Experience the Pacific Paradise of the Rock Islands


Our Palau expedition brings you into an aquamarine world of rare old-growth coral gardens, saltwater waterfalls, and outer-reef walls teeming with schools of tropical fish. 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 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 and crimson sunrises and sunsets.

Itinerary at a Glance

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

Our hike on volcanic Babeldaob Island leads us to a 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. Heading to the celebrated Rock Islands, we explore their extraordinary network of marine lakes, mangrove channels, and marine tunnels. In Nikko Bay, sheltered by the castle-like limestone walls of the Rock Islands, we kayak over thousand-year-old coral forests. At Risong Bay, we explore isolated turquoise bays, each with its own unique habitat, and snorkel in the 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 birds.

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

We snorkel amid millions of stingless jellyfish at Jellyfish Lake—a surreal experience—and at the Big Drop-Off (Palau’s legendary Ngemelis Wall), we discover a kaleidoscopic world of tube sponges, Moorish idols, pyramid butterflyfish, 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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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 hundreds of coral species and 1,500 species of reef fish
Visit a Palauan “men’s meeting house,” swim with stingless jellyfish, explore Peleliu Island and its World War II relics


Length: 10 days
Cost From: $5995  
Arrive: Koror, Palau
Depart: Koror, Palau
Lodging: 3 nights beach resorts, 6 nights full-service camping (full-sized walk-in tents)
Meals: All meals included except 1 dinner (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