Palau’s Famous Jellyfish Lake
Palau has made a name for itself as one of the best-preserved pockets of the world. If you did not hear about Palau because of its world class diving or it’s rich WWII history, then chances are that Jellyfish Lake introduced you to Palau. That is for good reason, Jellyfish Lake can back up the hype that it gets. It is an experience that should be on everyone’s bucket list. Let’s dive into what makes it special and what you need to know to best prepare you for a visit to Palau’s famous Jellyfish Lake.
Jellyfish Lake is a marine lake filled with millions of stingless jellyfish. Yes, you read that correctly – millions of harmless jellyfish. The lake is in Palau’s southern lagoon or as known locally as the Rock Islands. Jellyfish Lake is connected to the ocean through a series of fissures and micro-tunnels. There are no openings large enough for predators to enter the lake. Because of this, the jellyfish have existed in a predator-free environment and have evolved to not have the ability to sting, as it has no use. The two species found in Jellyfish lake are the Golden Jellyfish and the Moon Jellyfish, the Golden Jellyfish being the far more predominant of the two. In 2005 there were an estimated 30 million in the lake. In recent years, a drought had diminished the jellyfish population to a low of around half a million. Fortunately, their numbers have rebound to approximately 6 million jellyfish today.
From Koror, it is around a 30-to-45-minute boat ride to reach Jellyfish Lake. Upon arrival, you’ll be greeted by the park rangers who will check you in and help you get set up for the short hike to the lake. The local government has cleared a path through the thick jungle of the limestone island. It should take most guests about 20 minutes to complete the hike to the lake. Once at the lake itself, you’ll be able to enter the lake from a pier that cuts through a small mangrove patch. The Jellyfish follow the path of sun, and so the time of the day that you visit will determine where the jellyfish are congregated. As you begin your snorkel into the lake, you notice a few jellyfish scattered here and there until you finally reach what can only be described as a massive wall of Golden Jellyfish. Swimming through this mass of jellyfish cannot be adequately described and can only be understood through experience, it is incredibly surreal.
If you love interacting with nature in it’s purest untouched state, then Jellyfish Lake in Palau must be on your bucket list.