Garden Eels - Dive site in Bohol

About 100 meters from the beach of Alona on Panglao Island in Bohol—or something like 3 minutes by motored banca—is a favored dive site called Garden Eels. It’s an easy site to snorkel around in and the sights are fantastic, even in shallow water.

Why is it called Garden Eels? First, there are plenty of garden eels around, especially on the sea floor. Garden eels are a species of the eel clan. Second, as we descend this amazing dive site we encounter a gorgeous coral garden atop a huge coral wall shaped like a bow. Thus, the apt name Garden Eels. And there is more to the site than mere garden eels.

As we go deeper we enjoy thrilling deep sea sights from just a depth of 5 meters to 23 meters—all colorful and lively deep sea features, some of which are endemic to the Garden Eels area. And don’t worry about underwater currents. There are only mild intermittent ones. As we sample the bow-shaped wall we meet Nudibranches and red Amethyst purple-fin Anthias. Once we hit rock bottom we see eels reigning on the sea floor.

The eel clan is dominated by, of course, garden eels—with spots—and sand eels. Divers give the site a 3-star rating. Even at night time the place is excellent for photography. Somewhere nearby is the Snakes Point where snakes abound on the sea floor. It may sometimes be hard to distinguish between the two.

Getting to Garden Eels is easy. It’s just southwest of Panglao Island and directly south of Alona Beach on the coast of the island. To get to Panglao we just cross the bridge from Tagbilaran, the capital, where an airport and bus terminals are located. To get to Tagbilaran we may opt to take a connecting flight from Manila or to fly there straight from Cebu. Sea travel from Manila is possible but may not be a good idea if we’re in a hurry to plunge in the Garden Eels waters pronto.

Excellent and tourist class accommodations are available in Panglao. The usual prices range from $50 to around $200 or $250 per night per 2 persons. If we need additional beds for a big group we pay around $250 per extra bed. Meals usually cost around $20 to $25 per person. With resort packages the meal served inclusive of the price is usually breakfast only.

Garden Eels is a good place to start our diving lessons. It’s safe, clear, and with lesser underwater currents.