If you haven’t heard about El Nido in Palawan, Philippines, then you truly have been living under a rock! This incredible destination has swept the travel world with constant waves and glimpses of Philippines hidden treasures.
To break it down simply, once you have reached this hidden paradise, are settled into your accommodation, and enjoyed a decent dinner by the beach, your next item on the to-do list should actually be booking one of the many island tours that El Nido is famous for. All tour operators in El Nido offer four different packages of island hopping tours – Tour A, Tour B, Tour C and Tour D. This is a review of Tour A, which we chose to take in El Nido on our second day.
Since we arrived pretty late and were exhausted, we didn’t fancy walking around town to find a tour deal (but also didn’t want the next day to go to waste!). So, we decided to book through our hotel, who has a sister tour company called Amos and they arranged the Tour A package for us.
Good to know:
Your tour company will usually arrange pick-up from your accommodation, between 8 to 9am. Purchase a water-proof bag (plenty available in El Nido Streets), get your swimsuits ready and purchase a pair of water-shoes if you are planning to do more than one tour. (Renting these shoes for a day costs 100 pesos and purchasing costs around 250 pesos). Also, once you get to the beach/boat pick-up point, please note that you’ll have to walk/ swim/ kayak to your Bangka (traditional tour boat).
And it begins…
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Nothing I say, type or write will be adequate enough to describe the first rush of blissful peace and anticipation that hit me as soon as we sailed out of the El Nido port. We found ourselves in open water. The scene was absolutely gorgeous – the water was a gorgeous shade of deep midnight blue courtesy of it being a slightly cloudy day and everywhere we looked, beautiful limestone islets jutted out of the water. It is a very sublime road to Ha Long Bay – cleaner, fresher and most importantly, unspoiled.
Seven Commando Beach
I am immensely grateful that our tour guide decided to do our tour in reverse – that meant that we would be able to avoid the major crowds and experience more tranquility in our destinations. Our first destination was the Seven Commando beach.
Read more about our trip to Seven Commando beach in the sequel.
Our next spot on the list was this amazing little island, where we had our lunch. Shimizu Island was so beautiful and completely different from our previous destination, that we couldn’t wait to begin our expedition. Don't forget to read the sequel to know more!
Lunch was served by our fantastic crew. Fantastic and fresh food by the beach – need I say more?
Wait for our next series to know about the detailed experience of Shimizu island.
Once we were fully satiated with lunch, our guide announced our first adventure spot on Tour A – the famous Small Lagoon. Even approaching this place gave me the chills as I had only witnessed its majestic beauty in pictures before. And let me tell you this – no picture will ever do justice to this place, be it taken by me, or you or even by any professional photographers. Pictures of Small Lagoon available on internet are just a trailer of what's actually waiting for you there!
Don't miss out on our detailed experience of Small Lagoon in the next series.
The next stop on our itinerary was the other famous Lagoon – the Big Lagoon! After our visit to Small Lagoon, I was expecting it to be a slightly bigger version of the Small one. Boy, was I wrong! This was an all new ball game of its own with unique rock passages that you could explore by swimming or by kayak! Read more about our detailed experience of Big Lagoon in the next series.
The final spot on our itinerary was the most cherishable spot I have visited in the Philippines – the Secret Lagoon. As my phone’s battery ran out of juice by the time we reached the Secret Lagoon, I don’t have many pictures of this exquisite wonder. Still, wait for the sequel to know more about our detailed experience of Secret Lagoon!
Did I love Tour A? Yes!
Do I recommend it? Abso-defi-lutely!
Tips? Give yourself a day's rest before and after Tour A. Since this is an active tour with lots of swimming, snorkeling and kayaking, being exhausted will just retract you from the overall experience. I honestly wish I had a more relaxed time at El Nido instead of just rushing it with the tours, but hey, at least you can learn from my mistakes!
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