Apo Island Snorkeling (Dumaguete, Philippines)

Apo Island, also known as Turtle Island, is just off the coast of the island of Negros. It is reachable by day trip from Dumaguete or Siquijor. You can also stay in one of the few accommodations on the island, but if you are the type who needs modern amenities I would recommend doing it as a day trip. The small town used collected rain water as tap water and electricity is only available 3 hours a day (from 7-10 p.m.) so conservation is key.

For my snorkeling trip I stayed in Dumaguete and visited the island with Harold’s Dive Center. Though I can’t make any promise for all times of year, there was a tour available every day I was in Dumaguete during the end of March and I’ve heard that they go out most days (weather permitting of course). Harold’s offers both dive and snorkel packages, at the time of posting snorkeling was 1200 PHP (diving depends on number of dives and certification).

After meeting at Harold’s at 6:45 you will sign your waver and receive your gear. Much of the gear is old and had some mold, so if you have your own I would suggest bringing it. If you don’t, there is soap to wash them with on the boat (the soap also helps keep the goggles from fogging up) or just arrive early so you can pick through and find something relatively clean. After you have your gear they will load everyone on to as many trucks as they need to ferry everyone to the port. During my trip there were two boats going out, one predominantly Chinese tourists and one predominantly western tourists. I don’t know if this is a standard practice or just happenstance when I was there, though.

From the port it’s about a half an hour journey to beautiful Apo Island.20161002_042524

There are 3 dive and snorkel locations they take you to. I was the only one to see turtles at all 3 spots, but everyone saw at least a few turtles at the second location close to the turtle sanctuary.  The 3rd stop had a cute little cave to explore as well, if that’s your thing.

Stop 1

Stop 2

Stop 3

Harold’s also provides bananas, bread and water for snacking and noodles and an egg for lunch included in the price. During the lunch break people from the island will paddle boats out and offer various Apo Island Tshirts for sale (The price I heard was usually 250 PHP but you never know for sure). After the third spot is the return to the port and Dumaguete, getting back around 5 p.m.

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