Tubbataha National Park is a protected marine area and bird sanctuary in the Sulu Sea. It’s by far the best place for scuba diving in the Philippines, thanks to its large amount of healthy and rich coral reef, and the overall abundance of marine life. In Tubbataha alone you can find 360 species of corals, which is about half of the species in the world. Also, no less than 600 species of fish, 13 species of whales and dolphins, 11 species of sharks, and green and hawksbill sea turtles are all to be found there.
Due to the distance from the mainland and the 10 hours travel time, diving in Tubbataha Reef is only possible as a liveaboard safari trip. The trips last between 6-7 days, and boats are allowed from the last two weeks of March to the first two weeks of June. If you’re planning on diving in the Philippines during these three months, you should seriously consider this tour. Book in advance and secure yourself a spot in this once in a life time liveaboard experience.
Please have a look at this link to get in touch with any of the dive operators.
Tubbataha is composed of two atolls (the only real atolls in the Philippines) and one reef. It lies in the center of the Coral Triangle, which has at least 70% of the world’s corals and 40% of the world’s fish, even though it’s only 2% of the world’s oceans, and it plays a massive role in marine biodiversity conservation in the whole world. The diving conditions are also extremely good, with a visibility of 30-45 meters.
For many years, the isolation of Tubbataha served as its protection, however due to the popularization of motorized boats among local fishermen during the 80's, the reefs and marine life suffer due to the destructive fishing techniques. Shortly after the reef was declared a national marine park, in response to strong campaigns. Studies show that it's now more resilient to climate change than other reefs in the world, due to being remote, protected and unfrequented.
Tubbataha completely recovered from this short violent period and is now one of the best diving sites in the world, and because of its importance it was declare a UNESCO World heritage site in 1993. During the scuba safari you'll dive in the south and north atolls and the Jessie Beazley Reef. Meaning, you'll end the diving trip after a comprehensive exploration of all its dive sites.
Our high-end trips usually last 6 nights and 7 days, but a transitional trip (the first and last trip of the season where the boat sails to and from Apo Reef) is one night longer. All rooms are air conditioned and hypoallergenic, and the trip is full board including all meals, coffee tea and water. Alcoholic drink and soft drinks can be bought on board. You'll do 4 dives a day including a night dive.
The travel to and from Puerto Princesa, the starting point, is done overnight so on your first day you can already start your trip with a morning dive. The boat also returns early in the morning which allows you to catch a flight on the same day. However, if you did a night dive on your last night, it's better to stay another night in Puerto Princesa. It allows you to wait 24 hours between your last dive and next flight, as it can cause a medical risk. We will include it in you package, and can even book you a tour to the underground river on the day of arrival back in Puerto Princesa.
Economy twin sharing : 2,350 USD
Premium economy triple sharing : 2,350 USD
Premium economy twin sharing : 2,700 USD
Standard twin sharing : 2,650 USD
Deluxe twin sharing :2,750 USD
Super deluxe twin sharing : 2,850 USD
*The transition trip costs 100 USD more for any room category.
**Rate do not include gear rentals if you don't have your own and are subj. to change.
Inquire now regarding the dates suitable for you in the link provided. Keep in mind that spots are limited and tend to run out quickly. Schedules run out easily, inquire with us to know more.
The boat's name is M/Y Stella Maris Explorer, a 36 meter pleasure yacht. It has a 20 sq. meter sundeck with a bar and Jacuzzi, air conditioned interior, and an entertainment center with books DVD player and stereo. It will supply you with everything you need in order to have the best diving liveaboard trip imaginable.
As we said before, scuba diving in Tubbataha reef isn't only for the rich. You can enjoy a great liveaboard trip to the reef in a more modest vessel and save a lot of money for that. Our budget Tubbahata safaris are 5 nights and 6 days. Being a day short also make it less expensive and is a perfect amount of time to explore all the dive sites.
The itinerary of the budget tour is very similar to the high end one. It has 4-5 dives a day, arrives in Tubbataha early in the morning for a full diving day, and also arrives to Puerto Princesa early in the morning, which allows to take a flight to your next destination, as well as going to the underground river on the same day. However because the boat is slower, it leaves Puerto Princesa in the afternoon, and leaves Tubbataha on 15:30 so it will make it on time back.
The budget safari trips are also a lot more intimate for the boat is smaller. It means that there are less people on board (up to 11 not including the crew), but also the communal areas are smaller. The accommodation is of 4 berth dorms, so you get a lot less privacy. M/Y Sakura is a trimaran, meaning it's very stable, which is really good for people who suffer from sea sickness.
Unlike the M/Y Stella Maris, this boat has only one accommodation category, and therefore only one rate. The Budget Tubbataha Liveaboard trip cost 1365 USD including the environmental fees. You won't find any Tubbataha Safari for this rate anywhere else.</br ></br >
*Gear is excluded and can be rented for an additional price.</br >
A diving safari is for people who're really into diving. However you don't have to be an extremely experienced diver or a professional. You must have a basic scuba diving certification, and this alone allows you to join the trip. Having an advanced certification prior to the safari will allow you to go deeper and explore more of the reef's dive sites. If you consider getting an advanced certification earlier on your vacation we can find the best dive centers for you do to so and arrange it in your package.
Tubbataha Reef Liveaboard can be a standalone item and the main focus of your vacation. Inquire now and we'll create a package that includes the international and domestic flights, as well as accommodation in Manila/Cebu and Puerto Princesa. You can also include Tubbataha as a part of your trip, and we'll build your itinerary accordingly.