FREEDIVING IN BOHOL: 5 Best Dive Spots, Dive Guide, and Itinerary Budget
My addiction to freediving isn’t just about gears, bikinis but it includes going to more dive spots in the Philippines and freediving in Bohol is on top of my list.
This blog will give you my exact dive days itinerary in Bohol including dive guides and tips that are useful to make your freediving in Bohol experience worth it. Please know that I am not thrifty when it comes to traveling and I always pay extra for the convenience if I have to.
5 BEST DIVE SPOTS FOR FREEDIVING IN BOHOL
1. NAPALING CRACK — Most Famous Dive Spot in Bohol
Napaling Crack is located in the reef of Kalikasan Resort, Tangnan Bohol. With a depth that will reach to up to 25 meters down to the sea floor, Napaling Dive Point becomes so popular with freedivers because of its breathtaking coral wall and crack.
Napaling Crack is a freediver’s paradise. The depth is available almost immediately from the shore like, only a few kicks away and you’re already in a 25-meter drop-off cliff. Aside from the crack, Napaling offers a gorgeous reef as well. There are lively and colorful fishes that crowds the beautiful corals. Over the years, Napaling has also been the host of many depth championship for freedivers. It’s no longer surprising why it became the most famous dive spot in Bohol.
How To Get To Napaling Crack
Napaling is around 20km-ride from Alona Beach and you can go there in any transportation available.
The cheapest transportation to go to Napaling Point is a one-day motorcycle rental that costs around 300 to 400 pesos depending on where you rent it. But if you don’t know how to drive, a TukTuk ride will do. TukTuk fare ranges from 400 to 600 pesos for a roundtrip ride depending on your negotiation skills *wink*
Dive Tips in Napaling Crack
- Bring a guide with you whether if it’s your first time to dive in Napaling or not and regardless if you have your dive buddies with you.
- To lessen your expenses, you can bring your own food and a water tumbler. No corkage fee.
- To achieve a better video and photo result, dive down to at least 7 meters, then bring out your best awra pose as you ascend.
- Napaling Crack is widely famous, so expect a lot of tourists lining up just to dive down the crack, especially during peak season. So, be respectful of other freedivers even if others are not. Lol!
- Shower area is available in the resort after your dive. You may wash your gears there as well.
- Always practice CLAYGO wherever you go.
2. BALICASAG ISLAND — Most Popular Island in Panglao Bohol
Balicasag Island is one the most popular islands to freedive in Panglao, Bohol. Along with Pamilacan Island and Virgin Island, Balicasag is on the list of every tour offered in Panglao.
Freedivers love Balicasag Island because the island has two beautiful dive spots – the Balicasag reef and the sea turtle sanctuary.
How To Get To Balicasag Island
By Boat – This is the only transportation available when you visit Balicasag Island.
Boat rental depends on the number of pax. As a solo traveler, I know joining tours is way cheaper. But I preferred to rent a boat privately to maximize my time. I went to Balicasag with the boat captain, boatman, and my safety guide.
Travel time duration is 1 hour from Alona Beach.
Dive Tips In Balicasag Island
- The best time to go to Balicasag Island is as early as 6AM. If you’re lucky enough, you’ll get to see dolphins along the way.
- Pay the environmental fee in cash. Hand the cash over to the boatman when you arrive the island and they will pay it for you so you don’t need to go down from the boat.
- Your first dive spot is the Balicasag Reef. It has the most stunning underwater landscape. You’ll see A LOT of fishes and beautiful corals. Do not touch anything underwater. Of course, you already know that.
- The current is usually strong in the sea turtle sanctuary spot, so expect that you’ll be using more of your dive energy here. You will also do a lot of swimming finding them turtles. Although sea turtles are everywhere, freedivers usually look for the bigger ones. They look more enchanting in videos.
- It’s cheaper to bring food with you for lunch onboard than ordering meals in the island. But if you prefer to have a lunch on the island, make sure to bring a cash with you.
3. BOHOL PLANE WRECK — A Dive Spot You Shouldn’t Miss in Panglao Bohol
The plane wreck should be on your dive spot bucket list to check-off in Panglao Bohol.
Located near South Palm Resort, the wreck is 7 to 10 meters deep. You don’t have to pay anything to dive there because this is usually part of the itinerary for freedivers after Balicasag Island dive.
You can dive as long as you want here, but know that the plane wreck spot will also get too crowded sometimes. There will be scuba divers and other freedivers. The early you get here, the better. Also, manage your expectation when diving down the plane wreck because the visibility is not great at all times.
When I went here for the first time, the visibility wasn’t so great. The photo above was my most recent dive in the plane wreck last July 2023. We went there early in the morning that’s why it looks more clear and unclouded.
4. LILA WHALESHARK
To dive with these giants of the sea in Lila Bohol is an experience of a lifetime as a freediver that’s why I had to travel back to Bohol for the second time around just to see them. The whale shark watching and snorkeling is tremendously popular for tourists in Bohol and it’s amazing to see them up close and personal.
The whale sharks in Lila Bohol are hand-fed and the feeding only happens in the morning. It’s best to go there as early as possible, so you can take good underwater photos and videos with them. Travel time from Panglao to Dauis is around 1 hour.
Bohol tourism are pretty strict with the rules for this activity and I love how they organize the entire experience once you get there — from paying fees to briefing the tourists about do’s and dont’s.
Dive Tips in Lila Whaleshark:
- Every boat has a maximum of 30-minute stay so that means you only have that time to dive and take photos/videos with the whale sharks. It will save you so much time if you bring a local and safety guide with you. I highly recommend Shem!
- Never feed the whale sharks. Do not ever attempt or even think about trying to do it just to attract them. Let the locals do the feeding.
- Do not touch them. Touching them may injure or stress them. Encounters are made just to see them up close in a distance of atleast 2 meters.
- If you dive with them, stay about 4 feet away from the face and 13 feet away from the tail.
- Remember to keep a safe distance from them, keep at least six feet away from the whale sharks at all times, so you don’t accidentally hit or step on them while you swim. No touching, no riding, and no flash photography.
5. #FREEDIVING IN DAUIS BOHOL
You might have seen TikTok videos of this dive spot with a spelled out #Freediving underwater. That’s how I knew about this spot, so I had to check it out myself.
If you’re into a more challenging dive spots, this is not gonna be your favorite. I don’t hate it, but I’m just happy to have seen it. Let’s leave it at that. There are nothing much to do on this spot aside from taking awra videos.
You can find #Freedving at a resort in Dauis, Bohol where Islahanon Freediving is also located. It’s an hour away from Panglao Island, so it’s best to include this spot if you’re going to see the whalesharks in Lila.
There will be a 50-step stairs going down to the shore where you start swimming out for about 10 meters going to the dive spot. The visibility wasn’t so great when I visited and there’s a medium level of sea waves. You can rent a buoy in the resort and bring it when you dive for your safety.
6. ESTACA REEF — An Abundant Reef Near Virgin Island
Wait, there’s more reef in Bohol and it’s just a 15-minute boat ride from Virgin Island.
I have been back and forth in Bohol to freedive, but Estaca reef has surprised me. I never thought that there are more reefs to see. I know this isn’t supposed to be surprising at all because well, it’s Bohol. Every freediver knows that the underwater environment of Bohol is abundant with marine life.
My friend wanted to came back to Bohol to mainly dive in the planewreck and I went with her ’cause I just love her and Bohol so much I couldn’t say no. Since we had to rent a private boat again, we decided to go to Virgin Island. Then our local guide friend Shem brought us to this reef. To our surprise, it was nothing but a long and amazing cliff of coral reefs. We were even more lucky that day because the visibility is almost perfect 10, no water current and a sea as flat as a paper. So, we did a lot of awra videos together! 🙂
FREEDIVING IN PANGLAO BOHOL: ITINERARY AND BUDGET
This dive itinerary is my actual itinerary when I went freediving in Panglao, Bohol. Dive Day means a day spent solely for freediving activity. You may insert any of this dive days to your overall Bohol itinerary.
Dive Day 1 – Balicasag Island and Plane Wreck
- 6:00 AM – Depart Alona Beach
- 7:00 – 7:30 – Arrive Balicasag Island
- 7:30 AM – 8:00 AM – Prepare for your first dive. Do breathing exercise, stretch, drink lots of water, etc.
- 8:00 AM – 9:30 AM – Balicasag Reef Dive. 1hour and a half is already long to dive here. Enjoy the underwater landscape and awra as much as you can.
- 9:30 AM – 11:00 AM – Sea Turtle Sanctuary Dive.
- 11:00 AM – 12:00 NN – Lunch overboard or in the island.
- 12:00 – 12:30 – Rest time.
- 12:30 – 1:00 PM – Travel to Plane Wreck and Dive Preparation
- 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM – Plane Wreck Dive
- 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM – Depart plane wreck spot to Alona Beach
Dive Day 2 – Dive in Dauis
- 6:00 AM – Depart Panglao
- 8:00 AM – Arrive Barangay Lila
- 8:00 – 8:30 AM – Tourist Briefing and Dive Preparation
- 8:30 AM – 9:00 AM – Dive with Lila Whalesharks. This is the maximum dive time given to each tourist boat in Lila. Each boat has a maximum of 10 tourists.
- 9:00 AM – 9:30 AM – Post dive washup. Eat a little snack or have a drink of buko juice.
- 9:30 AM – 10:30 AM – Travel to Islahanon Freediving
- 10:30 AM – 11:30 AM – Dive in #Freediving
- 12:00 – Lunch in Susan’s Kilawin
- 1:00 PM – Depart Dauis to Panglao
- 2:00 PM until evening – Spend your time relaxing in South Palms Beach Resort.
You may use the afternoon to dive in Napaling Crack if you still have the dive stamina and energy or if your time is very limited.
Dive Day 3 – Napaling Crack and Hinagdanan Cave
Napaling Crack is the easiest dive spot to go to and the quickest dive spot to enjoy at. You can already do so much for 2 hours here, so I usually tell my freediver friends that they can insert this to any dive days listed above or dive in the morning before checking out from your accommodation. Here’s mine!
- 7:00 AM – Check out early, leave your luggage in the storage provided by your accommodation and travel time.
- 7:30 AM – 8:30 AM – Visit Hinagdanan cave. This is optional especially if you have already included this on your land tour. As freediver, you will enjoy your time here practicing your breath hold and no fins diving. We had so much fun doing awra shoot here.
- 8:30 AM – 9:00 AM – Travel to Kalikasan Resort and prepare for your dive.
- 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM – Napaling Crack dive. Enjoy the crack and the reef.
- 11:00 AM – Post dive washup. See? You still have time to grab a lunch. That’s why it’s recommended to checkout early so you won’t have to worry about the check-out time. Make sure to book your return home in the afternoon.
I do not prefer my dive days to be jampacked because even though freediving for me is really a fun thing to do, it still takes so much of my energy. I rather to have at least two dive spots in a day.
CHECK OUT MY 1-WEEK BOHOL TRIP ITINERARY
BUDGET AND EXPENSES WHEN FREEDIVING IN BOHOL
For my expenses, I budget but I’m not a thrifty traveler. I always pay extra for the convenience so it’s usually high. I budget for private rentals and tours as much as I can, and I do not tipid with the food.
Dive Day 1 Budget – ₱5000
- Private Boat Rental – ₱2500 whole day rental for 3pax, but you can privately rent it. You will have the boat captain, boatman, and safety gude with you.
- Balicasag Island Fee – ₱300/pax
- Food, Snacks, and Others – ₱1000
- Safety Guide and Underwater Videographer – ₱1000/pax in one dive day
Dive Day 2 Budget – ₱3500
- One Day Tuktuk Rent – ₱1500 whole day rental for 3-4pax.
- Parking Fee – ₱50 per vehicle
- Lila Entrance and Environmental Fee – ₱700/pax
- Food and snacks – ₱300/pax
- Islahanon Freediving Entrance – ₱200/pax
- Buffet at Susan’s Kilawin – ₱400/pax
- Safety Guide and Underwater Videographer – ₱1000/pax in one dive day
Dive Day 3 Budget – ₱2500
- Scooter Rental – ₱300/scooter whole day rental
- Hinagdanan Cave Entrance – ₱150/pax
- Entrance, Environmental Fee, and Guide Fee in Kalikasan Resort – ₱300/pax
- Food, Snacks, and Water – ₱500/pax
- Safety Guide and Underwater Videographer – ₱1000/pax in one dive day
OVERALL BUDGET WHEN FREEDIVING IN BOHOL FOR SOLO TRAVELER – ₱11,000
Hey, don’t freak out yet!
Again, this is not a cheap budget and this is freediving in Bohol we’re talking about. Expect it to be expensive! Your own expenses can go higher or lesser than mine. But for me, this is the my own kind of the most convenient, all private, get to have that beautiful underwater videos, and eat-anything-you-want freediving experience in Panglao Bohol. Also, this is my actual expenses as a solo female traveler.
Remember, hiring an underwater videographer to take your videos and photos is optional. Your dive buddies can do that for you. I know it’s one of the most expensive on my budget list, but if you’re like me who loves to have breathtaking photos or videos, it’s worth it especially that I love my core memories to be taken clearly and beautifully.
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO FREEDIVING IN BOHOL
BOOK A CERTIFIED FREEDIVER GUIDE, such as Shem or Mark or Jaypee, so you have your safety guide with you. Their rates include being a safety, a local guide (yep, they know what and what not to do), an underwater videos & photos, and trust me, they’re very good at it. I booked SHEM! You should too.
NO FREEDIVING GEARS? NO PROBLEM. Panglao Aqua Freediving offers the best and in the highest quality of freediving gears in Panglao. They have fiberglass long fins, low volume masks with J snorkels, and oval masks for our awra freedivers out there. Make sure to book your gears in Panglao Aqua Freediving a day prior to your dive day.
PRACTICE CLAYGO AT ALL TIMES.