The advantages of going somewhere during the off-season are simple—better deals, smaller crowds —and they derive from the premise that off-peak travel must involve lowered expectations and certain compromises. A few rare places, however, hold hidden allure in the quiet months: castles on a rainy day, fishing-boat fairy lights, the braying of amorous penguins. As local experts make clear in the following year-round selection, you don't need to go peak to hit the heights.
November on the islands of Palau tends to be quiet. Although the weather’s only slightly less lovely than during peak season, the tourists don’t really flood in until the end of the year. And that’s just fine by Sam Scott, proprietor of Sam’s Tours. All the more sharks for him.
“The best thing about Palau is the sharks. You can go to a dive site and see a hundred of them. When the temperature cools, there’s a lot of activity among the sharks and the manta rays. The tuna are cruising by. The Moorish idols are starting to school. The sharks are chasing these colorful little fish around—they’re like popcorn to them. It’s something to see.
“Being a little cooler, this is also a good time of year for kayaking. There are beautiful lagoons. You get to see the rock islands up close, these floating gardens loaded with vegetation. Then you go into the water and there’s the coral, the varieties of fish. Oh yeah, it’s gorgeous.”