Micronesia’s Underwater Serengeti
May 24 to June 4, 2024
Partake of unspoiled paradise as you paddle and snorkel this Eden-like archipelago adorning the Pacific waters of Micronesia. You will be astounded by the pristine beauty preserved partially by natural elements like towering limestone islands but also through Palau’s designation of its 193,000 square miles of ocean territory as a fully protected marine reserve. The unusual combination of people and nature working together sustains this wonderland and provides you the opportunity to explore a world of incredibly diverse, flourishing coral with thriving fish and shark populations. Though the ocean is what draws you to Palau, in your time above the water, you will be awestruck by the landscape created by over 300 coral and volcanic islands. Beauty will envelope you above and below the surface.
- Seek out 500 species of coral and 1,300 species of reef fish.
- Explore the “Underwater Serengeti,” superschools of fish along with many sharks and manta rays.
- Swim among a myriad of stingless jelly fish.
- “Adopt a Clam” by naming and replanting them in secret locations.
- Discover the Blue Hole and the underwater canyons of Ngercheu.
- Begin your journey early on our Palau Diving trip from May 15 to 26, 2024. Spend seven nights aboard the Palau Siren with multiple dives per day, during the day and night, exploring Palau’s best sites.
Itinerary Updated: October 2022
Print Trip Safari Options
|May 24–25||Travel to Koror, Palau.|
|May 26||Arrive in Koror or join the group from our Palau Diving trip in Koror.||Palau Pacific Resort, Koror|
|May 27||Kayak and snorkel Nikko Bay.||Palau Pacific Resort, Koror||B, L, D|
|May 28||Kayak and snorkel Risong Bay.||Palau Pacific Resort, Koror||B, L|
|May 29||Kayak and snorkel Long Lake.||Palau Pacific Resort, Koror||B, L, D|
|May 30||Fantasy Island.||Palau Pacific Resort, Koror||B, L|
|May 31||Ulong Archaeology and Moana.||Palau Pacific Resort, Koror||B, L, D|
|Jun 1||Jellyfish Lake.||Palau Pacific Resort, Koror||B, L|
|Jun 2||Ngemelis.||Palau Pacific Resort, Koror||B, L, D|
|Jun 3||Turtle Cove.||Palau Pacific Resort, Koror||B, L|
|Jun 4||Fly home.||B|
Our Trip Leaders
Scott is a professional photographer specializing in wildlife, nature, and travel. Originally trained as a wildlife and marine biologist, his research and photo assignments have taken him to the far corners of the globe and all seven continents. National Geographic, BBC, Animal Planet, NY Times, and renowned magazines have used his photography. His patience for teaching and love of capturing the essence of his subjects make him one of our most popular tour leaders.
Macs grew up in Palau and the Pacific Northwest of the US. His relatives taught him the advanced arts of Micronesian hunting and fishing. He quickly adapted to a lifestyle that revolves around the moon and the tides, which requires an intimate knowledge of fish behavior and the ability to free dive under the full moon to find masses of spawning fish. As ecotourism developed in Palau, finding that his knowledge translated well into photography, Macs traded his spear gun for an underwater camera. He now shares his passion for Palau's environment as a guide and photographer.
A glimpse into our journey
Arrive in Koror or join the group from our Palau Diving trip
Arrive in Palau from our Palau Diving trip or from home. Our local agent will transfer you from the airport to the hotel. If you would like to arrive earlier, we can arrange divergent airport transfers and extra nights.
Kayak and snorkel Nikko Bay
Join an optional pre-breakfast bird walk today and possibly other mornings.
Depart after breakfast on your 15 to 20min boat ride to Nikko Bay, located in the heart of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Snorkel over Nikko Bay, home to some of the most diverse coral reefs on Earth, which have been protected for millennia from surf, surge, and storm by spiraling limestone walls. Explore caves, tunnels, and marine lakes in the quiet ambience of a paddler’s paradise.
Kayak and snorkel Risong Bay
Depart after breakfast on your 15 to 20min boat ride to Risong Bay. Search for baby sharks and rays within a tranquil lagoon while fruit doves and tropicbirds soar overhead. Paddle to a saltwater fall where crystal-clear artisan water spills from the porous limestone.
Kayak and snorkel Long Lake
Depart after breakfast on your 30 to 50min boat ride to Long Lake. Enjoy a gentle tidal current beneath a canopy of luscious mangrove trees. Search for baby eagle rays and nesting birds within a private sanctuary. Snorkel the multi-colored brain corals at Einstein’s Gardens.
Depart after breakfast on your 30 to 50min boat ride to Ulong and Moana. Step back in time along an idyllic tropical beach and explore the 500-year-old treasures from a lost society. Snorkel over protected reefs and help our conservation efforts as we replant populations of giant clams. Enjoy a stunning photo opportunity of our traditional “Moana” canoe, made exclusively of Micronesian plants and fibers.
Ulong Archaeology and Moana
Explore Helen Reef atoll, very seldomly visited by tourists. Helen Reef atoll has been named as a Marine Protected Area, helping to safeguard it from overfishing and poachers. You will encounter an abundance of dazzling fish and other marine life during your underwater exploration around this spectacular collection of remote reefs. Inside the ring of coral reef sits tiny Helen Island, which is uninhabited except for the rangers stationed there to protect the reef’s conservation status and vast bird colonies, including great-crested terns, sooty terns, and black noddies. Visit the ranger station to learn about the ongoing marine research to better understand and protect this breath-taking site. Enjoy a sunset on the beach with your shipmates.
Depart after breakfast on your 30 to 50min boat ride to Jellyfish Lake. Bask among 20 million non-stinging medusas within a World Heritage protected park. Hike into the forest to witness the world’s largest active currency, the Yapese Stone Money. Snorkel with black tip reef sharks and mega-mollusks at Giant Clam Beach.
Depart after breakfast on your 30 to 50min boat ride to Ngemelis for outer reef dramatic snorkeling. Drift amongst sharks, turtles, rays, and schools of fish within the “Under Water Serengeti” of planet earth.
Depart after breakfast on your 30 to 50min boat ride to Turtle Cove for outer reef dramatic snorkeling. Your grand finale adventures will include the stunning underwater canyons of Ngercheu as well as Turtle Cove’s famous Blue Hole.
Paddle and snorkel through this Micronesian archipelago encompassed by glorious scenery above and below the Pacific’s surface.
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Cost & Payments
Costs (in US$)
|Type||Cost Per Person|
|Trip Cost, double occupancy||$8,200|
Costs are per person, double occupancy, not including airfare, singles extra. See Included and Not Included sections for more details.
If you are a single traveler, we will find a roommate for you, but if we cannot find you a roommate, we may charge you a single supplement. Single rooms cost extra and are subject to availability.
|Payment||Due Date||Amount Per Person|
|Deposit||Due now to reserve your space||$1,500|
|Final||December 16, 2023||Remaining Balance|
Payments are due based on the schedule above. All reservations require a deposit to confirm reservation of your space.
Until the Final Payment due date, deposits are refundable except for a cancellation fee of $150 per person, which can be applied toward another trip if reserved within six months of the cancelled trip’s departure date. Cancellations are non-transferrable. No refunds are given after the Final Payment due date.
- All leaders, transport, park entry fees, and permits for all activities unless described as optional.
- Permits for Peleliu, Rock Islands, and Jellyfish Lake.
- Accommodations for the nights of May 26 through June 3.
- Meals from breakfast on May 27 through breakfast on June 4, except meals listed in Not Included section.
- Transfers on May 26 and June 4 between the Palau Pacific Resort and the Koror Airport.
- Trip Planning Materials – information about flights, packing, entry and departure requirements, airport transfers, gratuities, etc.
- All airfare, airport and departure taxes, and excess baggage fees. Round-trip airfare is approximately $1,700 to $2,000 between the US and Koror, Palau, depending on origin.
- Passport and visa fees.
- COVID tests.
- We can arrange divergent airport transfers and extra hotel nights for an extra cost.
- Dinners in Koror on May 28, May 30, June 1, and June 3.
- Gratuities – tipping is always discretionary. However, we will give you suggested amount in our Trip Planning Materials.
- Snorkeling equipment (mask, snorkel, and snorkel fins) and wetsuit.
- Emergency evacuation insurance and trip cancellation insurance. For more information see travel insurance.
- Items of a personal nature such as laundry, telephone calls, medical costs or hospitalization, room service, alcoholic and other beverages, items not on the regular menu, etc. If you have special dietary needs, please indicate them on your Reservation Form.
In May, average temperatures range from the mid- to upper-70s°F (24 to 26°C) at night up to the mid- to upper-80s°F (29 to 32°C) during the day, with high humidity and about a 50% chance of rain showers.
We recommend at least some kayaking and snorkeling experience before you arrive in Palau. You should also be fit enough to get into and out of the boat as well as spend all day in and out of the water. Please contact us if you have any health concerns that may make this trip challenging.
Airfare is not included in trip costs. Detailed logistical information and the contact information for our recommended flight-ticketing agent are included in the Trip Materials we will send you. Please let us know if you are arriving earlier or staying later, as we are happy to assist you with any extra overnights that you might want to arrange.
Flights you (or a travel agent) book: Arrive in Koror, Palau (ROR) by 11:59pm on May 26. If you are arriving from our Palau Diving trip, see the Flights section in its itinerary for arrival information. Depart from Koror, Palau (ROR) after 12:00am on June 4.
Don’t let a fear of seasickness keep you away! For all but the most sensitive, seasickness is rarely a problem in this area. Because you are close to the islands most of the time, the seas tend to be gentle. Your crossing to and from the southern archipelago can be exposed to choppy conditions, so bring medication if you get seasick or are unsure. You may find that you do not need it after a couple days once you have your “sea legs.” Read our suggestions for coping with seasickness and contact us if you have any concerns.
Our company ethos has always regarded conservation as inseparable from responsible tourism. We struggle with the dilemma that traveling worldwide expends climate-changing carbon. However, we wholeheartedly believe that traveling with us will cultivate your passion for conserving our beautiful world while stimulating each destination’s local economy. We encourage you to explore the various ways in which Cheesemans’ operates within this context:
- Ecotourism and Conservation for Palau
- Cheesemans’ Trips are Carbon Neutral: As of June 1, 2022, our trips are carbon neutral.
- Offsetting your Travel to/from our Trip: We ask you to pledge to offset the carbon emissions for your travel to and from our trips. Use this tool to calculate your emissions and purchase your carbon offset today through Sustainable Travel International, or through your favorite carbon offsetting organization.
Read our current Terms and Conditions.
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"Experiencing an exceptionally beautiful part of Planet Earth (both above ground and under water) that we have never visited before. Learing more about the history, culture, and environment of Palau, Micronesia. Having a native Palauan with Mac's exceptional knowledge was, we think, critical to the success of this trip."
Skip & Gayle Stokes, 2022
"This is a snorkelers paradise. And we had maximum time to snorkel! Chessemans' are the best!!"