Moalboal Island Hopping Travel Guide (A Snorkeling Paradise)

moalboal island hopping

It’s not really an island hopping experience. It’s something much better. Moalboal island hopping should be changed Moalboal snorkeling. After all, you’re not visiting islands but rather snorkeling spots.

Famous for having the best diving and snorkeling spots in the Philippines, Moalboal has a rich marine life. You can see here corals in all forms and colors, dolphins, sea turtles, sardine runs, and all kinds of fishes! You bet we saw all of these during our trip.

If you’re planning a trip to Moalboal soon, the island hopping/snorkeling should be on your list!

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What You Should Know Before Your Trip

Moalboal Island Hopping Fees

  • Environmental Fee: P100 (2 USD) per person
  • Private Boat Rental: for the 2 of us, we paid P2,500 (50 USD) for the whole boat and island hopping

Budget Tips:

  • If you’re on a tight budget, you can opt to join other tourists in the same boat for around P300 to P500 (6 USD to 10 USD).
  • Or if you don’t want to go to Pescador island and just want to see the sardine run and turtles, you can simply put on your snorkeling masks and swim in front of Panagsama beach. The turtles are a bit shy so in order to see one, be prepared to swim hundreds of meters to spot one.
moalboal island hopping

Starting the Island Hopping Experience

  1. Go to the municipal hall and pay the fees.
  2. Attend the brief orientation.
  3. Rent snorkeling gears, GoPros, or fins. Up to you. Life vests are provided in the boat.
  4. Ride the boat. Unlike before, boats now are in a queue. So you can’t choose your boat. Your boat will depend on who’s next.
  5. Enjoy and keep a lookout for dolphins!

Snorkeling Sites To Visit

Pescador Island

Just a few minutes boat ride away from Moalboal, Pescador island boasts of a beautiful snorkeling site. You can find all sorts of colorful fishes and corals.

moalboal island hopping

Our boat guides were very eager to help bring us to the best spot and with a buoy, dragged us all around the place. They even took turns diving with our GoPro so we’d have footage to watch after our trip.

It’s honestly one of the best snorkeling experiences we’ve had.

After snorkeling, we had to move to where the Sardine Run was. Lo and behold, on our way to the next snorkeling spot, we saw dolphins! 

Like omgwhgduwyxujwgd! It was my first time seeing these beautiful creatures swimming on sea waters and it’s definitely the highlight of our snorkeling trip!

We weren’t really expecting to see any dolphins. Ryk saw them first and pointed them out to me. Our guides then turned the boat around so we could have a much closer look. They really didn’t have to. It wasn’t on our itinerary but they still did it.

One of the boat guides even borrowed our GoPro and tried taking videos while holding onto the boat. Note, the waves were a bit strong so our boat was rocking back and forth. He didn’t care! Even went as far as dunking the GoPro under the water whenever he could. And we got this footage!

moalboal island hopping

Note: Dolphins are seasonal but if you go on that island hopping trip, you might just see the dolphins!

Sardine Run

Our next stop was the Sardine Run. Apparently the sardines used to be around Pescador Island. However, after an earthquake, they moved to the waters around Moalboal near Panagsama beach (which isn’t much of a beach considering the number of establishments around the area).

Anyways, we stopped by a spot where a lot of other people were snorkeling. When you look at the water, you can’t really see anything. So I wasn’t expecting much.

But when I put on my snorkeling mask and dove into the water, what I saw was breathtaking!


Under the water were thousands of sardines! Our guide even joked that you won’t be able to fit them all in one boat. And he was right.

With all the sardines under us, we couldn’t even see the bottom of the sea. We even thought we were swimming in shallow waters until the fishes moved to one side and apparently it was pretty deep!

The sight before me was enough to make me go gaga. It was both amazing and creepy. You wouldn’t even see any other fish apart from the sardines.

And every time a sardine turns on its side, you’ll see flashes of silver. Truly spectacular!

Sea Turtles

And finally, we moved to another spot that’s a few meters away from the sardine run to look for turtles. Our guide then told us that we’ll be swimming around 500m so we can cover a lot of areas and see the turtles.

Just a few seconds into our snorkeling journey, we saw our very first turtle and it was huuuuge! 

moalboal island hopping

After a few minutes, we saw two more!

moalboal turtles
moalboal turtles

And just like the turtles, we saw during our snorkeling trip in Masasa, the turtles in Moalboal were very shy. They didn’t like getting filmed and would constantly swim away.

Aside from these snorkeling spots, our boat guides offered to take us near White Beach for another snorkeling adventure for just an additional P1,000 but we declined since we already saw so many things in just those three places! If you do have the budget, you can ask your guides if they can bring you there!

Nevertheless, the snorkeling experience in Moalboal was like no other! In one day, we saw tons of beautiful fishes, turtles, a lot of sardines and dolphins!

Moalboal is definitely on our list of the best snorkeling sites in the Philippines!

How to Get to Moalboal

From Cebu City

Ride a Ceres bus heading to Moalboal from Cebu South Bus Terminal. Travel time is around 3 hours and the fare is at P127 for the bus with aircon and P116 for the bus without aircon.

Aside from the bus, you can also ride a van at Cebu South V-hire Terminal.

Travel Tip: Check schedules and availability of buses, ferries, taxis or flights to book online with 12Go Asia.

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Where to Stay in Moalboal

We stayed in Sambag Hideaway and booked one of their rooms. I highly recommend this place if you want quiet and peaceful accommodation that’s a few steps away from the sea.

You can book here:

Here are also a few other accommodations we’d recommend.




Airbnb Moalboal

Aside from hotels and resorts, you can also opt to stay at an Airbnb.

Get your P2,200 ($44) Airbnb discount here!

Responsible Travel Tips

When traveling to one place, make sure you practice responsible tourism. Here are some tips to do so.

1. Respect the environment

Don’t litter. Please hold onto your trash until you find a garbage can.

Related: 16 Eco-Friendly Travel Products for the Earth-Loving You

2. Avoid single-use plastic

Bring your eco bag and refuse single-use plastic.

3. Shop local

Keep the traditional crafts alive and support local artisans. Buy from them. And try not to haggle, P20 may seem small to you but it can mean a lot to them.

4. Always ask permission

Be sure to ask for permission first when taking photos or videos especially when it comes to children

What to Pack

Here’s stuff I’d recommend you to pack when going to Moalboal:

Our Camera Gear

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MANILA: 16 Things To Do In Manila That You Shouldn’t Miss

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VIGAN: 13 Vigan Tourist Spots That You Shouldn’t Miss

APO ISLAND: Apo Island Travel Guide: Snorkeling in Turtle Paradise

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1 thought on “Moalboal Island Hopping Travel Guide (A Snorkeling Paradise)”

  1. Hello. Regarding the booking of the boat for the island hopping, is it necessary to book online ahead of the time? Or just go directly to moalboal tourism? Thank you. Will be going there tomorrow

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