You don’t need to have any prior experience in kayaking to enjoy sliding over the coral reefs of Palau.
The waters of the Pacific Ocean are exceptionally calm in places the kayaking trips are organized. And the kayaks are specially developed for paddling on open waters of lakes or oceans (so-called sea kayaks or touring kayaks). They are very stable but, at the same time, easy to steer.
If you can’t swim or if you’re afraid of deep water, you can paddle with a life jacket on.
The easiest way is to join a tour. There are many tour operators offering the kayaking trips. We participated in the one organized by IMPAC (we write about it below).
But we would also like to mention a trip we hadn’t joined, although we wish we had. It was on the way to Metuker ra Bisech, a quarry for the famous stone money. It appeared we shared a boat with another couple who booked a kayaking tour with the same tour operator (Ngellil Nature Island Resort). We left the marina together, but we dropped them with the kayaks and two guides on the way. When we finished visiting the quarry (a great place, don’t miss it!), the kayaking people weren’t done yet, so we had to wait for them. Instead of just waiting on the boat, our skipper took us near the two caves which were a part of the kayaking tour, named White Wall and Blue Cave. The second one is very dark, so the people had to paddle with the headlamps on. It looked like real fun. Next to them is a place where the wreck of the Zero fighter from WWII was sunk. The plane was visible through the crystal waters, but it would be great to jump in from a kayak and snorkel around.
W H A T T O S E E N E X T
If you’re brave enough, you can also rent a kayak for a couple of days and paddle around the Rock Islands on your own, camping and sleeping in a tent. Still, we would recommend hiring a guide. Plus, keep in mind that some of these paradise looking islets are heavily infested with rats!
Before we write anything about our kayaking experience, we have to mention one thing. We came to Palau lured by the vision of swimming with the jellyfish in the famous Jellyfish Lake. When we learned it wasn’t possible anymore (Palau had experienced some horrible drought that somehow afflicted the jellyfish, reducing their number almost to zero), we were so disappointed!
Our other planned activities included kayaking, snorkeling (of course), and fooling around in Milky Way. We found one tour operator who offered all of them in one package – IMPAC.
The IMPAC kayaks are stored in a quiet bay. You can choose a single or a double one. Our advice: take a single, you’ll get a better chance for good photos, plus you’ll paddle where you want, not where your partner wants.
The number of people participating in kayaking trips varies. We went with IMPAC twice, the first time it was 5 people (including us), the second time – around 16.
The guide took us on tour around the Rock Islands. During the entire time, we could admire the pristine coral reefs below us – what an amazing experience!
But the best part still waited ahead. As a final surprise, the guide told us to squeeze through the small gap in one of the islets. It was so small that we had to lay down in kayaks not to bang our heads.
When we emerged on the other side of the gap, we discovered we were in a marine lake, surrounded by the lush tropical forest. Soon we met the rightful inhabitants of the lake:
Yes, the lake was heavily populated with the jellyfish! The stingless, giant jellyfish, to be precise.
To our surprise, we learned that Palau has more jellyfish lakes. Some of them are far away and accessible only with the diving tour operators. We were so lucky we found ours when kayaking!
To see more pictures from the jellyfish lake, go to our article: Jellyfish Lake in Palau.
To learn more about the places in Palau we liked the most, go to What to see and do in Palau.
And if you want to know how to see all these places in eight days, see our detailed itinerary here: How to plan a trip to Palau.