We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Execution to perfection”
Review of Sam's Tours Palau

Sam's Tours Palau
Ranked #1 of 19 Tours in Koror
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Sam's Tours, a PADI Five Star IDC Facility, is Palau's most award-winning dive center, eco-adventure tour company and home to Palau's newest, most luxurious liveaboard, the Palau Siren. Located in Malakal Harbor, Koror, Palau, we operate every day of the year, offering scuba dive trips, snorkel trips, rock island tours, land tours, sailing charters, Palau's top rated kayak trips with Planet Blue Kayak Tours and 7 and 10 day liveaboard trips to explore Palau's reefs and waterways.We provide a full range of guided tours and services that includes full day or half-day trips and customized private charters for individuals, families and groups. Complete value-packed hotel & tour packages are offered in conjunction with Palau's preferred hotel properties. Complimentary roundtrip shuttle service is provided daily to all Koror based hotels from early morning until late evening.Excellent customer care, personalized attention, and professional service have earned Sam's Tours recognition as Palau's premier tour and liveaboard service.
Useful Information: Activities for young children, Wheelchair access, Food available for purchase, Lockers / storage, Bathroom facilities, Activities for older children
Level Contributor
17 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Execution to perfection”
Reviewed April 4, 2014

Everything is planned and executed to perfection. Arranged everything just over the email with Kris. She is very patient with all my queries, not only arranging trips with Sam and even arranged my hotel, airport pick up too! I didn't have to worry and trouble about anything else.
Tour pick-up - one of the most punctual from my previous travel experiences. They really picked you up on time!
Did 3 trips with them - solo for the kayaking and dives.The guides and boat captains were great! Special thanks to Jeff! I brought my mum who isn't a swimmer at all snorkelling. He helped my mum in water, helped with adjusting her mask....We were in really good hands.
Ano thanks to Bernard who took care of me during my dives being a very amateur diver.
I am definitely going back to Palau and without a doubt with Sam's tour!

Visited March 2014
Helpful?
Thank Roxie_and_Mum
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

519 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    391
    76
    26
    16
    10
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Houston, Texas
Level Contributor
41 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
“Mostly positive”
Reviewed April 3, 2014

Overall we were happy with Sam’s Tours and would recommend them to divers traveling to Palau.

There are only a couple negatives/neutrals/caveats that keep me from giving it 5 stars, which are:
--The boats are crowded. Usually every tank slot is full. And bring your own snacks. They serve a nice lunch, but especially if you are doing 3 dives, you might want to bring some snacks.
--We did not dive with the same group everyday (although this settled down a bit toward the end), which meant everyone on the boat had done different dive sites and it was a challenge to find sites that were new/interesting to everyone. For instance, at one point, we were worried we weren’t going to get to Blue Corner because so many people on our boats each day had already been (some multiple times). It did work out though and we got to most of the sites we were wanting to get to.
--Some people might consider this a negative but it wasn’t a big deal: Just don’t expect the situation where you leave your dive gear and then never touch it again till you pack. You will be retrieving and setting up your own gear every morning, changing tanks yourself, and rinsing/storing your gear at night. I’ve been to some dive-centric spots that do all this for you. I don’t mind doing it—just be prepared for it.

There are LOTS of positives:
--Many of the good dive sites are sorta far out, but the boats are FAST. They are minimalistic as far as amenities but I would give that up for a boat that is fast.
--Most surface intervals are spent on a beautiful beach.
--The divemaster we had for most (unfortunately not all) of our trip was AWESOME. Some of the best dive briefings we have ever had and not too uptight, not too relaxed.
--The lunches were surprisingly good (definitely not a soggy turkey sandwich every day) and after the first day, we got to choose from menus for the following days.
--It is great place to hang out. The shop is all abuzz in the morning with divers setting up and drinking coffee and checking the boards. And it is fun in the evenings to sit down and have beers/dinner and chat about the day’s dives.
--Overall the staff was excellent and cared about giving us the experience we were hoping for.

The NUMBER ONE best thing is Palau itself. If you are considering this as a destination, consider no more—just do it! Palau is fabulous above and below the water and we can not wait to return.

Visited March 2014
Helpful?
Thank SipadanChangedMyLife
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
saskatoon
Level Contributor
16 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 53 helpful votes
“Amazing Palau Diving with Sam's Tours”
Reviewed March 31, 2014

My wife and I (+200 dives each) enjoyed outstanding diving in Palau with Sam's Tours over a 10 day period in March 2014. We saw sharks on almost every dive, mantas at German Channel, turtles, octopus, stingrays, napolean wrasse, bumphead parrots, titan triggerfish, giant clams, clownfish and many many more exotic fish and coral. All the while swimming in beautiful aquamarine water at 28 Celsius (82 F). The following is our personal list of pro's and cons:

Pros
- All the office staff we interacted with at Sam's were excellent. We were especially pleased with the service provided by Ashley and Jeremy.
- All the dive masters and boat captains we went with were also excellent. Joedyn and Matsu were especially good at pointing out interesting things to see.
- The BC's and Regs we rented were in like-new condition. Sam's allowed us to keep the same rental gear for the entire time we dove with them.
- Free nitrox
- Complimentary pick-ups and drop-offs at our hotel. We stayed at the Sea Passion hotel as part of our package with Sam's. It is a nice medium cost hotel located near Sam's.
- Tasty/filling lunches between dives, usually at a nice beach on one of the Rock Islands.
- A very good on-site restaurant/bar which provides free coffee.
- Lots of dive boats (about 10).
- secure gear storage between dive days.
- After our dive vacation was over they let us dry our wetsuits in the compressor room so that we didn't exceed our airline luggage weight limits.

Cons
- Although Sam's dive boats are fast and have good sun shades, the rides are long (30 to 60 minutes) and there is no protection from wind and rain. As far as we saw, all dive operators in Palau employ the same type of boats.
- Divers are rarely assigned to the same boat for more than a couple of days in a row and never get much of an opportunity to develop a rapport with individual dive masters.
- Sam's daily schedule does not include the dive site destinations. This is decided by the dive masters on each boat. As a result the more popular dive sites (Blue Corner and German Channel) are over dived while other just as good sites are under dived. We think Sam's needs a system which allows divers to sign up for the sites they want to go to.
- Sam's has begun surcharging for payment by credit card or paypal.
- Palau requires all divers to purchase a 10 day permit which covers only a part of the dive sites. Other areas require additional permits and if you intend to dive for more than 10 days you also have to purchase additional permits. Since divers tend to come on one or two weekly packages, we think it would benefit both the country and divers to offer permits covering all of Palau for the length of time each diver wants to dive.

Visited March 2014
Helpful?
2 Thank CostaWatcher
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
9 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Palau is absolutely AMAZING....and Sam's Tours is a great way to dive it!”
Reviewed March 29, 2014

Palau is without a doubt, beyond beautiful. Sam's Tours had a very efficient, well-run establishment to help you explore the underwater world. Their DM's are phenomenal. We mostly dove with Nathan who went above-and-beyond expectations by being not only the best underwater guide but was also very friendly and funny as well! Matsu is also so helpful underwater and a great personality to talk to above water. He has over 2000 dives in Palau under his belt! We also had Leon and Del who were also great... all the DM are very good at their jobs. The staff is phenomenal...they always picked up my crate and things so I wouldn't have to carry them from the shop to the boat etc. Everyone from the front desk receptionists to the drivers to the boat captains all made us feel very welcome and at home. and FREE ENRICHED AIR....who else offers that? Lunches were good, the drivers will take you anywhere on Koror you'd like to go after a dive, and the Bottom Time Bar and Grill is really good! we loved every second of this trip to Palau and we made the best choice with Sam's Tours. One tip though, they are very busy so I suggest making reservations. If you just drop in, you may not get a seat on the boat! see you guys soon, I will be back for sure!

Visited February 2014
Helpful?
Thank PBuiLiesl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Saskatoon, Canada
Level Contributor
21 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
“Can't do again soon enough!”
Reviewed March 29, 2014

Let me start right off by admitting I'm a bit of a novice when it comes to diving ... about 115 dives in half a dozen or so countries ... but I've dived with some good operators and seen some amazing stuff. When it comes to diving, I suppose there MAY be somewhere that compares to Palau's reefs and undersea wildlife, but I've never been there. Our two week visit was too short!

When it comes to dive operators, I suppose I could say something negative about Sam's Tours, but I'd probably have to make it up; our experience with Sam's was absolutely first class. We didn't dive with all their dive guides so I don't know if all of them are as good as those we went out with but our experience was that their guides and boat operators are wonderful. That being said, when I go back I'll be asking to have Neil as my guide. What a prince! Absolutely as good as I've ever met. I can't say I found a favorite boat operator because the closest thing that I could come to as far as something negative about the tour is that the usual length of boat ride among the fabulous paradise of islands to most of the dive sites is about 45 minutes, so having a really good driver helps a lot in the sometimes choppy seas. We were never disappointed.

The 'Bottom Time' bar at their front door is a great place to visit and meet people from all over the world while enjoying some of the top notch local beer and bar food as good as I've seen anywhere, all of it as reasonably priced as anywhere and with great friendly service.

We stayed at the Palau Royale Resort which is almost right out Sam's front door (okay, about a 5 minute walk). This is probably the best resort hotel I've ever stayed at. Again, I could probably say something negative, but this time I'd just be lying.

What a great time! Can't do it again soon enough!

Visited February 2014
Helpful?
Thank Don M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Sam's Tours Palau also viewed

 

Been to Sam's Tours Palau? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing