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 elusive Secret Lagoon as our final destination on Tour A.
By the time we had finished exploring the Big Lagoon and made our way back to our Bangka, we found our guide quite angry, and waiting for us. Apparently, in our excitement in exploring Big Lagoon and with the apparent shortage of kayaks at the beginning, we had overstayed our welcome. So, after a brief threat of “We are going back to El Nido” which was shot down immediately in a united chorus of “NOOOOOOO!”, we started off for Secret Lagoon, our very last stop for the day.
The atmosphere aboard was one of peace and contentment. Everyone was pretty exhausted with all the swimming and kayaking, but we were all still pretty excited about what Secret Lagoon would surprise us with. The boat ride was amazing at this point – the sun was setting, the air was warm, the sea was calm and life was good.
A short boat ride later, our Bangka set anchor at what looked like a tiny secluded beach. We looked back at our guide with surprised looks. What were we supposed to do? Where was the Secret Lagoon? He pointed to a rock on the left side of the boat, roughly 20 metres away. “Go. Swim,” that was all he said.
And, after a day of listening to him constantly, we didn’t question him. Into the water we all went, swimming towards the rock. I had no idea what to expect, I just knew I had to trust my guide and swim (albeit with my life jacket!). Once I reached the rock, I finally figured out why it was called the “Secret” Lagoon. There was a very tiny opening between the rocks – so tiny that we had to crawl through it. What greeted me on the other side was the tiniest lagoon that I had ever seen in my life.
It took a moment for reality to sink in, for everyone. And then happy shouts of “this is so cute!”, “how adorable!” and “YAYYYY!” echoed off the walls.
The water in the Secret Lagoon was stagnant and knee deep, and it was like being in our own little enclosure. Floating on my back, I could just look up and watch the sky through the opening between the limestone cliffs – and forget about my aching muscles.
Once I reached the rock, I finally figured out why it was called the “Secret” Lagoon
Before we knew it, it was time to leave since our guide himself had come down to ‘collect’ us. As we swam back to the boat, I couldn’t help but look back again wistfully at the rock opening just as I had done that very morning at the Seven Commandos beach. I was certainly going to miss that carefree version of me playing in the water like a child!
It had been a hectic day, starting with our beach stop at Seven Commandos beach, our fabulous lunch at Shimizu Island, turtle spotting and kayaking at Small Lagoon, falling over from our kayak three times in a row at the Big Lagoon, and finally ending with our special Secret Lagoon. I was quite tired by the time our boat pulled again into the El Nido Beach, but unequivocally happy.
It was an amazing start to Feetpin’s 21-day long trip to the majestic Philippines! And I couldn’t wait to get back to town and hit some dinner spots in El Nido town, before settling in for the night at our accommodation in El Nido, and waking up bright and early for another gorgeous island hopping Palawan trip – this time it would be Tour B!
Did I love the Secret Lagoon?
Do I recommend it?
Tips? 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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