We are pleased to present this fantastic Philippines liveaboard and resort snorkeling trip to you. It combines a liveaboard tour and a resort stay in the Visayan Islands, a wonderful Coral Triangle destination. Join a small group of 15 snorkelers aboard the beautiful 107 foot yacht, Atlantis Azores, and at the lovely Pura Vida Resort in Cabilao. For 12 days you will explore serene islands with diverse and healthy reefs, clear waters, and vibrant marine life.
You will visit the regions of Moalboal, Bohol, Pamilacan Island, Apo Island, and Cabilao. Each offers unique and different underwater topography, plunging walls to shallow coral gardens, pinnacles and sea mounts. Much of the snorkeling will be enjoyed over shallow fringing reefs - expect healthy hard and soft coral gardens with plenty of turtles, potential for rays and sharks, and a high diversity of fish life. Conditions in the water should make for easy snorkeling with protection from neighboring islands and calm surface conditions - these locations are not prone to strong currents.
There will also be the option of an overland tour to see some interesting attractions on the island of Bohol, including the famous Chocolate Hills, Butterfly Farm, and Hinagdanan Cave.
This trip is being run by our partner and friend Ben and his team. Based in the U.K., they are experts at running amazing excursions, and have a great appreciation for the underwater world. You will be accompanied by a guide from Ben's team for the entire trip, and there will be local guides for every snorkeling opportunity.
The Philippines are an island group in Southeast Asia. They are an important part of the Coral Triangle, a region known as the epicenter of marine biodiversity of the world. The Visayan Islands are a group of central Philippines islands, including Negros, Cebu, and Bohol.
International flights are readily available to the capital of the Philippines, Manila (MNL). You will be met there by your guide and as a group take a short interisland flight south to Dumaguete on the island of Negros (this flight is included in your trip cost).
From the Dumaguete airport you will transfer to the Atlantis Dumaguete Resort where you will board the Atlantis Azores Liveaboard.
You can see a specific itinerary for the liveaboard below. After six nights aboard the yacht, you will return to the Atlantis Dumaguete Resort for a night of beach and pool relaxation.
From there you will be driven to the Dumaguete Pier where you will board a ferry to Tagbilaran. Then, you transfer to Pura Vida Resort in Cabilao, where you will spend the next four nights.
On the last day of the trip you transfer to the airport, then fly as a group from Bohol-Panglao to Manila where your trip will end.
From the Atlantis Azores Liveaboard there will be 3-4 snorkel sessions per day done from two zodiac tender boats at the following locations:
Day 2 - Moalboal & Pescador Island - After spending your first night on board, the yacht will head north to Moalboal on the west side of Cebu Island. One of the highlights will be snorkeling with massive schools of sardines at Panagsama Reef while hunting trevally chase them. At Pescador Island you will see the ancient and massive coral reefs as they plunge into the depths all around this tiny underwater mountain island. Sightings of reef sharks, clownfish, and turtles are common at these destinations.
Days 3 & 4 - Bohol, Panglao, Alona Beach, Balicasag Island - The reefs surrounding these islands are beautiful with huge old coral formations, a variety of colorful soft corals, a multitude of tropical reef fish species, turtles, frog fishes, and more. The waters in this area are home to pods of dolphins and we have a good chance to spot some in this archipelago. While in the area we will also make a stop at Virgin Island - a nearby sand bar and picturesque islet.
Day 5 - Pamilacan & Sumilon Islands - Pamilacan Island is home to about 240 families with a history of subsistence fishing, that have transitioned to prioritizing the health of the waters that support their lifestyle, and now also offer many tourism services. The island's healthy reefs are full of turtles, anemones, nudibranchs, jacks, sardines, and an abundance of other sea life. You will enjoy powder white beaches here and an island tour by community members.
Sumilon Island was the first marine protected area in the Philippines and was created as a marine sanctuary in 1974. The years of protection have paid off, and it boasts stunning reefs with an abundance of schooling of fish. Here we will spend some time enjoying the pristine beaches, and also enjoy a beach BBQ for dinner.
Day 6 - Apo Island - Next you will visit Apo Island, a marine preserve and no-take-zone for 35 years. The large colorful reefs are very healthy and full of sea life. Expect to see lots of nudibranchs, and green and hawksbill turtles, schooling jacks, trevally, and barracuda.
Day 7 - The boat will head back to Dumaguete and you will be transferred to the Atlantis Dumaguete Resort, for some enjoyable moments of relaxation at the pool or on the beach and a one night stay.
The 107 foot Atlantis Azores yacht is a world-class liveaboard complete with eight cabins which come equipped with private bathrooms, showers, and air conditioning.
All meals are included, and are freshly prepared. There are snacks and drinks always available. Dietary restrictions (vegan, gluten free, etc.) can be accommodated. And all drinks are included, with social servings of beer, wine, and rum. You may also bring your own beverages with no corkage fee.
As well as a spacious lounge, the ship has a large sun deck, bar, grill and hot tub. Some evenings there will be marine life presentations, and there are fish ID reference books and novels in the library.
There is a spacious dive deck for storing your snorkel gear, as well as a camera room.
Most snorkeling will be done from two zodiac tender boats with a short ride to the sites, and there are hot showers for rinsing off on the rear deck of the main boat when you return.
After your transfer from the
Atlantis Resort to the Dumaguete Pier for a ferry ride to Tagbilaran,
and then a further transfer to Cabilao, you will arrive at the Pura Vida
Resort. You will be there for the final four nights of your trip.
Situated on the northeastern point of isolated Cabilao Island off of Bohol is Pura Vida. The resort is multistory and stretches from a white sandy, palm tree fringed beach up onto an overlooking cliff-side. Pura Vida has only 20 rooms in total, ensuring that one still gets personalized service and an intimate environment. The air-conditioned rooms are spacious and decorated with modern flair, and all offer lovely sea views. The restaurant and bar area provide the perfect spaces for socializing or relaxing after a day of snorkeling. All meals are included and they offer a wide range of different European and Asian dishes. There is a spa that offers a wide range of treatments, too.
Pura Vida has a fabulous house reef which is great for exploring at your leisure and makes for easy access to a relaxing snorkel.
Two boat snorkel trips per day (for three days) are included on the resort's traditional Bangka Boats. The plunging walls and beautiful reef sites are colorful and abundant with life. The sea grass attracts turtles to many of the sites, and the areas of sandy bottom and coral bommies allow for amazing critter hunting.
Depending on the sites, one can hope to see frogfish, various nudibranchs, crabs and shrimps, barracuda, eagle rays and white tips, large gorgonian fans and plenty of healthy soft corals. Sites such as Gorgonia Wall, which is covered in soft corals, is perfect in the afternoon where the sun drenches the reef in light whilst Lighthouse is a sloping reef which attracts plenty of fish life.
You will have the option to go on a land tour to visit the Bohol Chocolate Hills, Butterfly Farm, and Hinagdanan Cave. This will be offered on your last afternoon at Pura Vida.
After your last night, you will be transferred to the Bohol-Panglao Airport for the included flight back to Manila, where your trip will end.
This is a small group charter and we expect it to fill quickly. Your spot is reserved with your deposit. Contact Ben below for deposit instructions.
July 3-14, 2021 - One double occupancy cabin available.
$4885 US per person (Twin/Double Share)
Owner's Suite Upgrade: $990 US per person
The initial deposit for this trip is $400 US per person. At 12 months before departure there is a $600 US per person interim deposit, and at six months there is another $1000 US per person interim deposit. The final balance will be due 12 weeks before departure. A few payment options are available including debit and credit cards.
Individual travelers - Ben will happily find someone of the same sex for you to share a room with. If he cannot find you someone, no single supplement surcharge will apply.
Ben and his U.K. based team are the organizers and leaders of this trip (more about them below). Galen & Nicole from TropicalSnorkeling.com are promoting this trip, but all signups, trip organization and payments are made to and managed by Ben's team. TropicalSnorkeling.com does receive a referral fee in exchange for promoting the trip, at no extra cost to attendees.
How to Sign Up or Learn More?
Use the contact form below to contact Ben and his team to request more information about them and express your interest in signing up. They will get back to you shortly with full details.
Ben (pictured with Nicole) is our friend and snorkeling trips partner. He and his team are based in the U.K. and have around twenty years of experience guiding in Asia and beyond. He has been running his own business since 2010 and is primarily offering guided snorkeling trips, but he started with diving. He began offering snorkeling specific trips because he was aware that snorkelers often get the short end of the stick when thrown in with divers. He and his team love the freedom and low stress of snorkeling, and are very aware of the different needs of snorkelers versus divers, in terms of the reef depth, and calm surface conditions needed.
experience going on one of his snorkeling trips we found it very well
organized, the guides were fantastic and very helpful, and the underwater experiences were exceptional. Snorkeling
groups really get the benefit of all of Ben and his guides' years of
experience in the water, and with different resorts and liveaboards.
of his trips are small groups of 12-18 guests, or with a similar ratio
of snorkelers to guides. And for where they visit, and how packed they
are with experiences, they are affordable.
His company is licensed and insured. Barring extreme circumstances they do not cancel trips, and all funds are held in a trust until the trip is completed giving you 100% financial security if they or any of their suppliers go out of business before the trip happens.