Rock Steady: Kayaking Through Palau’s Rock Islands

Jessica Peterson

Kayaking in Palau

Kayaking through Palau’s Rock Islands feels like being a castaway in an undiscovered paradise. This was my second time to take this day trip and it was no less exhilarating than nearly two years ago. Read my full travel story.

This was my second excursion with Sam’s Tours. Their guides are top-notch, environmentally-aware, and knowledgable.


At one point, the group decided to enter a water-filled lagoon only accessible by free diving under two massive rocks. Our guide assured us that the tide would eventually go out, making it possible to swim out head above water. After ducking in for a minute and nearly scraping my head on the razor-sharp clams overhead, I opted to keep an eye on the kayaks!


Paddling across this lagoon midday was no small feat. Notice how I am far behind the other kayakers!


Respites came in small measures, like ducking under a few feet of shade by hugging the rock.


We explored bat-filled, majestic caves along the way. I became something of a bat lover when I saw them up close in Cairns, Australia a few years ago (below). They can be quite cute and are perfectly harmless!



Palau Rock Islands

As the Pacific stage of WWII, Micronesia has dozens of historical wreck sites. Palau is no exception. We snorkeled through a Japanese ‘Zero’ plane wreck (sorry, no underwater camera) — different from the one I saw last time, below.

Japanese plane in Palau waters

This old Japanese pill box was built into one of the islands. I climbed up barefoot, clutching the dry box holding my camera.

Palau Rock Islands

Palau Rock Islands

Tankini: J.Crew.  Sunglasses: Harajuku Street, Japan.

Palau Rock Islands

Palau Palau

Below you see the results of a typhoon that hit Palau recently. Even the wreckage couldn’t diminish the natural beauty of the ocean.

>> READ NEXT:  10 Things You Must Eat, See & Do in Cairns


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Jessica Peterson
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Jessica Peterson

Jessica Peterson is a travel filmmaker, photographer, and journalist. She released her first documentary film about indigenous culture on Guam in 2016, after having lived nearly 7 years on the Pacific island. Jessica is currently on the Great American Roadtrip in her Airstream trailer.
Jessica Peterson
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  • Sam

    Please be sure to mention Sam’s Tours and thanks for coming out with us:-)

  • What a spectacular day trip in Palau. I have kayaked in both Hawaii and New Zealand and loved both. I can empathise with finding shade for respite from the midday heat and on my Hawaii your I got so sunburned I couldn’t walk properly for two days!

  • Courtney Jones

    The water looks so inviting! What an amazing colour of blue! I’m always way behind everyone else whenever I kayak…too busy taking it all in? 😀

    The bat is actually pretty cute!

  • You always go to really exotic places! I don’t think I’ve ever read or seen images from Micronesia before, I had to look on google maps and then zoom out to see exactly where you’d been. It sounds like an adventure getting into the lagoon. Brilliant photos and the bat photo is especially good.

  • Neha Verma

    I am scared of bats..and that size, OMG! But seriously, the lagoon is so beautiful. What a wonderful sail through it. The place is simply exotic!!

  • Look at how beautiful and green this area is! It really is stunning, would love to Kayak through 🙂 We kayaked around the Phi Phi Islands and loved it, surprisingly so relaxing! Thanks for sharing, I have added it to my bucket list.

  • Coleman Concierge

    What a beautiful place! I absolutely love kayaking and kayaking to worse, I will have to keep Sam’s tours in mind when we visit 🙂

  • Air Flight Cheap Tickets

    Going kayaking on a beautiful place like Palau’s rock should be something memorable as Palau is filled with a lot of history. Sam’s Tour would be a great hook up then! Amazing photos!

  • Natalie Tanner

    What an adventure! Such colorful photos! I would love to visit – I’m not a water bug so I’m not sure about kayaking personally, but we always travel with the kids and I know THEY would love this!