Buceo Anilao Beach & Dive Resort
Buceo Anilao is a true scuba divers retreat with a touch of luxury, set amongst the hills and the locals. We choose to stay at this resort as not only had it come highly recommended by Dr.Richard Smith but it was also one of the only resorts in Anilao who have their own dive boats and therefore you do not have to add additional costs for boat hire, dive guides etc.
On the day we landed, our driver was not at the airport to pick us up as we (THE HUSBAND!!) had given the incorrect flight times to the resort! Luckily the staff at Buceo were absolutely amazing and promptly sent out another driver to pick us up so we only had to wait 1 hour rather than 3! I was actually grateful for the spare 1 hour in the end as I finally got to try out the famous Filipino fast food joint, Jollibee! I mean who can resist a plate of crispy chicken served with a beef patty, rice and cheesy sweet jolly spaghetti?
After the 3hour drive down to Anilao, we jumped into a traditional Filipino boat and were whizzed around the coastline to Buceo Anilao which you cannot miss with its sunshine yellow bungalows set back amongst the palm tree hills.
On the night we arrived we were welcomed by the energetic singing and dancing of a local village party that was just getting started on the beach, so after dumping our luggage we decided to do as the locals do and got stuck straight in! When in Rome!
During our stay, we were assigned the same dive guide for the duration of the trip and dived almost four times a day including a night dive. Should you want your dive guide all to yourself you can pay a small fee to ensure nobody else dives with you. Safety is paramount at Buceo and your tank will not be filled with Nitrox unless you are present to witness and sign every time. Diving in Anilao is a rollback entry from a traditional Filipino boat.
The rooms are basic, clean and airy with both air-con and ceiling fans, but a word of warning, if you want a room with the best view be prepared to climb, climb and climb some more! There is a lot of attention to detail in the resort from the stunning paintings by the owner’s wife to the handmade seashell wreaths and even the cute names of the rooms, such as Blue Ringed Octopus.
I was pleasantly surprised by the food offering and I highly recommend choosing from the traditional Filipino menu. If you try one thing it has to be the crispy pork belly washed down with a mango cocktail. The outdoor restaurant is set just in front of the beach and you can choose to sit on separate tables or pull together and have a communal dining table which is always my favourite way on a dive trip, as you get to share stories and make some great dive buddies!
Every day at Anilao started and ended in the same fantastic way with the first dive setting off around 8 am, followed by three dives spread throughout the day.
I cannot end this post without mentioning the amazing spa, which Buceo really must shout about more as it’s not often you find a dive resort with the added luxury of a spa! Who doesn’t want to grab a massage after a hard days work of diving??
Hidden in the hills at the highest point of the resort is where you will find this heavenly spa with the most stunning views I have ever seen! It’s hard to find words to describe the experience as it was breath-taking as I was gently pulled and clicked into position during my first Thai massage, whilst overlooking the spectacular views of the ocean. I’ve been to many spas around the world, UK, Maldives, Mauritius, Bali and this by far was the best 90mins massage I’ve ever had in my life, costing just 900php!! I’d fly back tomorrow just for this experience alone!
I have only just touched the surface of the Philippines and will certainly be returning to Buceo Anilao even if it’s just for the amazing spa and laughter over a mango daiquiri at sunset with fellow divers and owner Dave Santos, who plays an uncanny resemblance to Maui from the film Moana!