The Tubbataha reef diving trip requires you to pack well in advance. The floating palace may have almost everything you need from dive gear to gourmet meals. It seems that all you have to do is to roll out of your bed, into your wetsuit and get ready for mind-blowing encounters underwater. However, it still pays to come prepared with the right diving equipment, travel essentials, and a highly tuned game plan.
The Tubbataha Reefs National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located right in the middle of the Sulu Sea. The only way to access the world-class dive site is to go on a liveaboard dive trip. Whether you’re a seasoned liveaboard diver or a first-timer, make sure to go through our ultimate liveaboard packing list for a hassle-free Tubbataha reef diving trip.
Plan Your Tubbataha Reef Diving Trip
Planning the perfect liveaboard dive trip does not have to be a stressful experience, especially for those who are under pressure to make the most out of their vacation. This checklist will help you prepare and make sure you’ve thought of everything else you might need. Make sure to connect with our local expert if you need help in planning your Tubbataha reef diving trip.
- Before anything else, check the passport or visa requirements for your travel to the Philippines. For most nationalities, a free 30-day visa is issued on arrival. Passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond the planned period of stay.
- Make sure you are qualified to dive Tubbataha. Research and prepare for the dive conditions. Tubbataha liveaboard diving requires at least 50 logged dives.
- Consider getting a refresher course if it has been a while since your last dive trip.
- Choose the right dive company for your Tubbatha dive trip. Our local experts are experienced divers and can offer the best recommendations that fit your specific requirements.
- Decide whether you want to charter a ship or join a group. If you prefer to join a smaller group, our Palawan itinerary specialist can book you with a reputable Tubbataha dive company that only takes small groups.
- Make sure to read our terms and conditions before booking your Tubbataha reef dive trip. Take note of the inclusions and exclusions to ensure that you are getting the best value for money.
- Once you’ve made your reservations, decide whether you plan to do post-cruise or pre-cruise tours. We arrange dive or boat trips in other parts of Palawan. We may include one or two as an additional perk for your Palawan vacation.
- If you plan on staying for a couple of days before or after your Tubbataha liveaboard dive trip, make sure to book your accommodations in advance. Please connect with our local expert to get the best hotel deals in Palawan
Collect Important Travel Documents
Make sure that your passport, IDs and credit cards, are not expired. Inform your banks that you’re traveling abroad to avoid your cards getting blocked.
- Passport/visa(s) (check here if you need a visa to travel to the Philippines)
- Scuba diving license/dive certification cards
- Dive-fitness medical certificate (if needed)
- Travel, dive, health, and medical Insurance
- Dive logbook
- Doctor prescriptions
- Personal ID/student ID card
- Driver’s license or international driver’s license
- Cash, Debit, and Credit Cards
- Reservations, itineraries, and booking confirmation
- Tour and hotel contact information (For pre-cruise and post-cruise tours)
- Transportation tickets (flights, van, bus, etc.)
- Emergency contacts and address book
- Photocopies of all the important travel documents (stored separately)
Prepare Your Dive Gear
The Tubbataha liveaboard is fully-equipped with everything you need for your dive trip from full dive gear to Nitrox fills. Plan ahead which gear you prefer to bring with you and inform our itinerary specialist to deduct it from the cost of the package. Inspect your dive equipment to ensure that it has been serviced recently.
- Mesh bag and/or gear bag
- Dry bag
- Regulator, octopus and dive console
- Mask, fins, and snorkel
- Rash guard
- Dive boots or socks
- Weight pockets or weight belt
- Dive computer
- Backup dive computer
- Underwater slate and pencil
- Safety sausage
- Knife or cutting tool
- Torch/dive light and backup light (for night dive)
- Mask defog
- Pony bottle
Choose Your Luggage and Gear Bag
Space may be limited on board. We recommend you pack your clothes and gear in soft luggage like backpacks or duffel bags. If you are planning to explore Palawan before or after your Tubbataha reef dive trip, a carry-on or travel backpack will do if you don’t want the extra weight of wheels.
Organize the Travel Essentials
Palawan has a very warm and humid climate. If you are planning to take pre-cruise or post-cruise tours, make sure to bring all the travel essentials you may need for the whole trip. You should start with the basic items such as breathable and lightweight clothing that covers you up and keeps the mosquitoes away.
- Cotton and Linen T-shirts, tank tops, sleeveless shirts (white or light colors that do not attract insects)
- Summer dresses or skirts
- Boardshorts, shorts or capris
- Light jacket or fleece
- Loose pants
- Raincoat, poncho, or rain jacket
- Cover up/sundress
- Swimsuit or swim trunks
- Thin socks
- Flip flops
- Breathable slip-on shoes or sneakers
- Slip-on sandals (easy to dry when wet)
- Comfortable walking shoes
Other Basic Items
- Quick-dry towel and/or ‘Sarong‘
- Water bottle
- Sun hat, visor or cap
- Sunglasses and glasses case
- Glasses and prescription glasses
- Waterproof watch
Information and Entertainment
- Travel guides, maps, phrase book, and language guides
- Deck of cards
- Books and magazines
- Travel journal or notebook and pen
- Travel pillow, ear plugs, and eye mask
- Action camera, video camera, waterproof camera
- Underwater casing for camera
- Floation accessory for camera
- Action camera stick
- Memory cards
- Laptop or tablet
- Compact MP3 Player
- Chargers for electronics
- Adapters and power converters (The standard voltage is 220V, plug types A, B, & C.)
- Powerbank (check airline carry-on baggage rules)
- A Bluetooth speaker or travel speaker
- Mobile hotspot or pocket wifi
- Travel apps (maps.me, google maps, money conversion, dictionary)
- Flashlight or headlamp with extra batteries
Pack Your Toiletry Bag
Keep your toiletry bag light especially if you’re traveling with a carry-on luggage. Make sure that all liquids, creams, aerosols, gels, and pastes are in 100ml or less per container and must be placed in transparent resealable plastic bags measuring approximately 20cm x 20cm. Please check Philippine Airline’s restricted items for more information about how to pack safely.
- Sunscreen (preferably coral reef-safe brands)
- Face cream or lotion with SPF
- Lip balm with SPF, lip gloss
- Antibacterial soap, bath soap, or moisturizing body wash
- Tissue packets, facial tissues, or toilet paper
- Toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, and mouthwash
- Hairbrush or comb
- Hair ties, bobby pins and barrettes
- Shampoo and conditioner
- Hair products, hair gel, oil or leave-in conditioner
- Skin moisturizer, lotion, and hand cream
- Contacts, contact case, and solution
- Feminine hygiene products
- Personal hygiene items
- Cologne or perfume
- Small scissor, tweezer and nail clippers (must be in checked luggage)
- Personal or pocket mirror
- Shaving kit or razor
The Tubbataha liveaboard vessel has basic first aid kit onboard including medical oxygen and AED. The nearest recompression chamber is in Puerto Princesa City.
Make sure to check CDC for travel vaccines, medicines, and travel advisory. The CDC and WHO recommend these vaccines for the Philippines: Malaria, Typhoid, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Rabies and Cholera.
- Insect repellent/bug spray
- Sunburn relief
- Hand sanitizer or antibacterial wipes
- Motion sickness pills or bands
- First aid kit (bandages, moleskin, adhesives, gauze, etc.)
- Diarrhea medicines
- Allergy medicines
- Pain and fever relievers
- Personal prescriptions
- Hydrocortisone or antibacterial ointment
- Cold medicines and throat lozenges
Prepare Your Home
Make sure that your home is in order before traveling to the Philippines. Thinking through home care before you leave ensures a worry-free Tubbataha liveaboard trip.
- Leave an extra house key with a friend or family member
- Lock all doors and windows
- Have a house-sitter to take care of your pets and plants
- Set up your auto email response
- Unplug all electronics
- Pre-pay your bills
- Empty the fridge of perishables
- Store all valuables in a safe place
- Empty the trash
Note: This comprehensive packing list only serves as a guide. This does not mean that you overpack or pack a lot of gear. Ask our Palawan itinerary specialist if you want to learn more about what to pack for Tubbataha reef diving trip.