Islands, Vistas, and National Parks Aboard the Caledonian Sky

Overview

The Republic of Palau is a tiny but spectacular country made up of 200 pristine islands surrounded by turquoise waters and filled with natural wonders. Your adventure begins here, then you'll cruise to the Philippines to explore Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park, a World Heritage Site teeming with marine species and seabirds. Experience the towering cliffs and cultural traditions of Coron Island and visit Apo Reef, the second largest coral reef in the world. Hundred Islands National Park, Babuyan Islands, and Batan Island will bring you opportunities to snorkel, dive, and cruise by Zodiac along palm-fringed, sandy beaches, taking in the warm welcome of Filipino towns along the way. Your grand finale on this epic voyage is Taiwan where you’ll be immersed in Taroko National Park and sample street foods in bustling Taipei. Throughout your journey, your Expedition Team will provide valuable insights into the history, culture, and wildlife of this shimmering realm.

Note: This cruise is not exclusive to, nor operated by, Wilderness Travel, who acts solely as agent in booking your reservation with the ship operator. The itinerary, lecturers, and all other arrangements are subject to change at the discretion of the cruise line.

Itinerary

Days 1-2, Feb 29-Mar 1, 2020
Depart USA / Koror, Palau

Board your independent flight to Palau. Arrive in Koror on March 1 in the late evening and transfer to the Palau Royal Resort for overnight.

Day 3, Mar 2, 2020
Palau

Today explore Palau’s geologically fascinating Rock Islands, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Board a local boat for a cruise among the limestone islands and islets and enjoy world-class snorkeling among vibrant coral reefs. This is an important nesting site for many species, and as you look up from the water, watch for wheeling white-tailed tropicbirds, fast flying sulfur-crested cockatoos, common and white terns, and slow-flying Palauan fruit bats. Enjoy lunch on a white-sand beach. Return to your hotel for dinner and overnight.

Day 4, Mar 3, 2020
Palau / Embark Caledonian Sky

Palau’s surrounding reefs are home to more than 1,500 species of fish and 700 species of coral, while in the sandy shallows, thousands of giant clams can be found. Spend the morning exploring this incredibly rich marine environment at one of Palau’s many world-class snorkel sites. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before embarking the Caledonian Sky.

Day 5-6, Mar 4- 5, 2020
At Sea

Two days at sea offer a chance to relax onboard, scan the skies and waters on deck with naturalists, and attend lectures from your experts.

Day 7, Mar 6, 2020
Pamilacan Island, Philippines

Arrive in the Philippines this morning. Spend the rest of the day snorkeling or diving off tiny Pamilacan Island, with the possibility of going ashore to visit with locals.

Day 8, Mar 7, 2020
Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park

Today visit Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park, a marine and bird sanctuary that covers over 370 square miles. Part of the Coral Triangle, this area was recognized as a World Heritage Site due to the high density of marine species and important breeding grounds for seabirds and marine turtles. Spend the day snorkeling or diving over pristine reefs.

Day 9, Mar 8, 2020
Coron Island

Explore the natural and cultural wonders of Coron, including an active hike up Coron’s vertical cliffs, which is rewarded with breathtaking views of Kayangan Lake. Afterwards there is an opportunity to swim in the crystal-clear waters. In the afternoon, visit the Banuang Daan who will showcase their rich traditions with a performance and display of handicrafts.

Day 10, Mar 9, 2020
Apo Reef

The second-largest contiguous coral reef in the world after the Great Barrier Reef, Apo offers a kaleidoscope of hard and soft corals. Discover luminescent anemones and nudibranchs, pygmy seahorses, pipefish, and other wondrous small creatures, as well as large pelagics such as sharks, tuna, and barracudas.

Day 11, Mar 10, 2020
Hundred Islands National Park

Comprised of 124 lushly vegetated islands, Hundred Islands National Park offers lovely beaches, gorgeous vistas, and crystal-clear waters. Spend the day on one of these private islands birding, snorkeling, diving, and exploring by Zodiac.

Day 12, Mar 11, 2020
Vigan

Established in the 16th century, Vigan stands as Asia’s finest example of a planned Spanish colonial city. Exceptionally intact, its grid street pattern and architectural influences earned the city UNESCO status in 1999. Wander the cobbled streets and pay a visit to the Pagburnayan pottery makers to learn about the production of Vigan’s famous burnay jars.

Day 13, Mar 12, 2020
Babuyan Islands

The Babuyan Islands are home to steep foothills, volcanic cones, mangroves, and a marine sanctuary. Take a stroll along Calayan’s gorgeous white sand beaches and snorkel or dive in the warm waters while birders search the forest for the Calayan rail, a flightless bird endemic to the island.

Day 14, Mar 13, 2020
Batan Island

Batan was the first domino to fall during Japan’s invasion of the Philippines during World War II, and you will hear harrowing tales while visiting a tunnel used as a hideout by Japanese soldiers. Climb to the top of Radar Tukon, a former lighthouse and US weather station, which offers 360-degree views across the island. Savor the fresh air and bucolic setting of the Vayang Rolling Hills, then take a leisurely stroll around the town plaza, dominated by Santo Domingo de Basco Church, built in 1812.

Day 15, Mar 14, 2020
Hualien, Taiwan

Arrive in Taiwan’s second-largest city, located on the mountainous east coast. Hualien serves as your gateway to Taroko National Park, centered upon its namesake marble gorge. The park comprises some 227,000 acres and varying altitudes, from sea level at the mouth of the Liwu River to towering Mount Nanhu at more than 12,000 feet. Such dramatic climate changes create a diverse array of vegetation and habitats, hosting a third of Taiwan’s vascular plants, half of its mammal species, and over 140 recorded bird species.

Day 16, Mar 15, 2020
Keelung (Taipei)

Dominated by Taipei 101—a 1,600-foot-high tower that resembles a stalk of bamboo—Taiwan’s capital offers a captivating mix of Asian and Western influences. The city is famous for its street food, so make a stop to sample a variety of xiaochi (little snacks) while visiting top attractions such as the Chinese-influenced Martyrs’ Shrine; Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall, commemorating Taiwan’s former president; and the National Palace Museum, which houses the world’s largest collection of Chinese art. Or, leave the city bustle behind to visit Yehliu Geopark with its surreal rock formations, as well as Gold Ecological Park, built to offer insights into the region’s gold-mining culture.

Day 17, Mar 16, 2020
Taipei / Depart

After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your independent homeward flight, arriving in the USA the same day.

Highlights

Highlights

Visit Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for its high density of marine life
Trek through diverse landscapes at Taroko National Park, home to the world's largest marble gorge, rugged coastal cliffs, narrow canyons, and lush, subtropical forest
Explore a tunnel on Batan used by Japanese soldiers during World War II
Experience legendary Filipino hospitality as you visit traditional villages and remote island communities

Details

Length: 17 days
Cost From: $15,980  
Arrive: Koror, Palau
Depart: Taipei, Taiwan
Lodging: 13 nights aboard an expedition ship, 2 nights hotel
Meals: All meals included (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Activity: Cultural Adventures, Snorkeling, Wildlife & Natural History, Photography, Diving, Small Ship Cruising
Trip Level:

17-day expedition cruise, cultural explorations and walking tours
Cruise collection 2020 brochure

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