The must-do activity in El Nido is definitely island hopping, as it is best way to discover the beauty of the islands of the Bacuit Bay. If you do not yet know which tour to choose from those proposed by local agencies, here’s all you need to know about these tours to make your choice!
Island hopping tours in El Nido
The majority of El Nido travel agencies will give you the choice between four tours (A, B, C, and D), each one of them taking you to a different area of the Bacuit archipelago. If tour A and tour C are the most popular among travelers, tour B and tour D are also great, and will allow you to discover sumptuous lagoons, islets, and white sandy beaches.
– Tour A
Tour A will take you to the Secret Lagoon, a tropical jewel that will probably remind you of the movie “The Beach” with Leonardo Di Caprio. You will also discover the island of Shimizu, known for its numerous nests of Salanganes, highly prized by Asians for their medicinal properties. You will then set sail on the Big and Small Lagoon, where you will discover the very abundant sea life. The last stop will be the Seven Commandos beach, whose name comes from the seven Japanese commanders who stayed on the island after the Second World War, castaways on this splendid sandy beach.
– Tour B
Lesser known, tour B will take you to magnificent natural sites, like the islands of Pangalusian and Pinagbuyutan and their dream beaches, as well as Snake Island, whose name comes from its characteristic shape. Tour B will also take you to the Cadugnon cave, which is very interesting for history lovers because it contains remains of the Sung dynasty (960-1279 BC). The excursion will finally end on Pinasil Island and the Cathedral Cave, only illuminated by a ray of sunlight coming from top of the cave.
– Tour C
As popular as Tour A, Tour C takes you to Dilumacad Island and Helicopter Island, the latter taking its name from its shape, but also to the island of Tapiutan, particularly recommended for practicing snorkeling. The tour will then continue on the island of Matinloc, famous for its secret beach only accessible by sea, and to Kulasa Beach, where the shallow water allows you to see underwater. Still on the island of Matinloc, you will discover the beautiful Star Beach, ideal for a lunch break, as well as the temple of Matinloc, dedicated to the Virgin Mary.
– Tour D
Tour D will first take you to Ipil Beach, only accessible by boat. You will then leave for Cadlao Island, the largest of the archipelago, to discover the magnificent beach of Pasandigan and the lagoon of Cadlao. You will continue your trip to the island of Pangulasian where you will enjoy the beautiful beaches of Nat Nat and Bukal. Finally, you will end the day on Paradise Beach, located on the island of Entalula, which really is a paradisiacal place.
– Combined tours
If you do not have much time to spend in El Nido, but you want to see the beauty of Bacuit archipelago, the combined towers (A + B, A + C, or C + D) can be a good option. For a cheaper price than what would cost two tours, you can do two tours in one (spending half as much time at each site).
All island hopping tours leave the main beach of El Nido around 9:00 am, and return between 16:00 to 17:00. If you book your tour with an agency, hotel, or other intermediary, the appointment point may be different. Be sure to clarify this point to avoid any misunderstanding on the day of departure!
Note that the island hopping tours generally include lunch as well as the rental of snorkeling equipment and lifejackets, and of course, an English speaking guide.
Tours A, B, C, and D cost between 1200 and 1400 Philippine pesos (between 22 and 26 usd) by most agencies in town, but private boat services are also available at a higher rate. The combined tours cost around 1900-2000 Philippine pesos (35 to 38 usd).