Macro: best diving destination of the Philippines is clearly Tubbataha reef ! It is a marine park listed as a UNESCO heritage site in the middle of nowhere. The diving in Tubbataha, is simply exceptional, there is everything you could dream of seeing: a just breathtaking reef of beauty, schools of fish everywhere, sharks on every street corner, a cleaning station with manta rays, a site frequented by migrating whale sharks and sites where you can have the chance to meet hammerhead sharks (solitary) and tiger sharks !! Very complicated access, a on liveaboards is the only way to Tubbataha reef but that the price remains reasonable compared to other destinations. Also be aware that there is a season very short to go to Tubbataha from March to June. I was skeptical before going there, well I was not disappointed, it was just great !!

Context: I spent almost 2 years in the Philippines, as an instructor and center manager, so I had time to dive everywhere and collect all the good info as usual !!

> Overview
> Presentation
> Diving with
> Dive sites 
> Seasons and conditions 
> Liveaboard diving cruise
> Diving club 
> Puerto Princesa housing
> How to get there
> My diving review
plongee tubbataha philippines requin


  • TOP 10 world diving.
  • Best destination in the Philippines.
  • Tubbataha Diving Season : March to June.
  • Common Marine Life : reef shark, large pelagic, school of fish (barracudas, trevallies, turtle, eagle ray, marbled ray ...
  • Possible species : whale shark, hammerhead shark, tiger shark.
  • A manta ray cleaning station manta rays.
  • Visibility : 20 to 40 m all year round.
  • Access : only in on liveaboards from Puerto Princesa.

Logo-plongeur-baroudeurRecommendations by category of divers:

> New diver : not recommended.
> Confirmed : to do if you go the budget and the time.
> Experienced : to do absolutely!


Where is Tubbataha reef in the Philippines?

  • Tubbataha is a park classified at UNESCO.
  • It's a small atoll in the middle of the Sulu Sea, between Palawan and Negros / Mindanao.
  • It is composed of 3 main areas : North Atoll, South Atoll and Jessie Beazley Reef.
  • There is a storage station (North Atoll) and a lighthouse (North Atoll).
  • The atoll is surrounded depths up to 2000 m.
#Overview #Presentation #Diving #Sites #seasons #Liveaboards #Accommodation #Get to #My diving review


shark - white-tip

How is diving?

  • The majority topography of the sites is a beautiful coral garden around the islands (where the submerged part), then slopes / walls that descend quickly to 500 m !
  • The majority of dives are therefore drifting.
  • he can be current but not as strong as other destinations.

Tubbataha reefs

He is just splendid :

  • Preserved and healthy The area has been a marine park for a very long time (there has never been, or very little) dynamite fishing.
  • various : soft corals and corals hard mix, gorgeous and huge gorgonians everywhere, several types anemones, of the sponges of all colors

Tubbataha reef shark

If you are among those who absolutely want to see some sharkCome to Tubbataha, you will not be disappointed!

  • White-tip : can be seen in all sites, rather solitary, swimming along the walls or sleeping on the ground.
  • Black-tip : less common than white-tips, it can also be seen on all sites.
  • Gray : unlike many places I know, the gray reef sharks are the ones we see the most! There are everywhere, and often in groups, of 5, 10, 20 or more individuals when there is power!

Large pelagic Tubbataha

Tubbataha is full of large pelagics:

  • The classic ones: napoleons, humpback parrots, every kind of grouper (malabar, brown, saddle ...) and trevally (bluefin trevally, golden trevally, big eyes ...), giant trevally
  • But also: several types of tuna (yellowfin tuna, dogtooth tuna ...) or mackerel.

Schools of Fish Tubbataha

  • Other notable point of Tubbataha is the number of schools of fish! There are benches of a little everything: batfish, snapper, fusilier, moorish idol, red tooth triggerfish, butterflyfish, midnight snapper, surgeonfish, unicornfish
  • But also impressive school of barracudas and of trevallyfrom the small group of 10-20 to huge schools of hundreds and hundreds of individuals and up to more than 2000 for some schools of jacks that I met ! A real treat !!

Turtle Tubbataha

  • Turtles are of course commonplace here, green and nested turtle.
  • We see on all the dives.

Eagle and marbled ray Tubbataha

  • Of big stripes walk around too.
  • It is not uncommon to cross marbled stripes or large stingrays (more than a meter!).

Manta ray Tubbataha

  • Tubbataha has a cleaning station with mantas rays (Black rock, in the south atoll).
  • It is almost guaranteed to cross a see several mantas there.
  • Those are ocean mantas, that is, they can do up to 7 m !!
  • They can also walk on any site of course !

Whale shark Tubbataha

  • There are not many places in the world where we can hope dive with whale sharksTubbataha is one of them!
  • It is very common for one of these giants to pass along the reef Delson wreck in the south atoll.
  • Sometimes it takes several dives to see (I needed 3), but when he passes, what happiness!

Hammerhead shark Tubbataha

shark great hammerhead.jpg
  • Tubbataha is in the middle of nowhere, with walls falling more than 2000 m, so a perfect environment for hammerhead sharks!
  • Do not expect hammerhead sharks like the Galapagos here. great hammerhead", The big solitary hammerhead sharks.
  • The North Atoll offers the best chances to fall on them, especially around " washing machine".
  • As soon as the temperature gets colder, a hammer is able to emerge at any moment!

Tubbataha Tiger Sharktiger shark

  • There is tiger shark in Tubbataha.
  • No rules or typical sites, they turn in the waters around the atollsso you have to be lucky.
  • On the other hand, unlike the hammer, no need to go very deep to see, sometimes they are in 5 m of water!

Diving video Tubbataha

Dive photos Tubbataha


Map of Tubbataha dive sites

carte sites de plongee tubbataha philippines

What are the best Tubbataha dive sites?

All sites are good in Tubbataha!

manta ray 7
  • Black rock: manta rays
    A cleaning station with manta rays. You can come across ocean mantas (up to 7m long), including black manta.
  • Delson wreck: whale sharks
    The site with the greatest chances to see whale sharks go by!
  • Washing machine: hammerhead shark
    The site with the greatest chances to see hammerhead sharks!
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The diving season in Tubbataha is only from March to June.

When to dive in Tubbataha reef?

Jack - everywhere 5

  • Tubbataha whale shark season : March to June.
  • Manta ray season Tubbataha : March to June.

Tubbataha reef diving conditions:

  • Visibility : always excellent, 20 to 40 m.
  • Tubbataha water temperature 28-29 ° C.
  • Current : moderate.
>Overview >Presentation >Diving >Sites >seasons >Liveaboards >Accommodation >Get to >My diving review


Tubbataha is one of those places where you can only access liveaboard diving cruise.

Info on diving cruises at Tubbataha reef

  • Departure to Puerto Princesa on Palawan.
  • 10h of navigation about.
  • Cruise from 6 to 10 days.
  • There are not many operators yet and to date the best way to choose your diving cruise for Tubbataha remains

The best diving cruises in Tubbataha reef

After comparing the different information on the liveaboards in Tubbataha, here is what I can tell you:

Cheap diving cruise Tubbataha

You probably think that diving cruises in Tubbataha are inaccessible, but there are some cheaper boats, then you will have to make sacrifices and be less demanding (comfort, board service, food, equipment, space…).

THE CHEAPEST BOAT for a diving cruise in Tubbataha
1150 € for 6 days / 15 dives !

A diving friend told me about this boat, it's the least I have found for Tubbataha for the moment!
After I have no other information on it, but hey it's rooms with 4 bunk beds with shared bathroom, so if that's fine with you it's a great price! There is even a double cabin (perfect for a couple) and a small cabin alone at the same price!
It is not not on, so contact me directly to have all the info tony.houdreà!

From 1320 € for 7 days / 19 dives !

Another boat I was told about, it is new and will make its first cruises in 2021.
It is more comfortable than the previous ones and makes an extra day. There are mostly comfortable cabins, but there is also a 4-bed dormitory cabin with shared bathroom at a great price (€ 1,450 for 7 days)! It is not not on, so contact me directly to have all the info tony.houdreà!

I can have it for you 1450 € for 6 days / 16 dives !

It was not great luxury, but comfortable anyway, rooms of 3 with air conditioning, decent food, competent divemaster (1 for 8), keeping the boat correct in the waves ... If you are really on the price, I recommend this one this rather than the Azalea. It is not not on, so contact me directly to have all the info tony.houdreà!


AZALEA - The cheapest for 7 days.
From 1650 €

I have no info on it, but a liveaboard of small bamboos on the side, it does not seem to me to be necessary for the waters of Tubbataha… After that it is the cheapest.


Be aware that comfort will not be the watchword of this range, but if you are ready to accept it, you will enjoy Tubbataha at a low price!

Tubbataha value for money diving cruise

If you are not 100 or 200 € ready, I recommend that you look at this range, there are good value for money.

DOLPHIN - Without doubt the best value for money
From 1990 € pour 7 jours

It is not the largest of the boats, but at this price you have a comfortable boat, air-conditioned room, relaxation area ... Only 18 people max, unlike the discovery palawan.


DISCOVERY PALAWAN - Good value for money
A partir de 2218 € pour 7 jours 

They have been there for a very long time and have a good reputation. Be careful, they have 20 cabins on board, so potentially 40 divers…


Note : Océanic 3 and Stella maris liveaboards in this category have a bad reputation…

Tubbataha comfort diving cruise:

The liveaboard in Tubbataha started with this range there and honestly they are all good. If I had the budget, I would really look in this range, a great boat with space, a sundeck, we can't walk on it, divemasters always on top, equipment in good condition and ... the food, for sure varied and of quality!

SEADOORS - The best for those who like to socialize
From 2480 € pour 7 jours

His strategy is to focus on European customers (so not too many Americans, no Chinese or Indians for example), suddenly according to the information I have, the atmosphere is very nice and social on board (beware, each cruise can be different eh!).


SOLITUDE ONE - The best for photographers!
A partir de 2480 € pour 7 jours

With a studio for digital cameras, a camera assembly bench and a large rinsing tank for cameras, Solitude one is designed for photographers!


Luxury diving cruise Tubbataha

So, of course if you really have the budget and want to treat yourself with a caring crew, flat screen TV, jacuzzi, massage service…

PHILIPPINES SIREN - The best for the class of the boat (phinisi type)
A partir de 3449 € pour 7 jours
Luxury: multimedia system in the rooms, lounge area with cocktail bar, film viewing system, massage service available every day, a full professional quality photo and video station…


ATLANTIS AZORES - The best for fun, the best of the best!
From 3616 €

Good bin, there is a jacuzzi on board, I just let you imagine the rest!

>Overview >Presentation >Diving >Sites >seasons >Liveaboards >Accommodation >Get to >My diving review


  • There are no dive centers in Tubbataha reef.
  • The only solution for diving is on liveaboards from Puerto Galera.


Before or after your diving cruise in Tubbataha, you will surely need a hotel in Puerto Princesa, here is a small selection:

HOW TO GET TO Tubbataha

How to get to Tubbataha?

It's simple, the only way to go to Tubbataha is to leave in liveaboard from Puerto Princesa on Palawan.

How to get to Puerto Princesa:

  • Go from Manila to Puerto Princesa = 1h15 of plane (several flights per day).
  • Go from Cebu to Puerto princesa = 45 min flight (several flights per day).
  • Go from El nido in Puerto princesa = 5-6h van (there are every day, all day).
carte comment aller a tubbataha philippines
#Overview #Presentation #Diving #Sites #seasons #Liveaboards #Accommodation #Get to #My diving review


Tubbataha was a real favorite ! I thought nothing could match Raja Ampat, well Tubbataha can claim it! The reefs are just splendid and varied throughout the park and the quantity of fish is impressive : alot of sharks reef, many large pelagic, huge schools of fish, a cleaning station for manta rays, manta rays, turtles, eagle and marbled rays… Plus the possibility of come across fairly rare species like the whale sharks, hammerhead sharks or tiger sharks ! Hurry up and go to Tubbataha before it's too well known !!

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