Jump to content

- - - - -

Palau vs YAP in Micronesia / Which is better ?

  • Please log in to reply
11 replies to this topic

#1 HAK



  • Member
  • Pip
  • 6 posts

Posted 23 May 2013 - 06:16 AM

Does anybody have personal experiency about Palau and YAP ?


Which is better to see fish and coral reefs ? Are they worth to visit anyway ? World class places ?


We are planning to go Chuuk Lagoon and it would be nice to visit also there because they are so close ...

#2 Oceanshutter


    Tiger Shark

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 510 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Salt Lake City, Utah

Posted 23 May 2013 - 06:55 AM

I haven't been to yap.. But my impression has been that the main attraction in yap is the mantas. Typically it is a short add on to a trip. Palau on the other hand is in my experience, the most diverse diving location I have ever been to. You will see lots of fish, wall diving, coral reef diving, reef hooking, wrecks, caves, and jellyfish lake.

If you only have a few days, I would go to Yap. And save Palau for for a separate trip. But if you have a week or so, then get on a liveaboard and enjoy the great diving there.


My Video's

Website - www.OceanShutter.com

Like our Facebook page! - www.facebook.com/oceanshutter


#3 rduquesnoy


    Hermit Crab

  • Member
  • Pip
  • 3 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Interests:Diving, (underwater) photography, travelling

Posted 23 May 2013 - 11:00 AM

I haven't been to Yap either but during our stay in Palau earlier this year we met a lady who went there for one week. From what we have heard it all depends on what you’re looking for. She said Yap was more laid back and far less crowded with tourist. Another good thing was that you could visit the dive sites you wanted to go, they were more likely to listen to your requests.


My experience on Palau was that picking a dive site was pretty random and it also depended on the other divers on the boat. So a couple of times we ended up doing the same dive sites 2 or 3 days in a row. She said diving on Yap was also good besides the mantas.


Palau is indeed a great diving location. Tons of fish, the corals are healthy and jellyfish lake is a must see. For me personally the extra costs of a liveaboard would not be worth it. It is probably possible to make more dives (we could do a maximum 3 during the day) but you still visit the same dive sites go to when you do land based diving.

#4 buddy


    Sting Ray

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 290 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Switzerland
  • Interests:diving, photography, golf

Posted 23 May 2013 - 01:08 PM

I have visited both sites on a combined trip back in 2006 , 1 week in Yap followed by 10 days in Palau and was rather dissapointed about Yap. However, the weather in Yap was pretty bad that time and on one day they did not even offer dive service. Frankly, I have seen more Mantas in Pallau than in Yap (and even more in Soccorro, but that is another story...). Palau on the other hand -no doubt- is a lifetime experience especially on a liveaboard like the excellent Ocean Hunter run by Fish 'n Fins. That location belongs certainly to the world's best dive and big fish encounters, no doubt. Went back one more time in 2009, but this time only to Palau again on the same livaboard.

Hope this helps to make the right decision.

Nikon D4s, Nikon 16-35 /f4 VR II, 70-180,105mm f/2.8, Subal ND4 housing and ports, 2 Subtronic Fusion (flash and video lights), Sigma 15mm /f2.8, Subal 4" Minidome

#5 troporobo


    Great Hammerhead

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 731 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 23 May 2013 - 04:52 PM

I have also been to both and would concur that Palau has much greater diversity underwater.


Above water though, I enjoyed Yap a lot more than Palau.  It is very pretty, has some great culture, wonderful warm people, and a terrific laid back island atmosphere.  Not that these aspects of Palau are negative or anything, but the place is a bit more cosmopolitan and a heck of a lot busier

#6 Cary Dean

Cary Dean

    Sting Ray

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 278 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Southern California

Posted 24 May 2013 - 08:46 PM

Palau seemed to have better overall options IMO but Yap

was good for both Mantas and sharks.

"The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever."
Jacques Yves Cousteau

#7 AMW


    Manta Ray

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 421 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Los Angeles
  • Interests:Kick-boxing, English Premier League, SCUBA, aqua-culturing SPS and LPS, yoga

Posted 24 May 2013 - 09:33 PM

I have been to both Yap & Palau and I like both.


I liked the diving at both Yap and Palau. 

Much better topside on Yap. More diving diversity in Palau.


An idea might be to skip Micronesia and go directly to Indonesia where you can get EVERYTHING!

#8 HAK



  • Member
  • Pip
  • 6 posts

Posted 28 May 2013 - 06:11 AM

Thank you very much. Nice feed back from Palau.


It will be good combination: Chuuk Lagoon + Palau.


About Indonesia: Once been in Bunaken and Raja Ampat. Amazing !

#9 eyu


    Great White

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 970 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Wilmington, DE

Posted 03 June 2013 - 05:58 AM

Blue Corner and German Channel are a very long boat ride from a land based sites in Palau. A live-a-board is the way to go on Palau. Also Yap has great diving. I have spent a week at both and would do both again.
Both have great dive sites, but Palau has more diversity

Edited by eyu, 03 June 2013 - 07:59 AM.

Nikon D800E, Subal ND800, Inon Z240, ULCS & Carbon Arms

#10 RickM


    Wolf Eel

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 127 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Virginia, USA

Posted 03 June 2013 - 11:06 AM

I've been to both Yap and Palau a couple times - we just returned a couple weeks ago. While Yap is known for mantas there's a lot more to see. Primarily hard corals there while Palau has a nice mixture. The island itself is very laid back and friendly. Palau is a more diverse diving experience. I've done all my diving from livaboards so I can't comment on the land based diving.  


If I could only do one I would pick Palau, but if you have the time the diving in Yap is definitely worth it! 

#11 ChristianG



  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 55 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Terrigal, a bit north of Sydney, Australia

Posted 22 June 2013 - 11:21 AM

It will be good combination: Chuuk Lagoon + Palau.


Chuuk (it's nice that you spell it properly) is a destination worth dieing for. I was there for a scheduled 7 days and extended it to 14 (aboard Thorfinn), no trouble at all in those days at least. I reckon I might have scratched the surface of the lagoon, as it were, during that 14 day period. Given that most trips there, from wherever, are real treks not to be undertaken lightly, I believe that 7 (diving) days on Chuuk is an absolute minimum. Bonus, it's a lagoon (albeit a pretty big one) which means that the soft corals, in particular, are also "to die for". I took me (I'd already run out of film) another 30 minutes one time, admiring those soft corals, to ascend the Fujikawa Maru's mast.

There is nothing more certain in life than taxes, decompression theory and death - CG

#12 sharkbaitdiver



  • Member
  • Pip
  • 41 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 23 June 2013 - 03:32 AM

We visited both but some years ago, 2004

Yap has a lot to offer and in the right conditions some awesome viz.
As has been mentioned Yaps primary draw is the resident mantas.
Goofnuw channel is a great dive site to see them, strong current but once you get in behind the cleaning station just sit back and watch them glide in. 9 mantas on one dive is jaw dropping. Get the right time of year and you can see many more.
It's not guaranteed but you've got an extremely high chance of seeing them, they move around the island with the seasons.
Yap caverns also a great site, lots of long swim through caves with sun light breaking through in many places giving some great photo ops.
Very good Macro in Yap, beautiful critters.
some dedicated shark dives, often with Tigers
Mandarin fish dive right next to the hotel.
We didn't dive any wrecks I'm not sure that there are any to see in Yap.
We stayed at the Manta Ray bay hotel run by Bill Acker they had their own micro brewery (Manta Gold not to be missed)
Great atmosphere, very laid back. Lots of cultural activities to do as well (stone money)
An almost boutique dive experience, the largest number of divers we had on the boat was 6 and only for two days.

Palau does have a greater diversity of coral and of course jelly fish lake which is unique.
Diviing was based on the boat consensus, we typically had 6-8 divers on the boat every day.
Some repetitive sites, but at the same time they were world class sites.
I'd second the recommendations above regarding Liveaboards.
We were shore based, the feedback from talking to others there was that the Liveaboards visited some of the more remote sites and were excellent.
Both locations have some great wall dives and great macro opportunities.

In short I'd say if you want mantas head to Yap, if you want amazing lush wall dives with great vistas of coral, Palau.

What a great dilemna to have, I'm slightly envious.
Whatever you decide have a great trip!

Edited by sharkbaitdiver, 23 June 2013 - 03:34 AM.