When you’re visiting the Philippines for your diving holiday, make sure to check some of the top dive destinations in Palawan. If you are a stickler for picturesque landscape, crystal clear waters, amazing coral reefs, and white sand beaches, then you should seriously consider a trip to one of the most beautiful islands in the world.
Diving in Palawan is far more than just the thrill of it. It is a lesson in history and biology too. From observing endemic species of flora and fauna to witnessing jaw-dropping sights, it doesn’t get better than Palawan. And if you are a scuba diver, it is even more adventurous to explore the Philippine sea and see some enigma for yourself, from a fantastic sea bed to World War 2 shipwrecks. The sights are so beautiful that you are likely to visit again just to take a dive.
Palawan is no doubt a diver’s haven, think of all those vast coral gardens and diverse marine life. Here are some of the top dive destinations that you should not miss when visiting Palawan:
If there is a place that everyone can afford to dive at when visiting Palawan, that is definitely not the Tubbataha Reefs. This UNESCO World Heritage site is hard to get to making it one of the most pristine dive destinations in the country. You must go via a liveaboard vessel for a week to make the most of scuba diving in the Tubbataha reefs. It is a truly immersive experience that you shouldn’t miss for anything. You can only have this experience between March and June, other months present uncertain weather. The heritage site is a hub of biodiversity; 600 fish species, 360 coral types, 11 shark species, about a dozen of dolphin and whale species, and 100 bird species. Can you ask for more in one place? For four nights and five days, you can enjoy the rare and picturesque underwater landscape of the Tubbataha Reefs.
If you are looking at exploring the historic World War II wreckage while enjoying a dive, say no more! The Coron Bay is the dive area for the history lovers. Several Japanese ships sank in the Philippines region during the war. Coron bay area has most of the wreckages underwater. From December to March, the water visibility in the Coron bay area is at the highest and you can dive through the area where several commandos have met their waterloo. With specific wreck zones, you can choose what you want to see depending on your dive level or proficiency.
Since we are still on the Coron Island, you might want to pop up at the mysterious Barracuda lake and take a splash too. The lake is special because it is located in a volcanic crater. It contains both fresh and saltwater, isn’t that a wonder? If you are an experienced cave diver, there is a cave that you might want to explore as well. The lake got its name from a big Barracuda found there a long time ago. There are still records of Barracuda sightings by divers. These fishes are harmless so you have absolutely nothing to fear. The soothing feel of the Barracuda lake is enough reason for you to visit and take a dive into the water.
Apo Reef is directly accessible from Coron via a liveaboard vessel. Apo Reef is the second biggest contiguous coral reef in the world after the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. It doesn’t disappoint when it comes to sights too; endless coral outcroppings, vertiginous walls and a shipwreck overgrown with soft coral and other pleasant sights once you dive in. Apo Reef is also listed as a World Heritage Site and it is no surprise. It is a stunning dive destination and also accommodating to beginners’ divers. Pro divers can get into the deep and see beautiful, colorful species of fishes from Barracudas to Mantas.
If you are interested in studying biological life underwater or you are just enthusiastic about underwater life, the house reef is a perfect fit. Located on Dimakya Island, the reef is a beauty to behold. During the colder months, cephalopods go there to mate and lay eggs. If you go visit in the summer, you will find an array of reef fishes such as damsel, parrot, flying gurnards, frogfishes as well as several species of nudibranch. You might be lucky to find a few young fishes too.
The city is not just a bustling capital of Palawan. It has its own hidden gems. Puerto Princesa has a sloping reef site which is a popular spot for underwater photographers and scuba divers. From the steep incline, it drops 112 feet and here you will find octopus, several crustaceans and other deep-sea creatures. You will also find the big picture-perfect fishes. This is not a diving trip you want to go to without your underwater camera and gear. You will find several amazing sights that you should get on the record.
Bulawit bay is located in the Linapacan islands and is a good spot for inexperienced divers. The shallow waters are not so far from the seafloor which is covered in grass. The bay is also a good spot for starfish watching. If you spend just enough time, you will be able to sight pipefishes, eels, ribbonfishes and other exotic fish species that you won’t encounter every day in Palawan.
If you are an experienced diver looking for a new spot to conquer, the 115-foot long tunnel is an area only for the pro. The tunnel was discovered in the early 1990s. The tunnel starts at a meager 40 feet and narrows and deepens down to the end of the tunnel. If you are taking this diving trip, be sure to be in an experienced group.
Palawan is a divers’ haven. Aside from its wonderful dive sites, it is also a tourist hub. While you are there, do not forget to get immersed in the culture and enjoy the cuisine too. Take a dive, create memories and be better for it. Which of the dive locations on the list are you visiting first when you take a trip to Palawan?