in small doses generally leads to euphoria and increased flow of energy
Coral Reef Center, an educational environment designed to inform guests of
Palau about the destination’s rich marine biodiversity
Diving, of course, it’s the number one scuba diving destination in the world
Elilai, perhaps Palau’s freshest restaurant, featuring a bounty of locally caught fish and seafood along with organic vegetables
Fruit Bat Soup, other than the fish and seafood, this is Palau’s most bizarre dish
Giant clams, Palau is home of 7 out of 9 species of clams in the world
History, a matriarchal society, Palau is full of rich cultural heritage, architecture and folklore
Intriguing, everything about this destination has an intriguing tale, from the history and people to the adventures and eco-culture
Jellyfish Lake, the only place in the world where one can safely swim with jellyfish
Kiss of a dolphin at Dolphin’s Pacific
Live-a-boards, one of the most popular forms of accommodations for divers
Milky Way, this locale is nature’s spa and the source of a white “beauty cream” for which millionaires around the globe pay hundreds of dollars
Ngardmau Waterfall, the hike in may be a bit treacherous, but well worth the effort
Olechotel Belau Fair, annual cultural and arts & crafts fair in July
Palau, simply the best place on Earth!
Quiet lagoons, only accessible via kayak
Rock Islands, renowned iconic image of Palau
Storyboards, the native art form that illustrates cultural legends
Tons of underwater wildlife with over 1,300 species of fish and more than 700 species of coral
Underwater wonder of the world, according to CEDAM International, an American-based non-profit group for divers, dedicated to ocean preservation and research
Views…no matter where you are or where you go, above or below the water, the views are truly all over the place and the more stunning than any other place on earth
World War II history, visit Peleliu known as the home of one of the war’s bloodiest battle
X-clusive tours for families, divers, adventure seekers from the destination’s many tour operators
Yap Stone Money, neighboring island of Yap quarried their huge stone money from Palau’s limestone --- “Quarry in Palau and Bank in Yap”
Zero Fighter or “Zeke” was Japan’s most popular and lethal airplane during WWII and one is now anchored on a shallow reef in Palau, available for snorkel viewing at the Ngaremediu Reef
The Grand Prize for the Winner of Sam’s Tours Shark Byte includes:
Round Trip Airfare from Manila to Palau
7 Nights Hotel Accommodation
5 Days of Diving (or other tour of the winners choice)
To reserve your place or for more information on Shark Weeks & Shark Byte please visit:
http://www.sharkweeks.com or contact: RESERVATIONS@SAMSTOURS.COM
Sure, divers have known about it for years, but visitors looking for a unique destination that also offers nature, culture and a bevy of additional activities will definitely enjoy the Micronesian Republic of Palau. Located just seven-degrees north of the Equator in the western Pacific Ocean, tropical weather is the norm as well as moderate temperatures and soft ocean breezes.
"Although we are a young nation, 12 years as an independent sovereign, we are an old culture, proudly retaining our traditions while continuing to grow as a modern democracy with a sustainable future," notes Republic of Palau President Tommy E. Remengesau, Jr.
Indeed, rich in history, even today the traditions are alive and well and the basis which the locals build on balances an ancient lifestyle integrated with the modern world.
For diving, there are more than 1400 species of fish to see, 500 species of corals and seven species of giant clams. Certified divers can dive with Manta rays, Hawks-bill turtles or discover the Chambered Nautilus, only found in the waters near Palau. Of course you might also come into contact with whales, sharks and marlins. More than one person has noted that "Palau is one of the seventh underwater wonders of the world."
For those who love the outdoors, but aren't big on diving, nature abounds in Palau. About 75% of the Republic of Palau is forest and mangroves. As many as 100 birds and plants found here are solely endemic to the island. Waterfalls are stunning and like none you will have seen before. The largest on the island is called Ngardmau and is majestic in its splendor. Rare orchids also grow here and the jungle interior will leave you as close to nature as you can get. Near the water, but for non-divers the coral reefs teem with sea life and indeed create a magic you can explore while snorkeling or just getting your feet wet.
Another nature must is the Rock Islands. Uninhabited, the islands are located in a lagoon and protected from the sea by reefs. You will see an assortment of schools of fish, and birds. Nature always seems to be smiling. Additionally, there is Jellyfish Lake, Ngermeskang River and Lake Ngerdok, the largest lake in Micronesia that boasts freshwater.
Activities in Palau center mostly around fishing - from trolling for game fish like the marlin, sailfish or wahoo - to spear fishing on a bamboo raft. There is snorkeling the reefs, kayaking, hiking or mountain biking. With 27 miles in length and 15 miles across at its largest, there is much to explore in way of natural beauty. For sightseeing the limestone cliffs give way to secrets from long ago inside caves and, more recent history from World War II. Discover for yourself the planes and war gear that was left behind from the 1940s.
Culturally, Palau is teeming with history. Known as Belau by the locals, the islands were officially "discovered" in 1783 by a British Captain, but life had been going on there for centuries before, in fact dating as far back as 1,000 BC. You will want to explore the ancient ruins of lmeungs in an area called Babeldoab and note that the detailed stone pathways and what is considered a natural amphitheater that will offer more questions than answers as you wander around the area.
The museum, Koror House has strong history and cultural findings and there are over 1000 objects located here. Ask a native about the sunken village of Ngiwal and definitely find the time to enjoy a ceremony of chants or dancing before your trip is complete.
With a population of about 19,0000 and over 300 islands making up the Republic of Palau, not many of the islands are inhabited, but all have a unique history and pull. No matter where you end up on the islands, mingling with the natives and making your own discoveries, you might indeed decide what many natives already know, that this is definitely the Rainbow's End.
- Neco Marine, (680) 488-1755, firstname.lastname@example.org or www.necomarine.com
- Fish n' Fins, (680) 488-2637, email@example.com or www.fishnfins.com
As nature’s number one playground, Palau is brimming with a plethora of diversions and things to do. However, for those who are interested in planning their Micronesian getaway with timely events and locally-inspired traditions, Palau announces two options for consideration, namely Etpison Cup Fishing Derby, Olechotel Belau (cultural) Fair and 5th Annual Bartender Competition.
Scheduled from , the Olechotel Belau Fair (Belau Cultural Fair) coincides with Palau's constitutional day and features two days of cultural displays from Palau's sixteen states as well as dance performances, handicrafts, delicacies, music contest and other cultural activities. For more information, contact Melson Miko, PVA Community Service Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, for more details, CLICK HERE.
Front and center are local purveyors, Sam’s Tours, Fish –n- Fins and Neco Tours, whom all offer the incredible opportunity to engage in underwater nuptials. Although no packaged programs exist, each tour company can provide this customizable service for those hard core divers who feel the urge to exchange their vows beneath the surface. Other available options through these vendors include a wedding on the secluded island of Peleliu at Honeymoon Beach or on board a Live-aboard yacht while out at sea.
For those who prefer to “be grounded,” the beachside Palau Pacific Resort has hosted many couples interested in exchanging their nuptials in the most idyllic of settings. Surrounded by the gentle sound of the sea, with blue skies above and sparkling white sands below couples will make their everlasting vows of love in a truly unforgettable setting. The resort’s wedding package includes: private beach ceremony; personal wedding coordinator; transfers to and from the airport in an exclusive VIP vehicle; fresh floral arrangements/flower shower/floral wedding ring pillow; marriage certificate; bridal bouquet and groom’s corsage; Champagne toast after the ceremony; bridal beauty package; 80-minute treatment for the bride at Elilai Spa by Mandara; wedding gift especially made by Palau Pacific Resort; exclusive use of a bride’s room for preparations; gift voucher (two nights in a Ocean View Room, for a return visit, valid for 1 year). For more information and reservations, visit www.palauppr.com or contact Palau Pacific Resort at (680) 488 2600 or email@example.com.