Island-Hopping in El Nido – Too Many Beautiful Islands but Not Enough Time for All
June 01, 2019
El Nido is a tropical paradise featuring beautiful islands, clear water lagoons, white sand beaches and snorkelling sites. You’ll find many different types of fishes and coral species in the ocean. There are numerous islands to visit and it is not possible to see all within just one day. While researching for the best island-hopping tour for El Nido, I had huge problems shortlisting the places that I wanted to see. I’m always ambitious and want to see as many things as I can. Eventually, I gave up planning and decided to go on one of the island-hopping tours offered by El Nido Paradise.
You can choose from Tour A, B, C and D. Tours A and C are highly recommended by the locals.
A: Small Lagoon (depends on the tide and weather), Big Lagoon, Secret Lagoon, Shimizu Island and 7 Commando Beach
B: Snake Island, Pinagbuyutan Island, Entalula Beach, Cudugnon Cave and a snorkelling site
C: Helicopter Island, Matinloc Shrine, Secret Beach, Star Beach and Hidden Beach
D: Ipil Beach, Cadlao Lagoon, Paradise Beach, Pasandigan Beach, Natnat Beach and Bukal Beach
Although it’s stated that a lunch buffet is included, I was pleasantly surprised when the boatmen docked on an empty beach. The three boatmen barbecued chicken and fish, and prepared other food on board the boat. It’s not the typical buffet that I imagined. Drinking water and snorkelling gear are also provided at no extra cost.
The tour started around 9am and the Big Lagoon was the first stop. You can rent a kayak and paddle your way into the Big Lagoon. The water is crystal clear and when you’re all the way inside the lagoon, just look down and you’ll be able to see countless sea urchin. If you’re planning to snorkel here, please be careful and watch where your feet lands.
The boatmen skipped the Small Lagoon and headed for the Secret Lagoon next. It’s no secret at all because it was crazy crowded. You have to climb through a hole in the rock to enter the secret lagoon, but the queue for entering is pretty long. The waiting time is around 20 minutes. The lagoon is surrounded by rock formations and you can swim in it. However, I wasn’t impressed because it was too crowded to swim in such a small area, and there were people taking pictures everywhere.
Instead of docking at Shimizu Island for lunch, the boatmen docked on an empty beach opposite Shimizu Island. I heard that you’re able to snorkel and see corals and relax on the white sand beach on Shimizu Island, but a pity I didn’t get a chance to do these. Well, the secluded beach wasn’t that bad.
The island-hopping tour was supposed to end at 7 Commando Beach, but the boatmen recommended Papaya Beach because they said that it was too crowded at 7 Commando Beach. To be honest, I was already quite tired, so I didn’t put up any protest. However, if I ever return to El Nido, I will definitely spend more time on island-hopping so that I won’t miss out on the places that I wanted to visit.
In general, some of the islands look spectacular from afar. The boat passed by Helicopter Island, Snake Island and a few other islands while journeying to the destinations for Tour A. I’m not sure if I’ll be revisiting El Nido in the near future, but I’m absolutely certain that if I go back, I’ll make sure I return with a big group of friends and stay for a longer time.