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Diving in Malapascua

Best known for its thresher shark sightings, Malapascua should be on the bucket list of any big fish aficionado. This tiny island offers some of the world’s most highly rated dive sites. When you get tired of the sharks, explore vibrant healthy reefs and discover an array of intriguing critters.

Diving in Malapascua

Quick facts

Malapascua remains relatively undeveloped and this tiny island is everything you would expect from a tropical island get away. Pristine white sand beaches, lush green palms and crystal clear water make this the perfect place to kick back and relax. Enjoy stunning sunsets, embrace the laid back vibe and enjoy incredible diving. Malapascua’s resident thresher sharks boosted the island to fame but there is a lot more to Malapascua underwater. Dive with sharks, rays, explore healthy coral reefs, discover stunning wrecks or immerse yourself in a world of macro – it’s all possible.

When to go

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USD 662Per person for 7 nights for 2 divers
USD 537Per person for 7 nights for 2 divers
USD 587Per person for 7 nights for 2 divers
USD 1,295Per trip
USD 2,799Per trip
USD 1,552Per trip
Monad Shoal – This submerged sea mount is Malapascua’s most famous dive site and the best spot for thresher sharks sightings. Diving here is either a “swimming dive” or on a stationary line waiting for the sharks to approach. Close encounters with these incredible predators are not unusual. It’s a thrilling experience and a must-do if visiting the Philippines to dive. Gato Island – This marine reserve and sea snake sanctuary offers a huge diversity of marine life. You’ll find stunning corals, swim throughs and rock formations, abundant fish life and a plethora of critters. Look out for schooling fish and cruising reef sharks. It’s a beautiful dive and every dive here is different. Lapus Lapus – Offering arguably the best coral in Malapascua, this is a kaleidoscopic site which always impresses. You can find frogfish, mantis shrimp, scorpionfish, cuttlefish and octopus on the reef. Macro critters hide out in the shallow water soft coral garden and there is an excellent variety of reef fish. Butong Bato – This underwater pinnacle site is located close to Malapascua and is home to a large school of resident batfish. Corals here are healthy, vibrant and varied. Macro photographers will enjoy the nudibranch species and tiny crustaceans including zebra crabs and whip coral shrimps. Chocolate Island – An absolute must for macro photographers. Chocolate Island is a critter haven and regular sightings include flamboyant cuttlefish, Pegasus seamoths, nudibranch, flatworms, octopus, cowries and a host of shrimps and crustaceans.

What to see

The biggest draw to Malapascua is the year round thresher shark sightings. Other pelagics and predatory species include reef sharks, tuna, barracuda, trevally, jacks and sea snakes. Don’t forget to bring your macro lenses and look out for nudibranch, frogfish, flatworms, pygmy seahorses, seamoths, cuttlefish (including flamboyant), octopus and all manner of miniature crustaceans.

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Getting there

You’ll need to travel to Maya in the north of Cebu and take a boat across to Malapascua. You can take a large air-conditioned bus which stops on route and takes 5 hours. Smaller, non air-conditioned buses take around 4 hours non-stop. Buses depart frequently throughout the day from Cebu Airport and the city. Taxi’s are more expensive but take only 2.5 hours. Boats leave when they are full but if you want to leave sooner, expect to pay more or opt for a private boat. The crossing from Maya to Malapascua takes 30 minutes.
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.