Rock Islands Travel Guide

Discover the breathtaking Rock Islands in Palau, Micronesia. Explore natural and cultural attractions, outdoor adventures, food and drink, accommodations, local culture, and more.

Your Ultimate Travel Guide to Rock Islands, Palau

Rock Islands is a stunning archipelago located in Palau, Micronesia, in Oceania. Known for its pristine waters, diverse marine life, and stunning landscapes, it is a must-visit destination for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts. This comprehensive travel guide will provide you with all the information you need to plan a memorable trip to this enchanting destination.

Introduction to Rock Islands

The Rock Islands of Palau comprise more than 200 limestone islands and islets of various sizes, located in the Southern Lagoon of Palau. The stunning turquoise waters surrounding these islands are home to an abundance of marine life, coral reefs, and crystal-clear lagoons. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it’s known for its unique geological formations, vibrant marine life, and historical importance.

List of Places to Visit in Rock Islands

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

There’s no better way to immerse yourself in the local culture and history of Rock Islands than by visiting the various museums and historical sites. The sites include Belau National Museum, Etpison Museum, and Bai ra Koror, a traditional meeting place for village chiefs.

Natural Attractions of Rock Islands: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

Some of the most popular natural attractions in Rock Islands include snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking, and fishing. Explore the enchanting Jellyfish Lake, where visitors can swim with harmless jellyfish or hike up to the stunning viewpoints. Furthermore, you can visit the Big Drop-off and Ngemelis Wall – famous diving sites in the archipelago, or explore the stunning beaches, lagoons, and mangroves by kayak or boat.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Rock Islands

The Rock Islands archipelago is known for its panoramic natural beauty, and hiking/biking is one of the best ways to explore the area. The island offers a wide array of hiking and biking trails that will take you deep into the heart of the Palauan wilderness. You can also take a guided tour and explore the untouched beauty of the Rock Islands.

Best Things to Do in Rock Islands: Activities and Tours

Rock Islands offers a plethora of activities and tours, from snorkeling and diving to island hopping and cultural excursions. Visitors can also take part in fishing tours, kayaking, or explore the enchanting lagoons on a Stand-Up Paddle (SUP) board. A must-try activity is experiencing some of the locals’ culture, such as taking a Palauan food tour or enjoying a traditional dance performance.

Week-Long Itinerary for Rock Islands

Day 1: Explore Jellyfish Lake and the surrounding beaches. Day 2: Kayak through the Palauan mangroves. Day 3-4: Go diving at renowned sites like Big Drop-off and Ngemelis Wall. Day 5: Learn more about Palau’s history with a visit to the Etpison Museum. Day 6: Take part in a food tour or cultural experience. Day 7: Relax on the beach or partake in some last-minute activities.

Food and Drink Scene of Rock Islands

Must-Try Dishes

Palauan cuisine is a mix of local and international influences, and foodies will be delighted by the delicious offerings. Some of the must-try dishes include the divine Palauan National Dish, Jeruk, which is marinated raw fish with lemon juice, onions, and hot chili peppers. Visitors can also try out other local dishes such as Ulkrau and Ruk – both pork or chicken stew, wrapped in taro leaves and cooked in coconut.

Local Beverages

Palauan international and local-inspired beverages are worth trying out, such as essential acht-meq, a local root beer fermented from a special plant, and Kava, traditional South Pacific drink made from the kava plant.

Where to Stay in Rock Islands: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

There’s no shortage of accommodation options in the Rock Islands, whether you’re looking for luxury resorts or budget-friendly guesthouses. Some of the most popular options include EcoLodge, Cove Resort, Palau Pacific Resort, and Rock Island Resort and Hotel.

What to Buy in Rock Islands: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

Palauan handicrafts, souvenirs, and local products are not to be missed. Visitors can buy traditional woven bags, baskets, mats, and hats, hand-carved wooden figurines or buy local jam, dried fish, and hot pepper sauces.

Local Culture and Customs of Rock Islands

Palauan culture is steeped in tradition and history, and visitors are encouraged to embrace and respect the local customs and beliefs. Guests should dress appropriately and remove their shoes when entering homes or temples and recognize and adhere to the country’s laws and customs.

Best Time to Visit Rock Islands

The best time to visit Rock Islands is between November and April when the weather is cooler and drier.

Do’s and Don’ts of Rock Islands


  • Respect the local customs and beliefs of the Palauan people.
  • Embrace the natural beauty of the island by taking part in outdoor activities such as diving and exploring scenic views.
  • Go off the beaten path and explore the less-touristy parts of the island to discover hidden gems.


  • Damage the fragile ecosystems by littering or disturbing endangered species.
  • Photograph or disrupt the local people without permission.
  • Touch or remove any of the coral or underwater life when diving or snorkeling.

Safety and Health

Safety in Rock Islands

Rock Islands is a safe and welcoming destination, but visitors should take sensible precautions. Travelers should be aware of the possible dangers of diving, kayaking, or taking part in any outdoor activities. If you are hiking, be aware of the dangerous fauna, or open flames during a drought season.

Health in Rock Islands

Visitors should take standard travel health precautions such as wearing sunscreen, keeping hydrated, and protecting themselves against mosquito bites. Before traveling, it’s best to visit a travel clinic and get any required vaccinations and advice, including malaria and dengue fever.

Getting to Rock Islands: Transportation Options and Logistics

Airports Near Rock Islands

The main airport servicing Palau is Roman Tmetuchl International Airport, which is located in the state of Airai in Palau. From the airport, visitors can then take a boat to the Rock Islands or transfer to their hotel via shuttle service.

Bus Stations Near Rock Islands

There are no bus service stations in Rock Islands.

Other Options

Another option is by boat or ship for a more scenic way to get to the islands. However, these options may take more time.

How to Get Around in Rock Islands

The most popular and convenient way to get around Rock Islands is by boat, which can be hired or operated by guided tours. Guided tours are also operated on land, such as hiking or cycling tours.

Where to Go Next from Rock Islands: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

Visitors could expand their trip across Micronesia and Pacific-Asia destinations, including Yap, Guam and the Japanese Ryukyu Islands.


Rock Islands is a mesmerizing destination that provides ample opportunities for outdoor adventure, cultural enrichment and relaxation. The breathtaking scenery, rich culture and adventurous activities will leave visitors wanting to return time and time again. Start planning your trip to the Rock Islands today!