Island hopping is an absolute must-do when visiting El Nido. It is one of the most beautiful places in the world with small white sand beaches, lagoons, crystal clear water, and towering limestone cliffs. Choose from the four different boat tours and explore this paradise. In this blog post, we share our experiences and tips for island hopping with a private tour in El Nido, Palawan.
Island hopping in El Nido
To go on an island hopping tour in El Nido is a must-do. You can choose if you want to go on a group tour or a private boat tour. A shared boat is mainly the cheaper option, but you can only select one from the four different boat tours. A private tour allows you to combine stops from two different tours (not all tour companies will do that) and to start earlier than the other tours. We started our tour at 8 am in the morning. Group tours usually start around 9.30 – 10 am.
An Island hopping tour in El Nido includes a boat with crew, snorkeling gear, drinking water, lunch, and the environmental tax. If you are vegan/vegetarian, don’t forget to tell them before, they will cook a meal for you without meat or fish. We had rice, veggies, and a fantastic fruit platter.
El Nido island hopping tours
There are four different island hopping tours you can choose from in El Nido, which we have listed here with our recommendations. If you book a private boat tour, they usually allow you to choose from two different tours.
Tour A is the most popular one and that means the places on this tour are usually the most crowded ones.
- 7 Commandos Beach
- Secret Lagoon
- Shimizu Island
- Big Lagoon (additional entrance fee 200 pesos per person)
Tipp: If you don’t choose this tour, you can visit 7 Commandos Beach from Corong Corong Beach in El Nido with a Kayak by yourself, which is a fun adventure too.
Some of our favorite places on our private Island hopping trip were from tour B. We loved Pinagbuyutan Island and the small paradise beach of Entalula Island. We we did not pick any of the caves since we looked more for the beach and lagoon stops.
- Pinagbuyutan Island
- Cudugnon Cave
- Entalula Island
- Cathedral Cave
- Snake Island
The rest of the stops on the private boat tour we chose from tour C. We loved Helicopter Island and Secret Beach.
- Helicopter Island
- Hidden Beach
- Secret Beach
- Matinloc Shrine
- Tapiotan Island
This is the least popular boat tour in El Nido. If you go on a group trip we would recommend you to choose tour D because chances are high, that the boat won’t be full on this tour.
- Small Lagoon (additional entrance fee of 200 pesos per person)
- Paradise Beach
- Nat Nat Beach
- Serenity Beach
- Ipil Beach
Where to book your private island hopping tour
We chose a private boat tour to go island hopping in El Nido and booked our trip at Wanderlust Travel El Nido. We can recommend booking with them because they did a great job. The crew was very friendly and hard-working, the boat was big and comfortable, they made vegan lunch for us, and we could choose stops that we liked form two different tours.
We recommend you to book your tour 1-2 days before and tell them you would like to leave the earliest possible in the morning, which is usually around 8 am. The meeting point is at their office, and they will take you to the boat from here.
Wanderlust Travel El Nido offers group tours as well. It’s not only for private boat tours.
Cost for a private boat tour
The Price for the boat (crew, lunch, snorkeling gear included) was 8’000 pesos (150 $). Besides, we had to pay 200 pesos (4 $) per person for the Environmental fee. This fee is valid for 10 days, so if you do several different island hopping tours in Bacuit Bay within this time, you won’t have to pay for it again.
What to pack for your island hopping tour
- Dry-bag for your camera & phone
- Swimwear & towel
- Reef-friendly Sunscreen
- Sunglasses / Hat
Info: You won’t have to bring drinking water for your trip. The boat company will provide a big bottle of filter water and reusable cups. In fact, there are no plastic bottles allowed on boat tours in El Nido, to save the environment. This made us so happy to see.