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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.

Scorpionfish in Cabilao
A zebra lionfish at Cabilao Lighthouse.

How to get to the Cabilao Lighthouse snorkeling spot

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.

Cabilao Lighthouse snorkeling map
Cabilao Lighthouse snorkeling map.

Water entrance for snorkeling Cabilao Lighthouse

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 snorkeling exploration tips

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.

The reef drop off at Cabilao
The reef drop off at Cabilao Lighthouse.

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.

Pink-skunk anemonefish in Cabilao
Pink-skunk anemonefish in a magnificent sea anemone.

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.

Green sea turtle at Cabilao Lighthouse
It is common to encounter green turtles at Cabilao Lighthouse.

Restaurants and accommodation nearby

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.


  • Level required Beginner
  • Maximum depth33 ft / 10 m
  • Water entranceFrom a sandy beach
  • LifeguardNo
  • Visitor numbersLow
  • Access costsFree

MAP Spot

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.