You are currently viewing Swimming with Sea Turtles: Your Palawan Snorkeling Adventure

Swimming with Sea Turtles: Your Palawan Snorkeling Adventure

Snorkeling with sea turtles in Palawan is a magical experience that allows you to witness these graceful creatures in their natural habitat.


Palawan’s crystal-clear waters and vibrant marine ecosystems provide ideal conditions for encountering sea turtles. Here’s a detailed description of snorkeling with sea turtles in Palawan:

1. Location:

  • El Nido:
    • El Nido, located in northern Palawan, is known for its pristine beaches, coral reefs, and the opportunity to snorkel with sea turtles.
  • Apo Reef Natural Park:
    • Apo Reef, situated off the coast of Sablayan in Occidental Mindoro near Palawan, is the world’s second-largest contiguous coral reef system and another notable location for encountering sea turtles.

2. Best Time to Snorkel with Sea Turtles:

  • Dry Season:
    • The dry season, typically from November to April, offers the best visibility and sea conditions for snorkeling with sea turtles in Palawan.

3. Guided Snorkeling Tours:

  • Local Operators:
    • Engage with local snorkeling tour operators in El Nido or other coastal areas. They are knowledgeable about the best spots for encountering sea turtles.
  • Experienced Guides:
    • Guides often accompany snorkeling tours to provide safety instructions, share information about marine life, and help participants locate sea turtles.

4. Snorkeling Gear:

  • Mask, Snorkel, and Fins:
    • Ensure you have well-fitting and high-quality snorkeling gear, including a mask, snorkel, and fins, to enhance your underwater experience.

5. Behavior Guidelines:

  • Respectful Distancing:
    • Maintain a respectful distance from sea turtles to avoid causing stress or disturbance. Keep a minimum of 10 feet (3 meters) away and observe without touching.
  • Passive Observation:
    • Allow the sea turtles to move freely and observe them in their natural behavior. Avoid sudden movements or noise that might startle them.

6. Popular Snorkeling Spots:

  • El Nido Island Hopping Tours:
    • Many island-hopping tours in El Nido include stops at snorkeling sites where sea turtles are commonly spotted. Locations like Shimizu Island and Seven Commandos Beach are known for turtle sightings.

7. Sea Turtle Species:

  • Green Turtles and Hawksbill Turtles:
    • Palawan is home to both green turtles and hawksbill turtles. These species frequent the coral reefs and seagrass beds around the islands.

8. Underwater Landscape:

  • Coral Gardens:
    • Snorkeling with sea turtles often takes place in vibrant coral gardens. The turtles graze on seagrasses and navigate through coral formations, providing a picturesque underwater landscape.

9. Photography Tips:

  • Underwater Cameras:
    • If you have an underwater camera, capture the beauty of sea turtles while maintaining a non-intrusive distance. Ensure your equipment is reef-friendly and won’t harm the marine environment.

10. Conservation Awareness:

  • Learn and Contribute:
    • Educate yourself about sea turtle conservation efforts in Palawan. Some local organizations work to protect sea turtles, and your participation may contribute to their conservation.

11. Environmental Responsibility:

  • Leave No Trace:
    • Practice responsible snorkeling by not touching or damaging coral reefs. Follow the principles of “Leave No Trace” to minimize your environmental impact.

Snorkeling with sea turtles in Palawan provides a rare and awe-inspiring opportunity to connect with these gentle creatures in their natural habitat. The combination of clear waters, vibrant coral reefs, and the graceful presence of sea turtles makes it an unforgettable experience for nature enthusiasts and ocean lovers alike. Always prioritize the well-being of the marine environment and adhere to guidelines for responsible snorkeling practices.