Scuba diving in Apo Island
Apo Island is located about 5 km off the southeast coast of Negros Island. It can only be reached by boat from the North side of Dumaguete. The Southern part of the island is a coral reef fish sanctuary. It is home to a wide variety of marine life including moray eels, fusiliers, angelfishes, scorpion fishes snappers and sweetlips; you can see some pictures in the Philippines photo gallery.
Always dive according to your level of training.
Never enter the water without checking with the local dive center for safety, additional information, level required for each dive site and without being accompanied by a professional.
All the information provided is purely informative for our readers and shouldn't be used as is to plan your immersion.
Average Water surface temperature: From 27°C to 31°C (80° F to 87 °F).
Visibility often averaging: Visibility is between 10 and 40 feet (3 to 12 meters).
Best time to visit is from January to May
Possible to dive all year round.
Apo Island Marine Sanctuary is a protected reef where fishing is not allowed and boats are prohibited to anchor without a buoy. To allow the marine life to generate and be disturbed the least, the number of divers that can access the sanctuary at a time is limited to 15. It is recommended to visit Apo Island from January to May when the weather conditions are best. Apo Island is surrounded with crystal clear blue water that is home to a diversity of aqua life and has some of the top sites in the area. Here you can dive in a depth ranging from 16 to 114 feet (5 to 35 meters). Both hard and soft corals can be seen and there are huge table corals, fire corals, brain and stag horns. It is also home to plenty of barracudas, tunas, white tip and black tip sharks. There are terrific drop offs and walls and great visibility that is great for underwater photography. The current could be strong on this island but it is good for drift diving and watching big fish.
There is a wide variety of dive sites in this area you can see the details on the Apo Island diving map. On the south you can dive in water ranging from 16-115 feet (5-35 metres). The weather conditions here are best between January and May. Although the diving is good here beware of the currents which can be very strong depending on the weather.
The west center of the island has a lot of fish coming in because of the strong undercurrent here. The depth goes to 82 feet (25 meters). This area is characterized by white reef sharks and colorful corals like the sarcophython and the Dendrophylia. Binangaan Drop-off is a great site with beautiful walls covered with beautiful gorgonians and plenty of soft and hard corals. There are massive populations of tuna, turtles, groupers, snappers, wrasses, triggerfish and parrotfish. it is at a depth range of 15 to 164 feet (5 to 50 meters) deep.
The eastern, northern and southern sides of Apo Island boast breath taking drop offs and walls. There is a large variety of marine life and when the currents are strong large pelagics can be seen around. These include mantas and hammerheads, tuna and jacks.
On the southwestern side you can explore a drop off that has superb gorgonians and lots of hard and soft corals. Expect to see large pelagics and schools of humphead parrotfish, tuna and groupers just to mention a few.
The western side has lots of walls and drop offs. Turtles, groupers, mantas and parrotfish can be spotted here. The gorgonians are simply fantastic.
The buoy off zone in Apo Island is quite a popular dive spot because the corals are very well preserved here and the amount of fish living here is just extraordinary. You may spot trumpet fish, white and black snappers. There are great coral heads, sea stars, soft corals and whip corals as well as loads of nudibranches , gorgonian sea fans and basket sponges.
Shark lovers may want to try out shark ridge on th eastern side of the island. This place gets its name from the number of whitetip and blacktip sharks that can be seen here. There is some coral here but nothing spectacular. Most divers will visit it for the sharks anyway.
There are so many interesting options on this island, although it's very small there's something for everybody. The dive sites have varied depths and therefore can accommodate different levels of divers. During the dives you will enjoy all kinds of marine life from small to big. You can encounter crustaceans cruising along the bottom with sharks and barracuda swimming by.