The Philippines is home to over 7000 islands. So how exactly do you choose where to go island hopping in the Philippines, because let’s be real, that’s mostly what you’ll be doing!
People flock to the Philippines for its pristine beaches, many saying that they are some of the most beautiful in the world. They aren’t lying. But with so many islands to choose from it’s easier to narrow down than expected.
Have you heard of Palawan? If not then you’ve probably at least seen a video gone viral of drone shots of the island. They’re all over social media and you simply can’t stop watching them, they’re mesmerizing.
Palawan island has previously been voted the number one island in the world, and has consistently kept its place in the top five over the years. It’s one of the most popular destinations in the Philippines for both tourists and locals for a good reason. You’ll be adding this destination to your Philippines itinerary first.
People head to the island to see its most famous spots: El Nido and Coron, both spots worth visiting. They both have island hopping, both are great for snorkeling and scuba diving, and both have out of this world views.
El Nido is the easier of the two to get to and closer to Puerto Princesa, where most people fly into. It is still a 5-6 hour drive from Puerto Princesa to El Nido, but it is so worth it. I mean look at these views below. Talk about some Instagram-worthy pictures.
El Nido is also known to be pricier (boo) but it has way better beaches (you can’t have everything right?). And as the title of this blog post suggests it also has amazing island hopping.
From El Nido island hopping you can take four different tours (A,B,C,D). All of the places you find selling tours sell the same ones, meaning that they just go to the same locations. You can also purchase an El Nido tour package and do multiple tours! Some will leave earlier than others so you hit the prime spots before they’re packed with tourists. Others will leave later and will let you sleep in, because you’re on vacation!
You’ll spend the day on the boat visiting different spots to snorkel, swim, or just stare in awe at the magnificent scenery surrounding you. You may even have lunch on the boat that will most likely be seafood (most meals in the Philippines consist of plenty of seafood!).
El Nido tour A will take you to some of the famous spots around El Nido that include the big lagoon, small lagoon, secret lagoon, and more. This is also the most popular tour, plus you get awesome shots like this below.
The other tours will obviously take you to more islands, beaches, and snorkeling spots. I definitely think it’s best to take more than one if you wish to see as much of El Nido as possible. Plus it’s affordable! I went on tour A with Sealand Venture Tours. Their crew was amazing, cooking a delicious lunch for us and even being personal photographers at the best picture spots (the pictures did not disappoint). They were very friendly and had fun with us, doing flips off of the boat and kayaking some of us around.
You can book tours with them at Ocean Vista Inn which is where I stayed during my trip to El Nido. It is centrally located to everything you need and has the kindest staff. You literally walk out the front door, take about 20 steps and then you’ll be boarding your boat for the day. Plus the internet was usable for most of the day and El Nido is known for having slow or virtually unusable internet. But you’re there to go island hopping!
Make sure you check out Art Cafe, which is a restaurant that has a spectacular ocean view with delicious western food if you’re craving it. It’s a few shops down the road from Ocean Vista Inn and you’ll probably find your way back there a number of times.
Whatever you do in the Philippines make sure you visit one of the world’s most beautiful islands, Palawan and get yourself to El Nido for some of the best island hopping of your life. It’s a vacation spot you won’t want to miss. And just in case you’re not convinced that you should even visit the Philippines, here’s why it’s perfect for anyone.