For visitors preferring to paddle rather than walk, kayaking tours are the perfect way to really get into the island archipelago. Kayaking conditions are diverse , ranging from leisurely (serene water inlets) to challenging (those with strong current, prominent waves or shifting tides).
Palau's famous Rock Islands are a maze of over 400 jungle-caped, mushroom-shaped islands within the barrier reef. What better way to become more intimately familiar with them than to kayak amongst them. Shallow lagoons, tunnel entrances to hidden marine lakes and lost wrecks all await discovery for those wanting to spend some time paddling amongst the islands. The calm water and slow pace gives the explorer plenty of opportunities to observe native vegetation as well as see a variety of sea, shore, and forest birds that inhabit the rock islands.
Some of the more common birds, such as Palau's national bird, the Palauan Fruit Dove ( Ptilinopus pelewensis ) are endemic to the islands. Large fruit bats, active during the day while they glide from tree to tree in search of fruit, are also a common sight.
The snorkeling, however, is the real treat. The protected lagoons harbor a variety of colorful corals and fish. Many juvenile fish use the sheltered lagoons and protected bays as a nursery. Often times, juveniles are even more brightly colored and can be more animate than the adults.
Further, many fish make their permanent homes in the rock islands giving the avid fish-watcher a chance to see fish they would not normally encounter on the outer reef dive sites. Although racing through the rock islands to get to the dive sites is exciting, slowing down to view all of the wonders of Palau's lagoons has the potential to become even more rewarding than the famous dive sites!