Snorkeling at Alona Beach

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snorkeling at alona beach

Snorkeling at Alona Beach

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After spending 3 days in Pangangan (Bohol) we traveled down to Panglao to try out the beaches there. Alona in Panglao is best known for its white sand and weekend animations, but the local snorkeling at Alona beach is also worth checking out.

You can rent a mask and fins for 250 pesos for the day from any of the dive shops on the front strip. Then, you need to make your way to the left-end of the beach. The sea depth here is very shallow to about 100 meters out, then gradually deepens.

Snorkeling at Alona Beach

Snorkeling at Alona Beach: It’s sandy to start with

From the shore, you can see a large area sectioned off by white buoys. This is the area you need to reach (initially around 3 meters deep). It’s safe to snorkel here as boats aren’t allowed inside the buoy area, however you are expected to follow the buoy line closely, and not venture far from it.

Snorkeling at Alona Beach

After the sand, the weeds…

At one point, I drifted away from the buoy line, and was surprised to hear a siren go off (audible underwater). It was only then that I noticed a group of 3 or 4 lifeguards high above on the cliff. Once they got my attention, they used a loudspeaker to instruct me (in English) to stick to the buoy line. I was quite impressed!

Snorkeling at Alona Beach

Snorkeling at Alona Beach – Watch out for the sea snakes

The buoy line extends quite a distance in a semi-circle, eventually leading to the next bay. It approximately follows the reef drop off. The only problem is that at this depth (around 6m) the water is already becoming murky. Not ideal if you’re using a simple camera with no flashlight.

Snorkeling at Alona Beach

Snorkeling at Alona Beach

I was using my trusty old ultra-compact Cannon Ixus camera, carefully fitted into a very simple DICAPack waterproof case. Secured with a strap around the neck, this is an inobtrusive and handy combination for snapping pictures, and even taking short videos.

Snorkeling at Alona Beach

Snorkeling at Alona Beach

I was taking photos and video, and got best results in shallower water. I filmed some very bold and colorful ‘Nemo’-style fish, as well as one of the famous Philippines sea snakes.

Snorkeling at Alona Beach

Tiny and colorful fish!

It rained quite often in the afternoons on Alona beach, so snorkeling was also a useful alternative to sitting out one of the showers on the beach.

Snorkeling at Alona Beach – View above water

A week earlier, we had enjoyed a couple of days snorkeling in Moalboal, Cebu. Alona beach is a busier place, but it is well worth spending an afternoon under water with a mask.

Alternatively, if you are looking for something a little more low-key than Alona beach, try Dumaluan beach a little further south down the coast.


If you enjoyed Snorkeling at Alona Beach, check out Central Philippines – Cebu & Bohol. You may also like:

Snorkeling at Alona

6 Comments

Daniel

August 1, 2018at 5:50 pm

“left-end of the beach”

I’m here today and tomorrow at Alona trying to find the reef. Do you mean left end when looking on a map (as in west part), or do you mean turn left when standing looking at the beach? I’ve not yet dared swim so far out yet.

    SandSpice

    August 1, 2018at 6:36 pm

    Hi Daniel,

    When you’re standing on the beach looking out to sea, head towards the left-end of the beach where the rocks start.
    Swim out about a hundred yards (it’s very shallow here) and you should find a very large snorkeling area heading away to your left surrounded by a rope and buoys.

    When I was there, they had life guards watching from the cliffs above.

    In the shallows, keep an eye out for the sea snakes! You don’t want to go upsetting them

Kieran duke

November 1, 2016at 4:16 am

I’ve been searching for info on Alona beach snorkelling for the past two days, and only got snippets of information…until now.
This post is exactly what I needed, answering my questions of where to go off the coast of Alona Beach (without hiring a boat etc etc).
One other question – if you don’t have waterproof bag for your valuables (cash for example), are there lockers to store on the beach front?

Thank you!

    SandSpice

    November 2, 2016at 12:31 pm

    Hi Kieran,

    Glad the information helped.
    A lot of people did seem to take diving/snorkeling boat trips from the diveshops on Alona Beach. You can even take a longer trip from here to swim with the whale sharks near Cebu.
    We preferred to save our cash and just find our own way off the beach and across the reef edge. Regarding valuables, we didn’t see any storage lockers. If you don’t have a nearby guesthouse where you could leave stuff, for a small fee you could probably leave items with one of the diveshops on the beach (though I wouldn’t fancy leaving cash there). You may even want to hire your snorkeling gear from them: Saves on the luggage space and they don’t charge much for just a mask and fins.

Selva

September 11, 2015at 6:49 pm

Heya i’m for the first time here. I came across this board and I find It really useful: It helped me out a lot. I hope to give something back and help others like you aided me.

    SandSpice

    November 7, 2015at 4:38 pm

    Hi Selva,

    We’re glad you found the information useful. The Philippines includes so many destinations and activities that it can be difficult to know where to start. We spent a lot of time planning our trip, but after just 3 weeks there we saw only a fraction of what this country has to offer. Hpoefully, on our next trip we’ll have more time…

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