Why El Nido island hopping is best done on a private boat trip.
El Nido, Palawan was dubbed as the best island in the Philippines and the 6th top destination in the world by Tripadvisor for 2016. And it lives up to anyone’s expectations – the unique and stunning limestone cliffs, with white sand beaches dot El Nido’s amazingly azure waters that are rich with corals and different species of fish. The limestone rock islands also hide away clear lagoons and secret beaches. Needless to say, thousands of tourists flock the island each year for the El Nido island tours and beaches.
El Nido Island Tours
For everyone going to Palawan, the El Nido island tours are on the top of things to do. Travel agencies offer 4 main tours, simply named Tour A, B, C, and D.
- A – Small Lagoon, Big Lagoon, Secret Lagoon, Shimizu Island, 7 Commando Beach
- B – Snake Island, Pinagbuyutan Island, Entalula Beach, Cudugnon Cave
- C – Helicopter Island, Matinloc Shrine, Secret Beach, Star Beach, Hidden Beach
- D – Ipil Beach, Cadlao Lagoon, Paradise Beach, Pasandugan Beach, Natnat Beach, Bukal Beach
Most travel agencies charge 1,200-2000 pesos per person per tour, which includes the boat (which may have about 10-20 people on it) and lunch. Each El Nido island tour may take a day to do, from 10am to 4pm. Environmental fee is paid separately in some travel agencies, which is 200 pesos/person. Be sure to ask your agency about this. They also offer combo tours; the most popular is a combo of the best spots of Tour A and C, visiting the best beaches and the lagoons.
How to Get Your Own El Nido Private and Customized Island Tour
Likewise, you can opt to have an El Nido private and customized island tour. Many travel agencies offer this. My friends and I decided we only want to do the highlights of Tour A and C – apparently the most popular of the 4 main tours, and some of the highlights of other tours. This is perfect for those traveling on a budget and on limited time that wants to get the best out of El Nido to have your close friends!
We paid 7000 pesos for the 5 of us on a big boat then we got to pick the highlights of each main tour, where to go first and how much time we want to spend on a certain spot. We also got an extended trip so we can see the sunset from a secluded island. The tour started at 8am and ended at 6:30pm (the usual tour duration is 9-10 am and ends in 4-5pm). Our boatman, Johnny, was also kind enough to lead us to places where there are not a lot of tourists. You can contact him for the private tour in this number +639069224964.
Our Private tour: Big Lagoon, Small Lagoon, Secret Beach, Matinloc Shrine, Helicopter Island, 7 Commando Beach, and Ipil Beach where we stayed until 6:30pm for the sunset and there was only our group on the beach.
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Text by Jen Yap, photos by Martien Janssen