Top 10 Scuba Diving Locations in Palawan

scuba diving palawan 03When it comes to scuba diving Philippines, Palawan is often on top of the list. With its stunning coral reefs and a wide variety of marine life, diving in Palawan is an experience like no other. But with the many diving sites in Palawan, deciding which site to begin your adventure can be daunting. To help you with your diving holiday, here are the top 10 Palawan scuba diving locations.



  1. Bulawit Bay – Linapacan

barracuda Bulawit Bay - LinapacanBulawit Bay is known for its shallow waters with sea floor that’s entirely covered with seagrass. The place is also famous for its abundance of starfishes and as you keep moving with your dive, you’ll be rewarded with a spectacular view of marine life, from batfish, pipefish, ribbonfish, eels, barracudas, and a wide variety of tropical fishes. 



  1. Cuttlefish Shoal – Puerto Princesa


The Cuttlefish Shawl is the best place to dive in the Philippines if you want something more challenging. In fact, this diving site is only recommended for the more experienced divers because of its depth. When diving at the Cuttlefish Shawl, make sure you hire a local guide since the site is a bit tricky to find. Yet, all your efforts will be worth it once you catch a glimpse of the various barracudas, angelfishes, sea turtles, and cuttlefishes, which is where its name actually came from.


  1. Dilumacad Underwater Tunnel, El Nido


Dilumacad Underwater Tunnel - El NidoDiving at the Dilumacad Tunnel is a truly exciting experience. The tunnel is around 12m deep with a few ceiling holes, making this dive a truly incredible feat. And just like the Cuttlefish shoal, this Palawan scuba diving site is only for the experienced and advanced drivers. Discovered in the 1990s by a Japanese driver, you’ll find the memorial plate etched at the entrance area of this diving site.


  1. Helens Garden, Dos Palmas


If you prefer to scuba dive in a shallow reef, the Helen’s Garden in Dos Palmas would be perfect for you. This site is teeming with black-tip sharks, which makes for a truly fun diving experience. Aside from the sharks, you also get to encounter a wide variety of soft and hard corals while diving at this diving site.


  1. Kalambuan Reef, Coron Bay


Kalambuyan Reef - Coron BayThe Kalambuyan Reef is a Coron diving site known for its unparalleled diversity of beautiful coral reef and an amazing underwater life. This site is a bit far from the town of Coron so you need to plan your trip well if you choose to dive at Kalambuyan Reef. Furthermore, the current in this part of Coron is a bit strong during the summer months.




  1. Port Barton, San Vicente

Whale shark Port Barton - San VicentePort Barton is located in the northern part of Puerto Princesa, in a town called San Vicente. This diving site is largely undiscovered, which makes it the best place to dive in the Philippines. The most notable marine life species that were spotted in this area is the whale shark. Thus, diving at this spot means swimming along with these gentle giants.




  1. Tagbao Island, El Nido


The Tagbao Island in El Nido is one of the most popular Palawan scuba diving locations. In fact, divers from all over the world would visit Palawan to dive in this site. There are three important coral reefs nestled in between these islands. It’s also a great diving spot for beginners since the water is comfortably shallow.


  1. The Wall, Roxas


The Wall is about 20 minutes boat ride away from the main island and a great diving spot for scuba divers of all levels. It is also known for its excellent marine life and breathtaking underwater views. Even if this place is highly recommended for beginners, experienced divers might be surprised at what they can discover when diving at The Wall.


  1. Tubbataha Reef


Tubbataha ReefTubbataha reef diving is very popular in the Philippines. The Tubbataha Reef is basically a Natural Marine Park in Palawan and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993. This marine park is known for its abundance of marine life, with 360 coral species, 600 fish species, 13 dolphin species, and 11 shark species.




  1. Twin Rocks, Miniloc Island


Twin Rocks is another popular site for scuba diving in the Philippines. Located in the northern part of Miniloc Island, the Twin Rocks have great diving site slopes and a rich sandy bottom. The sandy area is often inhabited by a school of stingrays and ribbon tails.




The Puerto Princesa Underground River

Guide to Visiting the Puerto Princesa Underground River

 Puerto-Princesa-Subterranean-River-National-ParkA popular tourist attraction in the Philippines, the Puerto Princesa Underground River can be found at the province of Palawan. This 8-km long subterranean river flows below a mountain range and channels its way into the various caverns and chambers. Aside from being hailed as one of the longest underground rivers in the world, it’s also among the few rivers that emerge directly into the sea.

Book an Underground River Tour Today!

How To Get There


There are many ways on how to get to this underground river Palawan. If you’re coming from the capital city of Manila, there are several direct flights going to Puerto Princesa City every day. The flight only takes less than two hours. You can also travel by ferry but travel time could take up to 7 to 8 hours. Upon arriving in Puerto Princesa, you can hail a tricycle going to your hotel or to wherever you want to go.


Palawan Underground River Tour


underground river palawan tourThe best way to experience the Puerto Princesa Underground River is by booking a tour. If you’re travelling solo, you can save money by joining a group tour. You can book a Palawan underground river tour in advance or you can book there directly.


You first need to travel to Sabang when going to the underground river. There are plenty of buses and vans that will take you to Sabang coming from the Puerto Princesa bus terminal. Travel time to Sabang is approximately three hours.


Upon arriving in Sabang, you need to go to the tourist office where you need to pay the entrance fee, environmental fee, and an audio guide. After this, you’ll be asked to ride the jetty in front of the office so you can begin your tour.


What To Expect During the Tour


You’ll be riding a motorized boat for your Palawan underground river tour. The boat will first take you to a beach where you’ll be handed an audio device and ushered to a smaller boat that will be used in touring the Puerto Princesa underground river.


The small boat will then take you into the cave and the audio guide will explain the history and significance of the cave system. It will also describe the different rock formations inside the cave, including the stalagmites and stalactites.


The tour of the Puerto Princesa subterranean river national park takes less than two hours. It will only take you to the first four kilometres of the cave, and after about 45 minutes, the small boat will be heading back to the jetty.


Tips to Keep In Mind


Make sure you wear appropriate clothing when you tour the underground river Palawan. Wear flip-flops and other footwear that you wouldn’t mind getting wet. The tour will require you to go through knee-deep water so you have to be prepared for this. Aside from the audio guide, you’ll also be given a helmet for your tour so make sure you wear it at all times. Avoid opening your mouth when looking up while inside the cave since there are plenty of bats that could sprinkle you with their poo. Above all, bring a waterproof camera to document your Palawan underground river tour!

 Book an Underground River Tour Today!

Top 7 Things to Do in Coron, Palawan

port barton palawan

Coron is an adventurer’s paradise – full of places to to be explored above and under water. From diving Japanese shipwrecks from the 1940s to guided mangrove tours, there is a whole lot to do in Coron. Check out the top 7 – in no particular order!

1. Dive sunken Japanese shipwrecks

Coron is well-known as an awesome wreck-diving destination. In fact, it’s been named as one of the top 10 Best Scuba Diving Sites in the world by Forbes Traveler. Sure, you could see a whole lot of wildlife snorkeling around the beautiful coral reefs of Coron, but in all honesty – those are incomparable to what you’ll experience on the wreck dives.

Here’s a snippet:

There’s just something ethereal and magical about exploring a ship wreck underwater. The wreck dive sites around Coron can be as shallow as 10- 30 feet or as deep as 120-140 feet. There are many to choose from, but be sure to check out Irako Maru for great visibility and the opportunity for deep penetration wreck diving!

2. Trek 700+ steps to the top of Mt. Tapyas

Mt. Tapyas is the second tallest peak in Coron and only a thirty minute walk from the town proper. It towers over the town, offering a breathtaking view of Coron Island. A beautiful place to take in a sunset. Or two.

things to see in coron, palawan

Don’t let the 700+ steps put you off – it’s an easy climb with plenty of rest stops along the way!

3. Four words: Siete Picados Marine Park

Siete Picados Marine Park is a must-visit for anyone in or near Coron. It’s comprised of a cluster of seven islets that are home to an incredibly rich variety of marine life. The massive corals alone are worth the visit and the abundant marine life is the cherry on top.

things to do in coron, palawan

Siete Picados Marine Park also happens to be the closest snorkeling site to Coron – at only a 15 minute boat ride away, there’s just no excuse not to check it out!

4. Check out wildlife at the Calauit Island Wildlife Sanctuary

What better place to check out African wildlife than in…the Philippines?

Calauit Island is about a 2 hour drive away from Coron town so it’s going to be a full-day trip – but it’s worth the visit. At the wildlife sanctuary, you’ll find a collection of giraffes, zebras, bear cats, Calamian deer, peacocks, as well as various species of birds.

It’s a huge – 3,700 hectares – sanctuary built by the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos to preverse African and Palawan wildlife threatened with extinction. Whether you’re an animal lover or not – this trip is totally worth it.

5.  Explore Busuanga Island on a mountain bike

The best way to explore the entirety of this beautiful island – at your own pace – is to rent a motorbike. You can stop by beaches for a quick, refreshing dip or explore the numerous trails that lead to mangrove forests and rivers. A stopover at a waterfall is always nice, too!

6. Go horseback riding

Another pitstop you can make on your motorbike is at “Horse Valley” – just a 10-minute ride from Coron. Spend the day riding through the bushes and forests around the foot of Mt. Tundalara – the second highest mountain in all of Palawan.

Or, if you’re an experienced rider, you can even horse ride your way up the 700+ steps of Mt. Tapyas and take in the beautiful views – without much effort on your part.

7. Idle away the day hopping from one beautiful island to the next

No “things to do in coron” list is complete with…island hopping. Coron is home to some of the most beautiful beaches and spectacular underwater wildlife and an island hopping tour is the best way to check out all the sights!


Best Places to Snorkel in Port Barton

snorkeling port barton

What is a beach vacation without a little (or a lot of ) snorkelling? Port Barton is a protected area and offers great marine diversity for your underwater exploration. Most of the snorkel spots are really close to Port Barton and easy to get to as well.

If you rent a boat for an island hopping and snorkelling expedition, it’ll cost you around 1200PHP, or $30, and the boat can accommodate up to 4 people. There’s a lot of competition amongst the local boatmen for tourism dollars so ask around for someone who comes with good references.

Ready to snap on a snorkel and a pair of fins? Keep in mind the best snorkel spots in Port Barton:

Port Barton Snorkel Spot #1. Aquarium Four

True to its name, Aquarium Four is teeming with marine life. It’s also perfect for families with children since, at its deepest point, it’s only about 2 meters deep.

The aquarium is best visited in the morning when the sea is calmest.

Port Barton Snorkel Spot #2. Exotic Island

There are two islands here and the water between them is shallow and perfect for snorkelling. There’s also a sandbar here that lets you walk out quite far into the water.

exotic island palawan

Swim a little farther, about 50 feet offshore, out to where more coral is in order to see the most abundant marine life.

Port Barton Snorkel Spot #3. Double Island

Double Island has a small resort on its premises and is surrounded by great snorkeling spots. You can reach the Small Lagoon Reef and the Fantastic Reef from here – both have beautiful corals and lots of fish.

Port Barton Snorkel Spot #4. Fantastic Reef

Like it’s name suggests, this is a fantastic reef close located close to Double Island. There are beautiful green corals here that are home to a large variety of fish and other aquatic life.

port barton

Read more on Port Barton travel tips.

Snorkel Spot #5. Manta Ray Reef

This reef is located about 200 meters from the short of Capsalay Island. This coral reef has an area of 150 hectares and is the largest are of corals in San Vincente. It was unfortunately damaged by high water temperature bleaching in the late 90s, as well as Typhoon Norming, but it is slowly recovering.

Snorkel Spot #6. Twin Rocks

The Twin Rocks is a snorkelling spot worth checking out since it’s really close to the Port Barton beach. Aim to snorkel here early in the day, since the currents get rough around mid-day.

Ready to start snorkelling? Check out our Port Barton snorkelling tips!


Top 5 Things to Do in Port Barton

port barton waterfalls

Port Barton is a quaint little beach town that’s somehow managed to retain all its quaintness and rural hospitality.

Off-the-beaten-path travelers come here to laze around its picturesque beaches, shifting slow-moving, satisfied eyes from one gorgeous view to another. But for the actively-inclined, there’s still plenty to do in Port Barton.

Here are the top 5 things to do in Port Barton, in no particular order:

Top Things to Do in Port Barton #1. Island Hop

You really can’t come to Palawan and not island hop. There is a bevy of gorgeous islands, mostly uninhabited, around Port Barton that you should really get to.

island hopping port barton

Before you go, find out the list of best islands in Port Barton!

Top Things to Do in Port Barton #2. Cool Down at a Waterfall

You know the feeling: you hike through lush jungles, whacking branches and spider webs out of your way, sweat dripping down your brow. One laborious step after another and suddenly, you begin to hear the whisper of falling water. You rush eagerly forward.

port barton waterfalls

The whisper turns into a roar and soon, you’re face-to-face with a majestic fall, feeling the refreshing spray against your face. Port Barton has 2 waterfalls nearby that are relatively easy to get to and are definitely worth checking out.

Bigaho Waterfall is a twenty minute boat ride from Port Barton plus a kilometer’s walk from Bigaho village. It’s perfect for an indulgent swim after the short walk and great for families with kids.

Papuwyan Waterfall is an easy hour-and-half walk from the town. The walk is not difficult, but the trail is a little tricky to find so hire a guide to show you the way.

Top Things to Do in Port Barton #3. Mangrove River

There are two rivers, Tugdunan and Darapiton, that combine to form a mangrove area. Hire a boat for the trip, lie back and glide along the mangrove. It’s a serene and silent ride, with nothing to hear but bird sounds and the occasional monkey call.

You can spot monitor lizards, various species of birds, snakes on and off the trees, and other animals. Keep your eyes peeled.

The cost for two people is about 600PHP.

Top Things to Do in Port Barton #4. Snorkel

Since Port Barton is a protected area, the marine life is abundant and the corals are plentiful. Without even donning diving gear, you can spot tortoises, mantas, and several varieties of fish. Snorkel gear should cost between 100 – 150 peso. It’s a good idea to snorkel while island hopping so be sure to pack your mask and fins…

port barton palawan

Read through our Port Barton snorkel tips before you dive in!

Top Things to Do in Port Barton #5. Do…Nothing

If you’re coming to Port Barton, this one is highly recommended: Just lie like a log, basking in the sun.

Note: Don’t be without sunscreen.