Diving in the Philippines: 5 Dive Spots in Puerto Princesa

When it comes to diving, the Philippines is a top destination for both beginners and experienced divers. With its crystal-clear waters, vibrant coral reefs, and diverse marine life, it offers a truly unforgettable underwater experience. Among the many dive spots in the country, Puerto Princesa stands out as a must-visit location. Located on the island of Palawan, Puerto Princesa boasts an array of dive sites that cater to all levels of divers. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting out, Puerto Princesa has something for everyone.

Why choose Puerto Princesa for diving?

There are several reasons why Puerto Princesa is a great choice for diving. First and foremost, its proximity to the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park makes it an ideal base for exploring this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Tubbataha is known for its pristine coral reefs and abundant marine life, including sharks, turtles, and various species of fish. Additionally, Puerto Princesa is home to Honda Bay, El Nido, Coron Bay, and the famous Puerto Princesa Underground River, all of which offer unique diving experiences. With so many dive sites to choose from, divers in Puerto Princesa are spoiled for choice.

Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park

Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park is undoubtedly one of the top dive spots in Puerto Princesa. This marine sanctuary is located in the Sulu Sea, about 150 kilometers southeast of Puerto Princesa City. It is home to an incredible variety of marine life, including over 500 species of fish, 13 species of dolphins and whales, and 11 species of sharks. Divers can explore the park’s coral walls, swim with schools of fish, and marvel at the colorful coral gardens. The best time to visit Tubbataha is from mid-March to mid-June when the weather is calm and visibility is at its best.

Honda Bay

Honda Bay, located just a short boat ride from Puerto Princesa City, is another popular dive spot in the area. This bay is known for its clear waters and diverse marine ecosystem. Divers can expect to encounter a wide range of marine life, including reef sharks, turtles, and colorful coral reefs. Honda Bay is also home to several wreck dive sites, including the World War II wreck of the Akitsushima. With its calm waters and shallow reefs, Honda Bay is also a great choice for beginners and snorkelers.

El Nido

El Nido, located a few hours north of Puerto Princesa, is a stunning destination renowned for its limestone cliffs, turquoise waters, and pristine beaches. But El Nido is not just a paradise on land; it also offers incredible diving opportunities. The Bacuit Bay, which surrounds El Nido, is home to an abundance of marine life, including colorful reef fish, turtles, and even dugongs. Divers can explore the bay’s vibrant coral gardens, swim through underwater tunnels, and discover hidden caves. El Nido is a must-visit dive spot for those looking for a unique and unforgettable diving experience.

Coron Bay

Coron Bay, located northeast of Puerto Princesa, is known for its crystal-clear waters and numerous World War II wrecks. This dive spot is a haven for wreck diving enthusiasts, with over a dozen well-preserved Japanese shipwrecks to explore. These wrecks have become artificial reefs, teeming with marine life such as lionfish, batfish, and barracudas. Divers can also enjoy the stunning coral gardens and encounter reef sharks and turtles. Coron Bay offers a unique diving experience combining history and natural beauty.

Puerto Princesa Underground River

The Puerto Princesa Underground River is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the New7Wonders of Nature. While not traditionally known as a dive spot, this underground river offers a unique diving experience for adventurous divers. The river’s clear waters and impressive rock formations create a surreal underwater landscape. Divers can explore the river’s caverns, swim through underwater passages, and marvel at the fascinating limestone formations. The Puerto Princesa Underground River is a must-visit for divers who want to explore the hidden wonders of Puerto Princesa.

Must-haves for divers in Puerto Princesa

Before embarking on a diving adventure in Puerto Princesa, every diver should have a few essential items. First and foremost, a well-fitted and reliable dive mask is crucial for clear vision underwater. A comfortable wetsuit or dive skin is also necessary to protect against the cold and potential stings from marine life. Divers should also have a dive computer or depth gauge to accurately monitor their depth and bottom time. Other must-haves include a dive torch, dive knife, and signaling devices such as a whistle or surface marker buoy. Packing sunscreen, a hat, and a reusable water bottle is also important to stay protected and hydrated during surface intervals.

Tips for diving in Puerto Princesa

To make the most of your diving experience in Puerto Princesa, here are a few diving tips to keep in mind. Firstly, always dive within your limits and never exceed your training or comfort level. It’s also essential to respect the marine environment by not touching or damaging coral reefs and marine life. Be mindful of your buoyancy to avoid stirring up sediment and damaging the fragile ecosystem. Lastly, always dive with a reputable dive operator who prioritizes safety and environmental conservation. Following these tips will ensure a safe and enjoyable diving experience in Puerto Princesa.

Creating your Palawan itinerary for diving

If you’re planning a diving trip to Puerto Princesa, creating a well-rounded Palawan itinerary that allows you to explore the best dive spots in the area is important. Start by allocating enough time to visit Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park, Honda Bay, El Nido, Coron Bay, and the Puerto Princesa Underground River. Consider the best time to visit each dive spot and plan your trip accordingly. Including non-diving activities in your itinerary, such as island hopping, beach visits, and exploring the local cuisine is also a good idea. With a well-planned itinerary, you can make the most of your time in Puerto Princesa and experience the best Palawan offers.


Diving in Puerto Princesa, Philippines, offers a unique and unforgettable experience for divers of all levels. With its diverse marine life, vibrant coral reefs, and stunning underwater landscapes, Puerto Princesa is a must-visit destination for diving enthusiasts. Every dive spot in Puerto Princesa offers something special from the pristine waters of Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park to the historical wrecks of Coron Bay. By following the provided tips, packing the essential diver must-haves, and creating a well-planned itinerary, you can make the most of your diving adventure in Puerto Princesa. So pack your gear, book your trip, and get ready for an incredible underwater journey in the Philippines.

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