Snorkeling Apo Island, Philippines
South China Sea
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Snorkeling Apo Island, Philippines

One of the top snorkeling and dive sites in the Philippines, the tiny, volcanic, Apo Island offers spectacular snorkeling and diving sites. The waters of this island, located in the Negros Oriental, are filled with colorful tropical fish and corals, and you’ll even be able to enjoy some time with the Apo Island turtles!

What Apo Island Snorkeling Has to Offer

apo reef snorkelingApo Island snorkeling is so fantastic, partly due to the fact that is a community-organized marine sanctuary. This sanctuary stretches over 225,000 square meters and is home to over 600 species of fish and approximately 400 species of coral. The marine sanctuary is home to giant clams, turtles, clownfish, and other species, such as flounder and manta rays. The variety of sea life here also makes Apo Island one of the top 100 dive sites in the world. You will have to pay a small fee to enter Apo Island and snorkel or dive in the sanctuary, but rest assured that these funds are used to keep the sanctuary in great condition for all of your future dives!

apo island snorkeling with turtlesPerhaps the biggest draw for Apo Island is the turtles. Along the southwestern part of the island, there is a reef just off the beach. You can walk in from shore and begin snorkeling right away. Low water visibility ranging from three to twelve meters won’t matter when you’re swimming right beside giant, green sea turtles and tropical fish.

If you’re visiting the Philippines, you won’t want to miss a trip to Apo Island for some snorkeling or diving. With access to sea turtles and hundreds of species of fish, Apo Island snorkeling is some of the best that the Philippines has to offer.

Best Time for Apo Island Snorkeling

Temperatures are generally very high in March and April and the rainy season occurs from May to October. Temperatures drop off a bit and the rain subsides from November to April, making these the best times to visit Apo Island in the Philippines. Try choosing a shoulder month of May or November for your travel, as you will avoid the crowds and enjoy cheaper flights. Note that typhoons can occur as late as January and as early as August. Temperatures in the region average +30C with water temperatures ranging between +27C and +29C.

apo reef philippines

How to Get to Apo Island

Sometimes mistaken for Apo Reef, which is actually located between Palawan and Midoro, Apo Island is located just 7 kilometers off the southeastern tip of Negros Island. It is possible to reach Apo Island from many different places, but the easiest is from Dumaguete. From there you can take a bus to the Malatapay Market in Zamboanguita to rent a boat from the local port, or opt to take the daily boat service offered by Harold’s Mansion and Dive Shop. The boat ride will be approximately 45 minutes and you could get wet, so plan accordingly. Also, be aware that there are only three places to stay on Apo Island and electricity is only offered for a few hours a day.

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Underwater Life: 
Snorkeling with turtles
Swimming with rays
Coral reefs
Tropical fish
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