raja ampat diving sting ray up close

Palau's Big Five Extension


Our post-trip extension provides ample opportunities to see Palau’s “Big Five”—pilot whales, spinner dolphins, dugongs, sharks, mantas—that are not normally seen in the areas we explore on our regular itinerary. Join us for what promises to be an exciting “safari” discovering some of Palau’s most fascinating creatures!

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1
Dugongs and Crocodiles

We meet in the morning and depart Koror by boat in search of crocodiles within the labyrinth of islands of Nikko Bay (in a different area than the one we explored on the main trip). After lunch in a secluded cove, we’ll slip into kayaks with the hopes of paddling with dugongs, the only remaining species of the serenia, or moon creatures, distant aquatic relatives of the elephant. These slow-moving marine mammals graze on sea grass in shallow waters along coastlines in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Their feeding style gives them their more common nickname: sea cow. We finish the day with a snorkel at Lolita’s Coral Gardens. We return to the Palau Carolines Resort by speedboat. Dinner on your own and overnight at hotel...BL

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Day 2

We’re picked up by boat at 8:30 am and head out to the abyssal trenches on the east side of the archipelago where we hope to find spinner dolphins. We have excellent chances to spot these creatures as we cruise along: they frolic in the bow wake of the boat and often hang around for 30 minutes or more. In-water experiences with the spinners tend to be brief and our attempts will be based exclusively on their behavior. The primary goal of our day is to spot pilot whales, melon headed whales, false killer whales (all of these are known collectively as “Black Fish”), and potentially, sperm whales. All these cetaceans are highly social, ridiculously intelligent, and potentially curious. In-water experiences will be based on surface conditions and each guest’s confidence in the open ocean environment. Additionally, we’ll have hydrophones that help us pinpoint their locations. Return to Palau Carolines Resort for overnight...BL

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Day 3
Mantas and sharks

Today we head out through Ulong Channel and troll the open waters as we make our way to Ngemelis Island.  Dolphin and whale encounters in this area are also quite common. We snorkel even more of the outer reef sites to include Shark City and New Drop Off, which are typically not included in our regular itinerary. As the afternoon incoming tide rolls in, we’ll slip in the water at German Channel to witness the barrel rolling feeding behavior of giant mantas. During the mating season (highly variable, but typically covering about 3 months per year), the mantas collect in massive numbers (as many as 18 last year) and form what we call manta trains. All this feeding and courtship occurs just below the surface, so even snorkelers—and not just SCUBA divers—have good chances of witnessing this behavior. We return to the Palau Carolines Resort as the sun sets...BL

Day 4

Transfer to the airport for homeward-bound flights...B


Length: 4 days
Cost From: $1795  
Arrive: Koror, Palau
Depart: Koror, Palau
Lodging: 3 nights hotels
Meals: All meals included except dinners
Activity: Snorkeling, Wildlife and Natural History
Trip Level:

Snorkeling, boating