Scuba Diving in El Nido, Philippines – The Best of Both Worlds

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.

Taking a break between dives at Twin Rocks...Deep Blue Seafari

Enjoying the scenery between dives at Twin Rocks

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?!

Pasandigan Beach, El Nido, Palawan - Philippines

Pasandigan Beach – An unspoiled island near El Nido

Helicopter Reef

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!

Scuba diving in El Nido, Palawan

Jonah checking out the unusual coral around Helicopter reef

Twin Rocks

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.

Diving in El Nido, Philippines - Twin Rocks

Diving between the bejeweled walls of the twin rocks – what a fantastic experience!

Angelfish in El Nido, Palawan

I was wondering if this Angelfish was planning to have that little fish for dinner….

I think I stumbled upon a convention of Adult Platax Teira...Scuba diving in El Nido - Palawan, Philippines

I think I stumbled upon a convention of adult Platax Teira.

Beaked coralfish in El nido, philippines

A photogenic Beaked coralfish setting out on a date.


A Giant Trevally Tuna keeping company with a school of little fish in El Nido - Palawan, Philippines

A Giant Trevally Tuna keeping company with a school of little fish.

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.

Yellow-lined Snapper - Scuba diving in Palawan

A school of obedient Yellow-lined Snapper.

Nemo and his friend in their beautiful playground.El Nido, Philippines

Nemo and his friend in their beautiful playground.

 Yellow-lined Snapper - El Nido, Philippines

Jonah couldn’t resist capturing this school of Yellow-lined Snapper on video. I hope he finds time to have it ready for viewing, soon.

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.

Twin Rocks, Scuba diving in El Nido, Palawan

Taking a break at North Rock, Pretty awesome, isn’t it?

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.
Deep Blue Seafari

Jonah (on the left) and Jose (on the right) chilling out after an exhausting (but exhilarating) day in the water

Company Information

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.
Carmen Anderson
Hi! I'm Carmen and I'm obsessed with boutique hotels, scuba diving and yoga. When I'm not writing about my travel experiences, I hang out on social media....a little, oh, alright, a LOT! Connect with me if you like traveling, yoga or scuba diving.

7 Responses to Scuba Diving in El Nido, Philippines – The Best of Both Worlds

  1. JoAnna says:

    Super blog, Carmen!! And wonderful pictures! I would sooo love to go to the Philippines someday…before too long.

    • Thanks JoAnna!
      I’m sure El Nido will blow your mind. The islands are simply breathtaking. I’ve seen just a little bit so far. The next time I am in the Philippines, Coron and Linanpacan​ ​are on top of my list! ​I heard that Coron is great for wreck diving and Linanpacan has the clearest water in the world. Now, tell me if these aren’t reasons enough to visit The Philippines 🙂

  2. Rafael Vara Martinez says:

    I liked this coment and photos very much !! . I hope get more information about it in the future , and go to El Nido with you so soon as posible .
    Thanks so much José !! .
    Rafael Vara M.

    • Hi Rafael,
      El Nido is a one of a kind diving spot. You’ll get amazing shots above and underwater. ​ We just wished we had our old camera for the underwater shots. We were not very impressed with the ​G​o​P​ro. ​It​ seems to work great for videos, but not so much for still photography​. ​But, whenever you’re ready to plan your trip, Jose and Diana at Deep Blue Seafari will be happy to help you.

  3. paul says:

    just came back from el nido last night (by the its my first time there and im from the phil) superb blog sadly i wasnt able to do scuba diving but will surely go back there to try it 😀

    • Hi Paul,

      I’m glad to hear you got a chance to visit El Nido. I bet you loved it!

      If you ever go back, make sure to include diving to your itinerary. It’s totally worth it!

Leave a reply