About Sam's Tours

Sam’s Tours mission statement:

Sam's Tours is committed to providing our guests with the highest level of service, safety and a personalized quality experience. We act in partnership with our customers, employees and the community. Our goal is service excellence and sound business practices in harmony with environmental responsibility and the highest professional standards.


When Sam Scott started Sam’s Tours in 1990, he sure as heck didn’t realize the magic that was about to happen. Sam was a young boy, living in Washington State, when his mother married Yutaka Gibbons, a Palauan native, and the family lived together in the US. After few years, Yutaka was called upon by the female chief consul of the clan to return home and become the Ibedul, the high chief of the south. He returned to Palau to fulfill his traditional duty and became the Ibedul. Sam was 13. On his 20th birthday, Sam, the adventurist that he is, came down to Palau to visit his stepfather and try something new.

“I had 5 bucks in my pocket when my stepfather gave me a boat and told me to start a tour company taking people around the Rock Islands. I still have the boat to this day.” And off he went to hire Jimmy, a boat captain who still works at Sam’s Tours, and together they started taking guests fishing, snorkeling and touring the Rock Islands, “I wasn’t even a certified diver at the time; heck, diving wasn’t that popular back then!” But due to Palau’s unique bio diversity it became an increasingly popular destination for savvy divers, researchers and underwater fans. Over the years, Sam has built his reputation by becoming one of the best guides in Palau, enthusiastic and eager to learn and share his knowledge of Palau’s reefs with his guests, and the business grew. In 1996 Sam hired an Irish native Dermot Keane, and together they created the modern, internationally recognized, PADI 5 Star Staff Development Dive Center Sam’s Tours is today.

“What’s amazing about it is that even though Sam’s Tours is bigger, the philosophy of the business hasn’t changed,” says Sam. “What sets us apart is our staff. I am saying it because I see it on a daily basis, and hear it from guests who started diving with me back in the 1990s. Our energy and attention to guests is what I love about us. The synergy of how all the pieces work together is the magic of Sam's Tours.”

Sam and his Palauan family live on the premises of Sam's Tours, where he and Dermot can often be spotted enjoying the sunset over a glass of red wine at Bottom Time Bar and Grill (but Dermot drinks Budweiser, not wine).

Today, Sam’s Tours is an award winning shop, renowned for top-notch customer service. A 100% Palauan owned dive center, Sam’s Tours is a key player in the local community while continuing to strive to offer our guests the incredible experience that awaits in Palau’s magnificent reefs.


  • 2015 Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence Award

  • 2014 Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence Award

  • 2014 Dive Log Australia – Second Best International Dive Operation – Readers Choice

  • 2014 Scuba Diving Magazine – Readers Choice Awards – Best Dive Operator

  • 2013 Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence Award

  • 2012 Scuba Diving Magazine – Readers Choice Awards – Best Bar – Bottom Time Bar and Grill

  • 2012 Scuba Diving Magazine – Readers Choice Awards – Best Dive Operator

  • 2012 – PADI – Continuing Education Award Winner

  • 2012 Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence Award

  • 2002 Scuba Diving Magazine – Best Staff, Top Operator, Best Value

  • 2001 Scuba Diving Magazine – Best Staff

  • 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001 Scuba Diving Magazine – Best Dive Operator

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