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Island hopping around El Nido
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El Nido might be the most popular town on Palawan Island in the Philippines. But, people don’t come here from all over the word because this town is so amazing.. It’s because of the islands surrounding El Nido.
About 45 islands are spread over the waters off the coast of El Nido, called the Bacuit Archipelago. This is mother nature at her best and you need to see it to believe it!
In this guide we will tell you all about these beautiful islands to make the most of your island hopping experience.
The islands of the Bacuit Archipelago are all unique and are filled with hidden beaches, secret lagoons and coves all surrounded by beautiful limestone cliffs.
Over 250 milion years the islands were shaped by the sea and all weather conditions into these stunning pieces of heaven.
As the story goes, this heaven was only discovered in 1979 by some tuna fishermen. They were forced to stay the night in one of the coves and admired the beauty in the morning!
Island hopping is the exact thing you’d come to El Nido for. The Bacuit archipelago is only to explore by boat and we will tell you all about these boat tours.
Which tour company
There are many companies in El Nido that offer the amazing Bacuit island hopping tours, which can make it hard to choose. Our recommendation is a company in El Nido called APE TOURS.
They are located in Pops district at Corong Corong (beach) in El Nido.
Why APE tours
The APE Tours crew is dedicated to make your experience the best one you could possibly have. With stops at secret beaches and awesome snorkeling spots, while eating the best food ever and sipping on a drink! Bonus, they take the best pictures for you for free!
Ivan, the owner of APE tours, is one of the most fun and happy people we’ve met on our travels. After a short conversation he invited us for a special tour, together with his family and friends. We stopped at all the best spots and had so much fun! So big thanks to the APE tours crew!
What tour to choose
In general there are four different tours or routes to choose from in the Bacuit Archipelago around El Nido, which are A, B, C and D.
Group or private
Most companies offer group tours and private tours. Depending on your budget it’s always nice to book a private tour and have the boat all to yourself. However, the group tours with APE tours are really nice with good vibes! Even if you are not a GROUP tour person.
A, B, C or D
All islands around El Nido are incredibly amazing and that can make it hard to choose the right tour for you. Let us explain what’s included in the different tours!
Tour A – El Nido
Tour A is the most popular tour, but that also makes it the most crowded one. This tour is definitely popular for a reason tho. It will take you to the most beautiful beaches and lagoons around El Nido.
Destinations on Tour A: Small lagoon, Big lagoon, Secret lagoon, Shimizu Island and 7 Commando beach.
Tour B – El Nido
Tour B is less popular, but still very beautiful. It includes some caves and some less visited but beautiful islands. One of the islands is Pinagbuyutan Island, a stunning round ball of heaven in the middle of the ocean.
Destinations on Tour B: Pinagbuyutan Island, Vigan or Snake Island, Entalula beach, Cathedral cave and Cudugnon cave.
Tour C – El Nido
Tour C is popular and a lot of people think it’s the best tour. The popularity can make it a bit busier than the others, but you’ll visit some of the most incredible places around El Nido.
Destinations on Tour C: Helicopter Island, Secret beach, Mantiloc Shrine, Hidden beach and Star beach.
Tour D – El Nido
This is the least popular tour of the four. It’s an incredible tour, but it doesn’t hit those ‘must-see’ places like the other tours.
We think this one is perfect to take after tour A or C. This way you can experience the must sees and some more!
Destinations on Tour D: Ipil beach, Paradise beach, Cadlao lagoon, Pasandigan beach, Bukal beach and Natnat beach.
Where to stay
El Nido is full of cozy hostels and beautiful hotels, which you can choose depending on the location of the tour company. Like we said, APE tours is one the best tour companies in El Nido and you can stay in multiple places around the Pops District.
Here’s a few options with great stays in a cosy district, from budget to luxury.
Budget – Dormitels.ph El Nido
Located in the Pops District and just a few meters from Corong Corong beach, you’ll find Dormithels.ph El Nido. They have mostly small hotel rooms, all on ground level for a very small price. Don’t expect too much luxury, but you’ll be in a great location with good bars and restaurants.
Pricerange per night: €20 – €50
Mid range – Suites by Eco Hotel
This beautiful Suites by Eco Hotel is located Right next to Dormitels.ph in the Pops District. White exterior combined with wood and wicker hanging chairs on the balconies and located right on Corong Corong beach.
Pricerange per night: €95 – €140
Luxury – Karuna El Nido Villas
These stunning Karuna El Nido Villas on Corong Corong beach are a party to stay in. With a gorgeous view over the ocean and very spacious rooms with balconies, you will make the most of your stay in El Nido.
Pricerange per night: €160 – €400
Special experience – Isla | The Island Experience
These special accommodations are located on Darocotan Island about 44 km from Big Lagoon. This environment friendly ‘Isla – The Island Experience’ has a beautifully diverse staff team including some ducks, dogs and a pig named Betty. One of the best features for ocean lovers is the shipwreck right off the shore!
Pricerange per night: €75 -€120
Good to know
There’s a few things to keep in mind when booking a tour in EL Nido.
- The cheapest tours are mostly the most crowded boats, pick APE tours! They have normal prices with the best experiences.
- Check with the tour company if snorkeling gear and kayaks are included. If not ask the tour company for options to rent gear. You wouldn’t want to miss out on the best experience by not having your mask and fins with you!
- Plastic bottles are forbidden to bring on the tours to the Bacuit Archipelago.
- You’re not allowed to smoke during the tours to the Bacuit Archipelago.
- Try to book your tour on the best day possible weather wise, just because everything looks prettier in the sun!
So now you know what tours El Nido has to offer, book your trip and head over to APE TOURS.
Hi! We’re Tim & Ilse
Together with our fluffy cat Snowy we travel around the world searching for adventures.