Best Diving sites in Malapascua Island

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If you have dived in Malapascua Island before, please share your experiences: Dive spots you would recommend, which Dive Center you used, Fishes & Diving, Visibility, Currents, etc. Please post your comments in the section below, by doing so you will help fellow divers to plan their next trip ;)

Scuba diving in Malapascua Island is famous worldwide for being the only place in the world where you can observe the very rare Thresher Shark on a regular basis. As a side tip, another diving destination where you can sometimes see them is the Brothers Islands in the Red Sea.

Thresher Shark Dives:

The Thresher Sharks live usually in deep water and are very rarely spotted in shallow water. In Malapascua they come up to around 20m in the water first thing in the morning to get rid of the parasites on their skins. The best chance to spot the Thresher Sharks is at Monad Shoal dive site early morning. It is also a good spot to encounter Manta Rays!

Over the years, many documentaries have been filmed underwater at Monad Shoal and that’s what has made this place so famous. Encounters with the Thresher Shark is not guaranteed however if you dive in Malapascua for a week you excellent chances of coming back with fabulous shots of this very timid Shark!

Macro Diving and Wrecks

Apart from the big stuff, there is also very interesting macro diving around the Islands. It is a great place to observe rare critters and macro species such as colourful Mandarin fishes, rare Blue Ring Octopus, superb Flamboyant Cuttlefish, Ornate Ghost Pipefishes, or the strange looking Frogfishes and Seahorses.This really is a great place for macro underwater photography so don’t forget your camera!

There are also 3 nice wrecks to dive ranging from 10m to 70m deep like the Dona Marilyn wreck located 1 hour away form your dive resort. It is a former 100m long ferry passenger which sank in 1988 during a Typhoon.

Day trips and Hammerheads!

Day trips to the nearby Gato Island can also be organized to observe Nurse Sharks, Whitetip Reef Sharks and even the rare bamboo Sharks resting in small cracks.

Kalanggaman Island is also a great day trip for amazing reef life and amazing picture opportunities. Early morning dives are also organized to spot the Schooling Hammerhead Sharks around Kimud Shoal. The best chances to see them are from December to April.

In this page you will find more detailed information about scuba diving in Malapascua Island.

Photos Malapascua Island

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Best time to dive in Malapascua Island

Diving Season

It is possible to dive all year round in Malapascua but there are different seasons depending on what you want to see.

  • Thresher Sharks and Manta Rays can be spotted year round but the best seasons for Manta rays are Winter and Spring.
  • Hammerhead Sharks can be seen schooling with best chances from December to April.
  • The visibility is reduced from November/December up to the end of January because of high plankton density. You can expect from 5m to 10m visibility during this period. During the rest of the year the visibility is ranging from 15m to 30m. However it is during this period that you can spot more Manta Rays! So it’s really up to you!
  • Best visibility from June to September.

Scuba Diving conditions

The water temperature ranges from 27°C to 30°C. However, in December, January and February the water temperature decreases to around 25°C.

You can expect visibility ranging from 15m to 30m most times of the year except in December and January when the blue water turns green because of the density of plankton. The visibility is quite poor from 5m to 10m but not too bad if you are there for the small critters.

Snorkelling in Malapascua Island

There are nice snorkelling spots around the Island including the shallow Japanese wreck. You can ask a local fisherman to take you on a day trip to the best sites. The coral is beautiful and the reef life is teeming. However, there are signs of bomb fishing and lots of coral has been damaged by anchors.

Diving Safety

If you are planning an upcoming dive trip or travelling to Malapascua Island, it is a really good idea to invest in travel insurance, because you never know what could happen and when you might need it (because accidents do happen!). I recommend this travel insurance as they offer worldwide coverage as they offer worldwide coverage and cover scuba diving up to 50 metres deep, as well as snorkelling and many more water activities.

Where to stay?

I usually use this website to book in advance my hotels in Malapascua Island as they usually have the lowest rates I find. I like it because it's free to cancel and change the dates.

Travel Guide

Now that you know all about the underwater world, you might want to start planning your scuba holiday! Check out our Malapascua Island Travel Review for information about how to get there, activities and excursions, where to stay, and more.

Diving Reviews for this region

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Dive spots in Malapascua Island

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The Dona Marilyn is a 98m long former ferry that sank near Malapascua Island in October 1988 during a Typhoon while sail...
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Monad Shoal, also known as Shark Point, has now become a World famous dive site. It is the best place in the world and i...

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6 dive logs in “Malapascua Island

  1. put on your list of must dive locations, I have been working in the P.I. and going in and out have been trying different dive locations.
    the night life is not great but the diving is five star… the people are also great (not the semi-mafia ferry people to and from the island) but once on the island it is great.

  2. Dived with my wife four years ago.
    Saw the tail of a thresher and that was it.
    But some interesting dive sites locally with plenty of sea horse’s and sea snake’s but not too much large stuff.
    The island and few bars were fine, but a jaunt to get to.Overall I would give it a 6/10

  3. I’ve spent 5 days in Malapascua in May 2012. The thresher shark dive site (Monad Shoal) and experience is absolutely superb and of top top quality, not to be missed by any diver who likes pelagic animals/sharks/big fish in general. Dive boats depart Malapascua Island at around 430 am and it takes about 30 minutes to the dive site itself, then around 530 am we submerge and basically wait for the threshers, who come to be cleaned. I’ve seen them each time we were there and I would say it’s as guaranteed as it gets. There’s no feeding or chumming though, so this is a pure wildlife experience. Later in the afternoon, the same divesite is then used as a cleaning station for mantas and mobulas. Likewise, one submerges and then waits. I’ve seen mantas each time I dove there, although far less mantas (one per dive) than threshers (5-10 per dive, and they are there during the whole dive).

    Hammerhead sharks have not showed up at Kimud Shoal since 2011, so I think it’s probably time to remove them from the “tourist brochures” for Malapascua. Maybe they are back now, I don’t know.

    Calangaman Island, a daytrip from there, provides fantastic wall diving with amazing visibility, although you’d expect more pelagics in the blue, and in my case (2 dives) we saw none, although the fish life is pretty good and this is definitely recommended.

    Gato Island is a decent macro dive with show whitetips and other cool stuff, but not out of this world. Worth mentioning that both Gato and Calangaman are superb daytrips/boatrides/days out anyway.

    Malapascua Island itself (the base for all of this) has a cute strip of chilled out beach with some bars, and dive shops, it’s not rowdy but definitely cool and chilled out.

    Great dive location, mostly for the threshers, but all in all a fantastic tropical island experience

      • you are welcome. I like to help where I can so other divers can make informed decisions. I need to requalify my statement, as I realize I made a mistake. It’s probably not 5-10 different threshers per dive, it’s for 5-10 times that you see a thresher.
        Example: you wait 2 mins, one shows up, wanders around for 30 seconds, disappears, another comes up, wanders around 1 minute, disappears..then you wait another 3 minutes, another one shows up…(or maybe the same one…), etc…so in total you see thresher appear about 5-10 times per dive. That’s what I meant.

        So you don’t see like 5 or 10 at the same time!

        The maximum I did see AT ONCE, were three (3) different ones right in front of me

  4. We’ve just come back from a fantastic fornight in Malapascua. We stayed at the Tepanee Beach resort (our room had views to die for and almost silent aircon, bonus!) and dived with Thresher Shark Divers.

    We had between 5 and 15 Thresher sightings on each Monad dive plus saw 5 Hammerheads at Kimud.

    Gato Island is just wonderful, saw my first seahorses here. It’s also a sea snake sanctuary which was another first. I’ve never seen so many different types of Nudibranchs.

    The downside is the Philippinos are still dynamite fishing. We heard explosions on 50% of our dives – one so close and loud that my husband thought my tank had exploded!!

    There was current on some of the dives, but only once was it uncomfortable. We were meant to be diving North Wall but missed it completely and aborted the dive. Visibility was great, never below 15 metres and usually more like 25.

    The dives were amazing, warm, clear water and we had the best DM we’ve ever dived with. We don’t usually revisit a holiday as there’s too much world to see and too little time to see it all, but will definitely be back to Malapascua.

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