All the basics you need about travel, weather & diving conditions
To help you plan your trip to the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), we've prepared a list of basic information you'll want to know before you book. Once your trip has been reserved, you'll receive pre-departure information with all the details you need for your adventure.
We recommend guests spend an additional night in Micronesia either side of their trip to ensure they are well rested for their diving and to allow plenty of time for transfers, check-in and potential flight delays.
We work with a number of hotels and resorts. Should you wish to extend your stay in Micronesia we will be able to assist you.
Getting to Palau
Guests fly into Koror, (ROR) Palau International Airport, the main airport of Palau. It is located near the former capital Koror, just north of Airai on Babelthuap (Babeldaob) island.
There are several international flight routes into Koror. The most commonly served is that operated by United Airlines via Guam or Manila. There are daily flights from Guam, and twice weekly direct flights from Manila. Air China operate direct flights from Taipei whilst Korean Airlines have scheduled flights from Incheon, South Korea.
Non-US citizens flying via Guam are advised they will need to obtain a “transit visa” from the US immigration prior to boarding.
Upon arrival guests then transfer by road to their liveaboard. There are no phones or taxis at the small airport of Koror so advance reservations should be made. Some of the liveaboards dock at the Neco Marine (Malakai) Harbor in Palau.
Getting to Yap
Yap International Airport (YAP) is the main airport on Yap, the main island of the State of Yap in the FSM. The airport receives regular commercial flights from Guam and Palau but at the time of writing does not receive international flights.
Visitors must have a current passport, adequate funds to support themselves, and a return airline ticket to travel to Micronesia. Your passport must be valid for 6 months from your date of entry. It is the travelers’ responsibility to ensure they have the proper documentation to travel into each country on his or her itinerary as well as for re-entry and return to their country.
Please check with the appropriate consulate to ensure you have the proper documentation as regulations vary by country. Always check your passport and visa requirements.
Citizens of the United States are granted a 1 year visa upon arrival while passport holders of most other western countries obtain a 30 day tourist visa on arrival at no extra charge. For updates and changes please visit the Palau Visitors Authority website www.visit-palau.com.
All flights to Yap require transit via Guam, United States. All non-US citizens must obtain a US visa or Electronic System of Travel Authorization (ESTA) prior to travel. Citizens of 37 countries, including most European nations, Australia, New Zealand and Japan are eligible for the ESTA and should apply online at least 72 hours prior to travel. An ESTA is valid for 2 years and allows for multiple entries into US territories within that period. Guests without visa or ESTA may be denied boarding.
Arrival / Departure
Passport holders of most western countries may obtain a visa on arrival which allows stays up to 30 days, meanwhile travellers from the United States may obtain a tourist visa for up to 1 year stay. An entry permit is not required for a person visiting the FSM for 30 days or less.
What's the weather like in Palau & Yap?
The Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) has a tropical climate and the weather is warm all year round. The average high is 30°C (86°F) whilst the average low is 25°C (77°F) throughout the year.
The climate is more humid during the summer months (June -September) and trade winds come mainly from the northeast between December and June. The islands are subject to rainfall throughout the year though more frequently between July and October.
What about Water Temperatures ?
The warm tropical waters of Micronesia are pleasant throughout the year averaging 27°C (82 °F). Most guests will find a 3mm shortie or even a skin suit is appropriate, though if you feel the cold easily you may wish to opt for a 3-5mm long suit.
You’ll be diving in water that averages 70-85°F. Due to swift currents, we suggest divers bring safety items such as a Dive Alert, Safety Sausage, and any other safety items you feel necessary. A dive computer is mandatory. Some diving is drift diving so guests should be comfortable with a current.
Experience required for Palau & Yap diving
Most dives are suitable for divers of all levels,however, beginners may find some dives a bit challenging for their skills. Currents are to be expected at sites including Blue Corner and Ulong Channel and your cruise director and dive team will help you decide which dives are suitable.. We recommened having advanced experience or taking your PADI course whilst onboard to maximise your enjoyment from the trip.
Best Time to Go
Situated in the heart of the tropics, Micronesia does get a lot of rain. Most of it falls during the night however, and while some months are wetter than others, diving vacations in Micronesia are enjoyable year round.
February and March are usually the driest months and June through August are undeniably the wettest, but rain can be expected pretty much any time. Diving, however, is excellent year around with the ideal time to dive considered to be November through May.
Rental equipment is available if you request in advance. Otherwise, we suggest you pack the following: mask, fins, snorkel, regulator with visible pressure gauge, depth gauge, dive computer, buoyancy compensator, and night diving light. Strongly recommended: Spare mask, a dive watch, dive light, safety sausage, whistle, mirror and/or other safety devices. Each piece of gear should be marked with waterproof paint or tape.
Consider purchasing in advance a personal ‘Life Line’ which will allow you to communicate with the dive tender on the surface. The Life Line also has a distress button which sends a signal to all boats in the area.
The liveaboards have first aid kits onboard, including oxygen and an AED. You may want to bring motion sickness medication if you feel you will need it. Health care is readily available in Micronesia and a major hospital is located within each of the states. There are no known tropical diseasesas of this writing, however, Palau’s water is not potable & visitors should drink bottled water.
Please consult a health care professional or the CDC (or comparable body) for up-to-date medical travel information well before departure. Visitors arriving from countries which are affected by Cholera or Yellow Fever must show proof of immunization upon arrival. Follow normal precautions with food and drink bottled water only.
Flying after Diving
Current studies show that you should wait at least 24 hours after multiple days with repetitive diving before flying. Please keep this in mind before you book your onward international or domestic flights.
Local Customs & Culture
The population is predominantly Christian and there is approximately 10% of the population adhering to traditional Palauan customs. We request our clients act respectfully and wear suitable attire when making island tours or visiting religious buildings.
Reef-Safe Sun Screen
Some sunscreen ingredients are not safe for corals and can cause DNA damage to corals, promote viruses in corals and contribute to the bleaching of corals. So that you can help protect the reefs, and because Palau has legally banned chemical sunscreens, we recommend you pack sunscreen that is "coral safe”. Bottles that are not coral-safe may be confiscated upon entering the country.
The local currency is the US Dollar (US$). The majority of established hotels, shops and restaurants accept major credit cards. However, smaller establishments are likely to only accept cash payments. ATMs are available however, guests are advised to exchange money prior to arrival and to ensure you have small denominations on hand.
Taxes & Fees
Passengers travelling within the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) are required to pay an small airport departure tax. This varies from airport to airport and must be paid in local currency. Your final travel documents will advise you of all current rates for park, port and departure fees.
A USD $240 (7 nights) & $270 (10 nights) Port Fee will be paid onboard. :
Do I Need Insurance?
Dive accident insurance is mandatory on the liveaboards.
We strongly advise our guests to obtain comprehensive travel insurance to cover against unforeseeable events including personal & business impediments, illness, travel delays and missed flight connections. We can recommend excellent and inexpensive insurance options which will cover virtually every scenario.
Please don't allow yourself to be one of the unfortunate travelers who are without coverage for unexpected circumstances. Insurance is a small slice of the pie in terms of overall travel costs and can save you from serious financial losses.
Diving insurance is required by the liveaboards. Do not confuse regular travel medical and/or travel insurance with diving-specific insurance such as DAN (Divers Alert Network) or Dive Assure. This type of insurance will cover all of your scuba diving and snorkeling activities, including the costs for recompression chamber treatment and emergency air evacuation. These are not covered by the average travel insurance.
Dive Assure can also set you up with a travel insurance plan which includes general travel insurance, including trip cancellation .... plus full dive coverage.