By Alex Hatton

Last Updated:

October 12, 2023

Where to Stay in Moalboal for Scuba Divers [2024 Guide]

Located along the southwest of Cebu island, Moalboal is a small coastal town that’s popular as both a backpacker party destination and as a scuba diving hotspot.

Divers can see many turtles, sea snakes and reef fish; however, the main attraction is the “sardine run” where divers can swim amidst a huge school of thousands of sardines.
There’s many accommodation options in Moalboal – from luxury dive resorts to backpacker hostels near public dive centres and quiet homestays tucked out of the way yet still near the action. 

To help you choose the right place for you own personal preferences and budget, we’ve narrowed down the 10 best places to stay in Moalboal for scuba divers. Let’s do this!

Main highstreet of Moalboal with traffic and mountains in distance.

How to Use this Guide:

Listen up! We’ve divided the 10 best places to stay for divers in Moalboal into two sections:

Section 1) Dive Resorts: The most luxurious option. Generally, Moalboal dive resorts have their own in-house dive centre as well as swimming pools, gyms and spas. This makes them somewhat more expensive. However they’re not all crazy pricey – there are also some mid-price dive resorts on this list. Most tend to be in a quiet location, away from the main tourist-hub.

Section 2) Hostels & Homestays near Dive Centres: This is much more affordable. All the hostels and homestays we’ve listed are within close proximity of a dive centre – usually within Basdiot; the busy tourist-hub where you’ll find most dive shops, bars, clubs and restaurants.

We’ve generally described places locations as their proximity to Panagsama Beach which is the launch-pad for most dive sites and which lies off Basdiot, the main tourist-hub… or places proximity to White Beach which is about a 15 minute scooter ride away from Basdiot and is generally quieter except for the weekends when it gets pretty busy.

Use the Quick Answer section directly below to check out our top 5 recommendations on booking.com – or dive down / scroll past to read our reviews of all 10 options. It’s always cheaper to book accommodation in advance than it is to pay when you rock up. Luckily you can do so through the affiliate links on this page. Huzzah!

QUICK ANSWER

  1. TOP PICK: Magic Island Dive Resort

  2. MOST LUXURIOUS: Dolphin House Resort

  3. BEST BACKPACKER DIVE RESORT: Nirvana Bamboo Dive Resort

  4. BEST CHEAP OPTION: Pig Dive Hostel

  5. MOST QUIET HOMESTAY: Titanic’s Nipa Huts

REVIEWS:

Best Moalboal Dive Resorts

1) TOP PICK: Magic Island Dive Resort

$$$
In-house Dive Team
Swimming Pool, Bar, Restaurant, Massage
Only 10 bungalows, all with Private Balconies
Location: Quiet area, South side of Moalboal peninsula

2) MOST LUXURIOUS: Dolphin House Resort

$$$
Arrange Diving for you
Swimming Pool, Spa, Bar, Restaurant & Games-Room
Location: Next to White Beach

3) BUDGET BACKPACKER DIVE RESORT: Nirvana Bamboo

$
In-house Dive Centre
Swimming Pool, Bar, Restaurant & Lounge
Location: Quiet area, 2km from Panagsama beach

4) BEST MID-PRICE OPTION: Cebu Seaview Resort

$$
Dive School on-site
Swimming Pool, Restaurant, Bar and Terrace
Location: 1.2km from Panagsama beach

5) MID-PRICE RUNNER UP: Quo Vadis Dive Resort

$$
In-house Dive Centre
3 Swimming Pools, Bar, Restaurant, Massages
Location: Panagsama beach

1. Top Pick: Magic Island Dive Resort

Magic Island Dive Resort
  • $$$

  • In-House Diving Team

  • Swimming Pool, Bar, Restaurant, Massage Services

  • South Side of Moalboal Peninsula (quiet area)

There’s so many things that Magic Island Dive Resort has going for it. For starter’s it has a highly rated, in-house dive team so you don’t even need to leave the resort to arrange your dives.

The immensely reliable and competent staff are happy to arrange other activities for you as well such as trekking, horse-riding and diving with whale sharks in Oslob.

Without a doubt,  Magic Island Dive Resort is the most quiet place you can stay in all of Moalboal; having only ten cottages: all with private balconies, epic views and beautiful interiors; it is tucked away on the scenic south side of the Moalboal Peninsula; within quick driving distance of the action at Pasagnama beach but away from the noise and clutter of it. 

This is a perfect place to stay for couples seeking their alone time together or busy digital nomads on work trips wanting to get some dives done in between!

2. Most Luxurious: Dolphin House Resort

Dolphin House Resort
  • $$$

  • Can arrange Scuba Diving (and other activities) for you

  • Swimming Pool, Spa, Bar and Restaurant

  • Next to White Beach

If you’re looking for the finest resort money can pay for, look no further than dolphin house resort. For starters; it’s located along white beach, which is far classier, more scenic and quieter than all the riff-raff you get along Pasagnama beach which is more orientated towards young backpackers (although still just a 15 minute drive away!). 

Dolphin house offers breathtaking views across the ocean to the mountainous and volcanic island of Negros – you can enjoy these from the restaurant which serves phenomenal international and Asian cuisines – or from the bar where every kind of drink you can imagine is available. There is also a luxurious spa and an extremely large, outdoor swimming pool.

The staff are incredibly attentive, professional and helpful: they are all too happy to arrange scuba diving for you as well as other activities like trekking, waterfalls and various day trips. 

You can choose from a variety of accommodation options: from double rooms with panoramic views all the way up to family bungalows with private balconies, baths, safes, mini-bars, terraces and soundproofing. 

3. Best Backpacker Dive Resort: Nirvana Bamboo

Nirvana Bamboo Dive Resort
  • $

 

  • In-house Dive Centre

 

  • Swimming Pool, Lounge & Restaurant

     

  • 2km from Panagsama beach

Nirvana Bamboo Dive Resort is a really special place. It may not be as luxurious as other resorts; but it offers awesome value for money, being located within a beautiful setting, surrounded by nature and within a less than 5 minute scooter ride of Panagsama beach.

There is an in-house dive centre, run by the British owner Chris; whose an incredibly sound and laid back guy; he will be more than happy to help you arrange all of your scuba diving adventures. He’s currently working on adding a gym to the resort!

Guests have very reasonably priced thatched huts to stay in, with ensuite bathrooms, aircon and nice views. Even though the huts are fairly close together, you can’t hear anyone else in theirs!

There’s a small swimming pool as well as a bar and restaurant area. The social vibe is really great: Nirvana Bamboo Dive resort draws a solid crowd of backpackers and far-flung wanderars; united by a love of scuba diving and travel.

4. Best Mid-Priced Option: Cebu Seaview Resort

Cebu Seaview Resort
  • $$

  • Diving School on-site

  • Swimming Pool, Bar, Restaurant, Massage Services and Terrace

  • 1.2km from Basdiot beach

Cebu Seaview Resort offers an excellent blend of luxury feels with affordability: this is an excellent mid-priced dive resort in Moalboal situated just 1.2km from the action of Basdiot beach and only 50m away from it’s own exclusive beach. 

There is a diving school on-site with a highly experienced team of dive instructors who frequently receive special mention in guest reviews. You can also arrange activities such as hiking, cycling and canyoneering from the help-desk.

Relax in the outdoor infinity pool or enjoy the beach views with a drink or meal from the bar or restaurant. Although there is no spa; room massage services are available. 

You can choose from a range of rooms with sea view and private balcony options as well as work stations from which to enjoy the strong WiFi.

5. Mid-Price Runner-Up: Quo Vadis Dive Resort

Quo Vadis Dive Resort
  • $$

  • In-house Dive Centre

  • 3 Swimming Pools, Restaurant/Bar, Massage Services

  • Panagsama beach

Another Moalboal dive resort that offers great value for money and a combination of being fairly luxurious without overly expensive, Quo Vadis Dive Resort faces Panagasama beach and is surrounded by gardens for a tranquil setting. 

There is an in-house dive centre with special dive packages for guests as well as experienced and knowledgeable instructors. In addition to this there are facilities for several other water-sports on site. 

The staff are all very friendly and more than happy to help you arrange other activities like trekking and sightseeing. Quo Vadis Dive Resort is also fairly unique in that it has not 1, not 2 but 3 swimming pools! There’s also a very nice bar and restaurant and whilst no spa is present you can arrange massage services to enjoy within the comfort of your own room. 

Guests can choose from many accommodation types – from rooms to suites to bungalows with private patios and ocean views. 

Best Hostels & Homestays in Moalboal

6) TOP PICK: Pig Dive Hostel

$
In-house dive school
Lounge., shared kitchen and terrace
Location: 1.5km from Panagsama beach

7) MOST POPULAR: Maayong Hostel

$
Arrange diving for you.
Within easy walk of dive centres
Bar, restaurant and lounge
Location: 250m from Panagsama beach

8) PARTAY: Hangover Hostel

$
Walking Distance to Dive Centres
Bar, Lounge & Shared Kitchen. Evening Activities
Location: 600m from Panagsama beach

9) FRIENDLIEST STAFF: Crazy Bears Hostel

$
Walking Distance to Dive Schools
Bar, Restaurant & Lounge. Evening Entertainment
Location: 600m from Panagsama Beach

10) QUIETEST LOCATION: Titanic's Nipa Huts

$
5 Minute Scooter Ride to Dive Centres
Garden, Breakfasts and Work Spaces
Location: 1.5km from Panagsama beach

6. Top Pick: Pig Dive Hostel

Pig Dive Hostel
  • $

  • Dive school On-Site

  • Lounge, Shared Kitchen and Terrace

  • 1.5km from Panagsama Beach

Whereas most hostels are only close to a dive centre, Pig Dive Hostel takes things to the next level by being one of the very few hostels to have it’s own on-site dive school. This is seriously awesome because it means that when you befriend other divers in your group, you know you’ll actually be staying at the same place as them for post-dive drinks!

This is a very affordable hostel to stay; guests can choose from 4 or 6 bed mixed dormitories with aircon and free wifi and there are also a few private double and twin rooms. 

Guests frequently cite how friendly and helpful the staff are; plus how convenient it is that here are hourly free shuttles to and from the beach.

The lounge and terrace are a great place to relax and socialise with other travellers; also a shared kitchen makes it easy to cook your own meals. Being within just 1.5km of Panagsama beach this hostel is extremely close to all of the main bars and restaurants. 

7. Most Popular: Mayoong Hostel

Mayoong Hostel
  • $

  • Arrange Diving for you

  • Bar, Restaurant and Lounge

  • 250m from Panagsama Beach

Mayoong Hostel is one of the most popular hostel in all of Moalboal – for starters it’s just 250m from Panagsama beach meaning you can reach the various dive centres, bars and restaurants within just a couple minutes walk which is super convenient.

It also has a seriously cool and spacious bar/restaurant/lounge which is a fantastic place to socialise with other backpackers – whether over a coffee in the morning or a red horse beer in the night. 

There is no on-site dive centre, but the staff will happily arrange diving (among other activities) for you – or just walk for several minutes until you reach the many dive centres along Panasama beach. 

Guests can choose to stay in the 12 bed mixed dormitory with aircon and 2 shared showers or in one of the small native bungalows with private balconies and hammocks. 

8. PARTAY: Hangover Hostel

Hangover Hostel Promotional Flyer
  • $

  • Walking Distance to Dive Centres

  • Bar, Lounge and Shared Kitchen. Evening Activities.

  • 600m from Panagsama beach

The clue’s in the name, Hangover Hostel is a great place to go and party, which is a pretty major past time in Moalboal besides diving!

With a dedicated bar that features nightly entertainment as well as free family dinners every sunday (note you don’t have to be an actual family to enjoy this benefit: everyone is family at Hangover Hostel!), it is an extremely lively and fun place to stay.

Besides that, Hangover Hostel is in a prime location, less than 1km from Panagasama beach, the main tourist hub of Moalboal and the location of most of the dive centres. 

Guests reviewing Hangover Hostel frequently talk about how kind and friendly the staff are – as well as what bloody good fun the nights are! 

The 8 guest dormitories have a beautiful interior; in fact despite its party reputation, the architecture of this entire hostel is rather gorgeous. 

9. Friendliest Staff: Crazy Bears Hostel

Crazy Bears Hostel
  • $

  • Walking Distance to Dive Schools

  • Bar, Restaurant, Lounge. Evening Activities. 

  • 600m (7 minute walk) from Panagsama beach

I want to go ahead and first mention that all of the staff at all of the hostels and resorts we’ve so far reviewed are known for excelling in customer-service and having a friendly attitude. But as guest reviews indicate, the staff at crazy bears hostel provide an extra special atmosphere in which you’ll immediately feel like part of one big family. 

This is a social hostel with evening activities and a bar and restaurant serving American, British and Pizza cuisine with vegetarian and vegan options also available upon request. 

Crazy Bears hostel is in a prime location – it is just a 7 minute walk from Panagsama beach where you will find all of the major dive schools, bars and restaurants. 

Accommodation options range from mixed dormitories with aircon and free wifi to private double rooms with aircon and ensuite bathrooms.

10. QUIETEST LOCATON: Titanic's Nipa Hut

  • $

  • Native Huts in Quiet Garden

  • Breakfast & Dinner options

  • 1.5km from Pangasama beach

If you want to stay somewhere that’s serene and out of the way, Titanic’s Nipa huts is an excellent option. It consists of just a few large native huts with outdoor work areas in a tranquil garden meaning you’re surrounded by nature.

Located 1.5km away from Panagsama beach, Titanic’s Nipa huts in a very quiet area and likewise attracts quiet folk who rarely make any noise. All the same, it takes just 5 minutes to ride a scooter into town to reach the main tourist strip and dive centres.
The owner, Ann, is really lovely and can help you with just about everything including tours and scooter rental; she is also happy to make a breakfast or dinner for you if you ask her the night before. Basdiot beach lies just 100m down the road and a great place to go and catch the sunset or snorkel.

What to Know about Diving Moalboal

When it comes to scuba diving Moalboal, there’s a few things to consider; namely the best dive sites, when to go, how to get there and what else there is to do besides dive!

Luckily all this and more is covered in our Epic Guide of Awesomeness to Diving Moalboal!

Best Places to Stay in Moalboal Diving Squad DEBRIEFING:

And thus we doth conclude this most epic of guides to the best dive resorts, hostels and homestay in Moalboal! Hope you’v found it useful!

Just remember, it’s always cheaper to book in advance then it is to pay when you get there. And when you do so through one of the affiliate links on this page, we’ll get a small yet tasty commission at no extra cost to yourself. It’s sh*t like this that helps us keep Diving Squad sexy, epic and the best damn scuba diving blog in the multi-verse – thanks!!

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Written by:

Alex

Alex

Scuba fanatic, travel ecstatic and loveable rogue. A rootless divemaster and perpetual adrenaline-junky, Alex holds the esteemed rank of Grand Admiral of the Diving Squad; a title he most nobly awarded to himself. A scuba-junky since 2014, he's dived much of the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Maldives, Red Sea, Ireland, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Panama. It's hard to say where he'll pop up next for he never settles; forever a leaf on the wind... or perhaps a lone bubble blasted along on the current.