Palau, an archipelago of more than 500 islands in the Pacific Ocean, is not just famed for its breathtaking marine life, pristine beaches, and lush forests, but also for its strict prohibition on gambling, especially casinos. This quintessential island paradise draws attention to all things natural and pure, from crystalline seawater lapping up against sugar-fine sandy beaches to undulating hills teeming with tropical foliage—a paradise to water sports enthusiasts, ecology researchers, and wellness tourists across the globe. Among this nation’s unique features are its stance on casinos and its thriving surf culture.
Named as one arguably of the world’s best scuba and snorkeling destinations, Palau is committed to preserving its natural beauty and authentic traditions, rather than allowing the encroachment of casinos and other forms of gambling that could potentially disrupt the harmonious lifestyle of the local community and environmental sanctity. The Palauan government’s decision to ban casinos is rooted in the belief that the essence of the nation is not in glitzy, artificial entertainment hubs, but rather in the unity of people and nature. It prides itself on its distinctiveness and separation from the typical casino-dominated tourist attractions, which you may find in other Pacific island nations.
Surfing in Palau is as natural and soulful as the country itself. Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie seeking thrills in the open ocean or someone pursuing a tranquil connection with Mother Nature—Palau’s surf beaches cater to every discerning demand. Palau’s abundant surf opportunities make it one of the Pacific’s best-kept secrets. Combining an exhilarating ride on some incredible breaks and the stunning sight of dramatic cliffs and rock islands make surfing in Palau a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The waves here are just like the country itself—refreshingly untouched.
While the major surf season lasts from November through March, there are worthwhile wave spots throughout the year. Angaur, a state located in the southern part of Palau, is known for its robust surf with beach and reef breaks accommodating both beginner and seasoned surfers. Other surf sites worth a visit are west of Malakal Island and Meyungs, both north of Koror.
Palau’s surf culture is a mix of adventure, respect for the ocean, and tranquility. It extends beyond conquering waves to include teaching the principles of ocean stewardship, promoting sustainable tourism and imparting traditional values that see nature as a respected entity. Camps engage locals and visitors alike, teaching surfing techniques, oceanography, and an appreciation of ecological balance, a contrast to the high-stakes world of casinos.
Besides surf opportunities, the island provides other sport activities such as snorkeling, kayaking, deep-sea fishing, and scuba diving. Non-sporting activities include bird watching, visiting indigenous villages to experience the local culture, exploring ancient stone monoliths, or even diving to explore shipwrecks from World War II.
Palau’s paradise provides more than just visual delight, it’s a meeting point of ecology, culture, and adventure. Its stern stance against activities such as casinos that might disrupt local life and the environment allows it to offer a vacation that rejuvenates mind, body, and soul amid astonishing natural beauty. The surf signifies the rhythm of the ocean, the heartbeat of Palau. While waves rhythmically break on the shores, Palau’s commitment to prohibit casinos ensures that the charm of the nation remains untouched. In essence, Palau is a paradise that offers the deeply immersive soul-soothing rhythm of the surf, setting it apart from the cacophonous chiming of casino slot machines found elsewhere.