El Nido has been on our radar since deciding to visit the Philippines. It was even included on Matt’s Bucket List! The soaring limestone cliffs and crystal clear turquoise waters are unrivaled compared to other beaches and oceans we have visited. Everything has exceeded our expectations. However, to really enjoy all El Nido has to offer, you have to take part in some island hopping.
Tours are offered by various tour companies in town and pretty much all will offer Tours A, B, C and D with each visiting the exact same places. We started off our island hopping with Tour A. This tour is also known as the Lagoon tour and requires the most physical activity of all the tours (but not much really). This full day tour takes you to both the Big and Small Lagoons, the Secret Lagoon, Shimizu Island and 7 Commandos Beach.
You will have plenty of opportunities to snorkel while on Tour A. Check out a quick clip from Matt’s GoPro video below!
Here are some pictures from our day on the boat, in the water and on the beach! Enjoy 🙂
In The End
As we mentioned, every tour booking office can help reserve you a spot. We used Seahorse Charley to book our tours on the recommendation of a Dutch couple we ran into here from Puerto Princesa. It is not quite high season yet, so Seahorse Charley offered us a 400 PHP discount on every tour, which is about $9 USD. Dealing with an honest person for once was refreshing, as most people are out to get every last dime from you.
We found our boat to be adequate for the 18 people plus staff on board, as we had one of the largest boats we saw on Tour A during the day. Being on a large boat is nice because you have plenty of room for everyone and their belongings, however, there are a couple drawbacks. Since more people are involved it takes more time for everyone to get on and off the boat at each island. This directly cuts into your snorkeling and swimming time at each destination. Our boat also had to anchor further away from the lagoons so we had to be on the lookout for other boats while we swam towards the destination. This was a bit annoying as it took some enjoyment away as we were paranoid we would miss a cue from the guides or get hit by another boat. These were not terrible distractions, but minor details in an otherwise great day.
Tour A is the perfect way to kick off your El Nido island hopping. We suggest packing water shoes or sandals because the lagoons require some walking on sharp rocks. And, be sure to bring plenty of sunscreen and water!