PALAU…NATURALLY ECO-FRIENDLY And is making great strides in preserving its natural resources
With so many tourism entities intent on implementing new environmentally-friendly programs, procedures and strategies, the destination of Palau needs not enhance what is already an ingrained custom in this North Pacific paradise.It is the culture’s instinct and primary concern to preserve nature’s wondrous resources, which are in abundance in this Micronesian eco-sphere.However, with that said, old customs are merely a springboard for this eco-centric and naturally “green” island nation as several Palauan entities are indeed further enhancing the “cause.”
To begin, according to Palau’s former President, Tommy E. Remengesau, Jr., “The Pacific nation of Palau recently 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.”He continues, “Our objective is to end all commercial shark fishing in our waters and provide a sanctuary for sharks to live and reproduce unmolested in our 237,000 square miles of ocean.”
With a great deal of focus and resources devoted to maintaining the health and well-being of sharks in the Palauan waters of Micronesia, the destination was internationally and officially recognized as the first official shark sanctuary in the world, at the last United Nations General Assembly in New York.
Additionally, President Remengesau developed the Micronesia Challenge, which is a regional inter-governmental initiative in the western Pacific region that facilitates more effective conservation of marine and forest resources in Micronesia.In November 2005, President
Remengesau, Jr. called on his regional peers to join him in conserving 30% of near shore coastal waters and 20% of forest land by 2020.In addition to Palau, the following destinations have joined the initiative, the Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of the Marshall Islands, the U.S. territories of Guam, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.These nations and territories represent nearly 5% of the marine area of the Pacific Ocean and 7% of its coastlines.Since its inception, the Palau-inspired program has been recognized internationally and the President Remengesau, Jr. received an award from TIME magazine as one of the Heroes of the Environment in 2007. For more, visit www.palaugov.net/PalauGov/Executive/thePRES.
The Palau-Taiwan Agrotourism Project was recently inspired by the Taiwan Technical Mission with the goal to promote both agriculture and tourism in Palau.The Palau-Taiwan Agrotourism Farm, located in Nekken, Aimeliik State, is now open 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. from Monday through Saturday.This relatively new site is not only an educational facility but also serves to demonstrate how local plants are grown, harvested and processed and cultivates 21 species of tropical fruits, such as soursop, breadfruit, jackfruit, carambola, mangosteen, jujube, rambutan, wax apple, pili nut, lanzones, noni, pitaya, giant grandadilla and tree cucumber as
well as such common fruits as pineapple, papaya, guava, lemon and sour orange.Processed fruit and vegetable products are also available and include taro wine and noni juice.
Adjacent to a tropical forest, the farm leads to a nature trail with beautifully-colored birds, some of which are endemic to the Palauan islands, including the biib, Palau’s national bird.No website currently available, call (680) 544-5804.
In addition to the aforementioned government initiatives, Palau is also home to some of nature’s most spectacular wonders of the world, namely: the plethora and variety of coral, which is featured at the Coral Reef Center; Jellyfish Lake; Micronesian Shar
k Foundation’s Shark Week; the (new) River Boat Jungle Cruise; and Dolphins Pacific.
Palau International Coral Reef Center
The Palau Aquarium is the interpretive division of Palau International Coral Reef Center, a non-profit organization which opened in January of 2001 and has become one of the best land based attractions for tourists and locals alike. It offers enlightening, first hand experiences to inspire understanding and respect of Palau’s natural marine ecosystems. Comprised of ten (10) sub-themed aquariums that convey details of 17 specific habitats, the exhibits recreate the
breathtakingly beautiful marine environments and animal species found in those environments. Visitors can experience the wonders of the sea without even getting their feet wet. The adventure begins with a look at the many geological wonders found in Palau, including the famous Rock Islands. Next, observe the tentacle-like roots of the mangroves where life in the sea begins. The, one can look closer to see a school of archerfish stunning their prey by spitting beads of water, or the pulsating rhythms of an upside-down jellyfish. Further along the winding path, past the Seagrass Bed to the Inner Reef, reside a green sea turtle, white-tip shark,
groupers, giant trevally and the Aquarium’s resident napoleon wrasse.Lastly, a diversity of corals and polyp-feeding butterflyfish in the Reef Crest await at the end of this journey. For
Natural preserves most can only dream of also include the daring and the unusual – like Jellyfish Lake, where two types of jellyfish can be found, namely the golden jellyfish known as Mastigias and the moon jellyfish known as Aurelia. This intriguing lake departs radically from convention for it is an enclosed body of water wherein, over the course of millennia, resident jellyfish have a mild almost unnoticeable sting because they haven’t had to fight off predators, allowing adventure seekers a rare opportunity to swim amongst these truly unique water creatures.
In order to access this unique adventure, visitors will need to enlist the transport of a local tour guide at one of the tour shops operating in Palau.The Rock Island and Jellyfish Lake entry permit is $35 per person in addition to the tour package. It’s recommended that visitors sign up for the full day excursion, which includes snorkeling, lunch in the Rock Islands and a trip to nature’s spa…the Milky Way.For more information on activities, visit www.visit-palau.com.
Shark enthusiasts are invited to enjoy a shark themed week full of adrenalin-packed activities as the Micronesian Shark Foundation (MSF) holds its 8th annual shark week at Palau’s Fish ‘n Fins dive shop from March 12-19, 2010.The Micronesian Shark Foundation is a Palauan-based, non-profit foundation whose goal is to research and monitor the many sharks of Palau as well as scientific shark data collection.
Between February and April, hundreds of grey reef sharks migrate to the waters of Palau to mate.This generates a fabulous opportunity for shark lovers to dive with the world famous sharks of Palau and to participate in data collection, which is invaluable in the study of migration and behavioral patterns of the sharks in these waters.For more information, contact email@example.com.
River Boat Jungle Cruise
Palau’s newest attraction is the River Boat Jungle Cruise. Located in Ngchesar State, the Jungle River Boat Cruise is one of Palau’s eco-friendly tours, providing visitors with the ideal opportunity to relax and enjoy the island’s natural attributes firsthand. The cruise takes one hour on an all-aluminum boat that can carry up to 40 passengers. The five-mile tour starts at the main dock and goes upstream coming out to a beautiful ocean vista. During the tour, visitors get a chance to see crocodiles; Palauan Fruit Dove Bird, or Biib; Palauan Fruit Bats; Kingfishers; Archer Fish; and several other wildlife and fauna. Additionally, passengers might get a glimpse of locals collecting their catch of the day, big mangrove crabs, along the river banks.Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dolphins Pacific is the world’s largest marine mammal interaction, educational and research facility.“Dolphin Bay,” located on the northern side of Ngeruktabel Island in Palau, is situated in a 200-million-gallon saltwater lagoon.The modern impoundment provides an expansive,
healthful marine environment for the resident population of dolphins, as well as a relaxing eco-friendly venue for visitors.The objective of this local outfit is to preserve the integrity of these popular mammals, educate visitors about their unique place in the environment and to study their behaviors and abilities. The facility offers several public encounters, including everything from a basic one-hour interactive program to fantastical wedding ceremonies.For more information, visitwww.dolphinspacific.com.
For those who happen to be Survivor fans, there is no need to introduce the incredible destination of Palau. Consistently ranked as one of the world's best dive destinations, Palau is the ultimate paradise for outdoor enthusiasts and adventurous travelers.