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
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!