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Island Hopping at El Nido

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?


  1. Really beautiful photos. Incredible colour of the ocean in some of these.
    Sophie recently posted..Urbino – a secret Italian hilltop townMy Profile

    • Thanks Sophie, the ocean really was stunning colour near the beaches where it was shallow enough to show of that beautiful turquoise colour.

  2. Enjoyed reading your post! Really think El Nido’s a paradise. Must agree with your suggestion about the tours, I think the local tourism department should take note.
    Rain recently posted..Sydney on a Budget: A Guide For Filipino TravelersMy Profile

    • Thanks, glad that you enjoyed it :)

  3. Glad to see that El Nido was really worth it. And yes, I do agree about the Tour names, yours sound way better!

    I think the most beautiful islands are in the Philippines. Of course, I’m biased since I’m from here but I’m sure you’d agree after El Nido!

    • Yes El Nido was definitely worth it. Philippines does have some absolutely stunning islands that’s for sure, El Nido was just gorgeous!

  4. how visually stunning!! would LOVE to island hop there!
    jenjenk recently posted..Photo Friday: Japanese Wedding Couple in Traditional DressMy Profile

    • It is beautiful, you should visit El Nido for sure!

  5. Those turquoise waters, white beaches, blue skies – all looks amazing. Beautiful place to island hop.
    Sam recently posted..Islands in the Sky Section of Canyonlands National ParkMy Profile

    • Yes Sam, it is all you could ask for from island hopping :)

  6. Wow what a beautiful and relaxing way to spend a day. I’d never want to leave …
    cheryl recently posted..Postcards From Positano.My Profile

    • It was difficult to go I admit. I would’ve been happy to stay on that beach a lot longer…

  7. I, once, went on an island hop in Greece, they called it The Pirate Tour. :) It was truly amazing, we had to swim out to one of those islands we touched during the tour, and we got our freshly grilled fish lunch there. I love your stunning photos! It must have been a great day.
    Anna recently posted..Dental treatment – everyone needs it sooner or later {???}My Profile

    • Thanks Anna :) That sounds like a good island hopping tour also; I still need to visit Greece, and it seems I need to do some island hopping while there.

  8. The colors of your photos are stunning! What a beautiful place ^^
    Annie – FootTracker recently posted..Taiwan (12) Bookstore For Thought @TaichungMy Profile

    • Thanks :) it is a gorgeous place!

  9. Hey, glad to come across your blog! :) Lagoon tours and Secret tours are great name suggestions. :) When we went there we also chose Tours A and C. Tour C is more adventurous and is very worth it. Your photos are stunning.
    Gabz @ Pinoy Travel Freak recently posted..Travel Photo Friday: St. Anne Parish Church in Molo, Iloilo CityMy Profile

    • Glad that you enjoy the blog and the photos! Yeah, I wish I had had enough time for two tours there, oh well, next time! :)

  10. I would kill to go on Tour A, but you describe Tour C so nicely as well!! Where is this again? :)

    Kidding — would love to go back to El Nido — the water looks just like those photos…

    • Yep, I definitely wouldn’t mind going back to El Nido some day! :)

  11. amen to the renaming… haha

    El Nido is just beautiful.
    ayan recently posted..BIG.breakfastMy Profile

    • Thanks, yeah I think renaming of the tours is in order! :)

  12. Yowza, gorgeous photos! Those boats look really neat – Kali is a bit of a boat aficionado, and I know he would LOVE to sail on one of those. I can see him drooling from over here, lol.
    Christy @ Technosyncratic recently posted..Adventures in Thai MassageMy Profile

    • Thanks Christy, glad you liked them! The boats were amazing, I did get to enjoy a longer boat ride with one of the local boats (similar but smaller than the boats shown here), story about that coming later :)

  13. Stunning photos!

    As Liz Lemon would say, “I want to go to there”.
    Chris recently posted..And the winner is…My Profile

    • Thanks :) El Nido is absolutely gorgeous!

  14. I envy you! I haven’t been to El Nido huhu. Still wondering when will my dream trip ever push through :(
    Micamyx|Senyorita recently posted..Reminiscing While Waiting for my BKK-CLK FlightMy Profile

    • awww, I’m sure you’ll get there at some point. You have to!

  15. It seems that you are having so much doing Island hopping! El Nido is truly beautiful hope to be there this summer.

    • It is really beautiful, hope you get there!

  16. Glad to see you love our beaches. We’ve got lots to be proud of and many more you can discover this side of my islands. :-)
    Have enjoyed browsing through your adventures. Be safe always.
    Jojie Alcantara recently posted..Batman rode in style hereMy Profile

    • I absolutely loved the beaches there. So gorgeous! I need to go back again :)

  17. I am currently blogging about El Nido Island Hopping and searching for other blogs who know the name of the island until I’ve come across your blog. Unfortunately, it’s not here hehe.

    I enjoyed reading your blog though, you have come up with names of tours haha! If I were to put up a business there I will use your name suggestions! 😀
    Ada | Adaphobic Travels recently posted..Travel Guide: Nacpan and Calitang Beach, El Nido + PhotosMy Profile

    • Yeah, can’t remember all the names of the islands, there are so many of them! And yep they need better names!

  18. Really very interesting to read that all ! We are going to El Nido in the beginning of December and your blog makes my pleasure to gow get bigger ( if thats posiible 😉 )
    Perhaps you can answer a question : You said there are a lot of tour operators, isnt it much crowded on the different Islands when all tours take the same routes and starts and ends up at the same places ?


    • There are lot of people, but there are a lot of places to go to, and they often go to places at different times, so it’s not as bad as it could be. Some of the places get a bit busy, but some places then you’ll just be by yourself. So I wouldn’t worry about it.


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