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
- 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
- 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
- I would start off by saying it's best to dive Palau with experience whoever you dive with as with so many varied dive sites and challenges it is of course sensible to know your own ability and know what your doing.
Having said that maml divers were a huge help, professional, affordable and knowledgable.
I had the pleasure of not only diving with these guys but also living with them and I was always made to feel welcome and had a great time day in day out.
Most people in Palau bring their own equipment so I cannot comment too much on that side of that side of things but their instruction and the items I did borrow were up to a good standard.
I did 23 dives over two weeks and was never bored or disappointed, the guides know where to go and what to see and
Would recommend them thoroughly,
EnjoyWritten 5 January 2018
- Joe does a fantastic job of creating the perfect adventure for you, and with the rest of his staff being some of the most knowledgeable crew on the island (who helped create the foundation of the tourism attractions in Palau) it’s no surprise he can handle anything you want to include in your adventure. My wife and I tried some of the other tour companies but kept getting stuck in huge groups that collided with other huge groups at the attractions, after one day with Palau Escape we cancelled our plans with all other (I’ll leave them unamed here to be professional) big groups and enjoyed a private trip that our skillful guide made just for us! Thanks Joe and Palau Escape!Written 7 March 2020
- From the start our email communication with Dari Staff, Annie, emails were detailed, helpful and replied to quickly. We dove 9 days in a row, 3 dives a day at what seemed to be a relatively low price for Palau. Nitrox was included for free so that was a plus for my wife and I. We were picked up every day at our hotel either on-time or early by one of Dari's staff, Deep. Great name for working at a dive shop. Enter the Dive shop and the staff all greet you with a warm smile and a coffee (hot/ice) if you like.
Enter Mr. Lee, the owner and our guide for 24 of our 27 consecutive dives. Mr. Lee speaks Korean, Japanese and English and engages with all the Davi Divers' customers with a balance or Korean passion for expression and Japanese hospitality. He is always there to answer any questions or just chat.
On the boat we thought it was amazing that Mr. Lee, who has been in the business for about 15 years, has not lost his passion for diving and teaching people about the many wonders of the under water world. He brought a slate, which we usually hate, but this was a huge addition to the dives as he knows more fish names than anyone we have ever met in out 500+ combined dives. And he knows them in three languages.
We knew that we had picked the right dive shop when other dive boats were asking Mr. Lee where he thinks the best place to go for the 2nd or 3rd dive would be. He really knows the area, currents and weather well. In fact one day when the weather wasn't so good, he and the captain decided to take us to Grassland. Getting there looked impossible from where we were and no other boats were heading that way. But soon after a bit of chop, suddenly we were in clear blue waters and within minutes of getting in the water we saw our first Manta and shark in Palau.
The captain, JD, was always concerned for safety when heading out into the blue water. Sonny, a guide who usually accompanied us, was very helpful getting everyone in and out of the water quickly and safely, and served water before dives and hot tea after. Roky, was often instructing Korean open water or rescue courses and we were impressed at his tough love approach to making sure new divers were competent at the skills they were learning.
We always looked forward to lunch, either on the boat or a small neighbouring island. Each day it was a Bento with a different assortment of meat, a side of rice and other side dishes. I have only had better diver lunches on a live aboard. Yum!
Back at the dive shop either Mr. Lee or Roky would draw the three dives of the day on a giant blackboard and include all the main fish that were seen on the dives so that we could fill in our log books (and take a photo too). When you are ready to go back to your hotel, or straight to a nearby happy hour, a ride is prepared and all the staff come out to the parking lot to bid you a warm farewell for the day.
Dari Divers is a great shop to dive with. I feel the staff have become my good friends in such a short time. If you want to dive in relatively small groups and to connect with people who really know diving and the area well, Dari Divers is for you. And we might see you there as we are planning to go back soon.Written 12 August 2019
- Had a long day at the Rock Islands and needed a place to relax. The Mesekiu has a long list of cold drinks and the menu food is massive. I recommend the great sunset drink it refreshing and has the right amount of alcohol to get you going. Oh the sunset here is awesome and if there's an overcast no problem the view of the Rock Island is breathtaking, just look at my photos from this trip. My stay here is always awesome and relaxing.Written 15 December 2016
- I did stay for 5 weeks in Palau for a medical rotation in the Belau National Hospital. Beside I love diving. A local dive instructor working for an other company in Palau recommended Day Dream Palau. I was not disappointed. Day Dream is a dream. They are one of the most experienced dive operators in Palau. The instructors are mostly Japanese, but there are also local Divemasters and an outstanding American Divemaster Noah, which is always taking special care of the non Japanese divers. Everyone speaks English and they love their job.
I did arround 25 dive with them. You will get picked up in the morning at your Hotel, have a tea at the dive station, get your gear ready and enter the best day dive boats in Palau. They are big, comfortable and with a toilet on board. For lunch you can choose from arround 30 different bento boxes. Best lunch I ever had on a day dive trip. Normally they do 3 dives a day, sometimes 4. The diving in Palau is unbelievable, I will not describe that any further. Day Dream is always diving very safe, there was never a dangerous situation during a dive. The instructors are very good and the groups small. The rental gear in good condition. The skippers are locals.
Day Dream has the biggest experience when it comes to spawning dives. They know excactly at which time of the year the fish will spawn. If you are able join this special dives, so do it. I will never forget this dive.
I will come back somewhere in the future and dive again with you guys.
Thank you so much :)Written 18 July 2018
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