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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Visayan Snorkeling Expedition route-map

Trip Details at-a-Glance

Cost From: $5595  
Length: 13 days
Arrive: Manila, Philippines
Depart: Manila, Philippines
Lodging: 2 nights hotels, 10 nights 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


  • Snorkel the dazzling underwater world of the Philippines’ remote Visayan Islands
  • 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.


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 Visayas, the stunning Philippine archipelago at the northern edge of the Coral Triangle, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. With your Trip Leader, an expert in marine conservation, you’ll snorkel amid an underwater ballet of extraordinary marine life—damselfish, butterflyfish, wrasses, blacktip reef sharks, and more—and enjoy dolphin- and whale-watching in the Bohol Strait, where sightings of spinner dolphins are the norm. Our overnights are in comfy beach lodges, most of them just a few kicks from their “house reefs” teeming with iridescent fish.

Itinerary at a Glance

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

Days 1-6
Manila / Sogod Bay

From Manila, we fly to Leyte Island where snorkeling over lush coral gardens brings you close to vibrant sea stars and flashy damselfish. If they’re in residence, you may have the chance to swim with whale sharks in Sogod Bay.

Days 7-9
Cabilao Island

The entire reef around Cabilao is a Marine Protected Area and our adventures include 3-Coco, where schools of purple anthias number in the thousands, Lighthouse Reef, with its brilliant corals, shoals of barracuda, and the amazing Gorgonian Wall, a steep drop-off with giant fan corals patrolled by vividly-colored reef fish. Night snorkels are magical, and you’ll see a whole new range of marine creatures like the fast-moving octopus.

Days 10-13
Panglao Island

After seeing Philippine tarsiers, among the world’s smallest primates at just 3-6 inches in height, you’ll head to Panglao Island for dolphin- and whale-watching in Bohol Strait. Depart on Day 13, or extend your trip to 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

May 6-18, 2015  Lee Goldman
May 21-Jun 2, 2015  Lee Goldman

Trip Cost

Prices are for 2015
$5595 (6-10 members)
$6195 (4-5 members)
Single supplement: $850
Forced single supplement: $650
Internal airfare: $425 (subject to change)
more on pricing

Extension Costs
Dimakya Island Extension
   from: $1095

Trip Payment Schedule

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

Cancellation and Transfer Fee Schedule*

Minimum fee: $250 per person
90-46 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.

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.).

Arrival & Departure Information

You are responsible for your own transportation arriving to and departing from Manila, Philippines. For more detailed information, including transfers, please download the Detailed Itinerary.

Please do not purchase your tickets until you are confirmed on the trip and have reviewed your proposed air schedule with our office. Once your tickets have been purchased, please send us a copy of your airline schedule.

Meeting Place:
Manila, Philippines

Suggested Arrival Airport:

Manila Airport, Philippines (airport code MNL)   
Suggested Flight Arrival Time: by 4:00 pm


Manila, Philippines

Suggested Airport for Departure:
Manila Airport, Philippines (airport code MNL) 
Suggested departure time: after 6:00 pm

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 6 (5 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 7 to 9 (3 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 laid-back 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 is a certified SCUBA instructor, an avid birdwatcher, and a passionate kayaker, rock climber, and hiker. Lee has been leading WT's popular and ever-expanding collection of snorkeling adventures since 2007. “We bring people to places seldom visited and get to explore the raw natural beauty of the area. In the Solomons, Raja Ampat, and the remote islands of the Philippines, we are exposed to pristine habitats – harder and harder places to find on our crowded planet.” Originally from Philadelphia, Lee got his first taste of the underwater world on a SCUBA trip to Bonaire in the Netherlands Antilles then earned a degree in Marine Biology from Western Washington University and completed Sea Symphony, a documentary on the marine life of the Pacific Northwest. Lee spent the next ten years traveling around the world as a guide and biologist then earned his Master's Degree at the University of Guam in 2002, where he investigated coral interactions and pioneered techniques for culturing corals. He also helped to develop a community-based sea turtle awareness program. Lee makes his home in the Philippines and divides his time between research on coral reproduction, his wife and daughter (a junior naturalist!), and guiding around the globe. Lee is the author of Snorkeler’s Guide to Marine Life of the Philippines, which identifies more than 850 marine species in the Philippine Islands. Asked what he likes about trip leading, Lee states, “The people. Absolutely. WT trip members are well-traveled, caring, and interested. This means a lot to me; I know that I can take them off-the-beaten-path and challenge their sense of travel and that we will all be incredibly rewarded by the experience. WT clients are true adventurers rather than tourists.”

Upcoming Trips:

Visayan Snorkeling Expedition, May 6-18, 2015
Visayan Snorkeling Expedition, May 21-June 2, 2015
Solomon Islands Snorkeling Expedition, July 18-28, 2015
Komodo Snorkeling Expedition, August 4-14, 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
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
Lee was exceptional as a trip leader and very knowledgeable. He really wants to work with the local residents to try to conserve their natural reef resources and these tours are one way of doing this. Jo-Ann L., Kaneohe, HI
Visayan Snorkeling Expedition
Lee is very eager to share his extensive knowledge about marine life. His passion for snorkeling and studying coral reefs and fish was clearly apparent. Really enjoyed his evening talks and slide shows, which deepened our appreciation and enjoyment of the coral reef environment. Darrah H., San Rafael, CA
Visayan Snorkeling Expedition

Optional Extensions

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


Dimakya Island Extension

Snorkeling and Extraordinary Wildlife Encounters

4 days  -  Level 3

Client Comments

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
I really enjoyed this trip. The amount of in water time was great and the guide, Lee Goldman, was very knowledgeable, easy to be with, always willing to help, and personable. Jo-Ann L., Kaneohe, HI