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Last updated on April 12, 2023
Jellyfish Lake (Ongeim’l Tketau in Palauan) is one of about 70 marine lakes of Palau. These very specific environments are formed by depressions in limestone filled with salt water, originally connected to the nearby lagoon but now isolated from the sea. Most of the species confined in the lakes didn’t survived but some of them succeeded in adapting to the distinctive living conditions of the saltwater lakes. As a result, Jellyfish Lake is home to millions of stingless jellyfish from different species, only found in Palau. The feeling of swimming in the lake, surrounded by thousands of peaceful jellyfish, is one of the most magical underwater experience, which should be on the bucket list of every adventurous snorkeler.
It has been recently reported that the golden jellyfish population is in decline at this spot. Unless you get different and more recent local advice, it may happen that you won’t see any (or just a few) jellyfish the day you’ll visit the location.
The Jellyfish Lake is located on Eil Malk Island, one of the Rock Islands, 18 miles south of Koror. It is reachable in 30 to 45 minutes by speedboat. Many tour operators in Koror offers full day tours in the Rock Islands, including a snorkeling stop on Jellyfish Lake.
Price for a day tour range from 90 to 120 USD per person, including lunch, drinks, but excluding the Jellyfish Lake conservation fee. You will access the lake by crossing the island ridge on a short trail in the jungle (15 minutes’ walk).
You will enter the water from a wooden platform installed on the lake shore. Even if jellyfish are harmful to most people, it is recommended that persons with allergies to jellyfish wear a wetsuit to swim among these creatures.
The area to explore covers the whole surface of the lake, measuring approximately 150m north-south by 400m east-west.
The observation of the jellyfish is the star attraction of Jellyfish Lake. Two main species of jellyfish live in the lake: the moon jellyfish and the golden jellyfish (Mastigias papua etpisoni). These species are only found in this place: they have evolved to be substantially different from their relatives living in the nearby lagoons.
You will have no trouble encountering these fascinating invertebrates, but to observe the heaviest concentrations of jellyfish, reach the sunniest parts of the lake. Indeed, the golden jellyfish migrates across the lake during the day, following the rays of the sun.
Swimming with thousands of jellyfish is a surreal experience, and the lake is a perfect sight for underwater pictures and selfies. Don’t forget your underwater camera.
Jellyfish are very delicate and can be easily damaged by fins kicks. It is recommended to wear water shoes, instead. Scuba diving is not allowed in the lake, since this activity can harm the jellyfish, but also because a layer of hydrogen sulfide (toxic to humans) begins at 12-14 m (40-45 feet). For this reason, do not freedive too deep. Follow the instructions of your guide, who will advise you on what to do according to the prevailing conditions.
There are no restaurants near the lake, but most of day tours include lunch, snacks and drinks.
These spots are accessible to anyone with basic snorkeling skills, and feeling comfortable in the water and with his snorkeling gear. You will enter the water from the shore (beach, pontoon, ladder, rocks) or from a boat. The water height in the sea entrance area is reasonable, but you will not necessarily be within your depth. Moderate currents can occur in the area, even when the sea conditions are good. The distance to swim to reach the most interesting snorkeling areas of the spot does not exceed 200 meters.
This level only apply when the spot experiences optimal sea and/or weather conditions. It is not applicable if the sea and/or weather conditions deteriorate, in particular in the presence of rough sea, rain, strong wind, unusual current, large tides, waves and/or swell. You can find more details about the definition of our snorkeling levels on our snorkeling safety page.
I snorkeled there in March 2023 and there are no Golden Jellyfish and very few of the white translucent ones. The lake dried up in approximately 2018 and all fauna died.
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Snorkeling spots are part of a wild environment and their aspect can be significantly altered by weather, seasons, sea conditions, human impact and climate events (storms, hurricanes, seawater-warming episodes…). The consequences can be an alteration of the seabed (coral bleaching, coral destruction, and invasive seagrass), a poor underwater visibility, or a decrease of the sea life present in the area. Snorkeling Report makes every effort to ensure that all the information displayed on this website is accurate and up-to-date, but no guarantee is given that the underwater visibility and seabed aspect will be exactly as described on this page the day you will snorkel the spot. If you recently snorkeled this area and noticed some changes compared to the information contained on this page, please contact us.
The data contained in this website is for general information purposes only, and is not legal advice. It is intended to provide snorkelers with the information that will enable them to engage in safe and enjoyable snorkeling, and it is not meant as a substitute for swim level, physical condition, experience, or local knowledge. Remember that all marine activities, including snorkeling, are potentially dangerous, and that you enter the water at your own risk. You must take an individual weather, sea conditions and hazards assessment before entering the water. If snorkeling conditions are degraded, postpone your snorkeling or select an alternate site. Know and obey local laws and regulations, including regulated areas, protected species, wildlife interaction and dive flag laws.
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