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Palau, an archipelago made up of 12 islands (and more than 300 islets) in western Micronesia about 500 miles southeast of the Philippines, has relatively few accommodations for contemporary tourists. It is remote, thinly populated (with just over 20,000 residents), and far from the heavily traveled vacation corridors of the Pacific Rim. The country has few urban centers (the capital, Melekeok, has a population of just under 500). Most of the nation’s towns are concentrated on a single island, Koror. Palau is one of the world’s youngest sovereign nations, having become independent in 1994 after 47 years of being part of a UN trust territory administered by the United States.

The country has limited infrastructure for tourism; its roads are bumpy and frequently crossed by slow-moving ...

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