Bohol, a paradisiacal province in the Philippines, is a top-tier destination for both seasoned and beginner scuba divers. Home to an impressive array of marine life and vibrant coral gardens, the area is characterized by clear, warm waters and diverse underwater landscapes. Dive conditions are mostly optimal throughout the year, making it a haven for explorers of the deep blue sea.
Best Scuba Diving Spots for Experienced Divers
Balicasag Island: Known for its wall dives and vibrant marine life, Balicasag Island is an absolute must for experienced divers. The island is surrounded by a marine sanctuary, where you can expect to see schools of jackfish, barracudas, and occasionally, the rare sight of sea turtles and whale sharks. "Diver's Heaven" and "Black Forest" are two of the most famous diving sites in the area.
Panglao Island: For experienced divers seeking a truly special dive, Panglao Island offers "Habagat Wreck," an old Korean fishing vessel intentionally sunk to form an artificial reef. Over the years, it has turned into a thriving marine habitat filled with soft and hard corals, sponges, and a wide variety of fish species.
Best Scuba Diving Spots for Beginners
Alona Beach: This is an ideal location for novice divers, with calm waters and a shallow reef teeming with colorful fish. The site offers a gentle introduction to the underwater world and is also perfect for snorkeling.
Doljo Beach: Offering gentle currents and a sloping seabed, Doljo Beach is a prime site for beginners. The area is famous for its healthy corals, abundant marine life, and the chance to spot long-nose hawkfish, nudibranchs, and occasionally, sea turtles.
Bohol is renowned for its rich and diverse marine life. From the smallest critters such as nudibranchs and pygmy seahorses to larger creatures like sea turtles and the elusive whale sharks, it's a feast for the eyes of underwater enthusiasts. The region is particularly known for its sardine runs, which is a spectacle not to be missed. Reef sharks, barracudas, lionfish, clownfish, and colorful corals add to the vibrant underwater tapestry that makes diving here so magical.
Bohol offers excellent diving conditions throughout the year. The water temperature typically ranges from 79 to 86°F (26 to 30°C), allowing for comfortable dives. Visibility can vary but often extends beyond 65 feet (20 meters), and can sometimes reach up to 100 feet (30 meters) during optimal conditions. Currents range from gentle to strong, depending on the site, making it a perfect diving destination for all levels of divers.
The cost of scuba diving in Bohol is relatively affordable, making it an attractive destination for many diving enthusiasts. On average, you can expect to pay between $30 to $50 per dive, including boat rides and equipment rental. PADI Open Water certification courses can be found for around $400 to $500. However, prices may vary depending on the dive shop and the time of year.
Remember, while the cost can be a deciding factor, the safety, professionalism, and environmental practices of the dive shop should always be given top priority. Happy diving in Bohol!