Previously a little known hideaway on the south west coast of Mindoro, San Jose is beginning to feature on many divers travel plans. The draw for most is the proximity of Apo Reef which is easily accessible in just a few hours and means that a stay on a liveaboard boat is not the only way to dive at this famous destination.
There are still very few Resorts in the area but we feature the very friendly Apo Reef Club which is located in Concepcion just one hour road drive from San Jose Airport. Nestled between the mountains and the sea this is a quiet and peaceful location and a great place to relax, dive and to explore inland.
Diving is along the coastline close to the Resort and of course at Apo Reef and away from the sea there is much to see on land for the outdoor traveller. The Resort will arrange river kayaking trips, cave exploration and for the more active there is some amazing trekking and hiking to be done along Mount Iglit and in the Bako National Park. Trails and paths criss-cross the beautiful mountainous heritage area that is home to the indigenous Mangyan tribe a nomadic people who continue to live amongst the hills, creeks and forest. Nature enthusiasts will hope to see wild deer, pigs and the tamaraw (an endangered buffalo) as well as rare bird species in the mountainside terrain.
San Jose can be visited as a single destination and is also ideal as part of a two or three center stay - please contact us for tailor made itineraries.
San Jose is served by three flights each week from Manila. Flight time is approximately 50 minutes and from San Jose a one hour road transfer brings you to our featured resort Apo Reef Club. We also provide two destination Mindoro packages featuring both Apo Reef Club and El Galleon Beach Resort in Puerto Galera.
San Jose is a year round diving destination however January through to June is generally the best time to visit Apo Reef.
There is some interesting diving along the coastline outside the Resort and with shallow reefs and some nice walls this is a good location for both training dives and check out dives. However, the main reason guests stay at Apo Reef Club is of course its location and its proximity to Apo Reef itself.
Apo Reef is a protected area and one of the best known dive locations in the Philippines. Administered by the Apo Reef Natural Park it is one of the largest single coral reef systems in the world and is home to a wonderful array of marine species. Because there is no permanent human inhabitation on any of the three islands within the Reef area one of the best ways to dive on the Reef is by the occasional liveaboards that include it on their itinerary or by staying at Apo Reef Club on Mindoro. The Resort regularly arrange economical overnight trips on their 72 foot outrigger to Apo. Journey time is just three hours and a two day trip allows time for plenty of diving and a night sleeping on board under the stars! On occasion they also run day trips there on their fast speedboat.
The largest island at the Reef consists of a shallow lagoon and rich mangrove forests. Guests are welcome to explore the island on foot and climb to the top of the iconic lighthouse for stunning g views across the seascape. The island is ringed by stunning sandy beaches which are perfect for relaxing on between dives.
The diving itself is, as expected, some of the very best in the Philippines. Much of the inner reefs consist of sandy slopes and pristine coral formations. The outer reefs are dominated by deep plunging walls, drop-offs and overhangs which are sometimes washed by strong currents. Visibility usually ranges from 15m to 40m plus and depths from 10m - 50m. Large pelagics love this safe environment - reef sharks are common along the shallow tops and in the deeper water grey reef, white tip and increasingly hammerhead sharks are often seen. Rays including pygmy, devil and manta frequent the waters as do schools of barracuda and jacks. In fact with over 350 marine species so far listed Apo Reef is a perfect tropical diving destination. To complete the memorable experience dolphins and pilot whales are often seen on the trip out to Apo!