Scuba diving in Palancar reefs

  • must see
From Boat
Diver level
Average: 7 m
Maximum: 38 m
Average: 26 m
Maximum: 35 m
Palancar is one of the most extraordinary reefs, divided into 4 sections which include the Palancar Caves, Palancar Bricks, Palancar Horseshoe and Palancar Gardens. This dive is usually done as a multi level drift dive that ends about 7m/25ft on the top of the reef. Giant corals growing here form high towers, spires and caves, buttresses, gullies and canyons. The beginning of Palancar reef is known as the Palancar Bricks (a deep dive with many varied combinations of coral growth), and from there it’s about 4,9km/3mi of caves, canyons, overhangs and gardens. Palancar Horseshoe, located 1,4km/0,88mi from Palancar Bricks, is a large horseshoe shaped notch in the wall of Palancar, packed with series of giant coral heads. It is full of varied corals, sponges and a variety of marine life. 526m from Palancar Bricks folows the Palancar Caves site. It has deep buttresses, tunnels, caves and large caverns that sit along the edge of a sloping wall. Palancar Gardens (situated 756m from the previous site) is a great dive for beginners and a good place to encounter stingrays. The site features towering rock spires and cliffs that are covered with colorful corals (including black corals), gorgonians and purple and orange sponges.

When to go

Best time for diving Palancar reefs is December through April. The average water temperature throughout the year varies from 26C/78F to 29C/84F.

What to see

Reefs are teeming with various marine life including corals, sponges, jacks, triggerfish, turtles, snappers, angelfish, Bermuda chub, rays and several species of sharks.

Reachable from


Liveaboards with trips to Palancar reefs

Reviews about Palancar reefs

  • 7
    Overall impression
  • 8.5
  • 8.5
  • 4