Summary : Visit Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for its high density of marine life with 600 fish species and over 300 varieties of coral. Trek through diverse landscapes at Taroko National Park, home to the world's largest marble gorge, rugged coastal cliffs, narrow canyons, and lush, subtropical forest. Explore a tunnel on Batan used by Japanese soldiers during World War II. Experience warm welcomes and legendary Filipino hospitality as you visit traditional villages and remote island communities.
Activities : Birding, Culture, Diving, Hiking, Snorkeling
- Groups of 8 or more save 10%
$15,980 to $22,680
Board your independent flight to Palau. Arrive in Koror on March 1 in the late evening and transfer to the Palau Royal Resort for overnight.
Today explore Palau’s geologically fascinating Rock Islands, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Board a local boat for a cruise among the limestone islands and islets and enjoy world-class snorkeling among vibrant coral reefs. This is an important nesting site for many species, and as you look up from the water, watch for wheeling white-tailed tropicbirds, fast flying sulfur-crested cockatoos, common and white terns, and slow-flying Palauan fruit bats. Enjoy lunch on a white-sand beach. Return to your hotel for dinner and overnight.
Palau’s surrounding reefs are home to more than 1,500 species of fish and 700 species of coral, while in the sandy shallows, thousands of giant clams can be found. Spend the morning exploring this incredibly rich marine environment at one of Palau’s many world-class snorkel sites. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before embarking the Caledonian Sky.
Two days at sea offers a chance to relax onboard, scan the skies and surrounding water with naturalists, and attend lectures from the onboard experts.
Arrive in the Philippines this morning. Spend the rest of the day snorkeling or diving off tiny Pamilacan Island, with the possibility of going ashore to visit with locals.
Today visit Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park, a marine and bird sanctuary that covers over 370 square miles. Part of the Coral Triangle, this area was recognized as a World Heritage Site due to the high density of marine species and important breeding grounds for seabirds and marine turtles. Spend the day snorkeling or diving over pristine reefs.
Explore the natural and cultural wonders of Coron, including an active hike up Coron’s vertical cliffs, which is rewarded with breathtaking views of Kayangan Lake. Afterwards there is an opportunity to swim in the crystal-clear waters. In the afternoon, visit the Banuang Daan who will showcase their rich traditions with a performance and display of handicrafts.
The second-largest contiguous coral reef in the world after the Great Barrier Reef, Apo offers a kaleidoscope of hard and soft corals. Discover luminescent anemones and nudibranchs, pygmy seahorses, pipefish, and other wondrous small creatures, as well as large pelagics such as sharks, tuna, and barracudas.
Comprised of 124 lushly vegetated islands, Hundred Islands National Park offers lovely beaches, gorgeous vistas, and crystal-clear waters. Spend the day on one of these private islands birding, snorkeling, diving, and exploring by Zodiac.
Established in the 16th century, Vigan stands as Asia’s finest example of a planned Spanish colonial city. Exceptionally intact, its grid street pattern and architectural influences earned the city UNESCO status in 1999. Wander the cobbled streets, and pay a visit to the Pagburnayan pottery makers, to learn about the production of Vigan’s famous burnay jars.
The Babuyan Islands are home to steep foothills, volcanic cones, mangroves, and a marine sanctuary. Take a stroll along Calayan’s gorgeous white-sand beaches and snorkel or dive in the warm waters, while birders search the forest for the Calayan rail, a flightless bird endemic to the island.
Batan was the first domino to fall during Japan’s invasion of the Philippines during World War II, and you will hear harrowing tales while visiting a tunnel used as a hideout by Japanese soldiers. Climb to the top of Radar Tukon, a former lighthouse and US weather station, which offers 360-degree views across the island. Savor the fresh air and bucolic setting of the Vayang Rolling Hills, then take a leisurely stroll around the town plaza, dominated by Santo Domingo de Basco Church, built in 1812.
Arrive in Taiwan’s second-largest city, located on the mountainous east coast. Hualien serves as your gateway to Taroko National Park, centered upon its namesake marble gorge. The park comprises some 227,000 acres and varying altitudes, from sea level at the mouth of the Liwu River to towering Mount Nanhu at more than 12,000 feet. Such dramatic climate changes create a diverse array of vegetation and habitats, hosting a third of Taiwan’s vascular plants, half of its mammal species, and over 140 recorded bird species.
Dominated by Taipei 101—a 1,600-foot-high tower that resembles a stalk of bamboo—Taiwan’s capital offers a captivating mix of Asian and Western influences. The city is famous for its street food, so make a stop to sample a variety of xiaochi (little snacks) while visiting top attractions such as the Chinese-influenced Martyrs’ Shrine; Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall, commemorating Taiwan’s former president; and the National Palace Museum, which houses the world’s largest collection of Chinese art. Or, leave the city bustle behind to visit Yehliu Geopark with its surreal rock formations, as well as Gold Ecological Park, built to offer insights into the region’s gold-mining culture.
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your independent homeward flight, arriving in the USA the same day.
Read this itinerary as a guide only; the exact route and program varies according to weather conditions and the wildlife you encounter. Flexibility is the key to the success of this expedition. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Optional Scuba Diving: Limited to 16 Advance Open Water (AOW) certified scuba divers. You must complete two open water dives within the 12 months prior to the trip’s departure.
Arrival and departure transfers on group dates; accommodations as per the itinerary; $80 gear certificate; all meals onboard ship and group meals ashore; select beverages (soft drinks, beer, and wine with lunch and dinner); gratuities; limited emergency medical and evacuation coverage*. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare; excess baggage charges; airport arrival and departure taxes; transfers for independent arrivals and departures; passport and/or visa fees; scuba diving; additional travel insurance; items of a personal nature such as laundry, additional bar charges, alcoholic beverages (other than listed above), fax/telephone charges; fuel surcharge may apply.
*Emergency Medical & Evacuation Insurance:
Emergency medical coverage to a maximum benefit per paying passenger of $25,000 is included in the cost of this expedition, as well as evacuation coverage to a maximum benefit per paying passenger of $100,000. Insurance is underwritten by National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, PA. The policy will contain reductions, limitations, exclusions and termination provisions. All coverages may not be available in all states. Please note this coverage does not cover you against trip cancellation or for additional days of travel prior to and/or after the expedition trip dates. ExpeditionTrips strongly advises all clients to purchase travel insurance which includes trip cancellation and interruption coverage for the entire duration of your trip.
Photos ©: Natalia Baechtold, Michael Moore, Zegrahm Expeditions