Experience the Pacific Paradise of the Rock Islands

Overview

Our Palau expedition brings you into an aquamarine world of rare old-growth coral gardens, saltwater waterfalls, outer-reef walls teeming with schools of brilliantly colored tropical fish, and hidden marine lakes that our expert Trip Leaders discovered. Snorkel over the wreck of a Zero Fighter airplane from World War II, paddle across the cream-colored waters of the Milky Way, kayak beneath a mangrove canopy draped with hanging orchids, and learn about Palau’s rich cultural traditions. Our Trip Leaders are natural teachers, and Palau’s phenomenally scenic Rock Islands, rising like emeralds in a cerulean sea, provide a stunning backdrop. Our private camps are tucked away on isolated beaches and are for our exclusive use. They offer special access to this natural history paradise, along with delightful barbecues, crimson sunrises and sunsets, and unbelievable stargazing.

Itinerary at a Glance

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

Our hike on volcanic Babeldaob Island leads us to an inviting swimming hole for a dip, and we’ll learn about ancient Palauan culture on a visit to a bai, a traditional men’s meeting house. In Nikko Bay, sheltered by the castle-like limestone walls of the Rock Islands, we kayak over vibrant thousand-year-old coral forests. At Risong Bay, we explore marine lakes and isolated turquoise bays, each with its own unique habitat, and snorkel in the pristine Blue Devil Gardens, where schools of blue devil damselfish shimmer between the corals.

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Days 5-6
Einstein’s Garden / Long Lake

Snorkeling over a Zero Fighter airplane submerged in shallow waters is a thrill, and we’ll explore multicolored Einstein’s Garden (named for its proliferation of giant lobophyllia brain corals). As we kayak through mangroves into mile-long Long Lake, a nursery for baby eagle rays and turtles, the skies overhead may be full of tropical avians.

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Days 7-10
Giant Clam Beach / Big Drop-Off / Peleliu

We’ll see Palau’s big bivalves at Giant Clam Beach, and at the Big Drop-Off (Palau’s legendary Ngemelis Wall), we discover a kaleidoscopic world of tube sponges, sea fans, Moorish idols, pyramid butterflyfish, square anthias, sergeant majors, and yellowtail fusiliers. After visiting haunting battle sites on Peleliu, the scene of fierce fighting during World War II, return to Koror and depart on Day 10, or extend to look for Palau’s “Big Five” marine species.

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Highlights

Highlights

Snorkel, kayak, hike, and boat in the Rock Islands, a UNESCO World Heritage Site of spectacular limestone islands and healthy coral reefs
Experience Palau’s marine biodiversity, with 700 coral species and 1,500 species of reef fish
Visit a Palauan “men’s house,” snorkel in magical Jellyfish Lake, explore Peleliu Island and its World War II relics

Details

Length: 10 days
Cost From: $6495  
Arrive: Koror, Palau
Depart: Koror, Palau
Lodging: 3 nights beach resorts, 6 nights full-service camping
Meals: All meals included except 1 lunch and 2 dinners (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Activity: Snorkeling, Wildlife & Natural History, Sea Kayaking
Trip Level:

Snorkeling, easy to moderate sea kayaking (3-5 hours a day), easy hikes, exploration by boat