Free Guide to Tubbataha Reef Liveaboard Diving

Tubbataha Reef overview

Tubbataha Reef, nestled in the Sulu Sea of the Philippines, stands as a haven for nature enthusiasts and divers. As a UNESCO World Heritage Site sprawling over 97,030 hectares, it boasts one of the world’s largest coral reef systems. Submerging into the clear waters reveals a vibrant underwater world, hosting over 600 fish species, including iconic ones like clownfish and parrotfish. The reef serves as a crucial habitat for endangered species like hawksbill turtles. Beyond its marine richness, Tubbataha entices adventurous divers with dramatic vertical walls plunging over 1,000 meters, offering encounters with pelagic species such as sharks and barracuda.

What is the Best Time to Visit Tubbataha Reef?

If you’re planning to visit Tubbataha Reef, timing is crucial. The diving season, which takes place from March to June, is the perfect time for your underwater adventure. This limited timeframe guarantees that you’ll have the best experience while also taking care of the delicate ecosystem.

Is Scuba Diving Allowed in Tubbataha Reef?

Tubbataha Reef not only welcomes but actively encourages scuba diving, making it a diver’s paradise with vibrant coral gardens and diverse marine life suitable for both beginners and experienced divers. The Tubbataha Management Office, in collaboration with local authorities, has instituted stringent regulations to preserve the reef’s delicate ecosystem. These regulations include limiting daily divers and promoting responsible diving practices, allowing divers to marvel at Tubbataha’s wonders while minimizing environmental impact. Before embarking on a scuba diving adventure, proper training and certification are essential, and the area boasts reputable diving centers and operators offering guided dives for a safe and enjoyable experience.

How Much Does It Cost to Go to Tubbataha? With Costs of Liveaboard

Planning a trip to Tubbataha Reef involves considering the expenses, particularly for a popular liveaboard experience. Liveaboards serve as floating homes, offering accommodation, meals, and transportation to dive sites. Costs vary based on trip duration, luxury level, and included dives, ranging from $2,000 to $5,000 per person for a week. This covers shared cabin stays, meals, snacks, drinks, dive guides, tanks, weights, and transfers. Additional expenses like nitrox fills, equipment rental, dive courses, and park fees may apply, so inquire when booking. Travel costs to Puerto Princesa, the nearest city, are crucial, with flight prices varying, emphasizing the need to book in advance. Consider accommodation costs in Puerto Princesa before and after the liveaboard trip due to Tubbataha Reef’s remote location in the Philippines.

Best 3 Liveaboard for Tubbataha Reef

When it comes to choosing the best liveaboard for your Tubbataha Reef adventure, there are a few options that stand out from the rest. These liveaboards offer exceptional service, comfortable accommodations, and unforgettable diving experiences. Here are the top three liveaboards that are highly recommended for exploring Tubbataha Reef.

1. The MV Discovery Palawan:

This luxury liveaboard is renowned for its top-notch service and luxurious amenities. With spacious cabins, en-suite bathrooms, and a spacious lounge area, the MV Discovery Palawan offers a comfortable and relaxing experience. The vessel also features a large dive deck and a dedicated camera room for underwater photography enthusiasts. With experienced dive guides and a high crew-to-guest ratio, you can expect personalized attention and expert guidance throughout your journey. The MV Discovery Palawan offers a range of trip durations, from 5 to 8 days, allowing you to choose the itinerary that suits your schedule.

2. The SY Philippine Siren:

For those seeking a more intimate and personalized experience, the SY Philippine Siren is an excellent choice. This luxurious sailing yacht accommodates a maximum of 16 guests, ensuring a small group atmosphere and plenty of space to relax. The cabins are tastefully designed and equipped with modern amenities, including air conditioning and en-suite bathrooms. The SY Philippine Siren also features a spacious dining area, a comfortable lounge, and a well-stocked bar. With experienced dive guides, a variety of dive sites, and a maximum of four dives per day, you can expect an exceptional diving experience aboard the SY Philippine Siren.

3. The Atlantis Azores:

Known for its exceptional service and attention to detail, the Atlantis Azores offers a truly immersive diving experience. This liveaboard features spacious cabins with en-suite bathrooms, a comfortable lounge area, and a spacious dive deck. With a maximum of 16 guests, you can expect personalized attention from the experienced and friendly crew. The Atlantis Azores offers a range of trip durations, from 6 to 8 days, allowing you to choose the itinerary that best fits your schedule. With a variety of dive sites and a maximum of four dives per day, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to explore the vibrant underwater world of Tubbataha Reef.


In conclusion, diving in Tubbataha Reef is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that requires careful planning and investment. By considering all the factors mentioned and choosing the right liveaboard, you can maximize your enjoyment and make your trip to Tubbataha Reef truly unforgettable. So, start planning, save up, and get ready for an incredible adventure exploring the wonders of this pristine marine sanctuary.

I hope you find this article informative. If you have any further questions or need any adjustments, please feel free to let me know!

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