Best Places to Snorkel in the Philippines
Looking for the best snorkeling spots in the Philippines? One of the most entertaining ways to spend an outing at the beach is through snorkeling. It allows you to enjoy and see a tropical vacation spot and acquire gratefulness for its natural beauty and all of the undersea life. It is an incredible way to spend some time and an easy activity.
The Philippines comprises 7,641 islands and boasts many coral reefs and a thousand marine life species, making it a sure hit for snorkeling aficionados. So, whatever your commitment level is, a snorkeling activity in the Philippines will always be a perfect idea.
With rising awareness of marine conservation and wildlife protection, here is a list consisting of the top 8 snorkeling spots in the Philippines that you can visit on your next trip:
Nalusuan Island – Cordova, Cebu
Snorkeling in Nalusuan Island in Cordova, Cebu, is a highly recommended activity for marine life enthusiasts. The island is part of the Olango Island Group and is known for its marine sanctuary.
Snorkelers can enjoy clear shallow waters that are home to a variety of sea life, including hard and soft corals, and numerous fish species. The island’s marine sanctuary status helps protect and preserve the local aquatic ecosystem, making it a vibrant spot for underwater exploration.
This spot lets you observe all kinds of big and small fish and has various soft and hard corals.
Siete Pecados – Coron, Palawan
Siete Pecados in Coron is the most recognized and closest snorkeling destination around Coron. The marine life around the islands is incredible. Snorkeling in Siete Pecados is like swimming in a giant aquarium. You will see countless fish sporadically accompanied by other sea creatures like baby sharks, small squids, and octopuses.
The turquoise water surrounding the area is crystal clear, making it easy for people to see the school of fish swarming together above the numerous hard corals even while seated inside the boat.
Coral Garden – San Antonio Island, Puerto Galera
Coral Garden is a narrow zone in Muelle Bay and is regarded as the top snorkeling site of Puerto Galera. This is one of the best snorkeling places near Metro Manila.
The marine life that rings the Coral Garden is rich and spectacular. The area is covered with an array of coral and colorful fish. This is the perfect destination if you are looking for an excellent snorkeling place near Manila.
Apo Island – Dauin, Negros Oriental
Schools of rainbow-colored fish flit throughout the underwater life of Apo Island. Fascinating sea turtles that have grown accustomed to humans’ attention welcome guests upon arrival.
The underwater visibility on Apo Island is fantastic, and snorkeling around the rock formations was pretty exciting. Apo Island has impressive beaches in its own right — but the snorkeling is equally pleasant.
Apo Reef – Oriental Mindoro
Snorkeling in Apo Reef is an experience not to be missed for anyone visiting the Philippines. Located off the coast of Sablayan in Occidental Mindoro, Apo Reef is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most stunning snorkeling spots in the world. The crystal clear waters, vibrant marine life, and spectacular coral reefs create a magical snorkeling experience.
You can see various marine life, including schools of colorful fish, sea turtles, and even sharks. It is highly recommended to take a guided tour when snorkeling in Apo Reef, as the guides are knowledgeable about the area and can help you find the best spots for snorkeling.
Overall, snorkeling in Apo Reef is a must-do activity for anyone who loves the ocean and wants to experience the beauty of the Philippines’ marine life.
Location: Sablayan, Oriental Mindoro
How to get there:
- Fly to San Jose, Mindoro Occidental – The nearest airport to Apo Reef is San Jose Airport in Mindoro Occidental. From Manila, there are daily flights to San Jose via Philippine Airlines or Cebu Pacific.
- Travel to Sablayan – From San Jose, you can take a van or bus to Sablayan. The journey takes around 2-3 hours.
- Book a tour – Once in Sablayan, you must book a tour with a local operator to visit Apo Reef. Several tour operators in Sablayan offer day trips or overnight stays on Apo Island.
- Travel to Apo Reef – The boat ride takes 3-4 hours from Sablayan. The tour operator will provide the transportation and take care of the permits and fees required to enter Apo Reef.
- Snorkel and enjoy – Once on Apo Island, you can enjoy the stunning beauty of Apo Reef National Park through snorkeling or scuba diving.
Matinloc Island – El Nido, Palawan
A thriving mecca of marine life, an escapade in El Nido denotes springing from one island to another, exploring the beach and the underwater sea life. Some islands are mainly set for snorkel exploration, permitting you to get as close as possible to the fish. One of these is Matinloc Island, the longest remote island in El Nido.
The seafloor neighboring the beach slants gradually, and the water deepens only after about 10 meters. This site is one of the best snorkeling spots due to the abundance of marine life in this area.
Anilao in Mabini, Batangas
Snorkeling beginners usually go to Anilao Batangas throughout the year because the location is convenient and affordable. So, if you want easy access and a quick fix for your underwater world cravings, Anilao is for you.
Balicasag Island – Bohol
This is another exceptional snorkeling abode with abundant marine life and few travelers. Balicasag Island highlights many marine life, from angles to parrots to clownfishes.
There are already quite a few resorts in place here, but you will find that the charges are still within the budget because the location is not that widespread yet… savor it.
Tubod Marine Sanctuary, Siquijor
One of the best snorkeling sites in the area, where you can spot corals and a larger school of fish around the waters of Siquijor. Tubod Marine Sanctuary is also very accessible and boasts several starfish.
Located in the southwest of the island province of Cebu. The town of Moalboal is getting more and more popular for its “sardines run” experience. The school of sardines usually gathers around Panagsama Beach, close to several dive shops in the area. The area is famous for diving and snorkeling as it has the most exciting reef drops just a few meters from the shore.
Snorkeling is a thrilling activity that anybody, young or old, can appreciate with minimal equipment and little training.
Snorkeling is a terrific year-round activity in the Philippines, no matter where you live. So, grab your chance and discover a new and captivating underwater world.
How about you? What are your favorite snorkeling spots in the Philippines?
Frequently Asked Questions:
When is the best time to go snorkeling in the Philippines?
As a tropical country, the climate in the Philippines is warm and humid all year round. Snorkeling is always possible; however, avoid the monsoon season from May to October.
The best months are from June to September since it has less rainfall and fewer weather disturbances.
Where is the perfect spot for snorkeling in the Philippines?
The perfect spot for snorkeling in the Philippines can depend on what you’re looking for, but some of the best-rated destinations include the clear waters of Kayangan Lake in Palawan Island, the vibrant marine life around Balicasag Island in Bohol, and the diverse underwater ecosystems of Anilao in Batangas. These spots are renowned for their stunning coral reefs and a wide variety of marine species.
Where is the prettiest place to snorkel in the Philippines?
The prettiest place to snorkel in the Philippines is subjective, as beauty is in the eye of the beholder. However, many snorkelers are captivated by the stunning underwater scenery at locations like the crystal-clear Kayangan Lake in Palawan, which is known for its incredible rock formations and clear waters. Another contender for the prettiest snorkeling spot is Moalboal in Cebu, where snorkelers can swim with millions of sardines, providing a breathtaking natural spectacle. These destinations are often highlighted for their exceptional beauty and vibrant marine life.
Why Palawan is the best snorkeling spot in the Philippines?
Palawan is often considered the best snorkeling spot in the Philippines due to its pristine waters, diverse marine life, and stunning coral reefs. The area boasts numerous snorkeling sites with clear visibility, making it an ideal location for underwater exploration. Some of the top reasons include:
- Biodiversity: Palawan is part of the Coral Triangle, which is known for having the highest diversity of marine species in the world. Snorkelers can expect to see a vast array of colorful coral species, fish, turtles, and sometimes even dugongs.
- Shipwrecks and Coral Gardens: Places like Coron offer unique snorkeling experiences with sunken World War II shipwrecks and expansive coral gardens.
- Protected Areas: Many areas within Palawan are protected, such as the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park, which helps to preserve the natural beauty and health of the marine environments.
- Picturesque Lagoons and Beaches: El Nido is famous for its dramatic limestone cliffs, hidden lagoons, and white sandy beaches, making snorkeling here not just about what’s under the water but also the breathtaking scenery above the surface.
- Variety of Snorkeling Sites: Palawan offers a range of snorkeling spots catering to different preferences, from shallow lagoons perfect for beginners to deeper waters for the more adventurous snorkelers.
- Accessibility: Despite its remote feel, Palawan is relatively accessible to tourists, with options for guided tours and snorkeling excursions that make it easy to explore the underwater world.
These factors contribute to Palawan’s reputation as a premier destination for snorkelers seeking both adventure and natural beauty.
Where is the best place to snorkel in Boracay?
The best place to snorkel in Boracay is often said to be around Crocodile Island, which is acclaimed for its rich marine biodiversity and clear waters that provide excellent visibility. The island’s name comes from its shape resembling a crocodile, and it is a popular spot for both snorkeling and diving enthusiasts looking to explore vibrant coral reefs and encounter a variety of fish species.
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