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Dive Review of Acacia Dive Resort in
Philippines/Anilao

Acacia Dive Resort: "Anilao is good but book wisely!", Oct, 2014,

by Eric Escobar, NJ, US ( 1 report). Report 7903.

No photos available at this time

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 3 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity 1 stars
Dive Operation 2 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 3 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments The resort is touted to be the best in Anilao - my dive guide mentioned it was one of the most luxurious resorts in the area. At first impression I would agree. The grounds are nice, the staff extremely friendly, and the food both good and plentiful.

The rooms are small, basic, but adequate. The AC works! My room was a small twin room with 2 beds divided by a night table. there was also a small desk, closet, and en-suite bathroom. Wifi works in common areas but spotty.

The dive facility was very good and staff always available to help. There are 4-5 camera desks out in the open in the dive area. I booked 8 nights with 5 days of diving 3 dives a day through a dive travel agency in USA. Additional day dives were $40/person and night dives were $45/per person with a surcharge for only 1 diver. The prices seemed steep to me for Philippines but slightly less than Lembeh. My dive buddy and I had 1 dive guide and boat for the 2 of us the entire trip.

My biggest issue was with the way diving is arranged with freelance dive guides and boats. When you book a package, the dive resort then contacts dive guides/boats and negotiate a rate to accommodate the package. They may negotiate a much better rate than what you are paying per dive. I traveled to Anilao to see critters - this was my sole purpose as I love muck diving! Unfortunately though, when i met my guide he quickly informed us that he is not a good critter finder. My dive buddy and I were hoping he was just joking - sadly he was not. The first 3 days with our original guide were decent, but we were underwhelmed with the diving.

On our 4th day we arranged a private dive trip to verde island with an independent dive guide Dennis though his website Anilao Critters. The diving was great and we asked him to take us to a muck site for our last dive. During this dive alone, Dennis showed us small, obscure creatures that our previous guide would never have found. I immediately asked if he was available for the rest of the week. When i returned to resort i informed front desk that i wanted to change guides as the previous guide was nice but not good at finding critters and Dennis was fantastic. The front desk agreed but insisted that he was "more professional" and insisted on a $5/dive/person surcharge to book. I tried to fight but the resort wouldn't budge. I also didn't want to book independently as i already had a package booked through them and didn't want to lose out on pre-paid diving. As a freelancer, Dennis stayed out of the negotiations as to not upset either party. I visited his website and noticed his direct fees are only about $35/dive/person….$10/dive cheaper than the $45 we each needed to pay to dive with him.

In the end it was worth paying the premium mid-trip as Dennis really turned the trip around showing us some great rare critters including the bumble bee shrimp, simplex shrimp, boxer crab, nudibranchs the size of rice grains etc… Dennis is an enthusiastic and passionate diver. He get just as excited as his guests when he finds special critters. I highly recommend him for anyone traveling to Anilao.

In the end I could not help and feel as if i paid too much money to stay at Acacia. As i don't have any comparison in the area, I can't judge what other resorts provide and if the value is there. I've stayed at Atlanis in Dumagete in past and feel that thought the price is similar, Atlantis provides a much better experience overall which translates into overall value given the quality of food, rooms, service, and dive operations.

My recommendation - Acacia is ok but expensive. Just book with Dennis directly!

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Raja Ampat, Lembeh, Komodo, Dumagete, Bohol, Belize, Costa Rica, Channel Islands, Puerto Rico, St Croix, Bonaire, Red Sea, Roatan, Key largo….
Closest Airport Manila Getting There 2-3 hour drive from MNL - very easy..only 1 connection from USA

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm, choppy
Water Temp 82-84°F / 28-29°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 30-50 Ft/ 9-15 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions very little guidance from dive masters here.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins 1 or 2 Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals 3 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 1 stars
Large Pelagics N/A

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities 4 stars
UW Photo Comments Decent setup. We had to ask for compressed air for camera room - they were quick to accommodate.
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Subscriber's Comments

By ROBERT PECORAROin HI, US at Oct 03, 2015 08:19 EST  
Can you pass along the website for Dennis. I am planning a trip to Anilao for April 2016. Thank you.
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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