If you are thinking about scuba diving Anilao, this guide is all you will need to plan the perfect dive trip.
Anilao is one of the premier locations in the Philippines, when it comes to the amount of chances you will get to see some rare critters.
There are some decent reefs in the various dive sites around Anilao, but what the area is really known for is incredible muck diving and macro critters.
Lots of underwater photographers flock to Anilao because of the large variety of rare creatures they will run into, as well as many underwater photo workshops. This is a photographer and videographer’s paradise.
Locally known as the nudibranch capital of the Philippines, Anilao not only has a huge amount of various nudi species, but many other interesting critters, that you might not see in most places in the world.
For those photographers interested in getting up close and personal with nudis, porcelain crabs and shrimp, fire urchins, wonderpus, rhinopias, ribbon eels and more, then scuba diving Anilao is a dream.
In this guide we will tell you what to expect, who to dive with, popular dive sites, how to get there and more. All you need to do is get there and enjoy.
Great scuba diving in Anilao
Twin Rocks: Twin Rocks consists of two rocks separated by one meter that receives special protection. It is one of the best sites for scuba diving in Anilao. It is known for rich underwater environment and Muck Diving. You can see large elephant ear corals at the entry point of this site.
Beatrice Rocks: Known for its tantalizing beauty, Beatrice Rocks is one of the scuba diving sites in Anilao, which provides wide-angle photography opportunities. The vibrant view of red-orange basslets that swim graciously with the current on all over the two major huge coral formation of the site is still vivid in my mind.
Kirby’s Rock: This diving site in Anilao has great visibility, a beautiful wall filled with life, and a surprising number of good macro subjects. Hard and soft corals were abundant on the rock, including gorgonians and crinoids in a range of colors. Keep an eye out for scorpionfish and lionfish as well, and look closely for nudibranchs here and there. Current is slight to moderate moving westward most of the time.
Secret Bay: Secret Bay, also known as “Mainit Muck” for its proximity to Mainit, is one of the most popular dive spots in Anilao. This muck diving point is highly appreciated by macro photographers worldwide for the quality and quantity of critters that can be found. It is a popular muck site that sometimes has mimic octopus, wonderpus, pipefish, seahorses, frogfish and more.
Devil’s Point: This is situated at the southwest point of Maricaban Islands and is known for its soft corals. In the calm current, you can see gorgonian bush corals, tree soft corals, and bluefin jackfish and tunas.
Anilao Travel Information
How to get to Anilao
Anilao is only a 2-3 hours drive south of Manila, where you will most certainly be entering the country. Most dive resorts in Anilao are remote, many accessible by boat.
Because of this, when you book with some resorts, such as Buceo Anilao, they will arrange to pick you up at the airport or your hotel, and transfer you to their boat, where you will take the short ride to the resort.
Other things to do and see in Anilao
There is not a lot to do in Anilao besides diving, and thats really the only reason to visit. That said there are a few day trips from Anilao, also for diving, that are worth a visit.
Day trips include Verde Island and Sombrerro, and if you mention them to your die resort, they can arrange the trip.
Best times to visit Anilao
Technically, it is possible to dive all year round but the main diving season in Anilao runs from early November to May.
The visibility is about the same from November to May and you can expect about 15m and even 20m in a good day.
Philippines visa info for Americans:
In Philipines you will get a 30 entry on arrival, no visa needed ahead of time. if you want to stay longer that the 30 days, Philippines has the easiest (by FAR) extension in all of Southeast Asia.
You can extend by one month at a time for a few months, without leaving the country, and after a few months the give you a Philippines Id, and offer 6-12 month visas. The one month extensions usually cost around $60 or less.
To get the extension find a immigration office in either Manila or Cebu City, and other cities around the country. They will hold your passport for a few business days, and thats it. Very easy process for divers that can’t get enough of scuba diving Philippines.
As far as we have seen, this visa situation is the same for Europeans and Asians as well. If you have more information for your country, let us know in the comments below.
Critter highlights in Anilao:
Scuba diving Philippines offers so many different types of dives, from muck, reef, drift, wrecks, walls, sharks and much more. In Moalboal, you will find a few of these in one.
Pescador island and some of the other great dive sites around Moalboal, are great examples of what a healthy reef should look like, and as a diver, you will want to experience them/
A few critters you’ll see while scuba diving Anilao:
– Lots of nudibranch species. This is the nudi capital, so look out for some beautiful species
– Octopus. Anilao peer has had some matoti, wonderpus, blue rings and more.
– Cuttle fish. regular and flamboyant
– Ornate ghost pipefish, as well as robust ghost pipes.
– A variety of frogfish species. Cutest critters, or ugliest?
– Ribbon and moray eels.
– Giant batfish
There are many many more incredible species you will run into, as well as huge numbers of common species and schools, and lets not forget the countless species of healthy corals.
Where to stay in Anilao & who to dive with:
There are a number of great dive resorts in Anilao, with good gear and boats and crew, and we will give out top favorite pick below. You can also search through more hotels and dive resorts in Anilao HERE. Let us know if you stayed at our top pick, and what you thought!
Our top pick of who to dive with in Anilao:
BUCEO ANILAO DIVE RESORT! Buceo has an awesome restaurant, accommodation, and dive center with great boats and crews. We couldn’t recommend them enough, and can’t wait to dive with them again. If you want to check them out, here is MORE INFO.