Free shore access
This spot have a free shore access: you can go snorkeling there freely and without having to book a tour or pay an entrance fee.
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Last updated on September 25, 2023
Located right next to Bamboo Reef is Cabilao’s most famous snorkeling spot, The Lighthouse. This area features a slightly different but equally exciting underwater world to explore. Seagrass beds, in particular, are more abundant here. The corals of Lighthouse are partly damaged, but they still attract a great diversity of fish and invertebrates, along with green turtles and sea kraits.
Cabilao is a small island near Bohol, in the heart of the Philippine archipelago. From Bohol, head to Sandigan Island Pier. This is about a 30 mile bus or taxi ride from Alona Beach. At Sandigan Island Pier, catch a bangka, a traditional Philippine boat, to cross to Cabilao. This will take about 20 minutes.
Once in Cabilao, ask a motorcycle taxi to take you to the lighthouse located at the northwestern tip of the island. If you are staying in the area, walk along the beach heading north until you get to the lighthouse. Depending on your hotel, it is about 330 to 440 yard walk along the beach.
Places to stay in the area include Bamboo Reef Resort, Cabilao Sanctuary Beach & Dive Resort, Polaris Beach & Dive Resort or Cabilao Sunsset Dive & Beach Resort. This snorkeling area is located just north of the Cabilao-Bamboo Reef spot, which is the most popular because it is located right in front of the hotels.
Recommended water entrance is from the beach, in front of the lighthouse. The snorkeling area will be on your right when you face the sea.
Cabilao Lighthouse location features a typical Philippine fringing reef. Just 100 yards from shore, the shallow reef flat drops sharply down to over 35 feet.
Unlike the neighboring Bamboo Reef snorkeling location, Lighthouse has extensive seagrass beds. If you take the time to explore them, you will notice a diversity of critters including different types of scorpionfish, nudibranchs, starfish, and peacock-tail shrimp living in symbiosis with anemones.
On the wall, the corals cascade down into the blue. Lighthouse is home to a diversity of soft corals, hard corals, sponges and gorgonians. These create a very varied and colorful underwater scenery.
The drop-off is the place to spot reef fish, including clownfish (at least 4 species, see species list at the bottom of the page), anthias, angelfish, butterflyfish and wrasse. Green sea turtles are regular visitors to the drop-off, even if they are not spotted every day.
The Cabilao Sanctuary Beach & Dive Resort, the Polaris Beach and Dive Resort, the Cabilao Sunset Dive & Beach Resort and the Bamboo Reef Resort are the four main accommodations near the spot (300 to 400 yard walk). Their restaurants are open to day visitors.
These snorkeling spots are accessible to beginners and kids. You will enter the water gradually from a beach, or in a less than 3ft. deep area. The sea is generally calm, shallow, with almost no waves or currents. These spots are usually located in marked and/or monitored swimming areas. It is not necessary to swim long distances to discover the sea life.
This level only apply when the spot experiences optimal sea and/or weather conditions. It is not applicable if the sea and/or weather conditions deteriorate, in particular in the presence of rough sea, rain, strong wind, unusual current, large tides, waves and/or swell. You can find more details about the definition of our snorkeling levels on our snorkeling safety page.
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Snorkeling spots are part of a wild environment and their aspect can be significantly altered by weather, seasons, sea conditions, human impact and climate events (storms, hurricanes, seawater-warming episodes…). The consequences can be an alteration of the seabed (coral bleaching, coral destruction, and invasive seagrass), a poor underwater visibility, or a decrease of the sea life present in the area. Snorkeling Report makes every effort to ensure that all the information displayed on this website is accurate and up-to-date, but no guarantee is given that the underwater visibility and seabed aspect will be exactly as described on this page the day you will snorkel the spot. If you recently snorkeled this area and noticed some changes compared to the information contained on this page, please contact us.
The data contained in this website is for general information purposes only, and is not legal advice. It is intended to provide snorkelers with the information that will enable them to engage in safe and enjoyable snorkeling, and it is not meant as a substitute for swim level, physical condition, experience, or local knowledge. Remember that all marine activities, including snorkeling, are potentially dangerous, and that you enter the water at your own risk. You must take an individual weather, sea conditions and hazards assessment before entering the water. If snorkeling conditions are degraded, postpone your snorkeling or select an alternate site. Know and obey local laws and regulations, including regulated areas, protected species, wildlife interaction and dive flag laws.
Reef drop off with coral, colorful fish and sea snakes
Reef drop off with massive schools of sardines
Reef drop off with sea turtles and colorful fish
Vibrant fringing reef with fish and critters
Reef drop off with sea turtles and massive schools of sardines
Free shore access
Vibrant reef drop off with colorful fish