I spend a week here in August as part of our annual Dive Trip with Bronx Scuba. As usual I read before the reviews, many of those very descriptive (see far below some of them).
The trip here from the US is quite long, be prepared for a 2-3 hr drive through crazy Manila suburbs. Jungle vegetation is almost all you will see until you get close to the see. A one hour boat ride finally gets you there. The special treatment begins already: forget about carrying your bags until you depart. It's good arriving at night as you don't see all the details of the surrounding areas. Very crowded small and dirty streets surround the Hotel, but as soon as you cross the entrance you are in paradise. The construction reminds some streets in Greek. The room as defined before looks like the Flintstone's House. I was scared about the "sun warmed water" and the "open bathroom", but forget about it. The water is boiling hot! And the "throne" has a door, it's only the shower that is open but hidden. Rooms have AC and Ceiling fan, safe box, TV (which I never even turned on), hairdryer for rent (take your own one) and no coffee machine...that was not an issue (see Restaurant review later on).
The dive shop has everything perfectly organised. From personal shelf, hanging area for gear, two warm showers, lot's of rinsing tanks. But the hotel crew takes care of EVERYTHING: cleaning, rinsing and changing tanks and gear after every dive. And at the end you get a list of sites, depth and time of every dive you did, this I never saw before.
The diving sites are 3-10 minutes from the Hotel. Small boats take you from the beach. There's no place for extra things on the boat, so wear your gear before you jump in. Take extra care of cameras and any extra gear. The tanks lay on the ground and entrance is always per back jump. I probably expected more of the dives, like the ones supposed to be offered in Malaysia or Indonesia. Probably visibility was not the best as we had a Typhoon nearby and rain and clouds. But beside that it seems that some animals like lobsters or big fish are missing in this area. Very impressive and which made my UW photography trip are definitely the macro creatures like hundreds of different nudibranchs and shrimps.
Worth is the diving trip to Isla Verde, a MUST be. There you see hundreds of fauna.
Last but not least, the BEST what this Resort offers: The food. The Restaurant crew and Chef deserves two thumbs up! Personalised treatment (incredibly how they remember your name and even what you like to eat), daily changing menu, lot's of fresh fruit and veggies and amazing presentation, specially the deserts, you will enjoy it!
I wouldn't recommend too much the surrounding area, nothing worth for me.
I wonder if maybe the other Atlantis resorts, far south or the live aboard ships (like 5 or 6 trips they offer) might provide a more virgin protected sea environment. If so I would give it a chance to come back and see something new.
Special thanks to Chris and the other Chris, Larry, PJ and so many others I cannot remember their names for making this trip so special (unfortunately I definitely don't do a great job remembering the names as they did!)
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Puerto Galera is well known for its numerous scuba diving spots; the area was designated a Man and Biosphere Reserve of UNESCO in 1973 and has some of the most diverse coral reef diving in Asia located at the very heart of the 'Coral Triangle'. The area also features numerous pocket beaches and stunning tropical scenery. Atlantis Puerto Galera is beautifully built into the hills of Sabang Beach of Puerto Galera and has a great beachfront location; in many travel guidebooks and magazines Atlantis is quoted as one of the most outstanding resorts of the Philippines with its award winning (Flintstones) design. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Atlantis Dive Resorts Puerto Galera Hotel Puerto Galera