To break it down simply, all tour operators in El Nido offer four island hopping tours: Tour A, Tour B, Tour C and Tour D. We visited the notable Big Lagoon as our fourth destination on Tour A.
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.
Just after our morning beach stop at Seven Commandos Beach, our fabulous lunch at Shimizu Island and our turtle spotting and kayaking at Small Lagoon, we were just about adequately pumped up and ready to meet our next destination head on – the beautiful Big Lagoon.
We had encountered choppy waves at the Small Lagoon, but it started getting a little bad by the time we reached the entrance of the Big Lagoon. Once we got there, our guide once again gave us two options: kayak or swim. However, this time, even the confident swimmers looked wary. One tour-mate even decided to just photograph it using his drone and not even bother venturing into the water. A few of us decided to brave it – with kayaks, but even that proved to be a bit of a challenge. You see, it appeared that the remaining boats that had gotten there before us had the same idea too and kayaks were in short supply.
We finally managed to get a few kayaks and that was when the real fun (?!?) began. We had already asked our previous crew member to help us row and navigate the Big Lagoon. As the three of us tried to climb aboard the kayak, it promptly turned around and dumped us all in the water. A second try yielded the exact same result, with us spewing out salt water whilst trying to hold on to the kayak in the strong current. When the exact same thing happened after our third try, our guide started looking grim and suggested we forgo the kayaking. Call it sheer determination or desperation, but we weren’t the ones to give up. The fourth attempt was a success as we sat in the kayak like robots with minimal movement, determined to not capsize, at least until we got out of our guide’s line of vision.
The Big Lagoon was drastically different from the Small Lagoon in one aspect – whereas the entry to Small Lagoon was through a small rock opening, the entry to Big Lagoon was through a shallow and narrow passageway between the limestone cliffs. The water was so shallow at this passage that we could actually climb out of the kayak and walk in the water, whilst pulling the kayak along with us.
The water seemed deeper at the Big Lagoon and a darker shade of blue than we had glimpsed at the Small Lagoon. Also the winds seemed stronger. But, apart from that, once we entered the lagoon itself, we found loads of other similarities. The same stillness prevailed, the limestone cliffs looked the same, and we were accompanied by the same sort of kayakers and swimmers as we had encountered in the Small Lagoon, albeit less crowded though.
My travel partner and I were in agreement about one thing though – no matter what words we used to describe this place, no matter how many pictures and videos we took, even if we actually wrote poetry and songs about this place – it would still fall short of describing the immense beauty of both these Lagoons. You just SIMPLY HAVE TO BE THERE! Still, travel blogger duty in mind, I went ahead and snapped up a few more photos for you!
One of my most memorable moments at the Big Lagoon was when our kayak crew guide took us into a hidden and secluded part of the lagoon and we found the most enticing waterway through a narrow passageway between the limestone cliffs. Because it was so hidden and secluded, we were the only ones navigating through it and I couldn’t help thinking of the first locals who must have suddenly rowed their way into these lagoons one day and discovered them.
After spending almost an hour there (it’s hard to provide an accurate estimate – time simply stopped to exist inside the lagoon – It could have been 5 minutes, it could have been 50!), we decided to make our way back to the boat. After all, our last and final stop still awaited exploration – the elusive Secret Lagoon!
Did I love the Big Lagoon?
Do I recommend it?
Give yourself a day of rest before and after Tour A – this is an active Tour with lots of swimming, snorkelling and kayaking – being exhausted will just retract from your overall experience. I honestly wish I had a more relaxed time instead of just rushing it with the tours, but hey, at least you can learn from my mistakes!
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