The Province of Palawan is the largest in the Philippines. It occupies the western edge of the country and consists of more than 1,700 islands and islets, where tourists can find some of the most beautiful beaches and lagoons. Palawan remains relatively untouched by modern development and what best defines this region is the water around it. This is why it’s one of the top diving destinations in Asia.
Fringed by coral reefs, Palawan is a world-class dive destination. It has some of the best water conditions in the country, where 30-meter/100-foot underwater visibility is considered a standard. There are dozens of dive sites spread across the entirety of the archipelago and everywhere you go you will discover an unexpected gem.
The beautiful pristine reefs are teeming with life of all sorts - from whale sharks, dugongs, and manta rays to vibrantly colored nudibranchs and other critters.
Palawan also holds some of the best wreck dive sites in the Philippines. Those with an interest in wrecks can head to Coron island to explore numerous Japanese ships that went down during WWII. There are over 12 shipwrecks suitable for recreational diving in Coron alone.
Due to its size and remoteness, Palawan is a popular liveaboard dive destination. Dive safaris are very popular among tourists that want to explore the best that these pristine reefs have to offer. This is the best way to discover Palawan if you have enough time on your hands.
You can dive in Palawan almost all year long, but keep in mind that the rainy season lasts from June to December. June to September/October are the wettest months. December to March typically offers the best diving conditions.
The water in Palawan is balmy all year round. Anytime you come here you can enjoy temperatures of more than 26° C/79° F.
From gentle to strong depending on the tide and location.
Dive visibility varies based on location and other factors such as tidal strength and surface weather but generally ranges between 7 and 30 meters/23-100 feet. You will usually find great visibility in Palawan.
Tubbataha Reef is probably the most appreciated dive region in the Philippines and has been nominated as one of the “New Seven Wonders of the Natural World.” This protected area is located in the middle of the Sulu Sea and consists of two large atolls - North Atoll and South Atoll - and the smaller Jessie Beazley Reef.
Trips to Tubbataha from Puerto Princesa on Palawan Island operate during the diving season from mid-March to mid-June. The marine park is about ten hours by boat from the city. One of the most popular dive sites here is the Amos Rock, a wall filled with a variety of soft and hard corals and completely visited by numerous reef fish such as snappers, groupers, and Napoleon wrasses.
Another premiere dive region in the Philippines is Coron, in Northern Palawan. Most – if not all - scuba divers come here to do one thing: wreck diving. More than 10 historical shipwrecks are resting on the seabed and they all have something in common: the Second World War. Some of the most dived wrecks here are the Irako Maru – a former refrigerator ship suitable for advanced divers - and [Okikawa Maru]https://dive.site/explore/site/okikawa-maru-jvRP) – the largest wreck in Coron, which can be dived by beginners too.
For those interested more in coral reefs and tropical fish, El Nido is the ideal diving spot in Palawan. The dive sites here are plentiful and most are located within Bacuit Bay’s islands. El Nido has a wide variety of marine animals – from passing pelagics to interesting critters such as nudibranchs, seahorses, scorpionfish, and others. You can also commonly spot the big stuff such as reef sharks, marble rays, eagle rays, and schools of barracudas, jacks, groupers, and snappers. Don’t miss out on diving the Dilumacad, South Miniloc, and North Rock dive sites.
Just as El Nido, Puerto Princesa is located in a bay and is great for beginner divers. Here you’ll find some of the most beautiful and pristine seascapes in the country. The underwater life is diverse and abundant; you can spot species like barracudas, cuttlefish, octopus, jackfish, tuna, sea turtles, nudibranchs, and so much more.
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