CRITTER REPUBLIC dive center

Tubbataha Liveaboard

Experience the unparalleled beauty of Tubbataha Reef aboard our luxurious liveaboard vessel. Nestled in the heart of the Sulu Sea, Tubbataha Reef is a UNESCO World Heritage Site renowned for its pristine coral reefs, vibrant marine life, and crystal-clear waters.

Our liveaboard adventure offers you the opportunity to dive into the depths of this marine paradise, exploring its breathtaking underwater landscapes teeming with colorful corals, majestic sea turtles, graceful manta rays, and a myriad of tropical fish species. Dive sites like Washing Machine, Delsan Wreck, and Shark Airport await your exploration, promising unforgettable encounters with some of the ocean’s most magnificent creatures.

Throughout your journey, our experienced crew will ensure your comfort and safety, providing personalized service and expert guidance. Relax and unwind in our well-appointed cabins, indulge in delicious meals prepared by our onboard chefs, and soak in the stunning vistas of the sea from our spacious deck areas.

Join us on a Tubbataha liveaboard adventure and immerse yourself in the wonders of one of the world’s most spectacular marine ecosystems.

unesco heritage tubbataha national park
manta ray in tubbataha national park
sea turtle up close
barracuda up close
Napoleon wrasse tubbataha national park
school of fish up close

Our Next trip:

April 18-24, 2025

$2650 USD (sanctuary fees included)

We will be departing from Puerto Princesa in Palawan on the 18th. Some guests prefer to arrive a day or two early if they have along trip, just so they are fully rested and ready to go! 

Where ever you are on the 18th (within 10km of the port), we will pick you up in our big AC vans, and transport you to the port! So whether it is your hotel or the airport or where ever, we will coordinate to pick  you up. 

The same goes for the return trip, on the 24th we will drive you to your hotel or the airport, or where ever you need to go. 

The trip includes 5 days of diving, up to 4 per day with 2 on last day, and 2 days of boating from Puerto Princesa to the National park (over-night).

 

Trip details:

  • 18 dives on the best sites
  • Visit to the ranger station
  • All meals and drinks included (except alcoholic)
  • NITROX available (add $100 for whole trip)
  • Double occupancy rooms with cold AC and private bathrooms in each
  • highly experienced divemasters to assure safety and help finding sharks etc
  • WIFI available for $20 per 2gb
  • Nice clean boat and facilities

Highlights of Tubbataha

tubbataha mantas

Pristine Coral Reefs

Explore vibrant coral reefs teeming with marine life in crystal-clear waters. Encounter colorful fish, majestic manta rays, graceful sea turtles, and more.
You will not find a more healthy reef in the whole of Philippines.

sea turtle up close

Remote Dive Sites

The National Park is pristine for a reason: There is only a short window each year, or season, where people are allowed to dive at Tubbataha, and the numbers are highly regulated!

Sharks!

Sharks are absolutely GUARANTEED, and jsut seeing them alone makes the whole trip worth it! In 2024 our guests reported sightings of white and black tip sharks, grey reef sharks, hammerheads, whale sharks, tigers and more! We saw 200+ different sharks on my last trip!

Mantas and more!

Did we mention the manta rays? If you are lucky, you will find yourself in a school of mantas at one of the cleaning stations. Or, maybe dolphins and other "big guys". One of our favorite things to dive with though, are the huge schools of jacks and barracudas that form giant balls and block out the skies!

AMENITIES

  • Plenty of room for enjoyment and relaxation.

  • Cabins and dining area fully air-conditioned.

  • Spacious air-conditioned dining room.

  • Comprehensive on-board dive center.

  • Safe and convenient diving deck.

  • Two on-board diving skiffs available.

  • Private bathroom facilities in each cabin.

  • Full bar service with included drinks.

  • Gourmet meals included throughout.

  • Spacious upper deck for sunbathing and relaxation.

  • Onboard laundry services for convenience.

  • Cozy lounge area on the middle deck.

  • Two on-deck rinse showers.

  • Six twin-sharing cabins with private bathrooms.

  • Two luxurious VIP cabins featuring mini-bars.

The Inclusion and Exclusion of this Tubbataha Liveaboard Trip

Inclusions

  • Welcome drink, tea, coffee, purified drinking water, and juice.

  • Six nights of air-conditioned accommodation with hot and cold private toilet and shower.

  • Full board buffet meals throughout the cruise (from dinner on the first day to breakfast on the last day).

  • Up to four dives per day (excluding the last day), totaling 18 dives.

  • Marine park sanctuary fees

  • Tanks, weights and belts, skiff boat, and service of a dive professional.

  • Round trip transfers to and from the ship within a 10km radius of Puerto Princesa Port.

Exclusions

  • Gear rental.

  • Alcoholic beverages.

  • Dive medical insurance and travel insurance (mandatory).

  • Nitrox ($120USD for the whole trip).

  • Domestic and international transfers.

  • Internet onboard ($20USD for 2 gigabytes of data).

Frequently Asked Questions

Puerto Princesa in Palawan, Philippines

While we don’t offer specific recommendations, your hotel must be located within Puerto Princesa city to qualify for complimentary pick-up. in 2024 we stayed in Aziza Paradise hotel, and it was decent, and not too far from airport, downtown or port. 

Guests are picked up from their hotel or the airport or downtown by our van between 2:00 and 4:00 pm on the day of departure. Following a Coast Guard and Safety briefing onboard the ship, the MV Dolphin sets sail for the Tubbataha Reefs between 6:00 and 7:00 pm. We typically arrive at our first dive site by 6:00 – 7:00 am the following morning., and get to diving!

Absolutely! For further details and opportunities, please feel free to reach out to us at Critter Republic Dive Center. We collaborate with agents and numerous dive clubs to provide exceptional deals on unforgettable diving experiences.

We can sort it out. We will require the deposit to book your spot, as this is a high-demand trip that sells fast, but send us an email and we can work out something!

Yes, kindly inform us of any dietary requirements you may have.

Alcoholic drinks are accessible and reasonably priced on the MV Dolphin. Beer, wine, and mixed drinks are served at the dining room bar. VIP rooms feature a stocked mini bar. The bar opens exclusively for drinks once the day’s dives are finished.

Send us an email and we will decide. If we have last minute cancelations from divers, we will definitely accommodate non-divers. 

Trips may be canceled or shortened for safety reasons as directed by the Philippine Coast Guard or the MV Dolphin Captain. We HIGHLY recommend passengers to purchase travel insurance to provide coverage in such circumstances. Upon booking we require a deposit, which is refundable up to 2 months ahead of the trip (Feb 18, 2025). Full payment is due before February 18, and non-refundable, but you may transfer your ticket to someone else. 

If your trip is canceled due to malfunction or issues with the MV Dolphin, you will receive a full refund.

This is the Summer or ‘Dry’ season in the Philippines. During this time, occasional squalls and weather systems may pass through an area, typically in the afternoons. We deliberately refrain from diving Tubbataha Reefs during the Typhoon season, which commences in July.

Anticipate serene, cool mornings with stunning sunrises. The direct sun can be hot, so you’ll appreciate being underwater. In the afternoon, expect breezes and the possibility of thunderstorms. Weather can change quickly, and occasionally, a squall may pass through.

When there’s no storm, the ocean remains calm with waves typically ranging from 1 to 2 feet. However, waves may heighten during prevailing winds or storms.

Please regard our luggage limits similar to those of international airline flights. We trust you to bring the necessary gear for your convenience. If you have extra luggage or equipment, please inform our booking staff so we can make appropriate accommodations.

The MV Dolphin crew is highly experienced and prioritizes guest safety. Additionally, some of our staff members have medical training and qualifications. The MV Dolphin is equipped with oxygen and other emergency supplies tailored for diving situations.

There is a hyperbaric chamber located at the hospital in Palawan, specifically in Puerto Princesa City.

Helicopter evacuation may be an option, though there are very few helicopters available in the area. Alternatively, evacuation options include speedboats and the MV Dolphin itself.

The drinking water on the MV Dolphin is safe. We utilize a water distillation system powered by our generator to produce pure, fresh water from seawater.

Yes, several of our staff members have medical and emergency training, and are well-prepared to handle diving-related and other emergencies.

Normally, there are three dive guides or divemasters per trip.

Our staff handles your BCD, regulator, and other equipment, you wont have to lift or do any work!

Rental equipment is available, just let us know in advance, and we can arrange it for you. Equipment rentals are not included in our package price.

No, please plan to bring your own photography equipment.

Our trips typically accommodate 18 divers, divided into three groups with a divemaster each. The first dive works as a “check dive”, where we can make sure everyone is properly weighted, and then we can arrange groups according to skill and comfort level. 

Tubbataha Reef is considered advanced diving. The National Park requires all divers to have at least 30 logged dives. The better and more comfortable you are in the water, the more fun you will have, so we highly recommend coming to Philippines a week or two early, where we have a 5-star training facility located in Dauin, and we can get your skills up to par. 

Advanced certification is strongly recommended. Tubbataha Reef is quite remote, and for your safety as well as that of the group, we urge our divers to be aware of their limits and not to exceed them. As Open Water certification limits are only 18 meters, that limits what you can see, as many of our guests are seeing sharks down deeper. 

Our divemasters are also dive instructors; however, due to our limited staff, we typically cannot offer certification upgrades during the trip. Please inform us in advance if you need to complete Nitrox or Advanced Open Water certification. Justin (Critter Hunter) is an instructor and will be on board, but courses must be arranged before-hand. Better off to come early and get trained at his Dive shop in Dauin, and then enjoy all of Tubbataha dives. NITROX is a dry course however, and can be done in the first afternoon on the way to the National Park. 

Yes, every diver must have a dive computer, or rent one. 

Souvenir options are very limited. Occasionally, our group stops by the Ranger Station. Please note that the seabird nesting grounds are protected and off-limits most of the time.

Four dives are scheduled per day.

No, our diving activities adhere to the parameters of Advanced Open Water recreational diving. However we can accept sidemount divers, but in single tank configuration. 

Yes, we provide a Nitrox package for $120 for all 18 dives (recommended, NITROX cert required)

No. We no longer offer night diving at Tubbataha, 

No worries. Your cabin will be conveniently nearby, allowing you to charge gear and edit pictures. Additionally, there are a few drying shelves and a padded table in the dive area, where you can dry off your camera. 

Client Testimonials

Worth every penny! We saw so many sharks that I lost count, but maybe even more cool was the huge schools we could swim through. Like jacks, barracudas and lots more I can't name! Critter Hunter always does the coolest dives!
Gary M.
"I spent one week diving in Tubbataha. The area was amazing, with incredible biodiversity. The various boats and local ranger teams seemed very much involved in safeguarding it. Visibility was also great, allowing us to spot rays, whale sharks, white and black tip sharks, many turtles, hammerheads, as well as smaller marine life and enjoy the vivid corals."
Lance V.
"A fantastic and breathtaking location. Undoubtedly a wonderful place to visit. It's a testament to the beauty of our planet that everyone should experience. The dive site "Bird Islet" had 2 kilometers of pure corals, and was better than anywhere I've ever seen. Thanks Justin!




Dylan D.
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