The hotel itself is not overly impressive. It is OK. It is clean, and I love the atmosphere of the restaurant. The rooms are what I would normally expect in a 3-star hotel... there was kind of an old, musty smell, they look a bit old, and there are no special amenities. There was a bit of trouble with the hot water in my room the first couple days. But the room was certainly clean and adequate for me. And it was quiet enough to sleep without any issues.
Wow. Everyone here was very nice. In my experience, Filipinos are generally all warm-hearted, polite, friendly, and service-oriented, so no surprise here... but in any case I enjoyed the friendly staff in all areas. As a solo traveler, being able to be friendly with the bartenders, the waitresses, the dive centre staff, etc makes a huge difference and this was a great aspect of this place.
Atmosphere is perfect... an open-air bungalow feeling right on the beach. And the food was mostly quite good. Stay away from their Pizza and "Chinese food" which is not so great, but the Chicken La Laguna (Coconut curry sauce with raisins) was great, and their banana pancakes with fresh mangoes are AWESOME in the morning. There are plenty of choices for breakfast and lunch which is primarily what I ate here, as I preferred to explore Small La Laguna and Sabang areas for dinners.
Fully equipped, friendly staff, and I had an AWESOME intructor named Leo. He was brilliant. He was funny, friendly, and informative. Leo's combination of humor, and helping me, and pushing me to do things on my own and learn was exactly the right balance and made my experience earning the PADI Open Water Diver certificate at Big La Laguna perfect. Thanks, Leo!
I made 5 dives from PG around 12 - 20 meter depths, all very close to Sabang... within 10 minutes by boat. I found the water to be a bit chilly for tropical diving (24 - 27 degrees celcius) so although I might normally only wear a dive shirt or at most a shortie, I preferred a long wetsuit. The water was a little bit murkier than when I have been in Thailand also... and not quite as many fish, but I was able to see a 2 meter long Banded Sea Krait swimming close to us which was very cool, as well as a Frogfish "walking" along the sea floor, and a good size octopus - all of which were firsts for me. To be fair, since I was doing a course, there may be much cooler places which I didn't have a chance to see. Maybe next time.
I can't say anything for the beach... it would be OK if there were not so many darn boats! But because of the boats, you can't really enjoy swimming or laying on the beach here. You come here to dive, not to enjoy the beach. If you want to enjoy the beach, best to go somewhere else I think
VERY small pool which was mostly filled up by divers like me doing PADI courses. Not too much sun or places to lay down here. I wouldn't pick the hotel based on the pool. But again, this was OK for me as my goal was to dive and get my PADI certificate.
The Night Life
The Hotel itself has a small bar called the Gecko Bar. Try the "Gecko Shot"... 5 mixed shots in a row and you get a T-shirt. I enjoyed chatting with the guys at the bar a bit, but really unless you are there with friends/family to drink together, you are better off heading over to Sabang. The drawback to this hotel is that it is relatively far away... It's about a 20 minute walk up and down dark stairs and along a few beaches to get to the night life of Sabang... and if you met anyone in Sabang you wanted to bring back to your hotel with you... good luck getting them to walk 20 minutes back with you... sometimes through high tide where I had to walk through the water on the beach. Not impossible, but not convenient either. That said, within your reach there are lots of cool local bars and discos and girlie bars and a couple cool live bands and karaoke and everything else that you might want in Sabang, so it is certainly available if you want it. You also have to go out here if you want an ATM - There is only one up past "Tropicana".
The way home
Bit of a bummer that it took me 2 hours to make the 45 minute crossing by ferry boat since the boat we booked only went 15 minutes out, then broke down and we waited an hour for another boat to come get us, tow us back to Sabang area, then make the transfer (self and luggage) then begin the 45 minute crossing again... but they did get me back to Manila in one piece.
VERY reasonable in my opinion. Actually there were some insanely cheap deals on Agoda for only $40 per night or something, but since I wanted the best room (Beach Suite) I contacted the hotel myself and paid $110 per night, which is still cheap. The diving itself was only $500 or so for a full PADI Open Water course, all equipment rental, all instruction, materials, and dives, plus one 1 fun dive. Again, very low prices in my opinion. For 5 nights at the hotel, plus all my food and drinking I only paid around $1100-$1200.
If you are a diver, and you want to go to Puerto Galera and have a good dive experience and nice atmosphere hotel, then this is the place for you. Absolutely. Great place - I recommend it. If you want a relaxing beach location, or more convenience to the night life, then best find another option... perhaps not Puerto Galera at all from what I saw.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Nestled in the centre of beautiful Big La Laguna Bay where the sand is white, the water is crystal clear and alive with tropical fish and coral. With a variety of beachfront and poolside resort accommodation and PADI scuba diving and dive training facilities, La Laguna Beach Club is the place to stay to satisfy all your diving holiday and vacation requirements in Puerto Galera. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- La Laguna Beach Club & Dive Centre Hotel Puerto Galera
- La Laguna Beach Club And Dive Centre