Dive Sibultan, El Nido | Philippines

Manta rays gliding through the water

Manta Ray Diving in

El Nido

m
Wingspan
Kilos
km
escape speed
islands and islets of el nido

Dive Sibultan: Manta Ray Spotting in the Philippines

No trip to the Philippines is complete without exploring underwater. With world-class diving, the Philippines have epic marine life, thriving coral reefs, and endless shipwrecks to discover. Many of the islands offer scuba-diving experiences, each with something different to see and do. In El Nido, Palawan, Dive Sibaltan are leading mantaray conservationists, with ongoing projects designed to monitor this incredible species and create an environment that encourages them to return to the area. We caught up with the team at Dive Sibaltan to learn more about their efforts and to explore the underwater world off the untouched North-East coast of Palawan.

Arriving at the dive shop we were welcomed by a team of enthusiastic divers who went above and beyond to make us comfortable. Hot drink in hand, we completed the paperwork, got kitted out with top of the range diving equipment, and were introduced to the dive sites for the day.

Dive Sibaltan was started by a group of keen divers, and their energy reflects their passion for the sport. We listened with excitement about the Manta cleaning stations and how the team have been working endlessly to help monitor these beautiful creatures by photographing them and sharing the data with conservationists. With equal importance, the team were eager to share the need to keep our distance and remain still if we were lucky enough to see any Manta, so as to protect them and not deter them from returning. After all, there’s no better way to experience these magnificent creatures than in their own habitat, allowing them to do what comes naturally. It’s all about having fun, exploring, and protecting the natural environment, which make for an epic experience both under and above the water.

dive instructors on boat dive sibaltan el nido philippines
Dive Sibultan instrucors loading the boat
Scuba diving boat in the open waters of the Philippines
Scuba divers observiing the coral in El Nido Philippines
School of tropical fish in the Philippines
wo Scuba divers in El Nido, Philippines

The best thing about Dive Sibaltan is that everyone is welcome, whether you’re new to the sport or have been doing it for years. The group on our boat ranged from discovery divers to advanced divers, and the instructors were brilliant at meeting everyone’s needs. A relaxed yet excitable energy made for ideal pre and post diving conditions. The team helped everyone get kitted up before each dive, with buddy checks all around before we jumped in the water. Each time we surfaced, everyone was eager to share their experiences and hear all about other peoples as hot drinks and sweet treats were passed around the boat.

As we surfaced from the last dive of the day, the sun was starting to dip and the golden hour glow made for the most beautiful ride back to the beach – the perfect time to reflect on what an unforgettable experience the day had been. With huge smiles on our faces, we headed back to the dive centre to dry off and record our dives. The crew insisted on bringing the tanks and equipment back for us, allowing us to maintain the weightless feeling that diving brings. The team at the shop were really excited to hear about our day, which is always the best way to end a day of diving.

If you’re going to the Philippines, you should definitely go scuba diving. And if you’re in El Nido, Dive Sibaltan is the place to go. The enthusiasm of the team reflects just how passionate they are about diving, and about protecting and conserving the incredible sea life and the ocean in which they live. Dive Sibaltan is more than just a dive centre, it’s an inspiring experience that will leave you dreaming in blue.

 

Looking for where to stay in El Nido. Discover Frangipani El Nido Hotel.

Woman scuba diving in the Philippines
Scuba divers counting down before safely returning to the surface
Man walking down the beach in the Philippines
Scuba divers returning to the boat in the Philippines (Dive Sibultan)
Diver exploring the coral in the Philippines

Raggamuffin Tours | Sailing in the Belize Barrier Reef

Barracuda swimming among coral in Belize

Raggamuffin Tours:

Belize

Barrier Reef

days sailing and snorkelling
nights in paradise
Km. Long Reef
species of fish
cayes

Raggamuffin Tours: 
Sailing Adventures in the
Belize Barrier Reef

Bandannas at the ready? Hand over your flip flops and hop aboard the Raggamuffin Tours sailboat. Prepare for 3 days of the pirate life – spear fishing for your dinner, sleeping on desert islands, and drinking unlimited rum. Sound good? It’s even better when you’re living it.

It’s time to embark on the adventure of a lifetime as you set sail from the shores of Caye Caulker, Belize, and head out into the Caribbean Sea. Bask in the sun from the hammock at the front of the boat, and enjoy the refreshing sea spray that’ll cool you down and remind you that you’re not dreaming.

Discover the Belizean Barrier Reef

You’re part of the Raggamuffin Tours crew now, and every vessel needs some man power to keep it sailing in the right direction. Try pulling up the sails or fishing from the back of the boat. As the crew will tell you from the beginning – the more you put into this, the more you’ll get out of it.

Stop a few times each day to jump in the big blue and snorkel the vibrant shallow reefs. The crew will even guide you in the right direction and point out some cool sea life along the way, from colourful corals to playful manatees. Try your hand at spearfishing, because where else can you have a go? Catch something for dinner, or do your bit to keep the overpopulation of lion fish in check.

Island Hopping in the Caribbean

As the sun sinks into the sky and the rum punch starts flowing, your paradise island Rendezvouz Caye awaits. Pitch a tent with an ocean view, and talk all things travel and beyond over an incredible buffet style dinner. The catches of the day are cooked to perfection by the skilled Raggamuffin Tours on board chef, and carefully paired with delectable sides.

Who knows where the night will go from there. With rum punch still flowing and the energy of the ocean surrounding you, don’t be surprised if you end up dancing in the moonlight before falling asleep under a sky full of stars.

Wake up the next day and hit the hangover cure breakfast before setting sail for another day of snorkeling and adventures. Crystal clear waters and white sandy beaches are on today’s agenda, all leading up to the island that you will call home for the night.

Ragga Caye really is special. Tonight you can opt for a bed in a newly built beach hut, or even a private over-water cabana. Given how perfect the nights are here, it was hard to turn down another opportunity to spend it under the stars, so camping won our vote. With hammocks in the trees and kayaks to take out around the caye, the afternoon will fly by. Of course, the rum punch has been flowing again, so spirits are high (literally), and the group games have begun.

If you’re looking for an experience to remember, the Raggamuffin Tours 3 day tour is for you. As an all inclusive trip you don’t have to plan a thing. The crew take care of everything, and go out of their way to make sure you have the best time. It doesn’t matter if you’re travelling solo, as a couple or in a group, you’ll feel right at home within minutes of getting on the boat, and will make memories that will last a lifetime.

Before You Go

  • The all-inclusive tour costs $400 USD for 3 days and 2 nights

  • Trip departs from Caye Caulker and arrives in Dangriga

  • Perfect for travellers wanting a mix of activities and relaxation

  • It’s great for solo travelers, couples and groups

  • Spend the night on private islands in the Caribbean Sea

  • Great food! Get involved and help catch fresh seafood for dinner

  • Go to the mandatory meeting the day before – you’ll get kitted up with snorkels, masks and fins, plus it’s a great chance to meet everyone

  • Be sure to have a backup plan – the tour requires a certain number of people to go ahead

Trekking in Sapa | Vietnam

three ladies in traditional Vietnamese tribal dress carry woven baskets on their backs through the hills in Sapa

Trekking in

Sapa

km
north of Hanoi
people live in Sapa
m
Phang Xi Pang peak
km²
Sapa town

Go Trekking in Sapa, Vietnam

Hike through beautiful rice paddies and stay with a local family

There are so many reasons that trekking in Sapa should be on your travel bucket list. The quaint mountain town of Sapa is located in northwest Vietnam, in the Hoàng Liên Son Mountains region. The town itself is full of charm, but it’s the hiking trails around it that really stand out. Expansive rice paddies span as far as the eye can see, blanketing the curves of the rolling green hills that create a jaw dropping landscape before you. Trek through the hills with a local guide as you learn all about the culture and traditions of the hill tribes that call this region home. You’ll get to meet local people and even stay in their homes with them, giving you a true feel for life in the mountains and a deep appreciation for the simplicity of it all.

young girl sitting on a fence wearing brightly coloured tribal clothing, seen whilst trekking in Sapa
rice paddies submerged in water, seen whilst trekking in Sapa
mountains covered in green rice paddies, location for trekking in Sapa
two men dry rice in the sun, a common sight when trekking in Sapa

 

 

 

 

Local Culture

Hill tribes such as Hmong, Tay and Dao, make up most of the local population in Sapa. They live in the mountains and farm for a living, leading simple but hard-working lives.

Way of Life

Many hill tribe people making a living growing rice, hence the abundance of rice paddies in the area. Family homes are typically very basic, often made from wood and with no running water or electricity. Homecooked meals are a big part of family life. The day’s activities are scheduled by the rise and fall of the sun, beginning early and turning in for bed as the sun goes down. It’s a simple, humble way of living.

Hmong People

Sapa is home to approximately one million Hmong people. The Hmong are members of an ethnic group who live in southern China, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, and Myanmar. Hmong women are easily identified by their traditional dress – black skirts and leg warmers, accented by silver jewellery.

Trekking in Sapa

Go on a multi-day hike

Although it is possible to do single day hikes around Sapa, you’ll definitely get the best experience by embarking on a multi-day trek. These tours will take you further into the mountains through tiny villages and countless rice paddies, and also give you the opportunity to experience the culture here by staying at a local homestays. To make the most out of your trip, we recommend doing at least a 3 day/2 night tour.

Choosing your guide

Although you can book a tour when you arrive in Sapa, we recommend booking it in advance. Most tour operators will offer a pick-up service from the train station as you arrive, making the journey easier and more efficient. There are plenty of options to choose from, so do your research and choose a tour guide that’s socially conscious and truly supports the local community. 

Sapa Sisters

Sapa Sisters are an all female group of Hmong people who know the region well and are passionate about sharing it with visitors. Sapa Sisters are well known for offering good pay and workers rights, which sadly isn’t always the case. Some of the guides offer homestays in their homes, and it feels more like hiking with a friend than a guide. You can find out more here.

Best Time to Go Trekking in Sapa

The best time to go to Sapa is from March to May, or September to mid-December, based on weather conditions.
 
March – May: weather is warm and dry, making it perfect for trekking
June – September: heavy rain, difficult walking conditions, and also crowded with Vietnamese tourists
Late September – mid December: weather is cool and dry, making it perfect for trekking and taking photos
Mid December – February: cold winters with harsh conditions (yes, it snows here!) Pack extra warm clothes if you choose to visit during winter.

What to Pack

Leave your main bag at your hotel or hostel and take only a small backpack with you on the trek. The following essentials will go a long way:

Good hiking boots that are waterproof and have good grip
Waterproof poncho for inevitable downpours
A warm jacket and pair of leggings/trousers – the temperatures drop at night even in warmer months
Hat and sunscreen. These are particularly important in mountains as the UV levels are higher.
Insect repellent – the rice paddies attract a lot of insects and mosquitos
Small torch. Power-cuts are not uncommon in the villages, and most homestays will not have electricity. 

How Do I Get to Sapa?

Sapa is in the northwest of Vietnam, around 350 kilometres north of Hanoi. There are three options for travelling to Sapa – by train, bus or car.

Taking the train to Sapa

The overnight train from Hanoi to Sapa takes around 8 hours. It departs Hanoi at 9.30pm and arriving at Lao Cai station at 5.30am. From here, it’s a 45 minute bus or van ride to get to Sapa town. The trains are reasonably comfortable, with 4 beds to a cabin. Tickets start from  £17, making this an affordable and safe way to travel. Bonus: there’s also a ‘luxury train’ if you’re looking for additional comfort.

Travelling to Sapa by bus 

For the more adventurous (or perhaps those on a tighter budget) there are buses that run between Hanoi and Sapa. Most buses offer lie-down seats, and will make one or two rest stops along the way. The buses tend to leave Hanoi in the afternoon, arriving in Sapa around 6 hours later in the early hours of the morning. Tickets start at £9. A word of caution – the roads into the mountains are very winding, so a bus is probably not the best choice if you suffer from travel sickness.

Take a taxi

A taxi from Hanoi to Sapa will take around 5 hours and cost around £115. 

road winds through rice paddies in Sapa, seen from above
group of people carry woven baskets on the backs as they go trekking in Sapa
toddler wearing bright green and pink traditional dress, seen whilst trekking in Sapa Vietnam

Tips for Trekking in Sapa

1. For the best all round travel experience we recommend taking the train from Hanoi to Sapa. The views are great, it’s nice to arrive early in the morning, and it saves time by travelling overnight. It’s also the safest way to travel, avoiding the winding roads and potential wet weather conditions.
2. It is possible to travel to Sapa and explore the area without a guide. However, for a more complete experience we definitely recommend booking a tour to go trekking in Sapa with a local guide. 
3. Groups of local women will probably walk with you at some point along your hike. They may help you navigate difficult terrain and make gifts from the flowers. After walking with you for several kilometres the women will ask you to buy crafts from then as a way of saying thank you. If you don’t want to buy anything from them, it’s kinder to tell them ‘no thank you’ straight away.
4. Similarly, children may try to sell bracelets and small gifts along the trails. Although tempting, it’s best not to buy from them as this actually encourages children to be kept out of school to help earn money instead. It’s best to buy souvenirs in the town.

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Tranquilo Bay Eco Adventure Lodge | Panama

yellow kayak on a wooden deck over the sea, at Tranquilo Bay
+
acres of nature preserve
%
Remains in natural state
cabanas
°C
average temperature
species of fish

Tranquilo Bay Eco Adventure Lodge

Make memories that will last a lifetime in Bocas del Toro, Panama

Ideally located on Isla Bastimentos, Tranquilo Bay Eco Adventure Lodge encompasses more than 200 acres of nature preserve. A thick vast forest surrounds the lodge, bordered by luscious mangroves along the coast that reach down into the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean Sea. The thriving land is home to an impressive array of flora and fauna, creating a natural paradise.

Tranquilo Bay is the product of pure passion and dedication from owners Jim, Renee and Jay. Along with naturalist guides Ramon and Natalia, the team go above and beyond to ensure you have the most incredible and memorable stay in Panama.

Experience Tranquilo Bay

Wake up to the warm hues of sunrise illuminating the room around you. Step outside and open your senses, let the fresh air and nature engulf you. Feel the sea breeze against your skin, and hear the beautiful gift of bird song… Your most awakening and inspiring mornings will start right here at Tranquilo Bay.

As the sun begins to rise, pick up your binoculars and make your way up the bird tower. Watch the magical display of tropical birds dancing above you, and listen to the unique and intriguing sounds as the forest below comes to life.

turquoise water in Bocas del Toro, Panama
bright blue insect on a log, at Tranquilo Bay
pink tropical flower in Panama
small green island surrounded by water in Bocas del Toro, Panama

Adventures all day long

There are endless activities available at Tranquilo Bay, both on land and at sea. Knowledgeable guides will assist you throughout the stay, their enthusiasm kindling new interests within you.

Spend a day out on the water kayaking to untouched reefs and mangroves, snorkelling to discover the thriving marine life below the surface. Back on land, head up the bird watching tower at sunrise and sunset to marvel at the beauty of our feathered friends. Take a walk through the forest and catch a glimpse of sloths, hummingbirds and monkeys, and learn all about the biodiversity of this corner of Panama. There’s so much to do that the days fly by, and you’re left feeling overwhelmed with satisfaction and with memories that will last a lifetime.

As the night draws in, enjoy canapes and cocktails whilst you share stories from your day. A delicious and nutritious dinner tops off the evening nicely, with great company and interesting conversations. You’ll be sure to rest well after an adventure filled day, ensuring you wake up ready to do it all over again when you wake.

lady with long curly hair looks through binoculars with the sea and trees in the background at Tranquilo Bay Panama
Tranquilo Bay Highlights

• The area is teeming with wildlife, from sloths, raccoons and parrots to rare birds and snakes.
• Onsite bird watching tower is incredible.
• Sea kayaking and snorkelling activities are brilliant – ask to go through the mangroves!
• Comfortable cabanas with hot water, air conditioning, and a selection of snacks and drinks.
• Complimentary cocktail hour before dinner

brightly coloured pink flower in Panama
white hammock hangs on the veranda of a cabana at Tranquilo Bay, surrounded by tropical plants
Features & Amenities

• All-inclusive packages available (and highly recommended)
• Laundry service
• Restaurant
• Free WiFi
• Enthusiastic guides
• Binoculars are provided for every guest for use throughout the stay.

Island Hopping in Coron | Philippines

bright blue sky and clear turquoise water with 2 big rock formations in Coron, Philippines

Island hopping in

Coron

+
islands
nd
largest archipelago in the world
languages spoken throughout
st
LGBTQ political party in the world

Island Hopping in Coron

With countless islands, unbeatable clear blue water, and endless natural marvels to explore, it’s no wonder Coron has fast become one of the most desirable destinations in the Philippines. Though the island’s town is small and humble, rural Coron offers an incredible experience of real Filipino life whilst providing the perfect gateway to explore the surrounding islands. As a result, island hopping tours are the number one thing to do in Coron.

Island Hopping in Coron – Top Tips

Island hopping in Coron is an unforgettable experience and should definitely be on your bucket list. It’s the number one thing to do in Coron, but that means tour boats can get very busy and popular sites are often crowded. Here’s the best way to avoid the crowds and experience Coron’s beauty spots in all of their natural glory.

1. Choose a private boat over an organised tour

It will cost a little bit more, but it’s 100% worth it. Nothing compares to arriving at a beauty spot with no one else around (as opposed to being ushered along in a crowd of orange lifejackets!) Better yet, there’s no one calling you back to the boat after 10 minutes of being there – the day moves along at your pace, so take your time and enjoy each site, then let your guide know when you’re ready to explore the next hidden treasure.

turquoise water surrounded by karst rock islands, view from the steps to Kayangan Lake on an island hopping tour in Coron
boats in the water around an island in coron
man sits on the front of a blue wooden boat, with bright turquoise water in Coron
drone shot of a turquoise lagoon in Coron, with wooden boats and coral reefs
lady stands on a step between the Twin Lagoons in Coron
blue, white and red wooden boat on the water in Coron, Philippines

2. Find a fun and knowledgeable guide to take you around the islands

It goes without saying, but a great guide can make all the difference to your experience. The right guide will be able to share information about the history and natural environments that will make your adventure much more worthwhile.

3. Set off really early in the morning

We’re talking 7am, if you can. This might sound less than ideal, but as soon as you stop at the first destination and realise you have it to yourself, you won’t give your bed a second thought. Arrange a boat the night before, and get to bed early.

4. Take everything you need for the day

Although some of the more popular spots sometimes have little stalls selling drinks and snacks, we’d recommend that you take all the water and food you need for the day. Whereas organised tours typically provide lunch, private boats will not. However, it is still possible to enjoy a freshly caught island meal – simply ask your guide to take you to a local restaurant. Just keep in mind that these are likely to be a boat ride away, rather than being next to any of the attractions.

6 Best Things to do in Coron

There are several locations around the Coron islands that you should definitely visit during your island hopping tour. Some spots have become really well known due to social media, but they are still worth seeing for yourself. 

1. Kayangan Lake

Kayangan Lake is the most popular tourist destination in Coron. Accessible only by boat, visitors walk up a set of stairs to a viewpoint (which is definitely worth stopping at) then down the other side to reach the actual lake. Countless mystical-looking stalagmites below the water make this a great spot for snorkelling. If you arrive at Kayangan Lake before the crowds you’ll get to experience the serene and almost spiritual ambiance.

2. Barracuda Lake

Barracuda Lake is a stunning sight with incredible limestone rock formations above and below the water. Crystal clear, still water and magical rock formations create ideal conditions for photographers, making this a popular spot to capture half above/half below photos. Interestingly, Barracuda Lake is both fresh and salt water, which creates a thermocline and halocline at depths of around 45ft that attract scuba divers from all over the world. 

3. Skeleton Wreck

Skeleton Wreck is a 25m long Japanese supply ship that was hit by a US airstrike during WWII. The wreck is now covered in colourful coral and plentiful fish. The highest point sits just 5m below the surface, with the deepest part at 22m. This makes it a great spot for snorkelling, free-diving and scuba diving.

a man treads water in turquoise water surrounded by karst rocks, island hopping in coron

4. Twin Lagoons

A must-see place during an island hopping tour in Coron. The Twin Lagoons are simply magical. Surrounded by magnificent limestone cliffs, these two bright turquoise lagoons are separated by a low point in the rocks. There are two ways t go between the Twin Lagoons – climb a short ladder and go over the rocks, or swim below the arch that’s formed below the surface. It’s an eerily peaceful place if visited first thing in the morning or late in the afternoon when you might be able to experience the Twin Lagoons in solitude.

5. Banul Beach

Banul Beach is a picturesque white sand beach with incredibly bright blue water around it. A few wooden beach huts have been built against the rocks, making this an ideal place to stop for lunch. Lost Tribe Tip: Book your private island hopping tour with Casa Fidelis and they can take you here for a freshly cooked BBQ on the beach!

6. Black Island

Black Island is further away from Coron, but that’s one of the reasons it should be on your bucket list. It costs a little more to get there compared to other destinations around Coron, so spend a whole day there, and maybe consider asking around to find other people who want to visit the island too so that you can share the cost. It’s a picture perfect island with white sand, turquoise water and hardly any visitors. A real hidden gem in Coron!

Learn more about what to expect in Coron town and island hopping tours.

tropical island with wooden beach huts in Coron, Philippines
lady wearing a bikini walks through clear turquoise water in Coron
shipwreck covered in coral underwater in Coron, Philippines
turquoise lagoon surrounded by karst rocks, seen on an island hopping tour in coron

Featured Host & Tour Operator

Casa Fidelis

Casa Fidelis is an all inclusive sustainable rainforest lodge with private and customisable tours as a part of your stay. A welcoming and knowledgeable local guide will meet you on arrival to Coron and take care of you until the moment you leave. 

Not only will you get to experience the very best island hopping tour in Coron, but you can choose exactly which sites you’d like to visit. This gives you complete control of your schedule, without any of the hassle of making arrangements as the team at Casa Fidelis will sort everything out for you.

Learning to Dive in Utila | Honduras

three scuba divers swimming over the reef whilst diving in Utila

Learning to Dive

in Utila

Honduras

nd
largest reef in the world
+
different dive sites
+
species of fish
+
species of stony coral
+
species of mollusk

Diving In Utila

How To Get PADI Certified In Paradise

It’s an experience unlike any on earth – being immersed in an underwater world. Floating weightlessly, exploring deep below the surface and seeing life in all it’s magnificent forms. It has been said that humanity knows more about the universe than the seas, which in part is why it’s so intriguing. Learning to dive is your new frontier, and a whole new way of seeing the world. If you’re looking for a place to learn how to scuba dive, diving in Utila is a great option. There are several quality schools, exciting dive sites and lots of ocean life to enjoy.

Why You Should Go Diving in Utila

Scuba diving has become popular around the globe, with epic dive sites just about anywhere you would want to find them. Understandably, the warmth of the Caribbean Sea draws many divers to these parts, and the affordability of dive courses here makes it a popular place to learn.

Above the surface, Utila is an off beat island in Honduras, which draws a host of colourful characters from adventurous backpackers to friendly expats and laid back locals. The island is known as a diving hub, and everyday there’s a new set of PADI certified divers out to celebrate their well-earned ticket to the underwater world. With a consistent buzz of diving talk, unbeatable sunsets and epic island nightlife, Utila is the ideal place to spend a week or two whilst learning to dive.

three scuba divers below the surface of the water just off the dock, whilst learning to dive in Utila
scuba diver underwater in Utila
leady wearing a bikini sitting on a wooden dock by the sea, petting a small black and brown dog at sunset

PADI Open Water Certification

The Professional Association of Diving Instructors, PADI, is the world’s most widely recognised training association. A PADI Open Water Diver Certification is your license to scuba diving worldwide. This challenging but very achievable certification is the first and most important as it allows you to learn all the fundamental skills and protocols to keep you safe.

You’ll learn everything you need to know through a series of short videos, a diving manual, and practicing skills in the water. After a brief knowledge test, an in-water fitness evaluation, and an underwater skills test, you’ll be rewarded with an Open Water Diver Qualification that will prepare you for a lifetime of safe and fun diving.

man wearing a wetsuit and scuba tank dives above the reef in Utila
school of silver and yellow fish swim towards coral in Utila
three ladies cleaning scuba diving equipment after diving in Utila
lady sitting on the edge of a dock wearing a tshirt saying 'instructor' as two people swim in the water before her

Why Should you Learn to Scuba Dive?

• You’ll experience more excitement and adventure.
• It’s good for the mind, body and soul.
• Diving takes you to some of the world’s most beautiful places, from Southeast Asia to the Caribbean, Mediterranean, and many more.
• Meet people from all around the world – the diving community is super welcoming, eager to share experiences and exchange stories.
• It’s a lifelong activity and lifestyle – there are so many advanced and specialised courses you can take with PADI to expand your knowledge, skills, and experience as a diver. Learn to dive safely in ship wrecks, at deep depths, and at night, to name a few.
• Your hobby can become your career! Train as a Dive Master or Instructor and make an income doing something you love.

Which School Should you Choose?

The Bay Islands College of Diving in Utila is an excellent choice. All of the instructors ensure you’ve learned the necessary skills you will need to stay safe. By repeatedly practicing what to do in case of an emergency, you’ll gain confidence and be able to remain calm should you encounter difficulty.

Diving instructors help you build confidence, and are well informed about the local dive sites and ecosystems. The more you know about the marine life, the more you will enjoy diving.

If you already have your Open Water Diver Certificate and are looking to expand your skills, Bay Islands College of Diving offer a full range of courses from the Advanced Scuba Diver and Rescue Diver, all the way through to Instructor level.

About the Bay Islands College of Diving in Utila

• Industry leader in research and ecological programs, including the in-depth study of whale sharks.
• Excellent facilities – everything you need onsite, including classrooms, a pool, air compressor and dive boats. The spaces are clean, organized and professional.
• Indoor pool facility allows learners to get oriented with the equipment in a comfortable and safe space.
• Home to the only decompression chamber in the area.
• New, and very well maintained gear and equipment.
• Knowledgeable, experienced and friendly team of instructors.
• Located on the water front, so you practice your new skills in ocean water. 
• Great accommodation packages available.
• Excellent dishes served all day at the onsite restaurant and bar, with drinks specials to wind down at the end of a busy day of diving.

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Featured Host

Utila Lodge Island Dive Resort

Utila is a lively off beat island paradise, where diving is a lifestyle. Although there are several accommodation and diving options, the Bay Islands College of Diving is and Utila Lodge Island Dive Resort are the best on the island. The lodge offers a variety of catering options, from all-inclusive packages to diving and accommodation only.

Hiking Volcan Acatenango | Guatemala

Volcano in the distance from Acatenango volcano

Hiking

Volcan Acatenango

Guatemala

m
of altitude
peaks
miles
last eruption
volcanoes in guatemala

Acatenango Volcano Hike

The Complete Volcano Adventure Guide

This epic adventure up Acatenango Volcano will test your physical and mental limits, forcing you to overcome many obstacles and challenges. You will encounter exhaustion, changing weather, and high altitude during this two day adventure. Hiking up a volcano is a rare and special experience that words cannot fully explain. You’re reminded of the natural forces at work that created earth, and just how small a space you occupy on the planet. 

Beginning in the foothills below Acatenango Volcano you’ll hike gradually into the forest towards base camp taking a few breaks to rest and refuel. Eventually you will reach the base camp where you’ll enjoy your first glimpse of the active and immense Volcan Fuego.

The Avacenango Volcano hike is not for the faint of heart, and should be well researched and booked with a reputable tour operator. If planned well, it is the adventure of a lifetime and one that you will cherish the rest of your days.

Two hikers on the trail up Acatenango volcano with an erupting Fuego volcano in the distance
A hiker watches eruption of Fuego Volcano in the distance
Fuego volcano erupts in the distance from the campsite on Acatenango volcano in Guatemala
Woman roasts marshmallows at base camp during the hike up Acatenango Volcano
Fuego volcano erupts in the distance from the campsite on Acatenango volcano in Guatemala

3976m Climb

All of the Soy Tours team are local guides that care greatly for their community and clients.

Giving Back To Local Communities

Soy Tours is committed to improving the lives of the people that live in the local villages.

Trailing & Camping

The base camp is well built and situated in the perfect place.

Experinces Like No Others

Hiking up a volcano is a rare and special experience that words cannot fully explain.

Which Acatenango Tour Operator is the best?

The most important decision you’ll make for your Acatenango Volcano hike is deciding which tour operator to go with. After a lot of research, we discovered Soy Tours.

The more we learned about them, the more we realized that they are the best in the business. Lead by Gilmer Soy, the Soy Tours team are local guides and extremely knowledgeable about Acatenango and the entire region. They are also leaders in their community and give back to help the village with various development projects. Something that we were more than happy to contribute to.

The Acatenango Volcano hike is a challenging and a potentially dangerous activity, so having a capable and professional team is critical. Soy Tours places safety as a top priority. They ensure everyone is staying together while keeping the group motivated. The base camp is well built and situated in the perfect place to fully appreciate the grandeur of the volcano and the surrounding area.

Community Projects

Soy Tours is committed to improving the lives of the people that live in the local villages. A large percentage of the money generated from the tours go directly to providing for the people of San Jose Calderas, Gilmer’s home village. Proceeds go to digging wells for drinking water and building schools, Gilmer Soy and his team are working to impact the future of the community and your support goes a long way.

Looking for more epic adventures in Guatemala? Check out our complete guide of the best things to do in Lake Atitlan 

Check out the stunning lake side resort getaway Laguna Lodge.

What To Pack

For this two day hike up Acatenango, you’ll need to prepare for the elements and for energy. The trek to the Acatenango base camp is physically taxing, it’s cold at higher altitude, and rain is not uncommon. Be prepared!

You’ll Need:

• Drinking Water (4 litres)
• Hiking Boots
• Waterproof jacket
• Sweatshirt
• 3-4 pairs of socks
• Gloves
• Hat
• Long-johns/leggings (optional)
• High energy snacks
• Waterproof bags
• Walking stick (recommended, and can be rented at the start of the hike)

Green farm fields in Guatemala near Acatenango volcano
Soy Tours Base camp on Acatenango volcano in Guatemala

Day 1

The first day of the Acatenango Volcano hike begins with an early morning pick up and shuttle to the head office in San Jose Calderas where you’ll learn more about the hike and the current conditions. This is also a final opportunity to rent any equipment you might be missing. We highly suggest a walking stick. Not only will it assist in the ascent, but also for the descent as it can help reduce strain on the knees.

• Pick up at hotel/hostel in Antigua – 7:30 am
• Meet at office at the Volcano base area (San José Calderas community)
• Equipment checks and meals ready (equipment subject of availability)
• Short intro and preparation for expedition
• Start hike to campsite – 10:00am
• Arrive at campsite for dinner and sleep (Approximately 4:00 pm)

Day 2

The second day begins well before sunrise. You’ll have some time to get dressed, eat a quick snack and hydrate. This is the most difficult part of the hike as the darkness and volcanic ash make for shaky footing. Be aware of your energy level as altitude sickness is quite common. Take your time and manage your energy and you will arrive safely. The view that awaits you is well worth the struggle!

• Start hike to Acatenango’s summit – 3:00am
• Sunrise at the summit
• Descent from summit to campsite
• Breakfast and pack before descent to base
• Descent to meeting point at the volcano base – 8:30am
• Back to hotel/hostel in Antigua – 1:00pm

Hikers gather at base camp on volcano Acatenango

Featured Tour Operator

Soy Tours

Soy Tours is the main local guide agency for excursions to the Acatenango Volcano and Volcán de Fuego in Antigua Guatemala.
Their philosophy is framed by the respect of all those who, like you, dream of reaching the top of the Acatenango Volcano and are always looking for a way to complete this adventure, accompanying them regardless of their physical condition.
Their mission is to offer a complete service, without any type of discrimination, to conquer Acatenango with anyone who wishes to do so. They have a team of certified local guides who love what they do and will accompany you step by step to the to