About This Trip
- Miles of healthy coral reefs in crystal clear water showcasing a diversity of marine life including sea turtles, sharks, and manta rays.
- Visits to the famous Jellyfish Lake and Rock Islands (Palau), a new manta ray sanctuary (Yap), and sea turtle nesting beaches (Ulithi).
- Our partnership with the people of Ulithi Atoll gives you special access.
Our exploration of Micronesia in the western Pacific will expose you to the pristine reefs, clear waters, tropical landscapes, and vibrant cultural traditions that have lured adventurers here for centuries. Our 14-day coral sea adventure begins with five days exploring Palau's unique Rock Islands, beautiful green mushroom-shaped islets surrounded by magnificent coral reefs. We visit the best shallow water snorkeling sites within the coral lagoon, considered some of the world's best snorkeling, as well as the famous Jellyfish Lake. We then continue to Yap, known as one of the best places to see manta rays on a consistent basis. The reefs and channels surrounding the landmass are home to a spectacular array of fish and corals. The Yapese and the Ulithi communities continue to practice their traditional lifestyles, and our program will include a cultural tour and opportunities to see the local crafts of the island. From Yap, we fly to the remote coral atoll of Ulithi, home to miles of coral reefs with white sand beaches, secluded lagoons, sea turtles, seabirds, and clear waters that abound with coral and colorful tropical fish. Located northeast of Yap, Ulithi consists of one of the world's largest lagoons surrounded by 36 tropical isles, four of which are inhabited. A former military base, Ulithi only recently opened for public use and we invite you be pioneers exploring this breathtaking area. Our comfortable beachfront lodge on Falalop Island offers beach snorkeling, and serves as a base for coral reef snorkeling excursions and day trips to Turtle and Lizard Islands. The idyllic lagoon is teeming with life and the reefs are so pristine that you will feel like one of the first to have explored them. A final afternoon in Yap allows us to visit the stone money banks and local villages.
Micronesia is known to have 300 species of corals and 1,000 species of fish, and we will make every effort to explore this region's renowned biodiversity on our multi-country journey. With many of the locations we visit under some form of protection, many species that are threatened or absent in other areas can be found regularly here including manta rays, sharks, sea turtles, abundant and large reef fish, giant clams, and much more. The colorful soft and hard corals on the reefs are so pristine in some places that you might think you are the first to explore them, and nudibranchs and other invertebrates are found in abundance. On land we can see several seabird species and unique island inhabitants such as fruit bats and coconut crabs.
Notes on Trip Costs
Trip price does not include international airfare to/from the trip start (Koror, Palau) and end points (Yap, FSM), but does include airfare between Palau, Yap, and Ulithi. Click here for our full expedition terms and conditions.
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Founded in 1969, Oceanic Society is America’s oldest 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to ocean conservation. As pioneers of “eco travel,” our expeditions have been designed to directly support our mission. They not only positively impact our travelers, but also the people, places, and wildlife we go to see. A portion of your trip fees for this expedition will support our non-profit partners, the Ulithi Falalop Community Action Program and One People One Reef whose local project manager will work directly with our groups on Ulithi Atoll. In Palau, a portion of trip fees support the protection of Jellyfish Lake and the Rock Islands, part of the Palau Rock Islands Southern Lagoon UNESCO World Heritage Site, and in Yap, a portion of fees supports the the first government-backed manta ray sanctuary. Oceanic Society has been visiting Yap and Ulithi Atoll for nearly two decades, and our travel groups have supported efforts to conserve sea turtles, coral reefs, and reef fish, and have helped pay school fees for young women from Ulithi Atoll to attend high school in Palau. Oceanic Society's earnings from this trip are also invested back into our global research and conservation programs.
Dates & Prices
Days 0-1: Honolulu - Koror, Palau
Flights bound for Palau from the U.S. typically depart from Honolulu and connect in Guam. Since you will be crossing the International Date Line, you will have to leave a day early to arrive on time. Once you arrive in Koror, you will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel.
Days 2-6: Palau
During the first few days of our program we will make daily boat excursions to visit snorkel sites throughout the Rock Islands. Typically we will visit multiple snorkeling sites in the morning, enjoy lunch and a short break on an isolated beach in the Rock Islands, and then visit more snorkeling sites in the afternoon. During one of our days, we'll also have the chance to visit Jellyfish Lake for the otherworldly experience of swimming among millions of harmless jellies.
Day 7: Koror - Yap
We will take an early morning flight to Yap, which is located midway between Palau and Guam. After a late breakfast, we will snorkel to search for manta rays and to explore the coral reefs of Yap. Snorkeling times and locations are determined by the times of the tides.
Day 8: Yap
Today we will have another chance to snorkel at sites in Yap, which may include a chance to see manta rays, reef sharks in blue water, and/or coral reefs.
Day 9: Yap - Ulithi Atoll
We will take a short morning flight to Falalop Island in Ulithi Atoll. After lunch, we'll enjoy a beach snorkel along the island’s fringing reef.
Days 10–12: Ulithi Atoll
We will have 3 full days to snorkel the pristine waters and coral reefs of Ulithi Atoll. We will likely be the only visitors on the entire atoll. We will also visit seabird and turtle nesting sites at the remote Turtle Islands.
Day 13: Ulithi - Yap
We will take the short flight back to Yap, and then take an afternoon cultural tour to explore one of the nearby Yapese villages and stone money banks.
Day 14: Yap - Fly home
Today marks the end of our Micronesian adventure and the beginning of your journey home or onward. Most participants will have an early morning departure, flying back to Honolulu via Guam.
In Palau and Yap, guests will stay in comfortable hotels with double-occupancy rooms, air conditioning, and private baths. In Ulithi, participants will stay on the only guest lodge on the atoll, Ulithi Adventure Lodge. Private rooms will be clean, basic, with private baths and air conditioning. In Ulithi, all meals will be prepared for the group and served on the lodge patio.