El Nido, Philippines is one of the most stunning places I have ever been to and the highly recommended thing to do in El Nido, Palawan is to take an island hopping tour. The Philippines is a country made up of 7,107 islands. and more than 1,700 of those belong to Palawan. Island hopping in El Nido brings you to beautiful little beaches.
Just do a simple Google search on “El Nido”, and I guarantee you that there will be multiple results of island hopping tours. Nonetheless, there are four popular tours around El Nido, ordered by the letters A, B, C and D.
Hey! We all know that the best way to have a piece of everything is go to all four tours, but due to a time limitation, I decided to only take two out of four.
Why Caera Travel & Tours?
There are tons of tour operators in El Nido, and they all offer the same island hopping tours itineraries. After a careful evaluation of reviews on Trip Advisor, I decided to go with Caera Travel & Tours. They were undoubtedly a reputable company as they had been known for being environmentally conscious and they played an essential role in sustainable tourism in El Nido.
I honestly didn’t have any regrets taking their tours. The guide on the tours was approachable, fun, easy-going, professional, informative and—most importantly—communicative. You could say that he was everything you’d want in an island hopping guide! They would write down details of upcoming stops during both tours. I was very impressed. I was also satisfied on how Caera Travel and Tours handled the trip.
Getting two days filled with Island Hopping tours with Caera Travel Tours was awesome! I had Tour A and C. The best thing about them was that their boats would take off just a little after other groups had left, which meant we would have the space of each stop to ourselves. It was really nice to get that kind of “just us alone” atmosphere for short when others had left.
The following are the inclusions for all of the tours:
- Licensed big boat
- Licensed tour guide
- Hotel pick-up
- Buffet lunch with water
- Mask & snorkel
- Life vest & water safety equipment
Go to their website if you want to learn more about other island hopping tours that isn’t included here. Besides, they also offer many other activities that you wouldn’t want to miss out on.
Tour A (Lagoons & Snorkeling)
The group that I joined were actually a bunch of medical school graduates who just completed their degrees. Clearly, they were celebrating their accomplishment together. I’d say we all were in similar group of age, late 20’s.
Rate: 1,200 PHP per person (~$27 US Dollars)
Itinerary breakdown (chronological):
You will swim through a narrow gap leading to lagoon with beautiful rock formation surroundings. Be sure to swim all the way to the other side where there is a small cave to explore. Hey—watch out for the jellyfishes on the way! If you do get stung, don’t scratch, just rub. The sting will mostly go away after an hour or so (or until you submerge it beneath the seawater again).
Wearing a neck brace before coming to this stop would be ideal. You wouldn’t want to break your neck while being blown away by the EXTRA-CRYSTAL-CLEAR waters! I’ve never seen anything this clear in my life. This area is the most ideal place to go snorkeling.
This is where you will have your buffet lunch on a small, shaded beach. There were crabs, shrimp, fish, chicken, pork, rice, fruit, and tomato and egg salad served. You’ll have a breeze having your lunch here.
I wonder how secretive this stop really is. Looks like everybody knows about this top. You will find a shallow lagoon surrounded by huge rock walls after swimming past through a hole. This area was quite soothing for me and I could see why it’s called the Secret Lagoon.
7 Commando Beach
This is great place where you will lounge around with laid back atmosphere. There would be beach huts and a volleyball net.
In fact, I met a Deaf couple from France (currently living in Germany) who were traveling as well. We exchanged conversation for a short while about our traveling experiences and our life in general then we spilt up shortly after. Even though it was short, I enjoyed their company regardless.
Tour C (Beaches & Shrines)
Funny, because this was actually on the next day, but I still ended up with the same group of medical school graduates.
… And I got to admit that we were a little extra wild in this tour. They brought a pack of beer and shared them with me. Everybody were double-fist-pumping along with their drinks. That really brighten up the day as it was a bit gloomy but it wasn’t long before the dark clouds went away for the sun to shine.
One thing you should know about this tour is that if you’re the kind person who would be easily fascinated by the marine life, then this is the tour for you. Hey, that is if you’re on budget or time limitation.
Rate: 1,400 PHP per person (~$32 US Dollars)
Itinerary breakdown (chronological):
The name says it all. I’m telling you that the is shaped like a helicopter if you look at it from a distance in the air. You would want to say how blue the waters were in this area, but it’s not blue when you’re in the water. It’s more than clear like a pool. Feel free to snorkel or just lie on the beach.
Well, it was somewhat hidden, but be prepared to hold up your jaw as they will drop hard when you see stunning limestone, white sand, and warm water in beautiful emerald tones.
I got to admit that I was lucky to have the chance to check out this spot because it was once closed to the visitors because Survivors was being filmed there. Cool, ain’t it? =P
Secret Beach (Cancelled)
Unfortunately, this stop was cancelled due to the tide of the water being too high for us to get through. Thus, the length of our time at all of other stops were extended a little longer to fill in the schedule. I personally found this very pleasing because they were honest to ensure our experience is worth our money.
This is the buffet lunch stop and be sure to expect no difference in this buffet from the previous tour. They’d offer the exactly same thing for all tours’ lunch.
You will get to explore an abandoned monastery, a gazebo, and climb a set of stairs to see a great view of the shore and sea. Matinloc is the local term for beautiful and the island is indeed beautiful!
You’d want to snorkel in this area because this is where I spotted Crush the turtle! Although it wasn’t easy finding one, I still captured a great selfie of the turtle in the front of me with my GoPro camera! For me, this was the highlight of the Tour C.
Overall, both island hopping tours left me both exhilarated and pleasantly exhausted. I highly encourage you to do as many island hopping tours as you like and don’t miss A or C—these ones are the most popular! My tip for you is to book the day or night before because tours are so popular they’d often fill up fast.
Caera Travel & Tours
- Address: Hama St., Beuna Suerte Zone II, 5313 El Nido Palawan
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
- Website: http://www.caeratraveltour.com/