61 Dive Sites
20 Dive Shops
Part 1: Overview of Scuba Diving in Cebu and Bohol, (Philippines)
Situated in the center of the Visayas, one of the Philippines three main geographical divisions, the area of Cebu and Bohol has some of the best diving in the Philippines. Cebu city and Mactan island are convenient locations to dive from and liveaboards depart from here as well. Bohol is the Philippines’ 10th largest island and offers the diver a complete vacation experience, combining lush natural beauty on land with exquisite diving and excellent underwater photography possibilities.
Most areas around Cebu and Bohol have house reefs, accessible either as shore dive or a few minutes boat ride from the beach. Day trips and boat dives give access to some of the Philippines most popular dive sites like Balicasag island and Pamilican island, with steep coral covered walls and schooling fish life. Other dive sites include reefs, wrecks and caves for beginner and experienced divers. Bohol specifically is known for abundant macro life, however the area gets frequent visits from larger marine life as well.
Diving in Cebu and Bohol is possible all through the year, still diving conditions are best between November and May. Although Typhoon season runs from September to December, Cebu and Bohol are not much affected because the are situated outside of the Typhoon belt. The water temperature ranges between 25 and 30 degrees Celsius and a 3-5 mm wetsuit is recommended. Visibility is good to excellent, between 10 and 30 meters, and is best in the dry months of January and May.
With Mactan Cebu International Airport right at the doorstep, this popular Philippines dive area is easy to reach. Most dive centers on Mactan Island or in Cebu city are only a short drive away from the airport by taxi. Tagbilaran on Bohol island is only a 90 minute ferry ride away from Cebu port or even has a small airport with direct flights from Manila.
Part 2: Dive Sites, Marine Life & Environment in Cebu and Bohol, (Philippines)
Easily accessible with some of the best dive sites in the Philippines makes Cebu and Bohol a popular area for diving. Cebu city, Mactan island and Bohol island are home to a wide selection of excellent dive sites, some right at the doorstep and others a short boat ride away.
Balicasag island, considered one of the Philippines best places to dive, boasts multiple excellent dive sites and is known for its coral covered slopes and wall with schooling jacks and barracudas. The aptly named dive site ‘Divers Heaven’ is Balicasag’s most popular site and for good reason. This vertical wall drops from 6 to 40 meters deep and attracts species like the Napoleon Wrasse, angelfish and lionfish. Sloping down to about 40 meters deep, Black forest is a reef with mainly hard corals that makes for a good drift dive. By many advanced divers it is considered Balicasag Island’s best dive site and attracts schooling fish and sea turtles, along with the usual reef fish.
Pamilican island is a small rocky island that can be dived in two separate dives. Although recovering from illegal over fishing, this place is still a Cebu diving highlight. Hard and soft corals attract an array of marine life, including Napoleon wrasse, Barracudas, Batfish and the occasional manta ray.
Cebu City and Mactan island have plenty of good dive sites within short reach, including reefs, wrecks and caves. Marigondon Cave is the most famous dive in Cebu, but for advanced divers only. Stretching from 27 to 37 meters with a diameter of ten meters, divers can swim into the cave for about 40 meters far. The cave is home to lionfish and giant crabs. At Tingo Point, also for advanced divers only because of its dept, lucky divers might see Tresher sharks or even a hammerhead shark.
Bohol diving is know for its amazing macro life, some of the best in the Philippines diving selection. A 14 kilometer long reef stretches out from Guindelman to Anda, offering dive opportunities for all levels of divers. This beautiful reef is home to sea turtles, humpback parrotfish, seahorses, nudibranchs and pipefish. With good to very good visibility, this reef makes for a good underwater photography spot.
Part 3: Dive Shops, Airports & Logistics of Diving in Cebu and Bohol, (Philippines)
Cebu and Bohol diving is pretty spread out and there are many options to choose from in terms of where to stay and start your diving adventure. Mactan Island is close to the area’s international airport and therefore a convenient choice. Traveling to Bohol may require a boat ride from Cebu port or direct flight from Manila, but the island is far away from the crowds and offers some relaxing and exclusive dive experiences in an area well known for its abundant macro life. Taking a short ride by taxi to Panglao island, attached to Bohol by bridge, is rewarded with quick access to Balicasag island, a premium Philippines dive site.
Kontiki Divers on Mactan island, is situated only 20 minutes away from Cebu International airport. This PADI 5 star dive resort offers excellent shore diving on their house reef as well as boat dives, day trips and a good selection of dive courses including rebreather diving.
Situated in Alona Beach on the small island of Panglao, Philippine Fun Divers has easy access to Balicasag Island, one of the Philippines’ premier dive sites. For dive locations further way they offer multiple day diving safaris, which include trips to Apo Island and Cabilao.
Blue Star Dive Resort is a quiet and relaxed place with excellent diving at the doorstep. Slightly elevated on a volcanic plateau, this resort has the best views on the island and a promise of stunning sunsets. Since Blue Star is a remote and small resort it makes for a perfect diving holiday for the diver interested in a calm diving adventure with personal service.
The best dive sites around Cebu and Bohol can be visit from the comfort of a liveaboard vessel. The Siren fleet operates a ‘Southern Visayas’ trip that takes in all the mayor dive sites from Cebu to Negros and Bohol. It leaves from Mactan island and goes throughout the year. Another good Philippines liveaboard choice is the Atlantis Azores. They operate different Philippines liveaboards, including a Bohol trip which takes-in Sumilon, Cabilao, Balicasag and Pamilican islands, just to name a few stops.