Scuba diving guide Puerto Galera: Best diving centers, liveaboards, dive sites and recommendations

A drone photo from the beach in Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro in the Philippines

One of the things that you will be able to explore once you step into the rich nature of Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro, is its growing scuba diving industry. This is because the Puerto Galera Diving area has been regarded as one of the top scuba diving destinations in the Philippines.

About 30 diving spots can be found around and in front of ‘’White Beach’’ and ‘’Sabang Beach’’. Most of the diving spots can be reached by a five-minute boat ride. A few extraordinary small wrecks, that have been purposely sunk during the Japanese World War II, can also be found in this area. You can also try exploring the underwater environment of Puerto Galera through a liveaboard trip that passes through numerous islands.

Being a marine sanctuary, scuba diving in Puerto Galera is exceptional thanks to the rich marine life and fine soft and hard corals. It is also an ideal place for macro underwater photography, night diving, and snorkeling, for instance, at the dive site called ‘’Coral Garden’’ where several species of ghost pipefishes, frogfishes, and nudibranchs can be found.

Most of the Puerto Galera dive sites are situated in the Verde Island passage. In this passage, the waters are generally clear but the currents can be considered strong. Therefore, this provides more opportunities for extraordinary drift dives along the deep walls.

In summary, the marine life of Puerto Galera consists of vibrant coral reefs that are brimming with marine life and magnificent colors. You can also rent a boat for a snorkeling day tour on most of the islands.

Recommendations

Diving around Puerto Galera can be done all-year-round, but as with most Philippine dive sites, it’s best experienced during the dry season from November to May. Typhoons visit the country regularly from June to October so make sure to plan accordingly when diving during these months.

Liveaboards Puerto Galera

For a liveaboard trip, we recommend the Philippine Siren to get the best Puerto Galera diving experience while enjoying its luxury accommodations and amenities.

Tip: The diving destination Anilao Batangas is just around the corner of Puerto Galera and is also known for its great dive sites in the Visayas Region. You can easily combine your Puerto Galera dive trip with this another great diving destination by taking a short boat ride.

Diving center Puerto Galera

There are plenty of dive resorts around the area but a liveaboard is preferable as it will take you to multiple islands in a single itinerary with premium accommodation. For a diving center, we recommend Blue Water Dive Resort, the most popular and one of the top-rated dive centers in Puerto Galera.

Below, we have provided an overview of the best diving centers in Puerto Galera.

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Scuba diving gear included
Nitrox available
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Blue Water Dive Resort

PHP 1,830
N.A.
N.A.
PADI
PHP 21,700
Breakfast ($7), Lunch ($6) and Dinner ($8)
Accommodation, swimming pool

La Laguna Beach Club and Dive Centre

PHP 1,830
N.A.
N.A.
PADI
PHP 20,300
N.A.
Accommodation, swimming pool, Tech diving

Atlantis Dive Resort

N.A.
N.A.
N.A.
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PADI
N.A.
N.A.
Dive shop, classroom, camera room, high speed internet, IDC

Pacific Divers

PHP 1,200
N.A.
N.A.
PADI
PHP 18,000
N.A.
N.A.

The best diving centers in Puerto Galera

Below, we have outlined the best diving centers in Puerto Galera based on experiences and reviews.

Diving Center 1: Blue Water Dive Resort

Blue Water Dive Resort is one of the best dive resorts in Sabang, Puerto Galera. This dive resort is characterized by its professional and friendly dive crew and the land and boat support crew who are well-trained in handling dive equipment. The diving centers is located on the Blue Water Resort, a good option to stay if you would like to drop your stuff in your room and jump into the pool right after the dive.

The Blue Water Dive Resort provides scuba diving fun dives at PHP 1,450/dive (without equipment) and PHP 1,830/dive (including equipment). If you are in for night dives, these are offered at PHP 1,700/dive (without equipment) and PHP 2,100 (with equipment).

Do you want to get your scuba diving Open Water diver certification? Blue Water has the right course for you for just PHP 20,300. The dive resort also offers Advanced Open Water, Dive Master, and Specialty courses such as Nitrox.

Diving Center 2: La Laguna Beach Club and Dive Center

La Laguna Beach Club and Dive Center is a PADI 5 Star Dive Center and is located in the La Laguna Bay area. Besides the PADI 5 Star Dive Center recognition, they also are a PADI 5 Star Instructor Development Center, meaning that they offer a high standard of professional scuba diving courses such as the IDC.

Besides fun dives, they also have a tech diving center offering tech diving dives and training. The diving center is equipped with an air pump station in order to provide all kind of gas mixes. This air pump station is also equipped with Helium analyzers, perfect if you would like to go tech diving.

A fun dive, including rented equipment, costs PHP 1,700. A tech dive, including equipment, is provided for PHP 3,400. The PADI Open Water course is offered for around PHP 20,300 ($420).

Besides offering scuba diving trips and courses, they also have accommodation available, including a swimming pool. They also offer luxury suits with sea view.

Diving Center 3: Atlantis Dive Resort

Atlantis Philippines has resorts in various locations in the Philippines, including the Atlantis Dive Resort Puerto Galera. This cozy, green and colorful resort is a perfect gateway if you don’t want to be in a big and crowded resort. The resort has direct access to beach and offers beautiful sea view.

The Atlantis dive resort offers great facilities and a high standard of courses. They have access to a training pool, dive boats, classrooms and all kind of facilities for underwater photographers. Multiple air compressors/pump stations are available in order to provide air, nitrox or trimix fills.

Diving in groups is limited to a maximum of 6 people. Visit specific dive sites can be discussed with the dive guides. Atlantis Dive Resort offers 4 local dives a day and a night dive. Prices of fun dives and courses are not readily available.

Diving Center 4: Pacific Divers

Pacific Divers, established in 1990, is located at White Beach in Puerto Galera. They operates two fast 13-meter bancas (exquisite outrigger boats that are seen in this particular region) that are specifically designed for diving. For just PHP 1,200 per dive, you’ll get to explore the best Puerto Galera dive sites with the help of certified divemasters.

This diving center also offers a wide range of PADI dive courses that are available in different languages such as Spanish, Italian, German, French, and English. A team of European and Asian diving professionals conducts the training sessions and for PHP 18,000, you can get a PADI Open Water Diver certification.

Best dive sites in Puerto Galera

Below, we have listed and described the most popular diving sites in Puerto Galera for you.

Dive site 1: The Canyons

Three canyons at 22 to 32 meters deep comprise this action-packed dive site, which serves as a hotspot for schooling barracuda, snappers, drummers, groupers, and trevally. Large gorgonian sea fans as well as numerous soft corals enable this to become a colorful site.

Dive site 2: West Escarceo

This long stretch of sloping reef, with the deepest point at 35 meters, is where large schools of red tooth triggerfish and a group of reef fish are swimming around. Moray eels can be found at all depths on the reef. If you go down to the sandy bottom, you will find blue-spotted stingrays laying on the bottom.

Dive site 3: San Agapito Point

Just 18 meters deep, San Agapito is situated in Verde Island and this is one of the spectacular pinnacle sites where you can find macro fans and pelagic lovers. Fairy basslets and schooling jacks are well-emphasized aside from a group of macro crustaceans, large gorgonian sea fans, vibrant corals, and regular sightings of sea snakes.

Dive site 4: Kilima Steps

This dive site provides a wide selection of ‘’steps’’ beginning from five meters. You can begin at the deepest part at 30 meters and you may go up for a selection of marine life that includes beautiful corals, lionfish, moray eels, barracuda, nudibranch, and soap fish. If you are after an interesting topography and photography, then this particular diving site is what you need

Dive site 5: Sinandigan Wall

If you are a big fan of nudibranchs or if you like macro photography, then this particular dive site should be on your priority list. This spectacular coral wall stretches down to 30 meters from where it appears to be a sloping reef. You can also search for macro critters among the resting turtles and colorful soft corals.

Dive site 6: Boatyard

This is considered to be one of the most spectacular muck diving sites. Here, you will be able to look for nudibranchs, cuttlefish, velvet ghost pipefish, seahorses, and frogfish at a depth of 12 to 19 meters.

Dive site 7: Coral Cove

This particular dive site should not be taken for granted as it houses exceptional species. You will be able to find ornate ghost pipefish and pygmy seahorses that are frequently seen in the area. If scuba divers will be more fortunate, you will also be able to find thresher sharks which can be recognized by its famous long tail. The maximum depth of Coral Cove is up to 25-26 meters, but a depth of 20 meters should be enough to enjoy this dive at the most.

Dive site 8: Monkey Beach

This specific dive site at 21 meters deep will make all the marine life lovers return. Scuba divers will be able to witness a wide variety of marine species. The soft corals also comprise feather stars, Christmas tree worms, turtles, and eels.

Note that currents can be experienced at this this dive site and therefore, this dive site is also often used as a drift dive site.

Dive site 9: Manila Channel

Up to 21 meters deep, Manila Channel is a distinct muck diving site with a sandy bottom and some of the hard coral spots can also be seen here. It also has two walls that contain various corals and sponges.

Dive site 10: Shark Cave

In this particular diving site, you will be able to encounter whitetip reef sharks at a depth of 26 meters, as well as blue-spotted stingrays. As indicated by the dive site’s name, there is a large overhang (cave) where sharks are resting. In case sharks are seen, please make sure that you don’t disturb them.

Furthermore, there are also sponges, corals, sweetlips, nudibranchs, tiny reef fish, and pufferfish.

Best time to visit Puerto Galera

It is possible to go to Puerto Galera and dive there all-year-round. Typically, the best time for a Puerto Galera Dive is from April to September since, during this time, you will be able to enjoy the warm water, excellent sea conditions, and better visibility.

Usually, during December and the colder months of the year, the water temperature on specific dive sites is colder with a minimum of about 23 degrees Celsius. The conditions on most dive sites are suitable for learning scuba diving. Nevertheless, drift dives at Puerto Galera are popular due to the strong currents and its spectacular walls, especially in the straits/channels between the islands. At the other local dive sites, currents will be gentle. The visibility may range from 10 meters to 30 meters depending on the tide and season.

How to get to Puerto Galera Oriental Mindoro

Option 1: By flight

The main point of entry to Puerto Galera is through Manila. From Manila, you can go for the sea-plane route to Puerto Galera Bay.

For an alternate and more affordable route, you can take a bus or taxi from the airport to Batangas Pier, then locate the Expressway or Tollway to know which is the fastest route.

Option 2: By car

If you will be renting a car, you need to drive through the South Luzon Expressway, then go to the right to the Star Tollgate, and then go directly to Batangas Pier.

From there, you can park your car and go for the ferry directed towards Puerto Galera or have your car ride, a RoRo (roll-on, roll-off), and have it with you.

Accommodations in Puerto Galera

Accommodation 1: Marion Roos Hotel ($$)

Marion Roos Hotel is a two-star hotel that features a garden, bar, private parking space, and a restaurant. It also includes family rooms, free WiFi, a tour desk, a tour desk, room service, free toiletries and desk, bidet, kettle, a flat-screen TV with satellite channels, and air conditioning. You can also enjoy a barbecue, an American, or a la carte breakfast.

Price: PHP 1,020 per night/person.

Accommodation 2: RedDoorz Plus West Nautical ($)

This particular two-star hotel features a private bathroom, a flat-screen TV, air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi, and a restaurant. RedDoorz Plus has a private parking space and can also be set with an additional charge.

Price: PHP 804 per night per person.

Accommodation 3: Zen Rooms White Beach ($$$)

Zen Rooms provides air-conditioned rooms that are equipped with a private bathroom, flat-screen TV, desk, free wiFi, shared lounge, a 24-hour front desk, a restaurant, and a bar. An Asian Breakfast is also provided for guests and they can also enjoy the hotel’s outdoor pool.

Price: PHP 2,000 per night per person.

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