Puerto Galera is a municipality in the Philippines located on the northern coast of Mindoro Island. With tourism being the core activity of the city, there are plenty of leisure activities to participate in, whether you want to soak up the sun or put those muscles to work by partaking in a watersport. A UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserve since 1973, Puerto Galera also offers some of the most diverse coral reef diving in the Asian continent.
Puerto Galera, a haven for nudibranch lovers.
Puerto Galera is one of the top diving destinations in the Philippines. With diverse marine life that numbers over 450 species of coral and 3,000 species of fish, including more than 150 species of nudibranchs, there’s so much to be discovered here. Barracudas, groupers, trevallies, triggerfish, jacks, snappers, drummers, sea turtles, moray eels, and reef sharks are some of the creatures you can see in the waters of Puerto Galera.
There are over 40 dive sites in the region, and they feature incredible diversity. Everything from underwater caves and colorful reefs to impressive wrecks can be found along this relatively small stretch of land. The main diving area in Puerto Galera is Sabang, a bustling village that offers great muck diving. The nearby Verde Island is also known for being one of the best reef dives in the country, featuring interesting topography and enormous sea fans.
The diving season in Puerto Galera starts mid-December and ends in late May when the weather is most pleasant. Divers may also visit outside of the season or - better said, the low season, but bear in mind that rain, wind, and typhoons may occur. However, during the low season, visibility is usually better, so there is an advantage after all. Dive centers are open throughout the year, so regardless of when you come, you will most likely get to blow some bubbles in the incredible underwater world of Puerto Galera.
The water temperature in Puerto Galera averages 27° C/81° F, with the warmest temperatures being recorded in June/July, while December and January are typically the coolest months. Nonetheless, the water temperature does not usually fall below 25° C/77° F on shallow dives.
The intensity of the currents in Puerto Galera ranges from none at all to strong. For strong currents and exciting drift dives, head to the nearby Verde Island.
The visibility in Puerto Galera is about 15-25 meters (50-80 feet) on average but can exceed 30 meters (100 feet) at some dive sites.
Hole in the Wall – One of Puerto Galera’s signature dive, this is a small swim-through situated at a depth of about 12 meters (40 feet). The dive site is filled with marine life that includes jacks, sweetlips, snappers, drummers, lionfish, scorpionfish, octopus, frogfish, sea turtles, and trevallies.
The Canyons – This exciting drift dive features three canyons situated at 24, 27, and 30 meters (79, 86, and 98 feet). There is also a 1.5-meter Spanish anchor found just after the last canyon. Snappers, barracudas, emperor fish, giant trevallies, sweetlips, and other marine animals can be spotted here.
Ernie’s Cave – Ernie was a large grouper that while no longer inhabits the cave, his legacy lives on. There are actually two caves: one located at a depth of about 21 meters (69 feet) and the other at about 27 meters (89 feet). Although Ernie no longer inhabits these waters, you can see numerous surgeonfish, unicornfish, trevallies, and big-eyed soldierfish, among other creatures.
Sinandigan Wall – This interesting dive site consists of a rocky slope broken up by two walls dotted with hundreds of nudibranchs and sea cucumbers. The walls are also covered with sea sponges and green tree corals, and under the rocky outcrops, you can spot sweetlips, frogfish, crocodile fish, anemone fish, and leaf fish.