Diving around Bohol Island

Turtles and barracuda swim through forests of giant coral that rise from the seabed, schools of tiny fish glimmer in the light, and majestic manta rays glide through the shadows… If you dream of deep-sea scuba, or simply love skimming through the shallows, diving around Bohol lets you see the very best of the region’s underwater treasures, whatever your skill level.

What to expect from a Bohol dive...

Just a short hop from Bohol's well-loved tarsiers and the Chocolate Hills, there are reefs teeming with some of the world’s most astonishing sealife. Whether you’re a complete beginner or a seasoned diver, there are many ways to explore the diverse and delicate world beneath Bohol’s waves.

Alona Beach - famed for its idyllic tropical-postcard scenery - is the perfect spot to start your Bohol diving adventure with a little snorkelling. Hire a mask and fins from a local dive shop and float over the shallow reefs to catch flashes of pipefish, clownfish and other shimmering creatures darting across the seabed.

Go from zero to dive-hero in a few days with a PADI course at one of Bohol’s many dive centres. After initial instruction in a pool or contained reef you’ll be out in the ocean making up the hours for your Open Water certificate, and going on guided dives in the bay. Panglao has several sites that are ideal for beginners, with accessible beaches and a shallow ocean shelf to provide a gentle backdrop to your dives. Hover over beds of garden eels at Danao as they sway hypnotically in the current, mimicking blades of seagrass, and visit Ando’s Paradise Garden to drift over coral beds or dive down the wall to glimpse a turtle or two.

From December to April, experienced divers can get exhilaratingly close to the hammerheads which gather in deeper waters off northern Cabilao. You might even be lucky enough to spot a whale shark - one of the ocean’s gentle giants, despite its imposing name - as they make their way along their migratory route.

For many, the jewel in the Bohol diver’s crown is Balicasag Island: a marine sanctuary and biodiversity haven. Descend the steep underwater slope of the Black Forest to witness shoals of barracuda shimmering through the tree-like coral, shine your torch into the crevices at Cathedral Wall, or watch a myriad of rainbow-hued marine life congregate at Royal Garden.

Location: Bohol, Panglao & surrounding islands

Duration: 3+ hrs per dive, 3-4 days for full diving course

Accommodation: Your choice of accommodation on Bohol or Panglao

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Kate says...

'Bohol is frequently listed as one of the top dive spots in the world, let alone the Philippines, and it’s not hard to see why! A true bucket-list diving destination.'

Good to note...

In most places, anyone learning to scuba dive must be at least 10 years old and a capable swimmer. Everyone who dives will need to answer a health and fitness questionnaire, so if you have any existing medical conditions it’s worth getting a letter signed by your doctor stating that you’re fit to dive before you travel, just in case your instructor requires it.

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