The Rock Islands of Palau, also called Chelbacheb, are a small collection of limestone or coral uprises, ancient relics of coral reefs that violently surfaced to form Islands in Palau’s Southern Lagoon. The islands are sparesly populated and are famous for their beaches and blue lagoons. It is the most popular dive destination in Palau, and offers some of the best and most diverse dive sites on the planet.
Palau, officially the Republic of Palau is an island country located in the western Pacific Ocean. The country’s population of around 21,000 is spread across 250 islands forming the western chain of the Caroline Islands. The islands share maritime boundaries with Indonesia, the Philippines, and the Federated States of Micronesia.
The country was originally settled around 3,000 years ago by migrants from the Philippines, and were first visited by Europeans in the 18th century. Politically, Palau is a presidential republic in free association with the United States, which provides defense, funding, and access to social services. The Republic of Palau uses the United States dollar as its currency. The country’s two official languages are Palauan and English. Japanese is spoken widely amongst older Palauans. The islands’ culture mixes Japanese, Micronesian and Melanesian elements. Tourist activity focuses on scuba diving and snorkeling in the islands’ rich marine environment, including its barrier reefs walls and World War II wrecks.
Palau has a tropical climate with an annual mean temperature of 82 °F (28 °C). Rainfall is heavy throughout the year. Although rain falls more frequently between July and October, there is still much sunshine. Typhoons are rare, as Palau is outside the main typhoon zone. But the islands are vulnerable to earthquakes, volcanic activity, and tropical storms.