Puerto Galera is a picture-perfect diving holiday destination complete with sandy beaches and light blue waters that offer superb diving. Although it is the most developed and visited destination in the Philippines, Puerto Galera still maintains its local flair despite the many tourists that flock to its shores each year. Cementing itself as a firm favourite amongst divers, Puerto Galera has an abundance of nearby dive sites and just as many dive centres. For this reason, it is known as the diving hub of the Philippines.
A diving hub is no good without some good underwater sights, and Puerto Galera does not disappoint with its 450 species of colourful coral and over 3000 different fish species. With 5 kilometers of certified protected marine area, all life continues to thrive in these waters, which are known for producing heavy currents in the Verde Island channel area. From the large and imposing fish to the small, seemingly insignificant but all-too-amazing critters, each dive in Puerto Galera is a new and exciting experience.
Best Dive Sites in Puerto Galera, Philippines
There are a number of thrilling dive sites to be experienced in Puerto Galera thanks to the area’s strong currents, impressive visibility and deep blue waters, not to mention the location at the Verde Island passage where an abundance of fish are known to be.
Hole in the Wall
As the name suggests, this site features an enjoyable swim through a short tunnel at manageable depths of between 8 and 18 metres. The dive site is very welcoming to all levels of divers and is a must for budding underwater photographers due to a large variety of colourful underwater life. Puffer fish, parrot fish and frogfish are all common sightings.
This deep and rocky stadium-shaped reef offers exceptional views of a number of marine species for advanced divers. Sightings of white tip reef sharks are common, as are tuna, sweetlips, rainbow runners and jacks in the blue water.
Known as one of the top dive sites in the area, Canyons is an exhilarating, high speed drift dive experience that sends divers to the depths of three canyons each at 30 metres below the surface. The canyons are beautifully decorated in pink coral and almost entirely covered by large gorgonians, and divers should expect to see marine life of every size and shape including large kingfish and resident harlequin sweetlips. As there are always strong currents at Canyons, the site is not recommended for beginner divers.
Well known for its magnificent macro life, this sloping reef hosts all sorts of fascinating species. Colourful nudibranchs and fluttering cuttle fish all hang out in the Coral Cove with the likes of frog fish, ribbon eels and pipe fish calling the overhangs of the wall their underwater home.
Best Time to Dive in Puerto Galera, Philippines
Although diving is possible throughout the year, the best diving is usually between the months of April and September. During these months the water is warm and pleasant with a temperature of 29°C. August to November are the rainy months in the Philippines but this does not mean that diving should be avoided entirely as there are a number of sheltered dive spots around. Divers intending to do deeper dives from December onwards should be aware of the drop in water temperature during this time – an average of 22°C is the norm during this time and thermoclines are common on deeper dives.
Getting to Puerto Galera, Philippines
The capital of the Philippines, Manila, is a densely populated city on the island of Luzon and offers frequent travel options to Puerto Galera. The total journey time will be about 5 hours and consists of a morning bus ride from Manila to Batangas Pier and then a ferry ride to Puerto Galera. Once in Puerto Galera, which is about 130 kilometers south of Manila, transportation to the numerous dive resorts is done by indigenous ‘Banca’ boat, a narrow wooden boat with booms made from local thorn trees. If you’re feeling flush, private transfers from Manila are possible via road or sea plane.
Where to Stay in Puerto Galera, Philippines
When it comes to diving, divers can choose to book their dives independently with any one of the numerous dive operators, or stay at one of the dive resorts. Either option is fairly hassle-free due to the fact that most people in the Philippines speak good English and locals are always eager to assist tourists.
A few dive centres focus specifically on one or more areas such as macro dive sites, whereas others offer night dives, additional training and certifications and guided boat dives.
Staying at a diving resort offers the added benefit of having a number of enjoyable facilities at your disposal such as swimming pools and on-site bars. With the dive sites easily accessible from the resort and organized from within the resort, all you need to do is sit back, relax and enjoy your dives. A number of premium dive resort options are available in the Sabang beach area. Of course liveaboards are an even more convenient option if you want to get the most out of your diving time in the Philippines.
Feeling inspired and raring to go? Check out our Puerto Galera travel guide and start planning your next diving trip!