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Snorkelling The Sardine Run In Moalboal – A Complete Guide

The Sardine Run Moalboal is a once in a lifetime experience. Here’s all the info for chucking on a snorkel and how to swim with a million sardines.

How To Get To The Sardine Run

The Sardine Run is located just off the shore of Moalboal on Cebu Island.

The sardines usually gather around Panagsama Beach, just in front of Savedra Dive Centre, making it easily accessible to tourists.

They hover just 30 metres off the coast, so it’s a very easy swim. However, if you’re not a confident swimmer please wear a life jacket or book onto a tour so that you have a guide for support.

We would recommend booking Moalboal Swimming with Sardines & Dolphin Watching.

This tour takes you to swim alongside the thousands of sardines and perhaps spot some turtles or jumping dolphins along the way.

The best way to get around Moalboal and its surrounding areas is to rent scooters for around 400 Pesos per day and explore. Although to be honest the town is so small that you can easily walk around it.

If you book accommodation anywhere in the main town, it should be easy enough to just walk out into the ocean and snorkel with the sardines.

Find hostel options on Hostelworld.

For those short on time, or that prefer everything to be organised for them, there are some awesome tours on Get Your Guide available to book in advance.

| Tip

🤳 Stay connected during a trip! Use Airalo to get an eSIM and avoid any troubles with mobile connection.

Sardine Run Moalboal Entrance Fee

It is free to snorkel the sardine run.

Rental of Snorkeling Gear: 200 Pesos for mask and fins.

You do not need a boat or private tour for this activity.

The sardines hover around 30 meters from the shore, so you can simply swim out from the beach.

Best Time To Visit The Sardine Run

The Sardine Run in Moalboal is available to see all year round.

It is a completely ethical and natural activity, meaning the sardines are not fed by humans and because of this, tourism in Moalboal is thriving.

The locals have adapted their lifestyles, welcoming the sardine run, and net fishing is now completely banned in the area!

If you’re a diver, then Moalboal is an absolute dream for you!

We’d certainly recommend going down into the deep waters of the ocean, as Moalboal is known to be one of the best areas for marine life in the Philippines!

Snorkeling the sardine run has to be on your Philippines Itinerary!

What To Pack

Photography Camera

Tripod

Day Bag

Power Bank

Reusable Water Bottle

Sunscreen

Lightweight Rain Jacket

Quick Dry Towel

GoPro

Lifeproof Phone Case

Dry Bag

Sardine Run Moalboal - Moalboal Sardines things to do in moalboal
The sardine run Moalboal is a highlight of the area

What To Expect At The Sardine Run

To be blown away by the sheer amount of marine life! For us, this was definitely one of the best things to do in the Philippines.

If you like to get booked up in advance the Deep-Sea Diving at Moalboal and Pescador Island is highly recommended.

As soon as we jumped into the ocean and popped our heads underwater, we could see hundreds of thousands of little sardines.

It can be a little intimidating if you’re not comfortable in the ocean, but there is absolutely nothing to worry about.

The sardines are completely harmless and swim around in gigantic schools. You can swim in and out of the schools, and they will disperse and then gather back together again.

The sardine run, also known as a bait ball, is a large group of fish that stick together for protection against larger prey. They form an almost wall looking shape to stay safe in the ocean.

This particular run in Moalboal is believed to be the second largest run in the world, with South Africa holding the title. This is definitely a great opportunity to witness some of natures most wild species.

The water temperature floats at around 30°C, so it’s never too cold, however you may want to chuck on a wetsuit just in case any of the little jellyfish stingers happen to catch you.

And if you’re really into underwater life then you should try diving in Moalboal as it’s the perfect place for it.

Sardine Run Moalboal - Moalboal Sardines things to do in moalboal
If you can get underneath them and look up, this will be the view!
Sardine Run Moalboal - Moalboal Sardines things to do in moalboal
The sheer amount of sardines is ridiculous!

Where To Stay In Moalboal

Luxury

Blue Orchid Dive Resort

The Blue Orchid Resort offers a peaceful and relaxing stay, about 8 km from Moalboal town.

It features an outdoor pool, several water sports activities and free WiFi access.

Opening out to sea views, rooms are breezy and feature private terraces. All rooms have air conditioning and a private bathroom with a mosquito net.

The Blue Orchid Resort is a 20-minute boat ride from the popular dive site of Pescador Island. It’s a great option for those that are passionate about diving.

Alternatively, guests can also explore the surrounding region on a scooter, or relax with a massage. Adventure activities such as kayaking can also be arranged.

Mid-Budget

Pescadores Seaview Suites

Offering an outdoor pool and sun terrace, Pescadores Seaview Suites is set directly in Moalboal.

Free WiFi is available throughout the property. The air-conditioned rooms come with a dry rack and a fan.

Certain rooms also feature views of the sea, pool or garden. Ensuite bathrooms come with shower facilities and free toiletries.

There is a mini-market on-site as well as a 24 hour front desk.

Guests can play table tennis, billiard, and board games at the resort and can also enjoy meals at the on-site restaurant.

Budget

Archery-Asia Nipa Huts & Camping

Archery-Asia Nipa Huts & Camping offers WiFi access, barbecues, campfire facilities and seating areas.

Free private parking is available on site. Bungalows come with a private entrance, a fan and a mosquito net. A mattress, bed linen, towels and a free bottle of water are also provided.

The communal bathroom comes with a toilet and a cold shower.

You can play 3D archery, darts or badminton at the property, and the area surrounding the accommodation is popular for hiking.

For more places to stay in Moalboal, you can check the latest prices on Booking.com.

Planning Your Trip

Book Your Flight

Use Skyscanner to find a cheap flight.

They search websites and airlines around the globe to find you the best possible routes and prices.

Book Your Accommodation

Use Booking.com to find the best accommodation deals.

They consistently return the cheapest rates on everything from guesthouses to hotels for all of your budget needs.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance

Use SafetyWing to find the best travel insurance for you.

They provide travel and medical incident insurance built specifically for digital nomads.

Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations.

Book Your Tours & Activities

Use GetYourGuide to book your activities in advance.

They sell the best tours, excursions and activities to attractions around the world.

Conveniently book, download and access your tickets on the move all from your mobile.

Book Your Rental Car

Use RentalCars.com to find the best deals on rental cars in the area.

They compare all major car rental companies and allow you to easily book the perfect vehicle for your trip.

Buy Those Last Minute Bits

Use Amazon to buy everything you need for your adventure.

They offer next day delivery and you can use my travel packing checklist to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything.


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Snorkelling The Sardine Run In Moalboal Guide

Peter Avis

Thursday 16th of June 2022

Mind changing experience. Very well organised. Lots of friendly banter. Coaches were in control and gave our trip an amazing experience, one we will never forget. Thank you 👍

Charlie Pauly

Wednesday 22nd of June 2022

That's awesome to hear mate! So glad you enjoyed it.

Lys

Thursday 11th of February 2021

Do you need to book first the sardine tour package?or you can just rent a boat then take you to where the sardines are?

Charlie Pauly

Friday 12th of February 2021

You actually don't need a boat at all, you can just walk out from the beach and snorkel with the sardines.

Chris

Tuesday 12th of November 2019

Hello, I been dreaming of photographing the Sardines for the past 4 years... I only knew about the south Africa run... How clear is the water? Would snorkeling be ok with the sardines and get close to them? oh ya about how deep is the water? Thanks for the help.. Chris

Charlie Pauly

Wednesday 20th of November 2019

Hey Chris, ahh we had an awesome time at the Sardine run in Moalboal. We've actually been twice and both times were super clear. The photos in the blog were taken on a go pro. You can get super close, in fact you can practically swim through them until they disperse. Also the water is very deep. There were a few scuba divers down below the run so I'd say 20-30 metres.

Roxanne

Saturday 2nd of November 2019

Hi! Do you have to do this at a certain time of day? Early morning/late afternoon? Thank you!!

Charlie Pauly

Saturday 2nd of November 2019

Hey, I think you they run trips all day however the best time to go is early morning to avoid the crowds.

Oscar Torres

Monday 10th of June 2019

Thanks for the tip. Someone on YouTube mentioned this beach for the sardine run. Looking to check this out in 3 weeks.

Charlie Pauly

Tuesday 11th of June 2019

Niceee. Enjoy it, surreal experience!