Last Updated on April 13, 2020 by

Palau’s Jellyfish Lake is one of the world’s most incredible natural phenomenons. Here’s my experience swimming in the Jellyfish Lake, Palau.

Green, green, green all around me. Besides a few strands of dirt, I could hardly see anything in the dark, emerald water.

But I swam on, armed with nothing more than my snorkeling mask and fins, into the darkness. My group of friends had plunged in earlier, leaving me alone, slightly nervous in this jade green water world. “We saw a crocodile here last week,” said the park ranger, just before I dived in. That didn’t help.

I’d swum barely twenty meters before a  beige-ish jellyfish appeared out of the blue.  I examined it and smiled to myself.

Soon another jellyfish appeared, this time even bigger than before.

And then another showed up. And another.

All of a sudden, hundreds of translucent jellyfish surrounded me, pulsating unanimously in a hypnotic rhythm. I stayed still to observe the creatures as they bobbed gracefully up and down, their translucent skin glowing under the sunlight and their short curly tentacles dancing in the water. With slight hesitation, I stretched my hands out to touch them and was wildly surprised when one of them glided gently by my fingers, right into my cupped hands. Entranced by the graceful movements of the underwater ballerinas before me, I watched in bewilderment.

Nature’s Anomaly

Thankfully, these aren’t your average jellyfish — In Palau’s Jellyfish Lake, these jellyfish are miraculously ‘stingless’ and there are thousands of them who call this home. Scientists aren’t sure exactly how or from where the jellyfish arrived, but over the years, they have somehow evolved  to lose most of their sting (probably due to lack of predators).  Naturally, they are a very fragile species and they need to be protected on various levels to ensure their continued existence.

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Palau's Underworld in Photos

Fortunately the Palauan government is very serious about protecting Jellyfish Lake and its unique inhabitants. The Koror State Permit costs US$35 per person and the government has stipulated an additional green fee for all visitors of the country. There are even park rangers at the site to make sure that there’s no foul play.

With Palau’s eco-conscious approach to conservation, I’m confident Jellyfish Lake will stay this way for a long, long time. Meanwhile, get there soon because you never know when the jellyfish may decide to stop dancing.

Here are some photos by my friend Michelle Jerson who was there with me. (My GoPro was super lame underwater). Read her article about Palau on her blog, Passport Romance.

swimming jellyfish lake palau

A lonesome jellyfish bobs in a hypnotic rhythm

 

A jellyfish comes right up to the camera lens

 Their short, curly tentacles dance in the water

 

More golden jellyfish beaming under the sunlight

That’s me, looking slightly afraid to hurting these fragile creatures

Michelle with a jellyfish in her cupped hands

 There are literally thousands of them in the water…

Details:

I visited Jellyfish Lake as part of a diving trip with Sam’s Tours. There are also snorkeling day-trips or island-hopping trips that include a stop here. Check this page for a list of tours.


Disclaimer: My trip was hosted by Sam’s Tours and Palau Visitors Authority, but all opinions above are my own.