Our Next Tours

March 27 to 30
April 9 to 12

Peso 21250 per person [twin share]

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Donsol is the top destination in the world to interact with Whale Sharks. The season runs from January to June when the sharks gather to feed and mate. We are the only operator in Donsol that guides in the water. Join our experienced naturalists for the adventure of a lifetime. All packages are fully inclusive of domestic airfares, land transfers, meals, accommodation and the whale shark interaction. All you need to do is get wet !

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Donsol is located just fifty minutes south of Manila by plane to Legaspi and a one hour van transfer to Donsol. We've been guiding small groups there since 2005. From January to June each year whale sharks gather to feed on the rich, plankton-filled waters of Donsol and also to mate. On average we interact with the whale sharks 10 times day. We are the only company to lead all groups from in the water - we feel it is the only way to give you the benefit of our experience and also to guarantee safety. Our oldest adventurer was 73, the youngest 2 1/2 (my son).

 


Our package includes the flight (50 minutes flight from Manila to Legaspi).
In Legaspi you'll meet our naturalist who will accompany you the one hour by private van to the resort, in Donsol.

Donsol is a sleepy coastal town in Sorsogon province. We are partners with Vitton and Woodland beach resorts which have 45 aircon cottages in landscaped gardens. After check in, grab your swim wear as we head to the briefing and our first shark encounters.

The whale sharks usually patrol the shallow waters directly in the front of the resort. Don't be surprised if you hear the call to 'get ready !' as soon as we leave the beach

We include three days of interaction. The whale shark season coincides with the dry season and so it is rare that we have a single day when we don't see any sharks, but better to be safe than sorry !

The daily interaction time is set at 3 hours a day during the peak months (Feb to Mayl) when the Marine Park Authority limits boat time.

Interactions are snorkeling only as diving is not allowed within the marine park as it is scares away the animals.


Groups are kept small and fun - a great way to make new friends

 

Each Interaction last from a few minutes to 20 minutes or longer. Swimming is fun and our naturalists have tow buoys to pull you if you get tired

February 2007 - great visibility

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All About Whale Sharks


Whale Sharks are the largest fish in the world. Mature adults can be longer than 10m and weight over 20 tons. In Donsol the average shark size is 8m and we often see sharks up to 9m long

They feed mostly at night on plankton, krill and small fish. They are a filter feeder, although they do have rows of tiny, file-like teeth. They do not bite and they cannot swallow a swimmer !

The shark on the right is an immature male about 4.5m long - small compared to the adults and just a teenager.

Females reach maturity when they are 9 years old and give birth to live young. Worldwide, there have only ever been 2 baby sharks measured . The smallest on record was found in Donsol in March, 2008 (photo right) at 15 inches / 40cm long


whale swim

baby shark


Interaction with whale sharks is fun and easy. We use mask, fins and snorkel to swim along side them. There are a few simple rules to protect the sharks

  • Enter the water without splashing
  • Don't touch
  • maintain 2m from the body and 3m from the tail
  • Turn off your flash
  • D not block the path of the shark
  • Don't forget to have FUN

sample

Each whale sharks has a unique pattern of spots just behind their gills [above]. Help us to record individuals in Donsol by forwarding your photos after the tour

For cameras and videos we recommend bringing as compact a camera as possible. If you have one, bring a wide-angle adaptor. For small cameras consider shooting video clips. Large housed-cameras can be difficult to handle when snorkeling.

feb 2007 shark

 

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2014 Tours dates

 

From January to March our tours start on a Thursday morning with an early flight* to Legaspi from Manila. For this reason you will need to be in Manila on a Wednesday (We can assist with Manila transfers and accommodation as an optional extra). Tours return to Manila early on a Sunday morning. You can arrange your onward connections for any time after 1230.

In April and May tours start on a Wednesday morning and return to Manila early on a Saturday morning, so as to avoid the weekend crowds.

Holy Week is not a time to visit Donsol. The marine park becomes very congested and the sharks are bothered by too much attention. For that reason we have never offered an Easter tour.

For Groups of 4 or more people we can arrange a tour to start and finish on any dates (minimum 2 days interaction). Group rates apply for groups larger than 9 people. Please contact us for more information. School group, please go to our schools page

 

2014 from - to
January

completed

February

completed

March

March 27 to 30

Easter 2014

NO TOURS

April

April 09 to 12

May

 

* Please note that flights in the Philippines are generally reliable. However, if there is a cancellation or delay due to weather or airline problems we offer no refund or re-booking of the flight. It is highly recommended that you carry full travel insurance

 

 

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Itinerary

 

 

Our schedule is designed to maximize the time with the whale sharks. The first day is a very early start in Manila so that we can arrive in Donsol and go out in the morning. For large groups our guide will accompany on the flight from Manila. Regular groups will meet our naturalist guide in Legaspi airport.

Generally the sharks are most active in the morning, between 0800 and 1300. The afternoon is usually very quiet and it is rare to see sharks after 1400. All meals are included. Lunch is a picnic on the beach, or head back to the resort. Dinner is taken on the beach, at the resort and also at the Baracuda seafood restaurant.

On the last day we head back to Legaspi airport. During January to March the return flight is early on a Sunday morning (between 0800 and 0900) so that you can make connections in Manila (any time after 1230) . In April and May, tours return on a Saturday morning so as to avoid the weekend crowds.

Day 1

0600 Fly Manila - Legaspi
0655 Arrive Legaspi and meet guide
0900 Arrive resort, check in and orientation
1000 Board boat and head out for whale shark encounter

Lunch Picnic on beach or back to the resort depending on the weather

1300~1430 End encounter
1800 Beach barbecue

Day 2 and Day 3

0700~ Breakfast
0800~1000 Whale Shark encounter
0700~1800 [Optional Diving Ticao Is.]

Lunch Picnic on beach or back to the resort depending on the weather

1230~1400 End encounter
1800 Beach barbecue [+optional Firefly tour]

Day 4

0530 breakfast
0730 Arrive airport and end of tour
0830 Depart Legaspi
0930 Arrive Manila

kids

Children can join too - our guides will accompany them with a buoy and children's life jackets are available, however comfort in water is a must. Generally kids 7 years and older handle the conditions better than younger children.

dot

Marine Park Office - where we register and receive orientation

boat

Boats are assigned by roster - have shade and can carry a maximum of 6 people

 

 

 

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Accommodation and Meals

woodland

Woodland and Vitton Resorts are located directly in front of the whale shark area, on the beach. They are very similar as they are owned by the same company and are the best resorts in Donsol

Cottages are located in nicely landscaped gardens. Each cottage has two beds, aircon + fan and hot shower. Rooms are clean and spacious, but do not have telephone or TV. Families can be accommodated in family rooms which have two double beds.

Both resorts have swimming pools and WIFI.

beach

Each resort has a restaurant/bar which serves both full meals and snacks.

Breakfast and lunch are lighter meals. Since Donsol has great seafood we try to include as much as possible in the everning meal.

Please note that we can only book the resorts as part of our package tours and do not offer accommodation only packages, or one day tours..

vitton

room

 

baracuda bar

 

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Inclusions,exclusions and what to bring

 

Inclusions

  1. Round trip airfare Manila - Legaspi
  2. Domestic airport terminal fees
  3. Round trip land transfers Legaspi - Donsol
  4. 3 night twin share aircon accommodation Donsol resort
  5. 3 x full meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner)
  6. 3 x whale shark interaction - varies between 3 ~ 5 hours a day depending on the policy of the Marine Park at the time
  7. Our naturalist guide to accompany from airport, at resort and in the water
  8. All boat charges, park fees and local guide fees

Optional Extras - contact us for full details

  1. Mask, fins, snorkel hire - peso 300 a day
  2. Manila hotel - from Peso 1800 per room per night
  3. Firefly tour - Peso 1250 per boat (max 4 people)
  4. Diving on Ticao island - diving is available about 2 hours by boat from Donsol. rates depend on the size of the group, but expect to pay from Peso 4000 for three dives [equipment hire not included]

Exclusions

  1. Drinks
  2. Travel insurance - we recommend that everyone carries comprehensive travel insurance
dinner on the beach

Dinner on the beach

What to Bring

Donsol is very relaxed, so keep the bag small and light

For the boat

  • Light rain jacket
  • Water
  • Snorkel Gear
  • Hat and sunglasses
  • Sun cream
  • UW camera

On Land

  • Informal Dress
  • Passport or Valid ID (required for domestic flights)
  • Money - $25 a day for drinks and souvenirs (cash not card)
  • Toiletries
  • Books - no TV in the resort

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Optional Tours

 

manta

Evening Firefly Tour
with local guide
Peso 1250 per boat (max 4 people)

Every evening the fire flies come out on the banks of the Donsol river. This makes a magical evening tour before dinner. The stars are out and the fireflies live in their hundred on several trees and pulse on and off all at the same time

Time: 2 hours
Starts and finishes: at resort

 

 

 

 

 

Diving Ticao Island
Peso 4500+ depending on size of the group

Ticao island is located 2 hours by boat from Donsol. The dive tour starts at 0700 and the first dives are made on San Miguel Island - great macro
The second and third dives are made at the Manta bowl (weather permitting). This is a dive for advanced divers as it has very strong currents. There are often pelagics seen here inclduing mantas and, if you're lucky, the occasional whale shark. The tour includes lunch and 3 dives. Equipment rental is extra. Contact us for the current rates

Time: Full day
Starts/finishes: at resort

 

 

 

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Quick overview
Inclusions

Peso 21250 per person
Twin share

March 27 to 30

RT airfare MNL to LGP
RT van LGP to Donsol
3 night resort
3 x breakfast, lunch and dinner
3 x whale shark interaction
with boat, guide, spotters and permit
Our guide - joins in Manila and in the water