You are planing holidays in Palawan, and you wish to discover the underwater life there. Which one is the best season to go there? Here are a few recommended tips which will help you to make your final choice.
The sea temperature
Waters in El Nido change within the year: First of all, the amplitude of the temperature is high. It can go down to 21 degrees Celcius (70 degrees Fahrenheit), and go up until 33 degrees time to time (91 degrees Fahrenheit). Aficionados of underwater worlds will prepare the appropriate equipment before traveling to Palawan.
In Bacuit Bay, bancas (the local traditional boats) are generally well protected because the surrounded hilly relief.
Plancton and visibility
Plancton bloom season is another parameter to consider. It lasts for about two months though. Its impact is different every year, but it attracts unusual creatures, plancton eater, such as: Whales, whale sharks, Manta rays, etc. However, visibility is affected (between 5 an 10 metres only). The rest of the year, the visibility is between 15 and 25 meters.
Is the touristic season the best time?
People come generally when the weather is the best, shinny sun, hot and dry: From mid-December until end of April, masses of tourists come from all around the world, all of them dreaming about holidays, sun and fun. The dive trips are always fully booked, 7 days per week. It is the heart of the dry season. In that case, you should better book one to two days in advance. I advice you to plan your holidays with the following updated guide: The 3 different ways to go to El Nido. For the last it has become easier and more convenient to reach this isolated corner of Philippines.
January and February, it's the plancton bloom. Water is quite cold with 21 to 23 degrees. The cold can be felt at the end of the dives. Above the surface, the wind is stronger than usual.
Between May and June, it is probably the best compromise. The weather forecast is good. The sun shines almost everyday in the Bacuit Bay ; water temperature is higher, and there are less tourists already. Scuba dives are longer and sometimes exceptional.
From July, the rainy season starts for real. El Nido town is almost empty from its tourists until the November. But we still see a few experienced divers around. Actually, during that period, the scuba dives can be exceptionally long and relaxing. Dive trips are more flexible, and discounts can be given. It happens that the dive centers decides to go outside of the usual Bacuit Bay, to reach incredible lonely dive sites. Wind is generally very low, and the temperature of water is really pleasant.
From September and November, the chances of typhoons is higher than other months, with 1 to 2 of them per months. It can sometimes rain a lot, especially in the afternoons. Difficult to anticipate when planing holidays though. But no worries, coastguards check and don't take any risk with safety. Most of the time, underwater conditions are excellent and quiet: Local divers appreciate very much this period. Besides, the number of guests on a banqua is limited, between 1 and 5 of them. It is one of the advantage to book with a small dive center.
The author's piece of advice
Go to Palawan island in May or June, or before the 15th of December, in order to avoid the crowd. For the divers without any equipment, please note that our prices include a fully one, revised and performant. Check the page about the dive center for you to know more about it.