The least we can say is that there are plenty of cool activities to do in El Nido! With several island hopping circuits available, you could find yourself in the difficult situation (oh, tough life!) of not knowing which one to choose. Because we want to help you pick the right one for you, we decided to share the most upvoted and best island hopping tour in El Nido, Palawan.
But first of all, let’s answer a couple of simple questions: “What exactly does island hopping consist in?” and “What are the island hopping tours available in El Nido?“
All About Island Hopping in El Nido…
If you’re unaware of it, El Nido has developed a strong touring industry thanks to the breathtaking beauty of its bay. With 45 islands, countless turquoise lagoons and sugar-white sand beaches, this is a unique tropical paradise. If you come to Palawan, you should definitely add this destination to your itinerary. And if you’re coming to El Nido, you simply cannot miss to spend at least one day island hopping.
But what is “island hopping” exactly? Simply put, this type of tour in El Nido will bring you to different destinations of the Bacuit Bay: islands, lagoons, cave, beaches… Depending on the tour you choose, activities will include snorkelling, swimming, kayaking, beach-going, sun-basking… and definitely a lot of sight-seeing from the boat.
Speaking of your vessel, you’ll sail aboard a bangka, the traditional filipino double-outrigger boat. The departure is organised around 9:00 AM for all the public tours (also called “group-open” or “shared” tours). Tours normally includes lunch, which consist of a buffet including grilled meat and fish, rice, and local fruits and vegetables. The return to El Nido town is set around 4:00 PM.
All in all, this type of tours have a duration of around 7 hours. This is an awesome way to occupy your day in El Nido and it is quite cheap as well. The rates for the public tours vary from P1,200 for the simple tours (A, B, C, D) to P2,000 per person for the combined ones (AB, AC, CD). Private tours for your group only are also available, and a solid option if you want to avoid the crowds. To find the rates, inclusions for each type of tours, simply check out this page about El Nido.
The Best Island Hopping Tour In El Nido?
So, which one of these tours is the best? Well, the answer is a bit more complicated then it seems. It should rather be: which one of these tours is the best… for you? Depending on the time you’re planning to spend in El Nido, on your likes and abilities, as well as on your the budget you’re willing to spend, this answer may vary a lot. But let’s start with the easy answer.
Tours A and C, Two Sure Bets
Among the circuits available for island hopping in El Nido, there are two clear winners in terms of popularity. Due to their splendour and sites variety, Tour A and Tour C are often recommended as the two best tours in town. The combination of the two, thanks to the Combo Tour A&C, was quite in demand as well, until it got forbidden by the municipality, in December 2018. It thus makes 2 “sure bets”… So which one should you choose? Well, it all depends…
If you’re planning to do 2 or more island hopping tours in El Nido, you definitely should do both tours A and C on two separate days. You will thus have the time to enjoy each of their destinations freely: whether it is for snorkelling, swimming or just relaxing in a lagoon or under the shadow of a palm tree on the beach.
If you’re planning to have only 1 island hopping tour in El Nido, then you should first decide if you prefer to see a lot (sight-seeing and taking more picture), or get the time to relax and enjoy fewer destinations. It’s a matter of quantity against quality time… If you don’t mind hopping quickly from island to island, then a Combo Tour A&C could have been just what you needed! If you prefer going at a slower pace, then you should choose between Tour A and Tour C…
So Which One Is The Best: Tour A or Tour C?
This really is a tough question since both tours A and C are frankly great. The best way to decide is thus probably to check which destinations appeal you the most. For Tour A, they are Big Lagoon, Secret Lagoon, Shimizu Island and Seven Commando Beach. This is a lot of splendid lagoons (where you’ll have the chance to rent kayaks to go explore them), one breathtaking island and a splendid beach. Small Lagoon used to be part of it but has now been moved to Tour D.
Tour C has nothing to be ashamed of in comparison. It includes Helicopter Island, Hidden Beach (as seen in the picture above), Secret Lagoon, Matinloc Shrine (an eery abandoned covent, which can be optionally explored against an entrance fee) and Talisay Beach. These are varied destinations which are sure to fill your day with exciting memories. Tour C is also our personal favorite – but this is a matter a taste!
Tour B, The Contender
Another popular tour in El Nido is Tour B. It definitely has some interesting highlights, such as Snake Island, Entatula Beach or Pinagbuyutan Island. That being said, it is less filled with destinations and for that reason comes behind Tours A and C. But it can also be an advantage if you’re planning to do a two-in-one tour.
Indeed, combined tours only used to include 7 to 8 of the single tours’ destinations they combined. Otherwise, the amount of time spent in each one would have been too short to really enjoy them (and most of the day spent on the boat sailing from one island to the other). This made Tour B a good candidate to be combined with Tour A, but you now that combination tours are not allowed, you simply have to choose which one(s) you don’t want to miss.
What Kind Of Tour: Public Or Private?
This brings us to an important topic. Should you go with a group-open/shared/public tour, or is it worth it to spend the extra pesos for a private tour? Well, here again, it all depends on you! But let’s see quickly what are the pros and cons of each type of tours.
Going Along The Public Tours…
The public Tours A, B, C and D are the prominent ones in El Nido. Every day, many boats depart at the same time and follow the same itinerary. They will first stop in the first destination, before proceeding to the second one, etc. This means that these tours can be quite crowded: all day long, your boat will be among many others, and there might be hundreds of persons around you in each destination.
…Or Getting A Private One?
The other option is to go with a private tour where your group is the only one on the boat. Depending on the number of participants in your group, it can be more expensive than a public tour. The main advantage is that a private tour allows you to avoid the crowds. Some companies offer these tours with the option to either 1) depart earlier/later than the other boats, or 2) reverse the order of the included destinations. The other benefit of such tours is that you get to decide how long you want to stay in each destination and other details of that sort.
Find The Perfect Tour… For You!
The best island hopping tour in El Nido is the one that will fit your schedule, your budget and your style of touring. Depending on your priorities, it can be a single tour or a combined one, to get on a privatised boat or a shared one. In any case, you can explore all the options available directly from our tour page. Discover all the organizers operating in the area of El Nido with Tikigo, and plan and book your tours online today!