Tubbataha Reef Liveaboard Diving

Tubbataha Reef Liveaboard Diving in the Philippines is a World-class astonishing and remarkable underwater adventure! Remote protected sanctuary, a true paradise in terms of marine diversity and richness, offers truly amazing diving in the Coral Triangle, the richest environment in the Sulu Sea.

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Tubbataha Reef: General Information

Tubbataha Reef Liveaboard Diving  is a true mecca for divers. Not only the finest destination for diving in the Philippines, Tubbataha is recognized as the most outstanding and valuable destinations in terms of marine life species in the whole World. Located far from shore in the Sulu Sea, Tubbataha is one of the richest underwater environments in the Coral Triangle. Located 150 km from shore it takes around 10 hours of navigation to reach Tubbataha on a liveaboard from Puerto Princesa. 130 ha of Marine Protected Area of Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park was declared as UNESCO World’s Heritage Site in 1993.


Tubbataha Reef: Diving

Liveaboard diving trips to Tubbataha Reef are best suited for experienced divers. Required certification level to join a liveaboard trip is Advance with number of logged dives from 30 to 50 depending on a liveaboard company. You may expect challenging currents and depths, diverse marine life and big encounters supported by clear waters and great visibility. Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park is a beautiful composition of 2 Atolls (North and South) that form outstanding underwater scenery. Few kilometres to the North there is also a smaller coral formation called Jessie Beazley Reef, which is also visited by liveaboards most often at the end of the trip. Imagine yourself jumping into the water and observing these huge underwater mountains with vertical walls and plateaus carpeted with corals. Tubbataha reef diving sites are home to almost 400 species of corals, including impressive sea fans and soft corals, and 600 species of fish. On many sites you will be diving with large fish like napoleon wrasse and also schools of fish, to list a few there are big-eyes and giant trevally, yellowtail and great barracuda, dogtooth tuna, bumphead parrotfish and many more cruising around. This underwater paradise is no joke, the park also embraces 11 species of sharks including hammerhead and thresher sharks, tiger and nurse sharks, grey reef and white tip reef sharks, and even whale sharks. There is also a star of tropical waters of Indo-Pacific, a guitarfish which is almost an intermediate between sharks and rays that’s why they are often being called the shark rays.  Another big marine megafauna representatives graciously glide around the reefs, yes, you got it right, everybody’s favorites Manta Rays are here! Shallow reefs are overflowing with brightly colored small fish, also featuring stingrays, hawksbill and green sea turtles, schools of jacks and snappers. And it’s not limited to big creatures, photographers will find the place to make their perfect shot of fascinating seahorses, ornate ghost pipefish and compelling frogfish, and of course – awesome nudibranchs! 

On top of all great diving adventures, Tubbataha is also a bird sanctuary, so you will be lucky to encounter up to 100 different bird species around.

Best time to visit Tubbataha on a Liveaboard Diving trip

Tubbataha liveaboard diving season is quite short. You can visit Tubbataha from March to June every year. During this time diving conditions are the best with blue sky, calm seas and great visibility that varies up to 30 and even 45 meters. During other months of the year weather conditions are less favourable, Tubbataha faces northeast monsoon from November to March and a southwest monsoon between July and October. 

Tubbataha is warm water diving destination, water temperature varies from 26°C to 30°C (80 °F to 86°F) and get to its highest mark in May and June. You will be comfortable diving at 3mm wetsuit. Please note that dive gloves, reef hooks are NOT allowed in Tubbataha.

Liveaboards visiting Tubbataha Reef

Because of its remote location there is no other possibility to dive Tubbataha Reef but on a liveaboard. Thus you cannot visit Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park on a daily diving format while staying in the resort. This actually plays for the best as the destination is not overcrowded by daily boats. There are many liveaboards featuring Tubbataha Reef diving trips in their schedule. Although Tubbataha diving trips might seem pricey, there are different budget segments of operators to choose from. Common duration for liveaboard diving trip in Tubbataha is between 6 and 7 nights, the only exceptions make transition trips with longer duration. Those are usually start and end of the season when liveaboards head to Puerto Princesa for seasonal operations. 

If your main focus is underwater and you are looking for a budget travel, you are most likely to consider the following liveaboards: Dolphin and Azalea.

There is a wider range of liveaboards in a middle segment, such as Infiniti Liveaboard, Seadoors Liveaboard, Resolute LiveaboardDiscovery Adventures and Discovery Palawan, Atlantis Azores. For a truly high-class experience take a look at Philippine Siren, Solitude One and Nirvana

Many travelers are particularly interested in languages speaking on board. Of course, most likely you will have quite an international group of divers aboard, you might also find useful information about spoken languages of dive guides and instructors on board. While everybody speaks English and Filipino, just to list a few there are also German speaking team members aboard Azalea and Dolphin Liveaboards, French on Seadoors, Spanish on Solitude One, Discovery Adventure and Discovery Palawan and you might also have Chinese speaking team members aboard those two Discovery Liveaboards.

Because the Philippines is a famous destination for underwater photographers, all liveaboards feature special facilities for their needs, multiple indoor and outdoor areas to work with pictures, plenty of charging areas as well as separate tanks for rinsing cameras after dives.

Regardless of the budget level of operator you choose, you will be visiting the most famous dive sites around South and North Atolls such as Wall Street, Washing Machine, Shark Airport, Delsan wreck, Triggerfish City, Black Rock, Amos Rock, Seafan Alley and Malayan Wreck.

Because of the short diving season trips get fully booked pretty fast, so it’s essential not to leave it to the last minute. Many liveaboard trips to Tubbataha are sold out in a year prospective, so we suggest you start browsing and comparing liveaboards visiting Tubbataha in advance to have more options to choose from.

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