Turtle Bay Moalboal is one of the most underrated snorkeling spots in Cebu, and perhaps one of our favourite spots in all of the Philippines. It’s home to some of the most incredible, healthy coral we’ve ever seen and it’s so easily accessible. A must visit dive site while you’re in Moalboal!
WHERE IS TURTLE BAY MOALBOAL
Turtle Bay is on the southern point of Moalboal, just a short 10 minute drive from the more popular Panagsama Beach. We found out about this little gem when we had dinner at Herbs Guest House and they recommended we check it out. We parked in the vacant lot next to Herbs and walked a couple minutes to the beach. It’s a straight shot to the beach but if you need directions just ask the locals.
WHAT TO BRING TO TURTLE BAY MOALBOAL
Prepare for your trip to Turtle Bay Moalboal with our must have travel essentials.
Waterproof backpack & phone case: Earth Pak 35L or 55L Heavy Duty Backpack, IPX8 Waterproof Phone Case Included (click for price)
Quick dry microfiber travel towel: Wise Owl Outfitters Camping Travel Towel (click for price)
Action camera: GoPro HERO9 Black (click for price)
GoPro dome: TELESIN Dome Port Lens for GoPro Hero 9 (click for price)
Drone: DJI Mavic 2 Pro (click for price)
BEST TIME TO VISIT TURTLE BAY MOALBOAL
You’ll want to visit Turtle Bay at high tide, which is exactly what we didn’t do. We went when it couldn’t possibly be any lower, which made it very difficult to get out to the deep water. Our stomachs were practically grazing the top of the coral as we swam out.
SNORKELING AT TURTLE BAY MOALBOAL
The reef at Turtle Bay Moalboal is dramatic, particularly at low tide when you’re inching along to avoid touching the coral and all of a sudden it drops to an infinite depth. If you’re not a fan of deep water, it can be a little daunting, but we had fun diving down the shelf to hang out with the fish.
You might be wondering if there are any turtles at Turtle Bay Moalboal, and the answer is yes! There definitely are. The locals told us to swim out by the buoy and we would surely find some, which was spot on advice. We saw one little guy swimming at around 10 metres deep, but unfortunately we couldn’t snap a photo of him in time before he swam beyond our freediving capabilities. Definitely keep your eyes peeled for turtles at Turtle Bay!
GoPro quality just doesn’t do the reef at Turtle Bay Moalboal any justice, but believe us when we say it is some of the most magical coral we’ve ever seen. Vibrant, alive, home to all sorts of critters! It was a treasure hunt of sorts, swimming amongst the reef and pointing out all the weird and wonderful creatures to each other.
Turtle Bay Moalboal is the kind of place you can spend a couple of hours at in the morning and still have a full day of adventure ahead. If you want to keep kicking it in the water after your trip to Turtle Bay, why not head to Panagsama Beach and swim with the Moalboal sardine run or take a boat out to Pescador Island. For more ideas and travel guides, read to the very end!
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WHERE TO STAY IN MOALBOAL
Southern Cebu is where all the adventure is at, from waterfalls and whale sharks to island hopping and diving. When visiting anywhere in the south, the best place to stay is Moalboal. It has the most accommodation options, and is a fun little town with dozens of cafes, restaurants and bars. Check out our top four picks below for where to stay in Moalboal.
BUDGET/HOSTEL: CHIEF MAU
Right on the main strip of Panagsama Road you’ll find Chief Mau, a fun and social hostel that dubs itself the chillest place in town. Clean, modern and affordable, boasting a restaurant, bar and billiards, Chief Mau is a favourite amongst backpackers
MIDSCALE: ADAM’S VIEW HOTEL
Simple but with all the amenities and facilities you need – including a massive pool – Adam’s View Hotel is our top pick for those looking for a little more luxury than a backpackers. Located in the main town, Adam’s View Hotel is right next to Gaisano Mall, but still close enough to the action of Panagsama Beach to remain convenient.
LUXURY: TURTLE BAY DIVE RESORT
If you have deep pockets and an appreciation for the finer things in life, Turtle Bay Dive Resort is the place for you. Tucked away on a private cove in the quieter part of town, this luxury resort is perfect for couples looking for a little exclusivity.
AIRBNB: LRS APARTMENT
We can personally attest to how great LRS Apartment is, having spent two weeks there. Aside from a beautiful private pool, the apartment itself is modern, well furnished and spacious enough for a couple. (And a cat!) It’s just a 5 minute drive from the hustle and bustle of the restaurants and bars along Panagsama Road, but far enough away to offer a little peace and quiet. We can’t recommend LRS Moalboal enough!