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Famous for its white sand beaches and once awarded the title of “Best Island in the World”, Boracay is a Filipino tropical paradise. Diving here does not disappoint and highlights include reef sharks, tuna and trevally as well as plentiful macro life to satisfy underwater photographers.

Diving in Boracay

Quick facts

The Philippines government has announced that Boracay will close to tourists from 26 April 2018 for up to six months to allow for environmental rehabilitation. Check your local travel advisory board or department for travel advice and updates.

This small island, located 315 kilometres/196 miles south of Manila has won more awards than any other in the Philippines. It has received numerous accolades for its beaches and has been voted the best island in the world to visit. Aside from the pristine white sand beaches, Boracay is well known as a destination for relaxation, tranquillity, stunning sunsets and exclusive night life. Boracay is surrounded by crystal clear waters and healthy coral reefs which support a wide range of marine life. If you want to enjoy great diving and completely get away from it all, Boracay is the place to be.

When to go

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Yapak 2 – This deep wall starts at 30 metres/100 feet then plunges straight down. Watch for patrolling white tip and grey reef sharks, schools of jacks, tuna and barracuda. This is all in addition to a vibrant wall encrusted with corals of every description. Camia Wreck – This 30 metre/100 foot long wreck sits at between 18 metres/60 feet and 25 metres/80 feet. Sunk in 2011 the wreck is encrusted in coral and forms a vibrant artificial reef which attracts diverse marine life including a residential school of batfish. Crocodile Island – This site is well known for it’s vibrant mix of colourful soft and hard corals, anemones and sea fans. Expect to see a plethora of marine life including schooling redtooth triggerfish, large groupers and a wealth of critters for macro photography enthusiasts. This is also a good site for night diving. Punta Bunga – The density of hard and soft corals is a highlight here and you’ll find a wide range and abundance of reef fish including groupers, lionfish, angelfish, butteflyfish and parrotfish. The site is a collection of deep walls which reach 70 metres/230 feet in places. In the deeper sections, tuna, barracuda, schooling jacks and reef sharks are not uncommon. Balinghai – This site has a shallow reef plateau at around 12 metres/40 feet which drops off to a wall at around 18 metres/60 feet. On the plateau you’ll find large table and leather corals. At the base of the wall there are coral patches and a well matured artificial reef. Look out for critters here including ribbon eels and nudibranch. Blue spotted sting rays are often hiding under the corals.

What to see

Boracay offers a wide range of tropical reef fish including parrotfish, angelfish, butterflyfish, puffers, lionfish, scorpionfish, schooling redtooth triggers and snappers. You should also expect to see blue spotted stingrays, moray eels and occasional sea snakes. Macro life is plentiful including pipefish, nudibranch, mantis shrimps, colourful ribbon eels and a range of cleaner and anemone shrimps. If you are hoping for pelagics, grey reef and white tip reef sharks can be found in the area along with barracuda, tuna, jacks and trevallies.

Calendar

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Location

Boracay is a small island in western Visayas region of Philippines. It is known more for its pristine beaches and less for diving. There are however, many beautiful reef dive sites for divers of varying proficiency level. One can find many dive centers along the White Beach and all charge similar amount for services. On the average, a single dive costs a dirt cheap 33 $ only which makes Boracay a perfect place to learn scuba diving or graduate to the next level certification. Most of the sites are easy to dive in. The island has nearly 25 diving sites, all accessible by a short boat hop. The shallow and easy sites have stunning reef formations teeming with colorful species like the parrot fish, damsel fish, turtles and tropical species. There are however, some challenging sites like Yapak and Camia. These sites have depth and current patterns that challenge more experienced divers. Marine species like barracudas, Dogtooth Tunas, white tip and black tip sharks can be seen here. There are other sites like Laurel Island and Crocodile Island that are home to critters like pipefish, nudibranchs and also have several colorful coral formations. Some of the dive operators arrange liveaboard trips to nearby islands as well.

Getting there

There is no airport on Boracay Island. The nearest airports are Kalibo International Airport and Godofredo P. Ramos airport, which is known at Caticlan or Boracay Airport. Godofredo P. Ramos airport is the easiest entry point to the island and located in Caticlan. Take a 5 minute motor tricycle ride from the airport to Caticlan Jetty Port and from there take a ferry to Boracay Island. The ferry crossing takes 10 – 20 minutes. If you fly into Kalibo airport it is 60 kilometres/37 miles to the port. Arranging transport at the airport is simple and there are regular departures.