Snorkeler above coral reefs in the Philippines

Snorkeling in the Philippines

With surreal freshwater lagoons, spectacular reefs, diversity of marine life, and unspoiled beaches, the Philippines is a paradise for snorkelers.

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Philippines Snorkeling Expedition

Whale Sharks and Reefs of the Coral Triangle

Trip Details at-a-Glance

Cost From: $5395  
Length: 13 days
Arrive: Manila, Philippines
Depart: Manila, Philippines
Lodging: 2 nights in hotels, 10 nights in beachfront lodges and resorts
Meals: All meals included
Activity: Snorkeling, Wildlife & Natural History, Whale or Dolphin Swimming, Whale Watching
Trip Level: Snorkeling, swimming, day hikes
3

Highlights

  • Snorkel the dazzling underwater world of the Philippines’ Central Visayas
  • Swim with whale sharks, the largest fish species in the world
  • Explore off-the-beaten-path Cabilao Island, with reefs that are among the healthiest and most productive in the world
  • Enjoy dolphin- and whale-watching in Bohol Strait
  • Relax in comfortable beachside lodges and resorts, with the best access to our snorkeling sites


This trip was an excellent adventure! Lee Goldman's expertise and intimate knowledge of the region made for an experience of a lifetime.Bob Q.—Woodinville, WA

Choosing the Right Trip

We work hard to help you choose the right trip for you, paying attention to your individual interests, abilities, and needs. If you have questions about the level of comfort or any of the activities described in this itinerary, please contact us.

References

We are proud to have an exceptionally high rate of repeat travelers. For more information, we would be happy to put you in touch with a client who has traveled with us.

Departure Notes

Once you have signed up on the trip, we send a complete packing list, relevant health information, and required travel documents.

If the wonders of life under the sea capture your imagination, join us for a “no-holds-barred, snorkel-till-you-drop” adventure in the Central Visayas, the stunning Philippine archipelago at the northern edge of the Coral Triangle, recognized as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. With WT Trip Leader and marine biologist Lee Goldman, we snorkel amid an underwater ballet of extraordinary marine life, including, perhaps, even the unforgettable experience of swimming with whale sharks, and enjoy dolphin- and whale-watching at Bohol Strait, the best place in the Philippines to see a variety of marine mammals.

Itinerary at a Glance

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

Days 1-5
Manila / Sogod Bay / Whale Shark Encounters / Snorkeling

From Manila, we fly to Leyte Island, where the “house reef” is just a few kicks from the beach and our cottages on Sogod Bay. Whale sharks—up to 40 feet long—migrate here, and we have the exciting chance to find and swim among them. On our snorkeling excursions, we encounter colorful anthias and damselfishes that hover above lush coral gardens and explore the rich reefs of Limasawa Island, with its multitudes of fish and vibrant sea stars.

Days 6-9
Cabilao Island / 3-Coco / South Point

The entire reef around Cabilao is a Marine Protected Area. Our adventures here include Lighthouse Reef, with its soft corals and lush sea grass beds, 3-Coco, where schools of purple anthias and horse-eye jacks number in the thousands, and South Point’s huge table corals. On magical night snorkels, we see marine critters not commonly seen during the day, including octopus.

Days 10-13
Panglao Island

Philippine tarsiers, endemic to a few Philippine islands, are among the world’s smallest primates. After seeing them at the Tarsier Sanctuary, we head to Panglao Island for captivating dolphin and whale watching in Bohol Strait. We fly back to Manila on Day 12 and depart on Day 13, or extend your trip to snorkel at Dimakya Island.

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

Optional Extensions

If you would like to continue your adventure, we offer the following extension:

What the Trip is Like

This trip is rated Level 3, Moderate. Because the primary focus of the trip is snorkeling, we require that trip members know how to swim, and we strongly recommend you bring your own good quality, well-fitted equipment with you, including mask, snorkel, and fins. Try out your gear in a swimming pool before you go to make sure that it works for you and is comfortable. There is ample time for both scheduled snorkels and free snorkeling, and for the most part the water time is “at your own pace.” We will have a “refresher” snorkel in calm waters at the beginning of the trip, and there will be several drift snorkels (with some current) during the trip. We usually have two to three snorkeling adventures each day, and we also have shore excursions on various islands with optional hikes. Our landings will be via Zodiac and right onto the beaches; snorkeling is also done via the Zodiacs, which have ladders to aid in getting on and off. Keep in mind that on any trip of this nature, it is impossible to predict what the weather will have in store and activities often vary with each day.

Explanation of Trip Levels

 

Departures & Leaders

2014
Apr 21-May 3, 2014  Lee Goldman
May 8-20, 2014  Lee Goldman
2015
Feb 23-Mar 7, 2015
Mar 10-22, 2015
Apr 5-17, 2015

Trip Cost

Prices are for 2014
$5395 (6-10 members)
$5995 (4-5 members)
Single supplement: $950
Forced single supplement: $695
Internal airfare: $325 (subject to change)
more on pricing

Extension Costs
Dimakya Island Extension
   from: $860

Trip Cost Includes:

  • Expert leadership of a Wilderness Travel Trip Leader and local crew
  • Accommodations in hotels and beach resorts
  • All meals included
  • All land transportation (in air-conditioned vehicles) and banca boat transportation
  • Airport transfers in Manila for arrival on Day 1 and departure on Day 13
  • Entrance fees and service charges
  • Baggage handling; gratuities to hotel and restaurant staff

Trip Cost Does Not Include:

International airfare; internal airfare; any meals not specified after each itinerary day; international airport departure taxes; hotels en route and any hotel nights that may be necessitated by airline schedule changes or other factors; optional tipping or gratuities to trip leader and local guide, boat captains, and drivers; snorkeling equipment; medical immunizations, travel insurance, passport and visa fees; items of a personal nature (alcoholic beverages at resorts and hotel, laundry, telephone, etc.).

Trip Payment Schedule

At time of reservation: $500
120 days prior to departure: 20%
60 days prior to departure: Balance

Cancellation and Transfer Fee Schedule*

Minimum fee: $250 per person
46-90 days prior to departure: 25% of trip cost
45 days or less: 100% of trip cost

*Please note that this differs from our regular catalog departures.

Dusit Thani Manila

Dusit Thani Manila

Day 1 (1 night),
Day 12 (1 night), Manila, Philippines

This large high-rise hotel enjoys a central location, within walking distance to shopping areas and other attractions. The hotel features several ...
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Sogod Bay Scuba Resort

Sogod Bay Scuba Resort

Days 2 to 5 (4 nights), Leyte Island, Philippines

Set on a rocky white beach, this small resort with its laid-back atmosphere features simple, basic accommodations that are clean and comfortable. ...
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Polaris Beach and Dive Resort

Polaris Beach and Dive Resort

Days 6 to 9 (4 nights), Cabilao Island, Philippines

Set among lush tropical gardens, this comfortable lodge is located on an idyllic bay on Cabilao Island just a stone’s throw from the beach. It ...
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Amorita Resort

Amorita Resort

Days 10 to 11 (2 nights), Panglao Island, Philippines

Perched on a cliff overlooking white-sand Alona Beach, the Amorita Resort offers a wonderful laidback atmosphere. Guest rooms are simply furnished, ...
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Extension Accommodations

If you would like to view the accommodations offered with our extensions option:

Note: Listed above are our signature accommodations for this trip. Although it is highly unlikely, we may make substitutions when necessary.

Lee Goldman

Lee Goldman grew up in Philadelphia and got his first taste of the underwater world on a SCUBA trip to Bonaire in the Netherlands Antilles. A year after his return from the warm waters of the Caribbean, he left for the Pacific Northwest, where he earned a degree in Marine Biology from Western Washington University. After completing Sea Symphony, a video on the marine life of the Pacific Northwest, he spent the next ten years traveling around the world as a guide and biologist. In 2002, he earned his Master's Degree at the University of Guam, where he investigated coral interactions and developed new techniques for culturing corals. He also helped to develop a community-based sea turtle awareness program. Lee is a certified SCUBA instructor, an avid birdwatcher, and a passionate kayaker, rock climber, and hiker. He now makes his home in the Philippines and divides his time between research on coral reproduction, his wife and little girl (a junior naturalist!), and guiding in the Philippines, Raja Ampat, and around the globe. Lee is the author of Snorkeler’s Guide to Marine Life of the Philippines, a book dedicated to the identification of more than 850 marine species in the shallow reefs of the Philippine Islands.

Upcoming Trips:

Philippines Snorkeling Expedition, April 21-May 3, 2014
Philippines Snorkeling Expedition, May 8-20, 2014
Komodo Snorkeling Expedition, September 15-25, 2014
Solomon Islands Snorkeling Expedition, July 18-28, 2015

Client Testimonials:


Lee is very knowledgeable, pleasant, and easy to get along with. He’s also very passionate about the Palawan area and its wildlife. Scott D., Grass Lake MI Lee is an excellent guide, an enthusiastic and knowledgeable marine biologist. He has great people skills and is thoughtful and considerate to all the people he is responsible for. Bravo! Rosalyn K., Oakland CA Not only was Lee a gem and unbelievably knowledgeable in the area and subject, his enthusiasm is contagious! As a group leader he is exemplary. Scott S., Oakland CA Lee was a wonderful ambassador of Wilderness Travel and lived up to my expectations for a leader of a trip like this. Thomas C., Elkins Park, PA Lee was an excellent leader and his knowledge of the islands and marine life is outstanding. He was very successful at keeping the trip a great experience for everyone. Edward B., Cheltenham PA Lee was a “gem” of a Trip Leader. Huge accolades to the entire support crew. Tom L., Ventura CA Lee is an exceptional person, guide, and instructor. He is patient, passionate about the area and marine life, and caring of all guests. Penny B., Honolulu, HI
Snorkeling and Sea Kayaking in Palawan
Lee is a truly outstanding guide, incredibly knowledgeable, and fun to be around. My husband and I learned so much about the marine life of the Philippines and we were thrilled when Lee was willing to share many of his underwater pictures with us. His enthusiasm for everything we saw was contagious. Jill R., Sacramento, CA
Snorkeling and Sea Kayaking in Palawan
Lee is a truly outstanding guide, incredibly knowledgeable, and fun to be around. My husband and I learned so much about the marine life of the Philippines and we were thrilled when Lee was willing to share many of his underwater pictures with us. His enthusiasm for everything we saw was contagious. Jill R., Sacramento, CA
Snorkeling and Sea Kayaking in Palawan
I travel all over the world and I found Lee to be the best guide I have ever had. I highly recommend him for his enthusiasm and knowledge. Gary F., Santa Barbara, CA
Snorkeling and Sea Kayaking in Palawan
Lee was obviously very knowledgable (the man really knows his reef ecology!),and he was capable, generous, and pleasant. Richard R., La Crosse, WI
Snorkeling and Sea Kayaking in Palawan
I enjoyed each and every moment with Lee. His professionalism and passion for his work and the environment is worthy of an extended applause. Robert G., Bellevue, WA
Raja Ampat: The Misool Islands
Lee Goldman is a special man. Smart, passionate, and a born leader. Chuck P., Chicago, IL
Raja Ampat: The Waigeo Islands

Optional Extensions

If you would like to continue your adventure, we offer the following extension:

Philippines

Dimakya Island Extension

Snorkeling and Extraordinary Wildlife Encounters

Snorkeling
4 days  -  Level 3