I have never been stung by a jellyfish – knock on wood. But growing up 15 minutes away from South Florida’s beaches, almost everyone else I know has been. I’m sure my day will come, and that day is one of my worst fears. So why, then, is snorkeling in this jellyfish-filled lake on my travel bucket list?
Jellyfish Lake is a 12,000-year old, saltwater lake in in Palau, Micronesia. It is home to more than 10 million golden jellyfish. The amazing thing about this species of jellyfish? Not harmful to humans. Over the centuries, the climate of the lake caused the golden jellyfish to evolve and their stingers to weaken – allowing humans to snorkel right alongside the beautiful creatures as they migrate from one side to the other of the 1,500-foot-by-525-foot lake.
Travelers need a $35 pass in order to snorkel in the lake. Many touring companies in Palau can take visitors to the lake, which is located on the mostly uninhabited Eil Malk island. Getting to the lake requires hiking over a steep, limestone path, so visitors are advised to wear protective clothing and waterproof shoes.
Sadly for me, Jellyfish Lake might remain just a dream for the moment – tickets from South Florida to Palau run upward of $2,000, and the flight can range anywhere from 27 to 40 hours, depending on the airline. But I look forward to the day I can see a jellyfish and not swim frantically in the other direction.