palau rock islands kayaking snorkeling

The Rock Islands of Palau are perfect for kaykaking

Palau is a natural paradise both on land and at sea. We hike on volcanic Babeldoab Island, paddle the inner lagoons of Nikko Bay, then head out to the phenomenal Rock Islands for world-class snorkeling and sea kayaking.

Photo by Ron Leidich

display information about this photo

Palau Snorkeling and Sea Kayaking

Experience the Natural History Paradise of the Rock Islands

Palau Snorkeling and Sea Kayaking route-map

Trip Details at-a-Glance

Cost From: $5795  
Length: 11 days
Arrive: Koror, Palau
Depart: Koror, Palau
Lodging: 3 nights in beach resorts, 6 nights full-service camping, 1 night beach bungalow
Meals: All meals included
Activity: Snorkeling, Wildlife & Natural History, Sea Kayaking
Trip Level: Snorkeling, easy to moderate sea kayaking on sit-on-top kayaks, 3-5 hours a day


  • Snorkel the Rock Islands, a surreal realm of hidden lakes, coral gardens, marine tunnels, and thousand-foot-deep walls teeming with sea life
  • Experience Palau’s fantastic marine life, with 700 coral species and 1,500 species of reef fish
  • Hike on jungle paths, explore Peleliu Island with its WWII relics, snorkel in magical Jellyfish Lake

An incredible journey. The reefs were amazing—the best I’ve encountered yet, and an elegant camping experience. Well done!!Carole L.—Port Townsend, WA

Recent Photo Blog Posts

Choosing the Right Trip

We work hard to help you choose the right trip for you, paying attention to your individual interests, abilities, and needs. If you have questions about the level of comfort or any of the activities described in this itinerary, please contact us.


We are proud to have an exceptionally high rate of repeat travelers. For more information, we would be happy to put you in touch with a client who has traveled with us.

Departure Notes

Once you have signed up on the trip, we send a complete packing list, relevant health information, and required travel documents.

Praised as one of the world’s last Edens by National Geographic, Palau has a superabundance of reef fish and coral life that is utterly astounding. In the phenomenally scenic Rock Islands, rising high out of a serene lagoon like huge emeralds floating on a cerulean sea, we’ve created a unique snorkeling and kayaking expedition that brings us to dramatic outer reef walls teeming with massive schools of fish (called the “underwater Serengeti”), to old-growth coral gardens, and to hidden marine lakes surrounded by high limestone walls first discovered by our expert Trip Leader. Our private camps tucked away on isolated beaches—with no one else around—offer us special access to this Pacific paradise, along with delightful barbecues, pink-and-golden sunsets, and amazing stargazing.

Itinerary at a Glance

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

Days 1-4
Koror / Ulong Island / Nikko Bay / Risong Bay

After meeting in Koror, we head to Ulong Island for an introductory snorkel and a picnic on its white-sand beach. In the Rock Islands, we kayak and snorkel in this protected marine reserve and are immersed in a glorious world of jewel-colored parrotfish, dazzling sea anemones, and old-growth corals, including Blue Devil Gardens, with its swirls of Palau’s sparkling blue damselfish. A highlight is seeing a salt-water waterfall spilling into a turquoise oasis.

Days 5-6
Milky Way / Long Lake

Snorkeling amid giant table corals and dense stands of staghorn corals, we look for bright-colored angelfish and butterfly fish, paddle through a special cove known as The Milky Way, and pass through a tunnel to secluded Secret Lake, surrounded by 300-foot rock walls. At Long Lake, a rushing current carries our kayaks through the clear waters of a mangrove forest alive with birdsong.

Days 7-8
Jellyfish Lake / Big Drop-Off

Jellyfish Lake is home to literally millions of non-stinging jellyfish, and we snorkel right among them—a surreal experience! At the Big Drop-Off, where a sheer wall plunges nearly a thousand feet deep, we discover a technicolor garden of tube sponges, fan corals, Moorish idols, harlequin crabs, pyramid butterflyfish, square anthias, sergeant majors, and yellowtail fusiliers.

Days 9-11
Carp Island / Peleliu / Koror

We paddle to Carp Island, a tranquil resort with its own mile-long beach, then head to Peleliu, scene of fierce fighting during World War II, to visit evocative battle sites. Return to Koror and depart on Day 11.

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

Optional Extensions

If you would like to continue your adventure, we offer the following extension:

What the Trip is Like

This trip is Level 3, Moderate, according to our trip grading system. It is relaxed enough to allow ample time for photography, snorkeling, extra paddling, and beachcombing. The Trip Leader gives a daily background briefing on the natural history of each area we explore, including its geology, birding, reef fish, coral reef ecology, or archaeology. During our six nights on the Rock Islands, we are supported by a motor-launch boat. Amenities at our Rock Island beach camps include walk-in tents, toilet tent, solar shower, and a dining tent with table and chairs. Multi-course meals, including fresh fruits, salads, and wine, are served, and cold beer and sodas are available. Typical breakfasts may include fresh papaya, pineapple, eggs, pancakes, or Palauan specialties; lunch is usually picnic style, featuring sandwiches and tropical fruits; dinner is usually a delicious barbecue with fresh-grilled fish or chicken, vegetables, and baked local desserts. When we are away from camp, our meals are picnic style. Our support boat goes ahead to each new campsite with our gear so that our new camp is set up and awaiting us on arrival. Campsites are chosen for their beauty and/or access to fantastic snorkeling. Our days of physical activity will fuel good appetites, and our two camp cooks provide delicious repasts.

Our days are spent kayaking through gorgeous, crystal-clear turquoise waters, snorkeling, hiking to sites of interest, birdwatching, swimming, and relaxing on untouched beaches. On most days, we paddle for four to five hours, although usually not more than an hour at a time, interspersed with snorkeling and other activities. The paddling distances are short, and we cover a linear distance of no more that 30 miles during our seven paddling days.

The journey is designed to offer an enjoyable vacation—you need not have done any previous kayaking. On any given trip, however, it is impossible to predict what the weather will have in store and it often varies with each successive day. In general, we choose routes that are largely protected from high winds and strong currents, and we run the trips at the times of year when the weather is most reliable. We also adapt our daily schedule to local conditions. The Trip Leader will present each day's combination of paddling, snorkeling, and hiking activities based on the prevailing conditions. If the paddling ends up being easier than you had expected, you will have the option of doing some extra kayaking or hiking in the afternoon after we reach camp. If it turns out to be more difficult than you had expected, you can opt out of kayaking for that day and ride along in the support boat. We have welcomed both beginner and experienced paddlers on this trip, and they have found sea kayaking to be a fantastic way to experience the wonders of Palau.

Explanation of Trip Levels



Sep 10-20, 2014
Oct 8-18, 2014
Nov 8-18, 2014
Jan 21-31, 2015
Feb 20-Mar 2, 2015
Mar 22-Apr 1, 2015

Trip Cost

Prices are for 2014
$5795 (7-9 members)
$6095 (4-6 members)
Single supplement: $695
Forced single supplement: $595
more on pricing

Extension Costs
Palau's Big Five Extension
   from: $1795

Trip Cost Includes:

  • Expert leadership of a Wilderness Travel Trip Leader and local guides
  • 4 nights hotel accommodations in Koror and Carp Island.
  • 6 nights camping, including group camping equipment (except sleeping sheets)
  • All meals included
  • Support boat and ground transportation
  • Kayaks, paddles, PFDs (life jackets), and boat safety gear

Trip Cost Does Not Include:

Snorkeling equipment (wetsuit, snorkel, mask, fins), international airfare to/from Palau, any meals not specified after each itinerary day in the Full Trip Brochure, optional gratuities to leaders or staff, additional hotel nights made necessary by airline schedule or other factors, expenses such as immunizations (if any), travel insurance, and other expenses of a personal nature (alcoholic beverages, laundry, etc.). Participants must provide their own sleeping sheet for camping.

Trip Payment Schedule

At time of reservation: $500
120 days prior to departure: 20%
60 days prior to departure: Balance

Cancellation and Transfer Fee Schedule

Minimum fee: None per person
46-90 days prior to departure: 25% of trip cost
45 days or less: 100% of trip cost

Palau Pacific Resort

Palau Pacific Resort

Days 1 to 2 (2 nights),
Day 10 (1 night), Koror, Palau

Located just outside the city of Koror, our resort lies on a spectacular private white-sand beach overlooking the blue Pacific. Guest rooms are very ...
Click here for full description and more photos

Palau Camps

Palau Camps

Days 3 to 8 (6 nights), The Rock Islands, Palau

On the phenomenally beautiful Rock Islands, we enjoy our own wonderful campsites chosen for their beauty and access to fantastic snorkeling. Our ...
Click here for full description and more photos

Carp Island Resort

Carp Island Resort

Day 9 (1 night), Carp Island, Palau

A simple ecolodge on its own private island, Carp Island Resort enjoys an extraordinary location just 10 minutes from the world-famous sites of the ...
Click here for full description and more photos

Extension Accommodations

If you would like to view the accommodations offered with our extensions option:

Note: Listed above are our signature accommodations for this trip. Although it is highly unlikely, we may make substitutions when necessary.

Optional Extensions

If you would like to continue your adventure, we offer the following extension:


Palau's Big Five Extension

Wildlife & Natural History, Snorkeling
Level 3

Client Comments

An incredible journey. The reefs were amazing—the best I’ve encountered yet, and an elegant camping experience. Well done!! Carole L., Port Townsend, WA Ron's knowledge of the natural wonders of Palau, its people, and its history coupled with his spirit of fun and enthusiastic delivery made the trip a delight and an intense learning experience at the same time. Robert C., Concord, MA Great itinerary—well planned, and the food at camp was beyond expectations. My family and I had a terrific time. Jim J., Ojai, CA This trip exceeded my expectations in all regards. Robert R., Park City, UT Wonderful—one of our very best trips with WT. Ralph S. and Karen P., Playa del Rey, CA We enjoyed the trip so much in March 2010, that we decided to do it again in March 2011. This is the firsts time we’ve repeated a trip! Gene H., Indianapolis, IN Palau was a nothing less than a snorkeler's paradise! Our leader guided us each day to places where he knew Mother Nature would reveal a new canvas of coral and crystal-clear water and paint it with a kaleidoscope of tropical marine life. What a treat for the eyes! George F., Pleasanton, CA
The Palau trip is my idea of the ideal vacation. That is why I have taken it three times! Bob G., Elizabethtown, PA We have travelled for over 40 years and this would rate amongst our most memorable, enjoyable experiences. Katriona H., Blackheath NSW, Australia This trip ranks as one of my top three nature experiences in my lifetime. Dawn M., Playa Del Rey, CA The trip was fantastic and I was treated like royalty by everyone involved. I am not used to such luxury camping and having everything done for me! Cathy H., Lumsden, Saskatchewan Wilderness Travel is tops when it comes to adventure travel. Food, lodging, and attention to details is always exceptional! Lori K., Boulder, CO Is there a rating above 'Excellent?' This trip far exceeded our expectations. It was so well planned and thought out. Lynn B., Portland, OR