This coastal town is well known among tourists for its numerous pocket beaches and many snorkeling and Scuba diving spots. The area was designated a Man and Biosphere Reserve of UNESCO in 1973 and has some of the most diverse coral reef diving in Asia. The marine environment has benefited in recent years due to income from tourism. This has seen a huge reduction in the number of fishermen in the area, as they gain higher revenue from tourists.
Puerto Galera is included in the list of the Club of the Most Beautiful Bays of the World, and is the only bay in the Philippines to be found there.
Among the beaches in Puerto Galera are Sabang Beach and White Beach, which have an active nightlife with numerous bars and restaurants.
Sabang Beach is the main destination for foreign tourists, while White Beach remains popular with local travelers. Big La Laguna Beach and Small La Laguna Beach are considered part of Sabang with resorts lining the beaches. Big La Laguna Beach is popular for local swimmers and snorkelers. Since 2001, White Beach has seen uncontrolled development. New restaurants and places to stay are rapidly encroaching on the beach itself. The town proper has relatively few attractions. It has a large central Catholic church and a pier area with some dining outlets.
Behind the beaches are the huge and generally unexplored mountain ranges of central Mindoro. A particular local attraction is the 9-hole golf course perched on the hillside above White Beach which commands spectacular views over Puerto Galera’s natural harbor and the Verde Island Passage. Mangyan tribes are scattered over the mountainsides – some of the more remote tribes have virtually no contact with the outside world. Of the eight tribes on Mindoro, the Iraya are the largest. They are based in the Puerto Galera area.
Puerto Galera is among the top diving destination in the Philippines. Excellent diving is found less than 5 minutes from Sabang Beach. The diving generally focuses around the areas either side of Escarceo Point. Marine life is highly diverse. 180+ species of nudibranchs are found in the area and many species of fish can be seen. A variety of wrecks have been sunk over the years in addition to the one wreck of an engine of a WWII Japanese patrol boat.
Puerto Galera is also one of the main technical diving destinations in Asia. Technical Diving International – [TDI] has many dive centers in the area, offering the full range of TDI courses from Basic nitrox to advanced trimix.