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Driving Directions Palau

PALAU is a small republic in the Pacific Ocean, formerly called Belau or Belleau, which gained its independence from the United States trusteeship in 1994. It consists of a small number of volcanic islands and numerous coral atolls in the Caroline Group, about 900 kilometers or 625 miles equidistant from New Guinea to the south and the Philippines to the west.

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A barrier reef to the west forms a large lagoon dotted with islands. Coral forma­tions and marine life here are amongst the richest in the world.

Most people live on Koror Island, although eight other islands are inhabited – Babelthuap being the largest. Palau chose to become a republic in its own right when the Caroline Islands became part of the Federated States of Micronesia.

Farming and fishing provide a basic living, and tourism is a growing export, but it remains very dependent on the USA for its economic survival.

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The islands include four types of topographical formations: volcanic, high limestone, low platform, and coral atoll. Palau’s volcanic and limestone islands sustain distinctly different vegetation.

The Palau islands border the North Pacific Sea on the southeast and the Philippine Sea to the northwest.

The Pkurengel Komebail Lagoon stretches across 1,267 square kilometers (489 square miles) on the western side of the islands. It is enclosed by the enormous barrier reef that encircles most of the islands.

Did you know about Palau?

Oceania refers to the islands in the region covering the central and southern Pacific Ocean and its adjacent seas. The region’s boundaries are the Tropic of Cancer in the north and the southern tip of New Zealand. Micronesia is a division of Oceania that includes the islands east of the Philippines and north of the equator. These include the Caroline Islands (of which Palau is a part), the Marshall Islands, the Mariana Islands, and the Gilbert Islands.

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