Island Hopping at El Nido
Welcome to El Nido
So I actually did reach El Nido against all odds. And next day I was ready to explore the place, but why was I here? I hadn’t gone to all that effort just to enjoy the beach by town; I was here to do some island hopping on the famous archipelago. Well, I had hoped to also do some scuba diving, but I just didn’t have time for it anymore.
You’ll have no problem finding a tour operator to sell you an island hopping tour, there are dozens of tour operators. It seems that everybody and their cat can sell you an island hopping tour here. All the tours are also standardized, so it’s easy to shop around. The tours offered are *cue the suspense music*:
- Tour A
- Tour B
- Tour C
- Tour D
I kow, it’s all very exciting, isn’t it!
Many of the islands near El Nido consist of steep cliffs
I mean seriously. Who the hell came up with those names? And they are standard, if you buy the tour B from operator 1 or 2, it will be the same tour.
So you know what you are getting, but come on, hasn’t there been any marketing people here at all? I’m pretty sure I could come up with better names. Here goes:
- The Lagoon Tour
- The Island Tour
- The Secret Tour
- The Paradise Tour
And if anybody from El Nido is reading this, please feel free to use the names.
Speeding past rocks
From the tours, tour A and Tour C; or The Lagoon Tour and the Secret Tour are geared towards snorkelling, so if that’s your cup of tea, you should consider those two, and from what I’ve heard those are the best ones.
I opted for the Lagoon Tour (that’s Tour A if you haven’t been paying attention) with one of the tour companies that has actually been around a bit longer, the El Nido Boutique & Artcafé. I had heard good things about them. The other recommended tour is the Secret Tour; and by now I’m sure you’ve picked up the new naming convention so I don’t have to use the old boring names anymore.
We headed off early; there were seven of us on board. First stop was Small Lagoon (yes that’s the name of the lagoon) on Miniloc Island, accessible by snorkelling. Now I wish I had a waterproof camera, but no. So unfortunately you’ll have to make do with photos from the entrance. Suffice to say, it was pretty impressive inside the lagoon, which was surrounded by cliffs and jungle on all sides.
There were a few other boats at the Small Lagoon on Miniloc Island
Next stop was the Big Lagoon on the same island. Big Lagoon, Small Lagoon? *Sigh*, I give up.
The Big Lagoon is accessible via very shallow entrance which our boat couldn’t handle according to our captain so we opted to walk in the knee high water. Well, I opted to swim as it was easier in the shallow water.
On the other side of Miniloc Island
Entrance to the Big Lagoon
After the two lagoons, we stopped to a small beach where our guides set up a grill and started barbecuing some fish and kebabs. Barbecue on your own paradise beach tastes pretty damn good, especially since we also had some cold beers.
Getting on shore for some lunch
It just demanded a tourist photo!
While waiting for our lunch there was plenty of time for swimming
Next we stopped by Entalula Island where we did some snorkelling. There was plenty of fish swimming around the corals, and we even managed to see one turtle.
Then we stopped on one last lagoon that was surrounded on all sides by tall sharp cliffs and only accessible thru a small hole in one of the walls. It was impressive.
Throwing the anchor on our second to last stop
Last stop was the 7 Commando Beach, which is a stunning paradise beach where many of the tours end. It really looks like a damn postcard and there is a hut where you can buy beer and coconuts, and it’s not even too expensive.
As beaches go, this was gorgeous. It had it all, the beautiful white sand beach with turquoise tropical waves gently breaking against it. It was surrounded by high cliffs on one side and jungle on the other. You had the palm trees and perfect blue sky. What more could you ask for?
I was quite happy that this was to be the last beach on my amazing 2011 world tour. Almost perfect I would say.
Arriving to the 7 Commando Beach
The 7 Command beach is surrounded by jungle and high cliffs
Getting on shore
White sand, crystal clear water, palm tree and cold beer; what more could I ask
Tips for El Nido Island Hopping tours:
- Tours include the same places with all tour operators, but the lunches might vary considerably, so ask around from people who’ve already done tours
- Get the full snorkelling gear if you do a snorkelling tour, you’ll need it!
- Bring some money for some beers
- Bring your sunscreen
Where do you think are the worlds most beautiful islands?