Top diving spots in Palawan include Puerto Princesa, El Nido, Coron Island, and Tubbataha Reef. All around Palawan, you can expect water temperature that ranges from 79-86˚F (26 – 30˚C) and as for visibility, it depends on where you are. Areas like Tubbataha Reef are dived via a liveaboard diving vessel while the other locations offer land-based diving. Similar to anywhere in the Philippines, diving is usually from a bangka which is a canoe or motorized boat with two outriggers. Palawan’s rainy season is during June to December with June to October being the wettest months. It is still safe to visit during rainy months although do keep an eye on the typhoon forecasts.Puerto Princesa and El Nido are located in bays and are great for new divers. The best time to head here is from May to November as visibility is at its best at about 65ft (20m). At El Nido, you will be able to access the Bacuit Archipelago and its stunning limestone islets and world-class beaches. A highlight here is a 130ft (40m) tunnel at Dilumacad Island which will entice more experienced divers. Dives off Miniloc Island are also good.Those with an interest in wreck diving can make a beeline for Coron Island at the northern tip of Palawan. Many Japanese ships went down in Coron Bay during World War II and the shipwrecks are quite spectacular. Some can be dived by beginners but some require experience and proper certification. Dive Coron Island during December to March where visibility should be up to 50ft (15m). In addition to the wrecks, make sure to dive at Barracuda Lake. It is a lake in a volcanic crater which has both freshwater and saltwater and there is even a deep cave that might be accessible to technical cave divers.Last but not least is the Tubbataha Reef Natural Park which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993. The window to dive the Tubbataha Reef which is 81 miles (130km) from Palawan is only three months long from March to June. Several liveaboard diving vessels frequent these reefs which consist of two large atolls and the Jessie Beazley Reef. Diving here is world-class with drop-offs, coral gardens, channels and plenty of large marine pelagic life. Visibility can stretch up to 130ft (40m).
Best Scuba Diving Spots in Palawan
Palawan Sea Life
Around Puerto Princesa, El Nido and Coron Island, expect healthy coral reef awash with the different colors of reef fish like angelfish, parrotfish, surgeonfish, pufferfish, groupers and schools of lunar fusilier and yellowtail snapper. Sandy bottoms often reveal bluespotted ribbontail rays and blacktip sharks patrol the reefs. Green sea turtles are also frequent visitors and lookout for other critters like eels, nudibranch and crabs.Out at Tubbataha Reef, be astounded by the rich marine biodiversity of the area. Whale sharks are often seen cruising by the reef and manta rays come to visit cleaning stations. The stronger the currents, the more large creatures you are likely to see. Sharks like grey reef sharks and whitetip sharks are common and if you are very lucky, you might see a tiger shark or a hammerhead shark. Otherwise, keep your eyes to the blue for the likes of eagle rays and game fish like mackerel, trevally and tuna. From the surface, whales and dolphins have been spotted.
How To Get There
Fly to Puerto Princesa International Airport from Cebu, Manila, and Iloilo on airlines like Cebu Pacific or AirAsia Zest. There are also direct flights from Taipei, Taiwan via Philippine Airlines.