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.

View on Jellyfish Lake, Palau snorkeling

How to get there?

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).

Jellyfish Lake snorkeling map, Palau

Water entrance

You will enter the water from a wooden platform installed on the lake shore. Even if jellyfish are harmful to most of people, it is recommended that persons with allergies to jellyfish wear a wetsuit to swim among these creatures.

Exploration

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.

Snorkeling with golden jellyfish in Palau

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.

Golden jellyfish in Palau's Jellyfish Lake

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.

Restaurants and accommodation

There are no restaurants near the lake, but most of day tours includes lunch, snacks and drinks.



Species you may spot while snorkeling Jellyfish Lake
COMMON NAME SCIENTIFIC NAME ABUNDANCE FISHBASE WIKIPEDIA
Golden jellyfish Mastigias papua etpisoni  

 

  • Level required Intermediary
  • Protected areaNgerukewid Islands National Wildlife Preserve
  • Maximum depth60ft. Do not dive below 10ft.
  • Water entranceEasy, from a platform
  • LifeguardYes
  • Visitor numbersMedium
  • Access costsTour price ($90-120pp.) + permit price
  • Restaurants nearbyNo
  • Public toilets & showersNo

MAP Spot

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.