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

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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: $5995  
Length: 10 days
Arrive: Koror, Palau
Depart: Koror, Palau
Lodging: 3 nights beach resorts, 6 nights full-service camping
Meals: All meals included except Day 1
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 and kayak the Rock Islands, a dream realm of hidden lakes, coral gardens, marine tunnels, and thousand-foot-deep walls teeming with sea life
  • Experience Palau’s kaleidoscopic marine life, with 700 coral species and 1,500 species of reef fish
  • Visit a Palauan “men’s house,” snorkel in magical Jellyfish Lake, explore Giant Clam Beach

An amazing trip in an amazing area.Erik C.—Pacifica, CA

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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.

Palau’s phenomenally scenic Rock Islands rise out of a vast serene lagoon like huge emeralds floating on a cerulean sea. Our unique snorkeling and kayaking expedition in this astonishing setting—a journey we pioneered more than 15 years ago—brings you to dramatic outer reef walls teeming with massive schools of fish (it’s been called an “underwater Serengeti”), to rare old-growth coral gardens and salt-water waterfalls, and to hidden marine lakes surrounded by high limestone walls first discovered by our expert Trip Leaders. Our elegant private camps, tucked away on isolated beaches, offer special access to this enchanting paradise, along with delightful barbecues, blazing sunsets, and absolutely amazing stargazing.

Itinerary at a Glance

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

Days 1-4
Koror / Nikko Bay / Risong Bay

In the Rock Islands, kayak and snorkel amid a glorious world of jewel-colored parrotfish and old-growth corals, including Blue Devil Gardens, where sparkling blue damselfish dance between the corals.

Days 5-6
Milky Way / Long Lake

Snorkeling above the wreck of a Zero airplane from World War II, look for colorful angelfish and butterflyfish, and paddle across a cove known as the Milky Way. A rushing current carries our kayaks through a mangrove forest alive with birdsong to a mile-long lake, a hidden oasis for nesting birds and baby fish.

Days 7-10
Jellyfish Lake / Big Drop-Off / Peleliu

Jellyfish Lake is home to millions of non-stinging jellyfish, and you’ll snorkel right among them—a surreal experience! At the Big Drop-Off, where a sheer wall plunges nearly a thousand feet deep, discover a technicolor world of tube sponges, sea fans, Moorish idols, pyramid butterflyfish, square anthias, sergeant majors, and yellowtail fusiliers. After visiting battle sites on Peleliu, scene of fierce fighting during World War II, fly to Koror and depart on Day 10.

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


Departures & Leaders

Jan 10-19, 2016  Ron Leidich
Feb 8-17, 2016  Jake Oiterong
Mar 9-18, 2016  Jake Oiterong
Apr 8-17, 2016  Ron Leidich
Sep 2-11, 2016  Ron Leidich
Oct 2-11, 2016  Jake Oiterong
Nov 1-10, 2016  Ron Leidich
Jan 13-22, 2017
Jan 29-Feb 7, 2017
Feb 26-Mar 7, 2017

Trip Cost

Prices are for 2016
$5995 (4-9 members)
Single supplement: $620
Forced single supplement: $420
Internal airfare: $225 (subject to change)
more on pricing

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

Trip Payment Schedule

At time of reservation: $600
90 days prior to departure: Balance

Cancellation and Transfer Fee Schedule

Up to 91 days prior to departure: No charge!
61-90 days prior to departure: 25% of trip cost
46-60 days prior to departure: 50% of trip cost
45 days or less: 100% of trip cost

Trip Cost Includes:

  • Expert leadership of a Wilderness Travel Trip Leader and local guides
  • Hotel accommodations as noted
  • Camping accommodations, including group camping equipment (except sleeping sheets)
  • All meals included except Day 1
  • 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.

Arrival & Departure Information

You are responsible for your own transportation to the arrival and from the departure cities listed below. For more detailed information, including transfers, please download the Detailed Itinerary.

Please do not purchase your tickets until you are confirmed on the trip. Once your tickets have been purchased, please send us a copy of your airline schedule.

2016 Departures

Meeting Place:
Koror, Palau
Date: Day 1

Suggested Arrival Airport:

Koror, Palau (airport city code: ROR)
Suggested arrival time: anytime
Koror, Palau
Date: Day 10

Suggested Airport for Departure:
Koror, Palau (airport city code: ROR)
Suggested departure time: The early morning flight usually departs between 2:00am and 4:00am

Palau Pacific Resort

Palau Pacific Resort

Days 1 to 2 (2 nights), 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 ...
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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 ...
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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.

Our Trip Leaders

Here are the Trip Leaders scheduled for this journey (please note that leader assignments are subject to change).

Ron Leidich

Departure Dates: January 10-19, 2016, April 8-17, 2016, September 2-11, 2016, November 1-10, 2016

Ron Leidich was born in Japan, raised in a Marine Corps family that traveled around the world, and for more than two decades has made his home in Palau. He has a degree in Zoology, certification in advanced life saving and rescue, and has been a master scuba diver since 1991. Ron initially became ...
Click here for a full bio and list of all upcoming trips

Jake Oiterong

Departure Dates: February 8-17, 2016, March 9-18, 2016, October 2-11, 2016

Jake Oiterong was born on the remote island archipelago of Palau in 1979. While most of his peers flocked to the urban life in the developing capital of Koror, Jake preferred the outdoor lifestyle of his father and uncles in the traditional village of Peleliu.  He spent his youth climbing ...
Click here for a full bio and list of all upcoming trips

Optional Extensions

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


Palau's Big Five Extension

Snorkeling, Wildlife & Natural History
4 days  -  Level 3

Client Comments

An amazing trip in an amazing area. Erik C., Pacifica, CA This was definitely a ‘bucket list’ trip and it did not disappoint. The snorkeling, kayaking, and scenery were absolutely magnificent. The ability to experience different environments—marine lakes, patch reefs, secluded bays, and the outer reef—without a crush of other tourists at popular spots like Jellyfish Lake, made this a truly memorable trip. The land excursions to WWII sites, ancient villages, and a Yapese stone money added an important human dimension to the trip. David S., Arlington, VA A beautiful place and wonderful people. Karen L., Blue Mountains, Australia One of the best trips we have ever taken. We got so much more out of our trip to Palau than someone just coming on their own. Jane H., Boulder, CO This is my second WT trip to Palau. All my trips with WT have been great, but I have to rate Palau #1. Victoria O., Boulder, CO This was the trip of a lifetime—over the top wonderful! Every day the trip became more interesting and amazing. I still wake up dreaming I am in my kayak! I have never had so much fun in my entire life. Diane H., Brandon, SD Is there a rating above 'Excellent?' This trip far exceeded our expectations. It was so well planned and thought out. Lynn B., Portland, OR Wilderness Travel is tops when it comes to adventure travel. Food, lodging, and attention to details is always exceptional! Lori K., Boulder, CO 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
This trip ranks as one of my top three nature experiences in my lifetime. Dawn M., Playa Del Rey, CA We have travelled for over 40 years and this would rate amongst our most memorable, enjoyable experiences. Katriona H., Blackheath NSW, Australia The Palau trip is my idea of the ideal vacation. That is why I have taken it three times! Bob G., Elizabethtown, PA 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 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 Wonderful—one of our very best trips with WT. Ralph S. and Karen P., Playa del Rey, CA This trip exceeded my expectations in all regards. Robert R., Park City, UT Great itinerary—well planned, and the food at camp was beyond expectations. My family and I had a terrific time. Jim J., Ojai, CA 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 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

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