The Rock Islands of Palau
The Rock Islands of Palau are a collection of almost 300 uninhabited limestone islands.
Located between Koror and Peleliu, in the Koror State, the Rock Islands of Palau are a UNESCO World Heritage Site born from ancient coral reefs that surfaced to form islands. Although the islands do not have any soil, thick forests have grown from the humus of early plants.
The Rock Islands of Palau are divided into the Ulebsechel-Islands in the northeast, Urukthapel Islands in the southwest of the Ulebsechel Islands, Ulong Islands west of the Urukthapel Islands, and Mecherchar Islands in the southeast (which include Eil Malk and Jellyfish Lake). There are 52 marine lakes on these islands. Unfortunately, due to tourism mismanagement and chemicals in sunscreens, jellyfish numbers in Jellyfish Lake have been decimated. The location is closed to tourism and commercial filming until numbers have recovered.
Palau’s most popular underwater photography sites include Blue Corner, Blue Holes, and German Channel.
The Rock Islands of Palau Film Permits
The Rock Islands fall under Koror State jurisdiction. Permitting authorities often require specific locations when applying for film permits along with names of all those involved, the name of the production, shooting dates, as well as the details of the local Palauan fixer / production service producer. Koror State authorities are very stringent about every possible detail. It’s at their discretion whether or not they grant a permit and how much they charge. As is the norm around the world, larger more complicated projects take longer to permit and cost more. Aerial filming with drones or Cessna aircraft is possible with appropriate permits. Helicopters are currently unavailable due to reliability. Locally available drones include the DJI Phantom 4 Pro Drone, DJI Inspire drone, and DJI Mavic Air Drone. Engaging an experienced and connected local fixer is essential. To be safe, allow at least a month for permitting.
Roman Tmetuchl International Airport is located in Airai. Direct flights are available from Guam, Taipei, Manila, Seoul and Tokyo.
Getting to the Rock Islands requires access by speedboat. There are a large number of dive shops and companies to charter them through. Van hire is also available for accessing the North. Two islands to the south (Peleliu and Angaur) are accessible by plane as they have landing strips.
The Rock Islands of Palau Film Fixer & Camera Crew
If you’re a media company, brand, ad agency or production company looking to shoot a film, TV commercial, stills campaign, online content, corporate videos, virtual reality 360 content, or aerial footage in Palau, contact us for local fixer, service producer, director, DoP, videographer, cameraman or photographer recommendations.
Images courtesy of Richard Brooks.