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What travellers are saying
- PDA is amazing. The guides and boat crew were excellent. Jason provided ground support, picking me up and dropping me off at the airport and renting me a GoPro when my camera failed and generally taking me wherever I needed to go. Highly recommended!Written 28 November 2023This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
- Lylia (Lilu) Bahri is the best there is, full stop!
While on sabbatical traveling aimlessly throughout Asia Pacific in Mar-Apr 2023, I had planned a 4-5 day visit to the small island nation of Palau sheerly out of curiosity. Once on the island, nearly everyone I met told me that Palau had some of the best, if not the best overall, dive sites and marine biodiversity in the world - something that I (foolishly) knew nothing about before arriving, especially because I had never gone SCUBA diving before and was not certified. I figured I’d check it out and visited 4-5 dive shops on the island. I met Lilu and Jen the shop manager while visiting Sam’s Tours and it was clear that this is where I wanted to start my journey as a recreational diver.
What can I say about Lilu!? She is kind, thoughtful, super safe, diligent, delightful, considerate, and - most impressively - is so incredibly knowledgeable on both SCUBA and marine biology. I believe she has a masters or may even be enroute to earning a PhD in a marine biology related field, but the net result was that she was a walking encyclopedia who could identify and explain dozens of coral species and hundreds of species of all forms of marine life (fishes, mammals, turtles, microorganisms and everything in between). Lilu is also super safe, by the book and ensures that her students have fully mastered each skill before moving on to more complex and higher risk skills.
I was so impressed with Lilu’s skill and passion that I decided to complete my PADI Open Water, Advanced Open Water, and Enriched Air (Nitrox) certifications with her at Sam’s Tours. I was lucky and had Lilu as my 1:1 instructor and we got through everything in less than 2 weeks. It was awesome, challenging, educational and - most importantly - a ton of fun. She also employs non-traditional training methods that significantly helped me manage (and ultimately master) my own buoyancy, air consumption and other critical skills. Before I knew it, I was ready and prepared to tackle some fairly not-for-novices dives involving strong currents, narrow coral/cave navigation and shipwrecks. I learned so much from her and we had an absolute blast!
You can end your search now; Lilu and Sam’s Tours are in fact what you’re looking for. Heck, I still miss Lilu’s super attentive and knowledgeable guidance; you just get this feeling from her that every dive is her happy place and that energy really carries over to her students, divers and crew. I’ve gone diving several times since I left Palau and haven’t found any dive instructors quite as dedicated, knowledgeable or that I trust as much as I trusted Lilu for those few weeks in Palau back in early 2023.
I haven’t spoken much about how incredible the dive sites in Palau are - Blue Corner, Ulong Channel, German Channel, Blue Holes, Fairyland, Ngemelis Wall, Virgin Wall, etc., the list goes on. We saw more (medium to enormous) sea turtles than I can count, sharks, Napoleon wrasse, leopard shark, you name it. And the coral cliffs that go so deep that you see where the light stops far before you can identify the bottom, simply breath-taking. All of that you can Google elsewhere. This review is primarily about sharing my super positive experience w/ Sam’s Tours in Palau, and especially my excellent instructor Lilu - I hope to dive with her again sometime in the future no matter where she is!
The pics honestly don’t do the experience justice, but adding them anyway 🙂. Sadly the underwater videos I took wouldn’t upload ☹. If I could give Lilu 10 out of 5 stars, I would! Many thanks Lilu, and Cheers!Written 1 December 2023This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
- Diving with Neco Marine, I managed to fit in 42 dives over 19 days. These included amazing wall dives, wreck dives, cavern dives, night dives, drift dives, macro dives and just an amazing array of different options that blew my mind in one single part of the world. I also got to join along on a land tour of Peliliu, as well as what I have wanted to do for 12 years, which is visit the famous Jellyfish of Palau. I have over 3000 dives over the last 12 years and nothing has ever compared to the diving I did here.
Diving with Olivia (Liv) was an immense pleasure. She is so knowledgeable and safety and detail oriented that you knew you would not only have amazing dives, but learn something on every dive too. The ability she has to show you a variety of different wildlife and topography is unparalleled.
I got to buddy along with Mandy too, to look for the macro that is everywhere, though overshadowed by the amazing big life in the area. When you see sharks on every dive, it is nice to also slow down and look for the critters hiding in the holes too. She brought us out to the German Channel, as she had been watching the tides and we had a spectacular last day with 6 manta rays just wheeling away in the morning.
Juel is a superstar and never stops working and trying to give you an amazing time. How his eyes can spot all the little creatures he does is beyond me, as I have made it a habit to be the person who finds the little guys, but he puts me to shame. He is always there, busting his ass to get everything ready, while having a massive smile and looking super excited to go for every dive.
Clayton has dived in Palau for his entire life, and you can see it. We went out for a snapper spawning morning dive and there were about 10 boats out there and all of them had their eyes on Clayton, waiting until he gave the OK for us to enter the water as he spotted where and when the activities started.
Iked is a pleasure to dive with and discuss diving and the world at large with. It was unfortunate that he was so busy while I was there, as I would have loved to join him on some more photography dives.
The captains, Tim and Fraser were great. Always got us to and from our dive sites so smoothly and were always right on hand to pick us up regardless of where the current brought us. And a pleasure to share the boat with each day.Written 17 November 2023This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
- Such a class act diving and snorkeling company! We were in great hands with the professional and knowledgeable boat captains and guides. Gorgeous scenery and spectacular animals. They will make sure you have the right equipment and the restaurant is great too. We did a land tour as well and learned a great deal about the history of Palau and its culture. This tour company experience can’t be beat!Written 19 November 2023
- It was fantastic experience. Thank you Lolita , Pişot Jimmy and all team.
29th July, 2023Written 29 July 2023
- The time I spent with the Swingly’s was unforgettable, and it has left me eager to return to Palau. During our two full-day trips, Captain Swingly and his family took us to several breathtaking snorkeling spots that blew our minds. Even my parents, who can't swim, were able to enjoy the beauty of the underwater world thanks to the Swingly's thoughtful provision of a floating board towed by them. Everything the Swingly family provided was tailored to our needs, making the experience all the more special.
In addition to snorkeling, we also went picnicking on the beach and visited some of Palau's must-see spots, including Shark Island, Jellyfish Lake, and the Milky Way. With the Swinglys, we were able to visit these places at the perfect times to avoid crowds, and sometimes even had them all to ourselves. Fishing with the Swinglys was also a highlight of the trip. It was both easy and fulfilling, and Captain Swingly took us to a beautiful private beach where he cooked our catch with simple seasoning that tasted amazing. For the extra fish we caught, Captain Swingly helped us make a reservation at a nearby restaurant to have it made into sashimi and steamed fish.
I'm grateful to the Swingly’s for providing us with so many marvelous experiences during our tour. Joining them was one of the best decisions we made, and I can't wait to visit again.
真的感謝船長一家的用心，他們一家3人帶著我們5個人去浮潛、釣魚，然後帶著我們到一片沒人的海灘把新鮮現釣的魚直接料理來吃，度過了一個最自在、最驚豔、而且還滿載而歸的假期！Written 24 April 2023
- We cannot recommend Paddling Palau enough. They are an outstanding team of real professionals well versed in every aspect of their business and completely dedicated to making your trip the best it can possibly be. The whole team is like a family and a very happy one at that and their enthusiasm for their company and their work is infectious. It is also important to note that their services extend far beyond just kayaking, we would recommend them as your number one go to place for any activity in Palau.Written 29 November 2023
- Excellent communication and value for money. I took a snorkeling tour with IMPAC that included the Milky Way, Jellyfish Lake, and a few other stops. They made sure we had plenty of time at each stop, they offered to take photos for us, and generally showed us a great time.
I also appreciate that Akiko was up front about the numbers of jellyfish in the lake. There are not nearly as many as there were at peak times, so you won't be surrounded by millions of golden jellyfish; however, there were still hundreds of the big medusa ones near the surface, and I was happy to get to snorkel up close with dozens of them. If you only want to get to see a few of them up close, you'll enjoy the trip!Written 24 June 2023
- Don`t waste your time looking for a island tour company in Koror/Palau.
The only reliable and price/performance best ratio is RITC.
I did a couple of tours, from the island Pelileu where you learn about the cruel battle in the WWII to the atoll Kayangel.all were memorable.
The staff, acting manager Mr.Hiroshi to special advisor Mr.Masao and the tour coordinators Ms.Haruka amd Mr.Masato will accompany you all the time with their advices and knowledges.
On tours you don`t have to take care of something you only enjoy life.Written 12 July 2023
- My husband and I recently did the 40 minute sightseeing flight over the Rock Islands. As a person who isn't normally enthusiastic about flying in a 6 seat cessna plane with an open door, I quite was surprised at how much I ended up enjoying the experience!
The company was incredible throughout the whole experience. We booked very last minute, but they sent a complimentary van and a super friendly driver out to pick up us from our hotel and take us to the airport. We waited a few minutes in a nice, air conditioned room, before taking us out to the plane.
Once I got over the initial bumps of the small airplane, I was blown away by the sights of the islands below! In my opinion, it's the best way to see Palau. The pilot was also very nice, pointing out points of interest below, and acting as a guide during the entire flight.
An amazing experience, that can't be missed!Written 22 February 2023
- fantastic diving spots, friendly, competent staff, flexible diving planning according to wind and weather and the wishes of the guests.Written 19 June 2023
- Exceptional operation! I've had the chance to dive with Cruise Control 6 times since March 2022, and I typically have at least 4-5 people in my group (some divers, some snorkelers). I am very impressed with the professionalism of the staff. They are always quick to respond to my emails and enquiries and very helpful. The guides and crew are skilled, friendly, knowledgeable, and they take safety seriously. The lunches are delicious, and their prices are very reasonable. Diving in Palau is absolutely exceptional, and Cruise Control has also made sure that my group has the best possible experience. I'll definitely be back!Written 31 July 2023
- We have been diving with Blue Marlin for eight days, sixteen dives altogether.
Besides the natural beauty of Palau and the Rock Islands, the experience was extraordinary.
Tomi, our guide, and Stacey the captain were very professional and very knowledgeable. Tomi took great care in the selection of the diving spots, following weather conditions always a bit volatile, in order to have the best possible experience.
Alter having been diving in many places around the world, I think I can safely say that Palau is a diving paradise. Healthy corals, sharks at every dive -and in big quantities- and a big variety and quantity of marine life make it a very special destination.
Last but no least, lunch stops have been memorable and not only for the beuaty of the sandy spots in the Rock Islands. Being operated by Japanese, we had the opportunity to enjoy carefully prepared bento boxes, which have been definitely a plus!.Written 17 February 2023
- The crew was exceptional - very helpful and lots of fun. The food was delicious and there were always snacks and drinks before and after diving. The dive masters were careful that you were well briefed and had everything necessary for a given dive. Our group was fortunate in the sense that we narrowly averted weather delays due to bad weather (a typhoon had been through the region and a large swath of the Pacific immediately before our dates).
Personally, I really enjoyed meeting fellow North Americans, Europeans, and especially locals and Philippinos. We had a good age range of divers (I was probably the most senior at 61 yrs of age, but I never felt alone). I loved the sharing of experiences not just from Ann(e), the senior guide, but from everyone working aboard and from my fellow divers. As one of my buddies said to me, it really is the people who make these trips a success. Again, we were lucky to have such good chemistry in the group and in the staff.
The facilities were quite comfortable and my cabin mate was a very decent, considerate fellow.
Overall, I had an amazing time! Thank you so much, everyone! :)
John FooteWritten 28 October 2023
- We were diving with 7th Wonder Palau for 5 days and doing the snorkel tour on the day 6 with them as well. Everything was perfect, the dives, the boat, diving staff and boat crew were awesome. Hopefully we will come back and dive with them again!Written 10 February 2020
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