The famous mushroom-shaped gems of Palau’s Rock Islands Southern Lagoon were inscribed in 2012 as a mixed cultural and natural site into the UNESCO World Heritage List. Covering 100,200 hectares with 445 uninhabited limestone islands of volcanic origin, these unique island formations are surrounded by turquoise lagoons and coral reefs. There is also the highest concentration of marine lakes anywhere. These are isolated bodies of seawater that have been separated from the ocean by land barriers that sustain high endemism of populations which continue to yield new discoveries of species.
Just south of this lagoon are the outer island Peleliu and Angaur. Babeldoab Island, the second largest landmass in Micronesia, is covered in dense vegetation. In fact, in Palau, at least 75% of the islands are covered in forest. Further north is Kayangel, Palau’s true coral atoll.
Palau’s elusive sea cow, dugong, known locally as mesekiu, is Palau’s most endangered marine species. They can be found in Palau’s abundant sea grass and the recommended way of viewing these amazing creatures in waters established a Marine Mammal Sanctuary in 2010 is by helicopter.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]