Since divers discovered Tubbataha in the late 1970s, it has become recognised as one of the most remarkable coral reefs on our planet. The CNN travel website, cnngo.com, ranks it among the top eight dive sites in the world.
Because of its isolated location, Tubbataha can only be visited on a liveaboard boat. Divers can experience the reefs’ dramatic underwater terrain, awe-inspiring biodiversity and encounter large marine animals such as sharks, turtles and manta rays.
Tubbataha is composed of two huge coral atolls – the north atoll and the south atoll – and the Jessie Beazley Reef, a smaller coral structure about 20 kilometers north of the atolls. The reefs of Tubbataha and Jessie Beazley are considered part of Cagayancillo, a remote island municipality roughly 130 kilometers to the northeast, inhabited mainly by fishermen.
The Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park lies in the Sulu Sea, Philippines in the heart of the Coral Triangle, the global centre of marine biodiversity, 150km southeast of Puerto Princesa.
Tubbataha’s dive season is just three months long, running from mid-March until mid- June. At this time of year diving conditions are usually optimum – clear skies, calm seas and visibility between 30 and 45 meters.
It takes around 10 hours to get to Tubbataha Reef from Puerto Princesa. Due to the remote location, only liveaboards are available and the boats typically stay out for between 4 and 8 nights.