El Nido’s cluster of gum drop-shaped islands, popular for their dramatic limestone cliffs and white sand beaches, really is as extraordinary in individual as it seems in photographs.
The very best way to delight in El Nido is to hop about these islands, armed with a mask and snorkel, and sunscreen, of course!
Tours in El Nido are organized with set stops and labeled A via D. Tour A is the most common in El Nido, thanks to the Massive and Tiny lagoons. Offered this, there are some points you must know prior to diving in (pun intended!). Written in 2019, this is the most up-to-date resource on the World-wide-web for El Nido island hopping tour A:
The Massive and Tiny Lagoons
It made use of to be that Tour A stopped at each the Massive and Tiny lagoons. Nonetheless current legislation, in an work to curb the quantity of folks who go to every day, dictates that guests could now only go to a single or the other in the span of a day.
You will want to make certain that your tour operator has a single of these permits readily available for you prior to booking. I got to practical experience the Massive lagoon and believed it was ideal. I’ve been told that each are incredible, so I recommend going for whichever is readily available.
It is complicated to get the lagoons to oneself, but the significant lagoon is significant adequate that it does not really feel crowded, especially the farther in you go.
Absolutely everyone I saw at the Massive lagoon rented a kayak for 250 pesos. But I like to swim, so I opted to swim via the Massive lagoon rather and it was the highlight of my complete El Nido practical experience! If you like to swim as substantially as I do, bring along a mask and snorkel and go for it. Just be further cautious to steer clear of stone fish and sea urchins. I advise never ever standing up previous the sandy entrance so only do this if you will not will need common rests.
Preserve in thoughts that you need to put on a life jacket when in the Massive lagoon, irrespective of whether you are swimming or kayaking. Nonetheless there is no existing and zero waves, so I clipped the lifejacket to a buoy and had most of my Massive lagoon practical experience without having a single. To me it is a silly rule and I totally detest life jackets, but do hold in thoughts that the lagoon really is significant and if you consider you will get tired, you can bring it along as a sort of kickboard.
The Hidden Lagoon is not so hidden any longer, but this circular, nearly totally sealed off lake is accessible via a tiny hole in the side of the lime stone and it is so cool!
I got fortunate and had a complete couple of minutes in the lagoon all to myself. There are generally queues to get in, but you can normally hang out on the beach nearby or close to the rock formations a couple of yards out till it clears up.
There’s a lot of snorkeling involved on Tour A, like a spot devoted just to snorkeling. The corals are beautiful, and a highlight for me was the college of tiny glittering blue fish swimming about.
The advantage of snorkeling in El Nido is the super clear water. Probabilities are superior that your tour will do the snorkeling portion earlier in the day prior to there’s substantially wind and existing, so it tends to make for an uncomplicated, enjoyable practical experience.
An impressive lime tone island with a smaller white sand beach, this is ordinarily the lunch spot for organized Tour A groups.
There is also some snorkeling about right here, but be cautious not to get swept down the channel among Shimizu and its neighboring island. It is not a crazy sturdy existing, at least not when I was there, but points can adjust with the seasons.
Seven Commandos Beach
As opposed to Shimizu island, this beach has a larger, longer stretch of white sand along with palm trees, a small basketball court in the sand, and beach huts.
This is exactly where most the tours finish up as it is the closest to El Nido town. You can also access this beach with a kayak later on if you like it adequate to come back!
Organized tours present additional or significantly less the very same spread of rice, grilled fish and chicken, fresh fruit, and salad. It is a quite superior supplying but tends to price 1500 pieces further if you are undertaking the tour on your personal as a private tour. In this case, I’d advise bringing your personal meals.
The fees for all group tours are fixed now in El Nido with Tour A priced at 1200 pesos per individual. I study on-line previously that the rates would differ based on high quality but this is no longer accurate. The only location I identified the cost a bit more affordable was via booking on Klook. The ratings are quite superior, so if I had accomplished a group tour I would almost certainly have accomplished that. Tour A also has a 200 pesos environmental charge per individual, which is superior for any other tour for 10 days, and an added 200 for either the Massive or Tiny lagoons. You will also want to bring some further money in case you want to obtain a coconut or rent a kayak.
As for the private tours, you can anticipate pretty a significant variety. Quite substantially every person in town can sell you a single, from tour operators to hotels to even the tricycle drivers. I asked about 15 distinctive areas about their pricing and the least expensive ended up becoming at my hotel, El Nido Overlooking. Their tour is priced at 6000 pesos, which is 1000 reduced than anyplace else I checked. Once again, considering the fact that nearly every person just goes via the very same agencies and books random boats, I do not know that high quality manage varies if you spend additional.
It is also probable that the boats will quote a larger cost. That occurred to me with Tour A but not with Tour B. So I ended up needing to spend 6000, but without having meals. If you reduce out meals from the trip, you can save 1500 pesos. It is extremely unlikely that you would commit additional than that if you get meals on your personal, so I’d recommend undertaking what I did and finding further meals the evening prior to and storing it in your area fridge (El Nido overlooking has them in their rooms) I brought along the Mexican beans and rice bowl from Taste El Nido and it was ideal.
Is a Private or Group Tour A Much better?
Is it greater to do Tour A with a group in order to reduce down on fees, or is it greater to do a private tour? Year more than year, the price of a private tour in El Nido has been compounding. Even just two years ago, it was about half the cost that it is these days. I identified a couple of firms on-line that had also-low-to-be-accurate rates, and when I contacted them to confirm they told me that they had in fact doubled. So if you are undertaking a private tour in El Nido you can anticipate to be quoted anyplace from 7000 pesos on the low-finish to 9000 on the larger finish – nearly $175 USD!
Is it worth it to do a private tour? This completely depends on how substantially flexibility and freedom you want to adjust up specific products in the itinerary or even attempt to leave earlier or do some of it in the reverse, AND how a lot of folks you are sharing the boat with. On a single hand I liked undertaking the tours as private tours due to the fact it meant no waiting about in the morning, which from time to time requires a couple of hours for the group tours, and becoming capable to delight in every location for as lengthy as I wanted. I was from time to time capable to get points to myself this way, like the Hidden lagoon.
The downside is whoever you book this with, irrespective of whether it is a hotel or agency, possibilities are superior the proper hand is not seriously speaking to the left. I was quite disappointed that the guide on my boat attempted to reduce out two of the stops on my Tour A, rationalizing it by saying that Shimizu island was the “lunch stop” but considering the fact that we had brought our personal lunch, he attempted to reduce that cease off. I also did a private tour B, which I was capable to customize a bit additional, but all round my practical experience with each guides in El Nido was not that constructive, in particular when compared to Coron and Romblon. Possibly it is due to the fact the guys make a superior commission off of the integrated lunch and have been mad we’d gone the more affordable route, or they just figured we didn’t know which stops must be integrated, but this was a bit frustrating and disappointing, especially considering the fact that this is the most costly island hopping in El Nido that I’m conscious of. I only mention this due to the fact if you are on a private tour, it is a bit less complicated for a cease to get reduce off or missed and you are almost certainly not finding the very best crew and boats, so just make certain that you are finding what you paid for and asked for.
I’m not conscious of a possibility of just displaying up at the boat docks like a single can do in Coron. It appears in El Nido obtaining a boat that is not hired out by somebody is tougher to do these days, but just due to the fact I didn’t handle to do it does not imply it is not possible. If you do handle to do this, please let me know in the comments beneath!
All round, I’d nevertheless opt to do private tours due to the fact that is just my preference, even when it fees additional. Nonetheless if it is not in your price range, the group tours take you to all the very same areas and on a tour as common as Tour A, you will be sharing it with other folks no matter what anyway.
What to Bring
Most group tours will involve lunch and water, although you could want to double verify that they will have water for you to refill your bottles with. In theory El Nido is attempting to reduce down on single use plastic, but not each tour delivers water.
You will also want to bring along snorkeling gear, which you can rent for 150 pesos for a mask and snorkel and 150 for a set of fins. I brought my personal mask from residence and would recommend you do the very same. You can be additional certain of the high quality and will not have to spend the equivalent of three US dollars each single day that you go island hopping. I didn’t use fins for the duration of my El Nido practical experience and didn’t seriously really feel it they have been needed, but I would base your choice on that on how sturdy of a swimmer you are without having them. There are a lot of areas in town exactly where you can rent, or most of the tour operators will have gear as properly.
It can also be a superior thought to bring along a dry bag (I use this a single) if you want to be capable to take photographs, in particular if kayaking in the lagoons. All of these photographs have been shot with a GoPro Hero 7 Black, and my DJI Mavic Pro two. You can study additional about my camera gear right here.
Also be certain to bring along sunscreen, as you will have your back to the sun generally on this trip. It is also valuable to bring along your personal beach towel.
All round, El Nido Tour A offers you a glimpse into some really attractive and one of a kind beaches, snorkeling spots, and rock formations that you cannot see anyplace else in the globe. It is common, so strategy on sharing it with other folks. Nonetheless regardless of that, the Massive lagoon was nevertheless the highlight of my time in El Nido. So bring some further patience, undoubtedly bring your camera, and delight in the ride!