Palau Jellyfish Lake Tour - 5 things you need to know

There was this lake with jellyfish that don’t sting near the Rock Island of Palau, a country I knew nothing about. Of course, when I finally arrived in Palau, I knew I had to see them.

It is a once in a lifetime experience. Palau was one of the last countries in the world for me to visit and it turned out to be really special. There are a number of other amazing things to do in Palau when visiting, more about that in our other blog here.

The only way to see Jellyfish Lake is by booking a Palau Jellyfish Lake Tour. You don’t want to miss out on swimming with jellyfish, and this blog will help you plan.

Here are 5 Things to know about Jellyfish Lake:

1. Where is Palau Jellyfish Lake located?

The Jellyfish Lake is a marine lake located on Eil Malk island which is part of the Rock Islands in Palau.

The lake is home to millions of jellyfish. It’s believed the jellyfish have lived here for 12,000 years. 

2. Why are there jellyfish in a lake and not in the ocean in Palau?

Well to put it simply, they are the remains of the last ice age when the sea level rose to the point where the lake was filled with seawater and jellyfish. Once the glaciers receded, there was nowhere for the jellyfish to go and they got trapped here and evolved living in the lake. Saltwater still enters the lake through a shallow complex of coral caverns, but the jellyfish can’t get out.

Only a few years ago their numbers declined and the lake was closed to visitors. It worked and the jellies start reproducing and came back.

Today Jellyfish Lake tour is the only way to visit and it includes an environmental fee. 

Palau Jellyfish from above
Palau Jellyfish from above

3. How much does Jellyfish Lake cost?

There are two costs to consider when it comes to Jellyfish Lake tours.

The Permit – To snorkel or dive anywhere around Rock Island/Jellyfish Lake you must pay for a permit which is $100. It’s valid for 10 days and it is usually not included in the cost of the jellyfish tour as you might have already purchased it.

The cost of the Jellyfish tour – As of 2022, the cost of tours are higher than previously. 

The cheaper tour only visits Jellyfish Lake and it costs $125.

However we would recommend the Rock Island Tour which includes the Jellyfish Lake, Milkyway and snorkelling/swimming stops for $150 per person. See below for all details. Additionally to this, you pay for the permit.

4. What is the best Palau Jellyfish Lake Tour?

You’ll be able to swim for hours with these creatures as they migrate from one side of the lake to the other on the Jellyfish Lake Tour. It’s simply incredible. Is it expensive? Yes, it is! But so is Antarctica and people still go!

So what is the best Jellyfish Lake Tour to do in Palau? It’s this one.

Why? It includes all the main highlights, not just the Jellyfish Lake so it offers a much better value:

I have contacted all operators in Palau and this was the best tour. I have even been quoted an expensive trip by another company and then they said I have to pay an additional $14 to hire the snorkel and fins! 

This Rock Island Tour includes lunch, snorkelling gear and drinking water. The tour also includes a visit to the Milky Way, snorkelling in a few spots and the famous Long Beach. Imagine swimming with wild turtles, Napoleon Wrasse, Bumphead Parrotfish, and more fantastic marine life. And of course the Jellyfish!

Don’t forget: The environment fee is $100, depending on whether you already have it or need to purchase it. 

Palau Jellyfish Lake tour best thing
Palau Jellyfish Lake Tour is a must-do in Palau

5. Is it safe to go swimming with jellyfish in Palau?

Yes, it is safe. These are very friendly jellyfish. 🙂

There are two types of jellyfish in Jellyfish Lake, Moon jellyfish and Golden jellyfish. 

As I mentioned above, they have evolved on their own inside the lake so they have no stingers. They didn’t need them to survive as they live on algae. So since they don’t need to catch prey or protect themselves, they have no stingers.

The bottom of Jellyfish Lake is toxic as it is contaminated with hydrogen sulphide which would be deadly for the jellyfish and humans, hence why no diving here is allowed.

The companies that operate the Palau Jellyfish tour have safety certificates to run smooth and safe trips.

Palau Jellyfish Lake Tour - 5 things you need to know Jellyfish

Important things to know about the Jellyfish Lake:

One thing to remember when planning a Jellyfish Lake Tour: Palau takes its pledge to the environment very seriously. Any harmful sunscreen is banned and you can buy the ec0-friendly type here.

Or alternatively, get organised and buy a rash vest or swimming shirt so you don’t get sunburnt while swimming with the jellyfish.

Some Tips for Palau

Try to taste some of the local cuisines while you’re here! The food in Palau is a fusion of several cuisines, taking influence from Japan, the Philippines, Indonesia and the USA. Read our post about the most popular food in Palau and where you can get it.

If you are travelling around the Pacific you might also enjoy reading our detailed guide on how to visit EVERY country in the Pacific.

We have more detailed posts about visiting Eneko Island on the Marshall Islands, how to travel to Tonga on a budget. and a Complete Travel Guide to Vanuatu.