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Diving Puerto Galera, Mindoro | the Philippines

If your ideal dive destination is small, peaceful and in an idyllic setting, super-lively Puerto Galera is unlikely to be your first choice. This small area at the top of Oriental (or east) Mindoro gets the lion’s share of dive tourism in The Philippines and has something of a reputation for being a party destination. Local people head here for long weekends and more come from further afield for the nightlife and facilities on offer.

Yet Puerto Galera is so much more than that – the main beaches are bustling, the small resort centres lively but the promontory remains highly picturesque and the diving is fabulous. What's more, it is easy to get away from the hustle and bustle of the centre and find a calmer side to the area.

The calibre of the dive sites makes a visit more than worthwhile. There is a mixture of coral-clad reef slopes and sandy bays that reveal masses of curious critters. Dive operators tend to focus on promoting the incredible macro life yet the bays are edged by deep-water reefs that are visited by larger animals. There is also a surprising number of wrecks. They aren't huge, but they are interesting – a cluster of three sit on the edges of Sabang Bay while another rests on a reef slope a little down the coast.

Orang-utan crab
Puerto Galera dive photo gallery Scuba diving features
Marine Life Blue ringed octopus
Pegasus seamoth
Ghost pipefish
Top dive site Wreck of the Alma Jane
Seasons All year round
Visibility 5 – 30 metres
Water temperature 27 – 29º C
Deco chambers Manila and Cebu City
Flights to Manila then drive to Batangas port (2-3 hours) and catch a local ferry (one hour).
Dive operators & accommodation more than can possibly be mentioned – all styles, all budgets.

The upside of Puerto Galera is that there are good facilities, a choice of dive centres and resorts, restaurants and bars. The downside is the same. Some of this area can be noisy and it is a little crowded. It's also a little time consuming to get there from Manila, but almost all dive destinations in the Philippines require a transfer of several hours from an international airport.

SCUBA DIVING Despite the above, the diving is really very good, with a great variety of dive styles and animals. This region has been touted as having some of the highest biodiversity in all South East Asia, and you will certainly see a huge range of marine species.
OPINION We avoided Puerto Galera for many years thinking we would hate the up-tempo style, but we didn't, we just avoided those bits and never really noticed they were there. We stayed at Atlantis Resort, which may well be the most famous in the area and for good cause, we had a fabulous time there.
More Philippines diving destinations
LUZON Anilao
Puerto Galera
VISAYAS Bohol/Balicasag

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Complete reports on this area are in
Diving Southeast Asia.

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