1. Palau Introduced to couch-ridden Americans by CBS (CBS) when it filmed Survivor here in 2008, Palau logged exactly one major disaster -- Typhoon Mike in 1990 -- before leaving U.S. trusteeship in 1994. Since then, its position just beyond the Pacific typhoon zone has kept the island chain safe and, with the exception of its acceptance of a handful of prisoners from Guantanamo Bay last year, relatively quiet. Dwindling agriculture, rising seawater and worrisome waste removal efforts are bigger concerns than disasters, but real estate here is scarce and comes at a premium. If you want a taste of disaster-free life in Palau, "homestays" such as a $75-a-night lighthouse rental in Palau's largest city, Koror, provides a tempting, if temporary, taste.
-- Reported by Jason Notte in Boston.
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