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With superb wall dives, colorful coral and calm currents, Bohol has become an increasingly popular diving destination in the Philippines. From macro to pelagics, the marine life of Bohol awaits.

Diving in Bohol

Quick facts

Five major areas make up the extent of diving in Bohol.

Anda, a peninsula off of the eastern tip of Bohol, has caves, steep cliff faces and coral gardens to explore. Expect to see anything from a tiny seahorse to a migrating whale shark in this location.

Cabilao is further offshore and requires a day trip to get there and back, but it’s worth it. If the time of year is right, you can see a large group of schooling hammerhead sharks (January - June). During other months, the wall dives offer giant fans and plentiful macro life.

Balicasag, known for great snorkeling, is also worthy of half a day away from Bohol. Diving here will have you gaping at beautiful corals and colorful fish.

Pamilacan is famous for its pelagic fishes and superb visibility. Barracuda, dogtooth tuna and trevally are common. On a lucky day, you might also catch a glimpse of a dolphin or even a whale.

Finally, Panglao, connected to the south end of Bohol by bridges, also has a few dive sites of its own. The reef around here is covered in soft coral and teeming with sea snakes, turtles, glass fish and giant frogfish. Occasionally, a manta ray or whale shark might swim by.

As the slogan goes, diving is definitely more fun in Bohol.

When to go

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USD 1,727Per trip
USD 2,200Per trip
Pricing on request
Balicasag Fish Sanctuary – Thriving with marine life, this dive site is located in a marine protected area where the number of divers and fishing is restricted. This is a wall dive that is characterised by many ledges and overhangs which are great places for finding critters. The highlight here is the tornado-like school of jacks and an abundance of all kinds of fish including snappers, trevally, surgeonfish and other colourful reef species. Arco Point – Also known as “Hole in the Wall”, this site features a tunnel which runs through the wall starting from just 5 metres/15 feet and ending at 16 metres/52 feet. The site offers excellent photography opportunities and highlights include ghost pipefish, banded sea snakes, blue ring octopus and frogfish. Bohol Divers Wreck – This deep steel wreck was sunk in 2011 and lays at between 31 metres/102 feet and 37 metres/121 feet. Despite being a relatively “new” wreck you’ll find an array of unusual critters including pipefish, ghost pipefish, flamboyant cuttlefish and octopus. Doljo Point – This Panglao Island dive site has a candy box selection of coral species from giant sea fans and barrel sponges through to elephant ear, leather corals and healthy stone corals. The dive is along a steep slope / wall and in the deeper sections there are seasonal sightings of white tips and hammerhead sharks. The shallow sections offer an abundant mix of reef fish. Snake Island – This sloping reef and wall site is famous for the large population of black and white banded sea snakes that reside here. This is also an excellent macro photography site. Look out for a variety of nudibranch, shrimp and bottom dwelling species. Occasional reef sharks and barracuda are spotted in the blue.

What to see

From macro to pelagics, Bohol has it all. Many sites are teeming with nudibranchs, seahorses and mantis shrimps. Sponges, soft corals, and giant fans make every dive beautiful.

Of course, fish are also plentiful. Lionfish, glass fish, fusiliers, frogfish, schooling jack, snake eels, moray eels, triggerfish, parrotfish, devil fish, stonefish, sea snakes and napoleon wrasse are frequently seen.

On the bigger side of things, lucky divers might encounter barracuda, turtles, reef sharks, hammerhead sharks, whale sharks and even manta rays.

When filling in your log books from diving Bohol, you’ll be writing so small to get it all on the page that your hand will be aching for days.

Calendar

For better readability of the table, pass into the landscape mode.

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Area

Bohol, located just east of Cebu in the Philippines’ Central Visayas Region, offers a unique mix of underwater and above water attractions. With everything from nudibranchs to hammerheads, the five diving areas surrounding the main island can challenge the most advanced diver or ease a discovery diver into their first bubbles.

Because of the island’s protected environment and mild tropical climate, diving near Bohol is possible year round. On average, the air temperature is a balmy 77 - 95°F (25 - 35°C) and the water temperature range is 77 - 86°F (25 - 30°C). From November to February, the weather tends to be cool, dry and a little windy making rougher seas. March to May bring the best weather. During these months, it is hot and dry with generally calm seas. June to October are the rainy months, but don’t let it deter you. This doesn’t mean it is raining day in and day out.

Due to Bohol’s above ground attractions, both divers and non-divers flock to the island. Between Anda, Panglao, Cabilao, Balicasag and Pamilacan, there are plenty of dive sites to keep you busy. Accommodation is additionally plentiful. From beach bungalows to fancy resorts, Bohol has it all.

From December until April, Bohol can get crowded and prices soar. In particular, avoid visiting during the Christmas, Chinese New Year, and Easter holidays when the island is full of both local and international tourists. The best bet is to arrange a diving trip in May or November when diving is good but demand is low. During these months, discounts can be arranged for both accommodation and diving.

Other attractions

To say that diving is the main attraction in Bohol would be a fallacy. It’s probably not even the second biggest draw. Tourists from around the world come to see the above ground sites and then fall in love with the underground world. Visitors can gaze at the chocolate hills, wonder at the Tarsiers in the island’s sanctuary for the smallest primate in the world, or discover local culture on a Loboc River cruise. Whale and dolphin watching tours are also popular. On the other hand, watching the sun sink into the water with a fresh coconut in hand, relaxed from a day on the beach, is the perfect way to spend a tropical vacation.

Getting there

Taglibaran Airport services the island of Bohol. However, it is far more likely for international flights to land at either Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila or Mactan-Cebu International Airport in Cebu. If you aren’t landing in Taglibaran, you can use AirAsia or Cebu Pacific to fly from Manila to Bohol. If you are landing at Mactan-Cebu International Airport, a frequent ferry is available for the short journey between Bohol and Cebu. On the island of Bohol, buses and auto-rickshaws are available for moving from one place to another. Note: A new airport, aptly named ‘Bohol Airport’, will be opening in mid-late 2018 and will provide additional transport options.

UTC+08:00

Time zone

PHP

Currency

+63

Calling code

220 V

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B, 

C

Plug type

TAG

Main airport
Note - Travel to any destination may be adversely affected by conditions including (but not limited) to security, entry and exit requirements, health conditions, local laws and culture, natural disasters and climate. Regardless of your destination, check your local travel advisory board or department for travel advice about that location when planning your trip and again shortly before you leave.