Diving with Thresher Sharks at Malapascua Island

The wow factor for nature - does it show nature at its best? Doesn't need to be the wilder-beast migration or diving with hundreds of hammerheads. Rather make you pause as you realise just how awesome the natural world can be
How much does this experience showcase some of the better and finer things that us humans can offer? Sure, it can be ancient ruins and renaissance churches, but it can also be festivals or soaking up some of the great modern cities of the world
Fun factor/activity
Very simple - was it fun? This is usually linked in with doing some kind of activity - i mean, walking along some cliffs is nice, but paragliding from them, now that is fun. Its a vastly underrated factor in a truly great experience
Avoid the crowds
Big tour groups and being surrounded by loud fellow tourists can sap the life out of even the greatest of travel experiences. This score is to reflect just how much you can avoid this. But. . . The score also takes into account if the crowds actually add to the experience, such as with a party town or a bustling food market
World famous
How world famous is the experience?
How hard is it to have a similar experience in other places round the world?
Overall Score
The highest score of nature or culture, + fun factor, + avoid the crowds, + the highest score of world famous or unique. Then turned into a score out of 100. More details at the bottom of the page
75 *What the scores mean and where do they come from
Length of time
1 day or less
Rough cost
Obviously people have different tastes, so this will depend on those tastes, but this is a rough idea of price of the whole experience based on 2 people able to split the accommodation costs and excluding travel there and back
$ 150
Time of year visited
Primary Tags
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How this travel experience ranks compared to all the other experiences on this site
80th/372 This travel experience's ranking compared to all the other experiences on this site
Top 30% SUMMARY RATING: Superb


Malapascua Island is the only place in the world where you can regularly see Thresher Sharks – a 6m long shark that has a very distinctive long sloping tail used to stun fish during hunting and, as they usually live at 350m / 1150ft, are very rare to see.  This makes it a real must for divers, but Malapascua is also an idyllic small tropical island to relax on – certainly worth checking out as part of a broader Cebu trip if a non-diver


Diving deep to see up close one of the Thresher Sharks - the #1 attraction of Malapascua Island

Chilling in an idyllic tropical paradise

Some great diving in the nearby reefs

Travel Tips

  • The Thresher Sharks come up for cleaning in the early morning, so be prepared to be heading out on the boat at 5am to Monad Shoal.  The dive is all about the sharks – you’ll stay for around 20mins at the max depth on the reef of 28m / 90ft and watch as the Threshers come up from the depths.  Visibility is good at 15m or so.  Chance of seeing a Thresher are around 75% and, as with so many places in this part of the world, there are also some great dives nearby.  I went with DevOcean divers who were super and did the following dives:
    • Gato Island x2
    • Monad Shoal x2
    • Lapus x1
  • I stayed at the Tepanee Beach Resort on the headland at the far west end of the main beach, which I’d really recommend as has its own private beach to enjoy after morning dives
  • Getting to Malapascua can be a bit of a pain.  Most realistically you’ll be flying to Cebu and taking the bus up to Maya, and then the boat over to Malapascua.  For the bus, try and get a mini van which will take 3.5 hours rather than the bus which takes 4.5 hours and they leave more regularly.  For the boat – its fairly straightforward and the last one is at 530pm
  • Consider a trip over to Bohol – if you’re visiting Malapascua, you’re more likely flying into Cebu.  From there it is a short ferry ride over to the island of Bohol where you have the option of Quad-biking through the Bohol Chocolate hills (including seeing some of the super small Tarsiers, the world’s smallest primate) and Diving off Balicasag Island which is really pleasant when you stay on Pangalao Island.  See these two links for more tips on these experiences

Experiences nearby

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Score Detail

Background - how many times have you asked someone what a travel experience was like and the response was "amazing" or "awesome"?  That response is nice to know, but it makes it hard to differentiate that experience compared to others.  That is exactly what these scores are trying to do - differentiate the experience by giving a score out of 10 based on 6 categories and then giving an overall experience score

This overall experience score is calculated by:  take the highest of the "Culture" or "Nature" score (1-10) + "Fun factor" (1-10) + "Avoiding the crowds" (1-10) + highest of the "Unique" or "World Famous score" (1-10).  Then convert into a score out of 100

Extra detail - the logic being that I find all of the 6 individual scores important, but I don't want to mark an experience down just because it doesn't cover both "Culture" and "Nature", or because it isn't both "World Famous" and "Unique".  Take the examples of Safari in The Serengeti and walking through Rome - they both appeal at opposite ends of the nature / culture spectrum, and you can have a fantastic time without needing to appeal to both sides.  So, their overall scores aren't penalized for their lack of one or the other, and I've done the same for "World Famous" vs "Unique".  But . . . I do think that the "Fun factor" of an experience is important, irrelevant of other factors, and so is "Avoiding the Crowds" (or where there are crowds that add to the experience).  So, both of these scores are standalone