Up until now, I thought that the Island Hopping tours around El Nido were the highlight of the trip to the Philippines. And then I went Scuba diving! I joined Deep Blue Seafari on 6 scuba diving trips, and I must say that El Nido offers you the best of both worlds: the chance to see the delightful underwater marine life and the amazing cliffs above water.
Before I take you through our underwater experience, here is a shot of an island that seemed straight out of a movie set, just to give you a feel of the what our trip was like. Beautiful, isn’t it? We dropped a couple students off here to get their open water certification. Tell me if this isn’t the perfect place to get certified?!
We had gone snorkeling in El Nido at Helicopter Island before, and it was very disappointing. We had read all these wonderful reviews and our expectations were high. But all we actually did get to see was the sandy floor and barely any marine life. Not what I was expecting. However, on THIS trip, things turned out different! Our dive master knew exactly where to take us. We hit all the right spots and saw some cool coral reefs, stingrays and turtles. Now, that is what I came here to see!
This diving spot is like an underwater alley. As you swim between these spectacular twin rocks, you are surrounded by Table Coral, Sea Whips, Tree Coral, Sponges, and all sorts of interesting marine life, you really don’t know where to look! For me, this was the highlight of this stop. It was a magical world and It reminded me of our scuba diving trip to Cozumel, Mexico which I considered to be one of the best dives I’ve done in my life so far.
South Miniloc Reef
This site is considered to be the most popular diving spot in El Nido. We saw plenty of marine life here including Giant Barrel Sponge, Tree Corals, Yellow tall Barracudas, but the attraction in my opinion, were the big patches of Cabbage corals and the school of Yellow Snappers.
Would I recommend Scuba diving in El Nido, Philippines?
You bet! Apart from the great marine life, spectacular limestone rocks and perfect water temperature, the rides among the islands made every second worth it. If I were to choose between going scuba diving/snorkeling or going on an Island Hopping Tour, I would definitely join a scuba diving or snorkeling tour without a second thought. The fact that the scuba diving boat didn’t get too close to the beach, made everything look so much nicer from a distance. We saw more marine life than we did on the Island Hopping Tour A & Tour C. Those tours are perfect if your interest is more in seeing limestone formations and marine life is not really a priority.
The Company – Deep Blue Seafari
The owners of Deep Blue Seafari were wonderful to meet and what struck me about them was their strong passion for what they do. It was great to see how they mix fun with professionalism, but watch out everyone, because they do believe in Karma! so think twice before screwing with them ha-ha… just joking.
What did I find different about Deep Blue Seafari?
I’ve been fortunate enough to dive with some amazing companies in different parts of the world. However, Deep Blue Seafari raised the bar a little bit higher. In addition to the typical gear check up, here are a few things that I had never experienced with any other company. Their attention to detail was simply superb:
- The day before the dive, the crew made us try our gear, so they could have it ready for the following day. Believe me, this saves a lot of time, specially when you’re not familiar with the equipment.
- While we were on the boat, before we even left El Nido, Jose gave us a short interactive presentation about the dives. He showed us where the emergency kit was located and gave us clear instructions on what to do, in case of an emergency.
- Before each dive, our dive masters, showed us images of the routes we were taking. You’d think that should be done every time, right? This was the first time I was shown pictures of where we were going before a dive. It really helps!
- The food was delicious! I’d even say that this was the best food we had in our first month in The Philippines. Everything was excellent, including the chocolate and vanilla cookies we ate after each dive. You know water makes you really hungry, specially if you’re carrying a big tank on your back for hours.
Name: Deep Blue Seafari
Rates: Begin at USD 80
Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Deep Blue Seafari. However all my opinions are my own.
- Island Hopping in El Nido, Philippines – Tour A
- El Nido, Palawan in 10 Photos – Tour C
- Diving in Cozumel – Another Dream Come True
- Snorkeling & Diving at Hol Chan Marine Reserve – San Pedro, Belize
- The Underwater Museum Cancun – A Museum Like No Other
- Gone fishing in Belize – A great way to experience the Caribbean Sea!