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“The Best Tour Operator for Non-diving Tours in Palau”

IMPAC TOURS - Day Tour
Ranked #4 of 20 Tours in Koror
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Reviewed February 21, 2012

I joined the following tours organized by IMPAC:

I Rock Islands Tour

Itinerary (if I remember correctly)

Pick-up from hotel – IMPAC Office (payment for jellyfish lake permit and snorkeling gears fitting) - Cannon (photo-taking on boat) – Natural Arch (photo-taking on boat) – Paradise Island (snorkeling) – Jellyfish Lake – Lunch on a beach (lunch box) - Milky Way - Fantasy Island (snorkeling) – IMPAC Office (returning of snorkeling gears and souvenir shopping) – Return to hotel

Pick-up at 8:45am at hotel lobby was punctual and efficient. Free snorkeling gears and life jacket could be borrowed from IMPAC. After settling the payment for the Jellyfish Lake Permit and getting my life jacket, we went straight to the boat. All seats were front-facing with a big dry box underneath and a small tray (good for sun-glasses and sun block) at the back of the seat in front. Cold bottled-water or bottled tea was provided throughout the entire tour. There were 7 English-speaking customers, all taken care of by Grant (an English-speaking guide). Another 10 Japanese customers were taken care of by a Japanese guide and a Korean guide (could speak both English and Japanese). All the guides were very nice and friendly.

Snorkeling in Paradise Island was amazing: warm, calm and clear water, a lot of colourful small fishes, the snorkeling area carpeted with horn corals and fringed with cabbage corals on the edge. At Jellyfish Lake, the Japanese guide shown us how to put all the snorkeling gears at the back of the safety jacket tidily so that we could free our two hands when hiking to and from the Jellyfish Lake. Grant leaded us to a spot with huge quantity of jellyfishes but far from the crowd. The beach for lunch was very beautiful. My lunch box was in Japanese style, big portion and tasty. Milky Way was fun. Snorkeling in Fantasy Island was fantastic, again warm and clear water, a lot of colourful small fishes and horn corals. The only issue was that the tide was a bit low at some areas making the corals too shallow which were not suitable for beginners. When we back to IMPAC office, tasty cookies were provided while we were waiting for the transfer back to hotel.

After joining another rock islands tour organized by a different agent, I consider that the itinerary of this tour by IMPAC is very well-planned. We were always the only 1 or 2 boats at each site. It was very important to avoid the crowds as more and more tourists visit Palau nowadays.

Overall comment: Excellent. Very good value for money in beautiful Palau! No regret.

II Southern Rock Islands

Itinerary (if I remember correctly)

Pick-up from hotel – IMPAC Office (snorkeling gears fitting) - Clam City (Snorkeling) - Whale Island (photo-taking on boat) – Grandfather Island (photo-taking on boat) – German Channel (photo-taking on boat) – Big Drop-off (Snorkeling) – Carp Island (BBQ lunch + other activities) – Long Beach (swimming) – IMPAC Office (returning of snorkeling gears and souvenir shopping) – Return to hotel

Pick-up time was also 8:45am. After getting the life jacket, we waited for about 20 minutes at the bar before boarding the boat. This time the boat was different, a bigger one but the seat was less comfortable with no dry box. We had 6 customers this time, 4 Japanese-speaking and 2 English-speaking. One guide was assigned to this tour (could speak both Japanese and English). Similarly, cold bottled-water or bottled tea was provided throughout the entire tour.

Clam City was a waste of time! Just had a few clams there. Everybody went back to the boat quickly. We then went straight to the German Channel. Although we were on the boat, German Channel was very beautiful, crystal clear water! Snorkeling in the Big Drop-off was the highlight of my entire journey in Palau. I saw red fan corals and black corals for the first time. I spent most of my time along the drop. The current was quite strong. Beginners should stay at shallow area or close to the tour boat. The only issue at Big Drop-off was that a lot of tour boats went there making the place filled with diesel–smell. We spent around 2.5 hours in Carp Island. Kayaking, line-fishing at the pier and land tour to see the Yap stone money were all free. I spent my time walking around the island and had a soothing warm shower at the common shower room. The BBQ lunch was cooked by the captain. He cooked much more than everybody could eat. When we back from the Long Beach, cold watermelon was served. Wonderful.

Overall comment: Good. Could be excellent if they replace Clam City by other snorkeling site. If you are planning to join this tour, try to ask IMPAC to go to another site instead of Clam City or simply just skip one site! Save your time for the Big Drop-off.

11  Thank dimsum
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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64 - 68 of 105 reviews

Reviewed January 12, 2012

My husband and I took the Kayak & Jellyfish Lake Tour and we just loved it. IMPAC offers a very professional service, they are pontual and know how to entertain for the whole day without hurring everybody up which is something that really puts me off in group tours. They have the best organized packages for you, your friends and family get the best out of Palau. And the staff is incredible attentive and thoughtful! Grant was such a awesome guide, very gentle and always thinking how to provide us the best time. It´s definately one of the highlights of our trip to Palau.

2  Thank Maya G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 6, 2011

I loved our tour with IMPAC- They provide good service to all language speakers and theyr tours are more reasonable than some of the other operators but for a better quality tour.

1  Thank lovetotravelFl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 28, 2011

My wife and I still call it our best day in the tour. The tour was operated very beautifully right from the start to the finish. Touring to the Jellyfish Lake was an enjoyable experience. Kayaking, swimming and snorkeling all combined made our tour memorable. Everything guided by the helpful advices of the guide made it even more special. We could have fun, adventures and relaxation at the same time. One must take this tour in Palau, we recommend it in the first place.

1  Thank AbronSin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 26, 2011

First I want to say that IMPAC as a tour company was great. They were the first Palauan tour company to respond to my inquiries, were the most thorough in answering my questions, and offered the exact combination of activities I wanted--touring the Rock Islands, snorkeling, kayaking, and snorkeling in Jellyfish Lake--and at the best price (they also give a discount if you make a reservation on-line). It ended up that on our particular tour boat, I was the only English-speaking tourist who wanted to go kayaking (there were four others on the boat, Koreans, actually, who also could speak English, but they weren't there for the kayaking), all the others were Japanese-speaking. So I had my own private English-speaking tour guide, Grant, and the other kayakers had the Japanese-speaking tour guide. Grant was very fun to tour with and educational to learn from, and he identified by name various forms of coral and the fish that we saw, all pristine and beautiful through the amazingly clear, glass-like water. Grant took me around various gorgeous lagoons and also through a passageway into a "hidden" inner lagoon, all of which were quite worth seeing, I thought. He also took the time to use my camera to document for me my doing the various activities on our tour; he was very thorough in this picture-taking and did a great job of capturing all the things that we had been doing.

I had taken kayaking lessons at home prior to coming to Palau, but they hadn't really been necessary for this particular tour, which was in gentle, protected waters--there was no strenuous paddling against waves, currents, or wind, just a smooth and easy exploration of these Rock Island lagoons. The kayaks they use are the "sit on top" type instead of the "sit inside" type, kayaks that are practically impossible to tip over and fall out of, and even if something like that managed to happen, "sit on tops" require no skill in getting back on. So this activity was really quite easy and available to practically anybody who might want to do it (and it was a wonderful way to experience this area).

After the two kayaking groups, the Japanese, and Grant and me, returned to the beach from which we started, the tour boat returned from one section of snorkeling and took us all off to experience another attraction in the Rock Islands, "Milky Way", which is a lagoon that has at the bottom of it tens of thousands of years old limestone mud. Grant collected bucketfuls of the mud from the floor of the lagoon and brought them on board for all us to cover up every inch of our skin (bodies, faces, and hair) with this whitish mud that is supposed to be good for your skin. For those readers who have been to some other "mud bath" places in the world where the mud can stain or otherwise ruin whatever you wearing, you needn't worry that this will happen with the Milky Way mud. You can thoroughly have fun making yourself into a mud person and then you jump into the water and it all comes right off. The water, of course, is wonderfully warm and, as with elsewhere in the Rock Islands, the deep forest surrounding the lagoon area is very beautiful.

I knew that sunblock was detrimental to the jellyfish that we were going to be swimming with later on the tour and therefore I had worried about putting it on as we had been told to make sure we DID put on prior to kayaking. However, I realized that during this visit to the Milky Way, the mud we had been putting on all over our bodies was washing off any sunblock we might have put on ourselves, so we would be no danger the jelly fish.

After the Milky Way, it was time for lunch, which we had on another island in a jungle under a large covered picnic pavilion, which was necessary, as by now we were in an intensely heavy rainstorm! The lunch I had selected was Japanese-style, various meats, vegetables, and rice along with bottled lemon-flavored iced tea. After our lunch, two of the English-speaking Koreans, who were commercial airline pilots, and I went down the beach to see the ruins of a downed World War II plane. It was mostly completely buried in the sand with only the upper third of the engine and one propeller blade showing, but it was cool, and quite interesting to the pilots, who attempted to identify whether it had been a Japanese plane or an American one.

After lunch, the boat took us to the landing where the entrance was to the trail that took us up the mountain (and then down again) to Jellyfish Lake. The hike is not strenuous, even though the trail is very steep; it is like climbing jagged rock stairs that are cut into the limestone, but the whole way up and down there is a rope to use to pull yourself up.

The whole atmosphere and experience of Jellyfish Lake was quite exciting, I thought. It somehow felt to me like we had gone back in time to some ancient "dinosaur" era. The rain forest that covered the hills that surround the lake was packed solid with deep green jungle trees (I thought of it as "the Forest Primeval"), and the water of the lake was also a dark "ancient" green. And yes, there are jelly fish (non-stinging) by the thousands and they gently bump up against you (or you bump against them) as you swim forward. I was able to take an underwater video of them as I swam forward in full "snorkel" regalia (swim fins, goggles, life vest, and snorkel), and also Grant did his part in taking pictures of me, including taking his life vest off so that he could go down underneath me and take a great photo of me swimming OVER the jelly fish. He also suggested that I hold one in my hand above the surface of the water for a photo and the jelly fish flattened out completely in my hand, but when I floated it back into the water, it filled up again into its jelly fish shape as if it had been only a baggie, and it gently swam away with with its "pulsing umbrella" top pulling it along, no harm done.

The water in that lake was lukewarm, but every once in a while we would swim through patches that were surprisingly cold. It was all very "alien" in feel, and therefore quite wonderful in its uniqueness.

After the lake, the boat took us out to a large inter-island lagoon, where we all got out to snorkel and as we swam forward, the boat came along with us. I was amused at how some of the Japanese tourists had brought their babies along, too, putting them into cartoon-decorated inner tubes and pulling them along while the parents enjoyed the underwater sights through their goggles.

I was fascinated by long, skinny fish that looked like they were made of light blue glass, which Grant identified as Needlefish. There were gorgeous coral formations below us and also a few rainbow-lipped giant clams, which for sure is something you don't see every day! I just missed seeing a nurse shark (not dangerous). While this was not the VERY best snorkeling I have ever experienced (the best ever was in the Yasawa Island Group of Fiji), it was better than the snorkeling I experienced in Kauai and Cozumel, so I think it was pretty good. I don't know if people get better snorkeling by going along on a dive boat, but for my taste, this was fine, because I really didn't want to snorkel out in the open ocean or in the area of a drop-off, where there might be strong currents.

All in all, I recommend this tour for those who want to see the Rock Islands (which is a must-see for Palau). Of the things we did on the tour, I liked experiencing Jelly Fish Lake the best, but kayaking was a very close second.

7  Thank thomasdosborneii
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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