There are, reportedly, two seasons in Palau: the dry and the rainy. What months are said to fall in these two seasons depends upon the source. After looking at multiple sources, the average seems to be:
Dry season: November – April
Rainy Season: May – October
We imagine this is a matter of degrees, as Palau has a high chance of rain every day, every month. But at least it’s a warm rain.
During our trip, the skies always held some clouds, ranging from scattered to full cover. We had a few light, daytime showers; while a heavy, nighttime downpour was the norm. Between rain, swimming, and humidity, expect to be continuously moist or wet on any kayaking trip.
The winds were typically brisk — an estimated 15 miles-per-hour — when we were exposed to the north or east. This created a light chop on the water in channels and areas with fetch. It was real work paddling into wind.
The wind had a tendency to swirl around and between the small islands, changing directions to conform to the land. The trade winds would be blowing from the northeast, but the winds in our micro-climate would be blowing from the south or west. We almost always seemed to be paddling into the wind.
The best paddling strategy is to hug the islands on their lee. The islands tend to be undercut by the ocean, meaning there is often an overhanging ledge if you paddle next to the shore. This creates an area of refuge from the wind, with consequent easy paddling.
If you look at the web sites of travel guide publishers and Palau hotels, you will find significant differences — and conspicuous absences — in the dates for high, low, and peak travel seasons. We attempted to average these, and here are the results:
Low season: January (post New Year holiday) through June, mid-August through mid-December
High Season: July through August, mid-December to Christmas Holiday
Peak season: Christmas and New Year Holidays
But these are averages of multiple results, and therefore conflict in some ways with just about any single source. For example, some accommodations indicate peak seasons in late April and mid-August. During planning, you should check exact dates and rates with any accommodation or service you will be using.
So, When to Go?
If you overlay the weather and travel patterns, it leads to an optimal travel window of March through April, with a secondary window of November through mid-December.