Puerto Galera, Philippines

Welcome to Puerto Galera!

Table of Contents

1. Great dive sites
2. How to get there
3. Other things to do
4. Best times to visit
5. Philippines visa info
6. Critter highlights
7. Where to stay in Puerto Galero

Puerto Galera is located on the North West coast of island of Mindoro and is about 130 miles south of Manila.

One of the best locations for scuba diving Philippines, Puerto Galera has more than 30 dive centers. It is also a marine sanctuary with great marine life and coral reefs.

The area has been a Marine and Biosphere Reserve of UNESCO since 1973 and has some of the most diverse coral reefs in Asia.

While scuba diving Puerto Galera, don’t be surprised if you run into big fish like white tip sharks, tunas, barracudas, eagle rays, turtles and more at the popular dive sites.

A thriving fish community include angelfish, wrasses, surgeonfish, batfish, butterfly fish, and you can also spot exotic fish like spanish dancers, harlequin ghost-pipefish along with camouflaged frogfish, fire gobies and blue-ribbon eels.

Scuba diving Puerto Galera is a heaven for underwater photographers, because of a diversified marine life of soft corals, gorgonians, crinoids, colourful sponges, tunicates and so on.

And of course, all of those tiny critters we all love that live in those reefs, like cleaner and porcelain crabs, cleaner, crinoid and sexy shrimp, fire urchins, and hundreds of others I can’t name. 

And of course, lets not forget my favorite, the nudibranch (pictured above)

Also read: Guide to Scuba Diving Philippines.

Great scuba diving in Puerto Galera

Hibo Reef: The depth is 40 m. This is located in the Manila Channel. The wall is covered with gorgonian sea fans and large black coral trees, unique to this area. Eels and blue triggerfish have made small holes in the wall home, and stingrays are common below the wall, on the sandy patch.

Tamaraw Rocks: The depth ranges from 3 to 16 m. It is a shallow dive and you will find barrel sponges and colourful reefs on your dive. . This site is home to leaf fish, frog fish, stingrays and more, and is a good site for night dive.

Odies Wall: The depth of this site is top to 33m. The ocean floor is white sandy with large bommies and rock formations. The contour slopes off gently and you will find large number of staghorn coral, basket sponges, plate corals. Reef sharks and turtles can also be spotted.

Manila Channel: The depth is 18 m and the site is abundant with gorgonian sea fans and colourful sea whips. You can also see hard and soft corals in a variety. While scuba diving, groupers are hard to spot because they are well camouflaged, so look close!scuba diving puerto Galera

Coral Gardens: The depth is 10 m and this is one of the best dive sites of Puerto Galera. It is excellent even for a drift drive. Coral strewn terrain shelves out from the beach and some of the crevices are home to ribbon eels and even turtles.

Alma Jane: It has a depth to 30m. A liveboard which had sunk in 2000 is home to giant frog fish and even batfish hang out here. A good little wreck dive to check out.

Sabang Wreck: With a depth to 18m, this is an old wooden fishing vessel sunk off in front of Sabang beach. Home to bat fish and surgeonfish, it is a popular dive site in Puerto Galera for trumpets, stone fish, stargazers, flounders, sea stars and more.

Sabang Point: With depths to 24m with stoney corals, fish, invertebrates such as cuttlefish and octopus. A ridge is covered with crinoids and corals. Night dives are fun here.

Monkey Beach: A coral slope down to 18 m, this site is good for beginners. Small coral heads have crinoids, nudibranchs and reef fish.

Dungung Wall: A wreck sits at 27m, at the bottom of the multi-level wall. The wall rises to 12m where the bottom extends into the bay. A good area for colourful corals and reef life.

Hole in the Wall: Situated at Escarceo point, this dive is normally performed as an 18m profile. You descend in several drop offs, each abouts 3m, and reach the hole at about 13m.The hole is about 1.5m wide, covered with multicolored corals and crinoids. While scuba diving Puerto Galera, you will find this as a world class dive site.

The Canyons: An advanced dive site with 30m depth. Drop offs are covered in soft corals and sponges. You will find a variety including snappers, emperors, sweetlips, barracudas, jacks, trevallies and the occasional shark, that make this a high-light Dive.

The Atol: This large rock has several small crevices on the bottom side, reef sharks and stingrays have made these crevices home. On the other side the rock overhangs, it is a good place to explore with a torch. You will find eels, lionfish, nudibranchs and octopus. A large grouper also lives here and also the occasional larger pelagic fish.

Shark Cave: A depth of 27m, Shark Cave has a large overhang which is a favourite spot for white tip reef sharks. It’s also home to blue spotted stingrays, moray eels and octopus. This site is usually visited at the beginning of a multi-level dive to the Pink Wall or as a stop on the way to the canyons.

Pink Wall: Has a depth to 12m, and is a very pretty site with many corals and fish. When dived on the correct tide, it is a paradise for photographers and beginners.

 

Puerto Galera Travel Information

 

How to get to Puerto Galera

In almost all situations, you will first need to get into Manila, and head south from there to the Batangas, and take a ferry from there. For locals and budget travelers, the most common mode of transport is by bus.

There is a bus terminal along Taft Avenue, Pasay City. This is nearest to the Ninoy Aquino International and Domestic Airport. The other bus terminals are in Cubao (Quezon City), EDSA corner Kamias Street (Quezon City), Alabang (Muntinlupa City).

Travel time by bus is about 2 hours, although depending on traffic, you could add another hour just getting through Manila. The fare to Batangas Pier should only cost between $30-$5.

If you are scuba diving Puerto Galera, you probably want to stay in Sabang as opposed to White Beach. The boat from the Pier to Sabang should take 1-1.5 hours, and cost about $10 per person. From there you can ask a trike to take you to your hotel.

There are terminal and environmental fees on one side or the other of the ferry stops, but they are each less than $1.

If you are taking a rental or private car from Manila, then you need to head to Batangas Port, not Pier, and take the car ferry.

The ferry takes you to Calapan, and you can drive to Puerto Galera from there. Passangers fees are around $3, and a car fee is about $30, with those same small fees.

There is also a slow ferry every Thursday and Sunday from Caticlan near Boracay.

Also read: 62 Awesome Places to Visit in Philippines.

Other things to do and see in Puerto Galera:

 

Apart from scuba diving Puerto Galera, you can indulge in other activities like sailing, kayaking, sunset cruises, beach hopping, waterfall chasing, golfing, snorkeling, banana boat, trekking, buggies and motorcycle rentals and even paintball.

Puerto Galera is known for its world class scuba diving, and had a pretty decent nightlife as well, but it has plenty of other great things to do while on a visit.

One thing we recommend, especially for non-divers, is the island hopping tour. The tour boats, good for 8 people, will take you to some amazing views in the area. No need to try and book now, your resort can set it up, or one of the many touts on White Beach.

If you are scuba diving, hold out on the tours until later, because you might be heading the same way to some of the dive locations, and see the same islands, so no need to pay twice.

Best times to visit Puerto Galera:

It is possible to visit all year round in Puerto Galera, but the best time to dive is from April to September, which is dry season, with fewer waves and better visibility.

During wet season and especially in December, the water temperature is much colder with minimum around 23°C on certain dive sites, but still fine.

If you visit around holidays it will be much more crowded, especially with Filipinos on holiday from Manila, so try to plan your scuba diving trip to Puerto Galera in between.

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 Puerto Galera:

scuba diving puerto galera

There are over 100 million people living in Philippines, and only a tiny percent of them are aware of how unique and rare and incredible the critters are that they have living just off shore.The Puerto Galera diving is NO exception.

Scuba Diving Puerto Galera offers opportunities to check off many many bucket list items that all divers wish to see, so here is a list of just a small fraction of those.

Here are just a few critters you’ll see while scuba diving Puerto Galera:

A HUGE plethora of nudibranch species. Just like nearby Anilao, which is world renowned for the number of nudi species, Puerto Galera offers their fair share.

scuba diving puerto galera– Mimick and wonderpus octopus. They are most see during cephalopod season, and are shy, but they have been seen.

– Blue ring octopus

– Flamboyant cuttle fish. The cutest of all cuttles

– Ornate ghost pipefish, as well as robust ghost pipes.

A huge variety of frogfish species. Cutest critters, or ugliest?

– Fire urchins, with crabs or shrimp on their backs.

– 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 Puerto Galero & who to dive with:

If you are mainly scuba diving Puerto Galera, you will want to stay in Sabang area. White Beach os for other water sports and a party scene.

There are a number of great dive resorts in Puerto Galera, 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 Puerto Galera HERE. Let us know if you stayed at our top pick, and what you thought!

Our top pick of who to dive with in Puerto Galera:

BLUE RIBBON DIVE RESORT! Blue Ribbon is a 5 star PADI resort located right on Small La Laguna Bay. The staff and crew area great, and you will love where they take you diving!  MORE INFO.

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