The real beauty of El Nido rests in its pristine and unspoiled islands scattered all over the Bacuit Bay. With two full days to spend in this tropical paradise, we had the opportunity to visit ten of them. It's the ultimate reason why I'd want to stay in El Nido forever. :-)
El Nido is composed of 45 islands and islets making island hopping an essential activity. The island hopping is grouped as tour A, B, C and D (ranging from P700 to P900 per person). For each island hopping tour, you'll get to visit at least five islands (see map here). Tours A and B are the most common ones and recommended for first-time visitors. On the other hand, tour C covers the farthest islands among the group. Tours A and C got our interest.
Day 2 - Island Hopping Tour A
We woke up to a heavy rain on our second day in El Nido. For a while, bad weather threatened to spoil our island hopping activity. We know July is a rainy season in the Philippines but there was no news of incoming bad weather days before our trip. Sometimes, Mother Nature likes to play a little game with the weatherman.
At 9 AM, a big boat picked us up from Hadefe Cottages. The sun hiding behind the dark clouds began to show up. The weather had cooperated this time. Our boat headed to El Nido town beach where a family of 19 members (from infant and kids to adults) were waiting to be picked up and join us. My friend and I suddenly felt out of place. What the heck, we were there to enjoy ourselves. :-P
1. Big Lagoon
Our first destination was the Big Lagoon. Just a few minutes before reaching the entrance of the lagoon, it started to rain again. I did not care about the rain. The only thing that bothered me though was how to take good pictures without the rain and gloominess ruining the view. I was really hoping that my pictures would give justice to the real beauty of the place.
However, you cannot go wrong in El Nido. Everywhere you look is a photograph of incredibly beautiful sceneries. The long stretch of crystal clear turquoise water between the limestone walls that leads to the lagoon was so inviting you'd want to jump into straight away. Entering the Big Lagoon was an amazing moment of visual spectacle. This was one of the reasons why we chose this tour.
We didn't stay long or swim inside the Big Lagoon though. We just made a single round, took some pictures and left for the next destination.
2. Small Lagoon
This area is also an excellent snorkeling spot.
Our next stop was the Small Lagoon which is not far from its big counterpart. Small Lagoon is hidden and in order to get there, you need to swim or kayak through a small crack between the rocks. The task could get difficult during high tide as the hole becomes smaller. It's kind of challenging but once we got inside, we couldn't stop uttering moans of amazement. Just wow!
We were not able to enjoy taking pictures with our DSLR as it was drizzling, and we were on a kayak. One of the things you really should bring along for island hopping in El Nido is a waterproof camera. You wouldn't want to miss any special sightings whatever the weather condition is.
3. Simizu Island
Simizu Island was our third stop where we stayed the longest. We took our lunch here. Lunch is inclusive in the island hopping fee and the food is cooked and prepared by the boat men themselves onsite.
The compact white-sand beach of Simizu Island was the perfect location to enjoy a great lunch. From overcast skies, luckily, the sun shone in its full glory this time. The towering limestone cliffs provide shade and make the beach a nice resting spot for tourists. The island is picture perfect. What's special about the island is the variety of tropical fish and corals, proving El Nido's rich marine life. We had so much fun feeding fishes off the coast of the island which I think deserves a separate blog post. :-)
4. Entalula Island
The beach of Entalula Island, our fourth stop, is very impressive. I was astonished by the long stretch of very fine, powdery white sand rivaling that of Boracay. And of course, the water is so freaking crystal clear. The coconut tree canopies complete the look and feel of the island as a magnificent tropical hideaway. It was fascinating I did not want to leave!
The white sand beaches of El Nido island has never failed to blow me away. I even lost count on how many times I said "Wow!"
5. Seven Commando Beach
This is another stunning beach that boasts a magnificent span of superb white sand. The lush green coconut palms and trees also make Seven Commando a remarkably beautiful island. It's interesting to know that there is a small native hut in the island that sells fresh buko juice. You can buy and sip fresh coconut juice directly from its shell at P50 to cool off – a perfect end to the island hopping adventure.
Our first taste of island hopping in El Nido ended with a great feeling of fulfillment, wonder and awe. El Nido captivated me so much. We couldn't wait the next day for another day of island exploration.
Read more about my El Nido and Puerto Princesa series:
- Part 1 - Palawan: A Gateway to Paradise
- Part 2 - Falling in Love with the Islands of El Nido (Part 1)
- Part 3 - El Nido: Fish Feeding at Simizu Island
- Part 4 - Falling in Love with the Islands of El Nido (Part 2)
- Part 5 - Discovering Palawan's Jewel: The Puerto Princesa Underground River
- Part 6 - Puerto Princesa City Tour