Gato Island

Gato Island or Goto Island is a rock in the middle of the Visayan Sea in Cebu Province, Central Visayas Region, Philippines. The small island between Malapascua Island and Carnasa Island was declared a marine reserve and sea snake sanctuary in 1997 rich in poisonous sea snakes, seahorses and white sharks in the cave system as a paradise for scuba diving on a live on board tour.

Gato Island is always washed by strong currents that create cavities as a cave system and underwater tunnels with high walls where divers watch poisonous sea snakes, colored fish and some shark species that sleep during the day at a depth of 30 meters.

Xvlor Gato Island Gato Island

The scenery inside and under the water cave is amazing and as if divers are seeing glass windows with shimmering blue and water glowing from the sun. The island is home to many species of sea birds and some animals that fly in and out of the caves at sea.

Caves with a length of up to 25 meters require a flashlight for diving and rock formations are home to sea urchins. The caves have plenty of space and accommodate several divers at the same time as the 2 meter long white fin shark often swims around and is tucked inside an overhang or split directly in front of the diver.

Gato Island has at least 5 spots dives with huge marine biodiversity. On all sites is a common sight for sea snakes, cuttlefish, seahorses, nudibranchs, frogfish, scorpion fish, porcupine fish and smashing mantis shrimp. Away from the reef is the schools of squid and the big-mouthed mackerel attracted by the baitballs.

Whitetip Alley's site finds whitetip sharks sleeping under rocks, banded boxer shrimp, nudis, seahorses, scorpion fish, spider crabs, frogfish, lionfish and whip coral shrimp. The Guardhouse site has a pink and yellow rare pygmy seahorse, spider crabs, cowries, lionfish, Spanish dancers up to 30cm long and painted frogfish.

The Nudibranch City site is abundant in nudibranch, hermit crabs and scorpion fish. The Tunnel site is a journey under Gato Island and out from the other side of 30 meters that accommodates all cave dwellers including various types of big and small crabs, lobsters, cardinal fish, large puffer fish, whitetip shark, bamboo shark and cat sharks.

Location: Gato Island at Visayan Sea, Cebu Province, Central Visayas Region, Philippines.

Routes and public transport: Flight to Mactan-Cebu International Airport in Metro Cebu, then take a bus or car to Maya Harbor, then take a boat to Gato Island. Gato Island

Xvlor Gato Island

Advice: Gato Island is about 15 kilometers or 1 hour boat trip from Malapascua Island. Everyone is allowed into the cave to dive and seat the boat inside or outside the opening of the cave.

Often done as a day trip after a morning dive in Monad or Kemod, you might dive here and then have lunch on the boat. Divers are accompanied by dive instructors, dive experts or friends, and are not advised to snorkel as many venomous animals.