El Nido Palawan the Philippines

5 Tips For Island Hopping In El Nido

Island hopping is the best kind of activity to do when you’re in El Nido, Palawan. An abundance of natural beauty fills every corner that Mobys ‘Porcelain’ will just play on repeat in your head as you look out from your boat, explore the underwater world, wriggle your toes on the white sand and explore hidden caves. These are tips I wish I knew – and things I’m glad I actually did – when I went island hopping in El Nido, the Philippines. Hopefully they help with your island hopping adventures!

Tips For Island Hopping In El Nido, Palawan

El Nido Palawan the Philippines


1. If you have a group of 4 or more, hire a private boat

There are 4 different kinds of Island Hopping Tours to explore El Nido – they’re called Tour A, B, C and D, and start from PHP700 (approx. AU$15). They each explore different places in El Nido and are all amazing, but the most popular are tours A & C. If you have a group of 4 or more it’s best to hire a private boat. This way you’ll be able to explore a more flexible route and escape the crowds of the other tour boats.

I can highly recommend Daphnee Travel & Island Tours. We hired our kayak and snorkel gear with them and they were really helpful and very knowledgable about the different islands and beaches for a flexible route. Download our free Travel Guide to El Nido, Palawan and get in touch with me if you would like their contact number.

2. Protect your camera and/or phone with an underwater case

An underwater case for your camera and mobile phone are a must! You’re going to get wet and so will any of your tech gear that you choose to bring along on your island hopping tour. Unless it stays in your bag – but what good is your camera in your bag? It should be out and on capturing life! Purchase an underwater case and make sure it’s attached properly before hopping on the boat. You’ll be able to take photos without freaking out every second that your camera will get ruined and also capture those cool underwater shots under the beautiful aqua waters.

Related: The Philippines Travel Video Diary

3. Bring a pair of aqua shoes along

Don’t even bother with wearing shoes on tour, except of course if it’s a pair of aqua shoes. I wish I knew this before I went – my thongs always floated off and my feet touched some weird feeling things underwater! Depending on the tide, the first walk out to hop onto the boat is quite a far distance with plenty of rocks and reefs to walk through. When you reach different places you’ll be swimming, walking and climbing through rocks to explore, with a pair of aqua shoes on you’ll be able to breeze through all of this with the rubber grip. I’d recommend to just get a slip on pair that you can tighten on the foot, easy peasy!

4. Hire a kayak and snorkel gear

You’ll be hopping on and off the boat to explore hidden lagoons, secret beaches and limestone cliffs. The boats normally have an area to stop at, then it’s up to you how you want to travel the rest of the way. Hire a kayak to get through (if you were to swim every time it can get quite tiring) and some snorkel gear to explore the coral reefs.

Related: Postcards from Palawan Island


5. Book an island hopping tour that includes lunch

Be sure to book an island hopping tour with lunch included. It’s part of the whole tropical island hopping experience! They prepare such a delicious and traditional feast; grilled seafood, fruit platters, coconuts.. all decorated and presented well. The island life, ahh how wonderful!
I hope you found these tips useful if you’re planning on island hopping in El Nido Palawan – please share if you did! And if you have any additional tips, please leave a comment below!

Happy travels!

Bonus: Free Travel Guide to El Nido, Palawan, The Philippines.

Travel Guide: El Nido Palawan The Philippines

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  • Lindsay

    Can you provide specific places to stay at in el nido? I’m traveling there next week and would love to know the best resorts to stay at. They don’t necessarily have to be expensive, any suggestions would be wonderful though. Thank you, you’re website is beautiful and full of great tips 🙂

  • ioris

    There’s nothing my
    family loves more than a beach vacation but they can be pricey. In the past
    few years, I’ve discovered that we can easily save over $1,000 on our
    one-week summer getaway simply by heading to a vacation rental then a beach
    resort. Hamptons Vacation rental are one such to go for when you are in
    Shelter Island.

  • Dana

    Hi Aubrey! Would you be able to give me the contact for Daphnee Island Tours and also do you know why there isn’t any reviews on them on Trip Advisor? Thanks!

    • Hi Dana, please send me an email aubrey[at]theloveassembly[dot]com and I can send you her details. Not too sure about trip advisor, they aren’t very techy and are operating purely word of mouth or if you just pass by, which makes for a real local experience. 🙂

  • wow. thanks for the tips. I want to bring my family in el nido. Where is the best place to stay in El nido? My family and I are still on vacation at Pampanga. I’m planning to bring my family there, maybe, first week of june. Send me a list of hotel in palawan, like this http://www.alviera.ph/hotels-san-fernando-pampanga/ so I can find a good place with low price.

  • BeyondBlighty

    Thanks for the tips! I can’t wait to get there next week. I’m checking out the tour provider you recommended now 🙂

  • Topp Sittikeat

    Thanks for trips. I am going to Philippines on February with my friends (total 4 people). But I have only one day at El Nido. Clould you please recommend the grogeous places if I go with flexible route (arrange/combine tour A and C).

  • liz

    Hi, is it a cheaper option to just book the tours there, rather than pre-booking?

  • Lauren @ atipsygypsylife.com

    Ugh, I love boating tours that offer food! Especially fruit and fish 🙂 Great list!