If you are looking for crystal blue waters and 7,000 beaches, then El Nido needs to be on your bucket list. (Check out yesterday’s blog post for even more El Nido!)
We used El Nido to kill some time, as we had a week gap in our schedule between Bali and Vietnam. During this time we were ill, with both Nate and I were nursing a cold. So while we were in El Nido for six full days, we only REALLY adventured for two of those. Which was fine, because this was our view from our mountain villa.
I worked up at the pool for a good three of our six days here.
Let’s be honest. One comes to El Nido Palawan to take one of four tours – A, B, C, or D…or, all of them.
Yes, you can take all four tours; you’ll just need four separate days to make it happen.
Fear not, the tours are advertised ALL OVER the main area of town. You can’t miss it. Your hotel will likely have information on the tours as well and you might even be able to book through them.
We suggest booking at the Art Cafe. This is also where you’ll find your best food options. More on that later.
The Philippines are CHEAP. We paid $70 usd for a private tour and went with Tour B. We chose this tour for a few reasons.
Each tour includes four or five locations that you visit via boat. Tours are in a group if you choose the traditional tours, or on your own if you choose the private tour.
During our tour, we saw four other humans the ENTIRE time. A friend we knew there said they went on tour C and it was packed with humans at every location. She said “the lagoon was like a pit of orange life vests.” Thaaaatttt would be why we chose tour B. As you can see by these photos, we had it nearly to ourselves. Just the way we like it.
Which was awesome. Nate and I had the entire area to ourselves. No photos here as we didn’t bring our phones and my DSLR was obviously not going swimming. But it was lovely. We spent a solid 45 minutes here and saw tons of fish.
Let me tell you, it pays to have a drone for this one. Ours would later be confiscated in Morocco but that’s for another post.
If you don’t have a drone, you’ll want to make sure you do the small hike on the island to your left when you pull up. The third photo shows the view from the top of the hike.
As you can see in the photo above, the water was high at this time. It was my expectation that we would be walking on an exposed sandbar. But I didn’t think about tide fluctuations affecting the visual here. From above you can still CLEARLY see the natural snake-like sandbar. But while you’re in it, it just seems like shallow water. Worth noting I think.
Still gorgeous. And like nothing I’ve ever seen before. It was probably my favorite part of tour B. Largely because there were no humans obstructing our drone photos. Just keeping it real with you. The experience would have been tainted if the sandbar was lined with humans…
After maybe 30 minutes at the sandbar we headed to our lunch location which also happened to be one of two caves we’d visit. Yes, Tour B could be known as the Cave Tour.
You pull up to what looks like just another island. But off to the left side, there is a small opening that leads into a much larger cave inside.
Yes, you will have to lay down your life vest, hoist yourself up on to a platform and slide your body through the small hole leading into the cave. Way better than just laying on five different beaches all day…in our opinion.
We ate lunch on the boat. It is included in the tour and consists of rice, fish and some vegetables. You’ll need to bring water. I’m not going to say it was anything to rave about. But we didn’t get sick, so we take that as win.
If I am being honest, I thought we got to kayak inside the cave…but that was not the case. It was more-or-less a float by. But beautiful none-the-less.
Our guides didn’t speak the best English. I tried to ask if kayaking inside was a seasonal thing or if I was misinformed. But I had no luck getting an answer. Still, it was awesome to see. These photos aren’t zoomed in at all. We basically got the front of the boat inside the opening, took some pics and backed out.
I want to point out, again, that this experience was enhanced by the lack of other boats and humans. We weren’t rushed at all. Whereas if there were other boats or people, we’d have limited time for taking photos and experiencing the caves. This was a stress free tour. Which was THE BEST.
Onto the last and possibly the most Philippine -y location of the day.
We spent close to two hours on this island and only had to share it with ONE other private tour. The same humans who were separated from us all day by about ten minutes.
Again, having a drone in the Philippines really captured the beauty that she is.
That wraps up your tour. Five locations, with a good amount of variety.
Tour B might be the least popular but you really can’t go wrong with the Philippines. It is gorgeous. With over 7,000 islands and the most beautiful beaches in the world, you are sure to get some amazing views.
Book your tour at the Art Cafe – group and private tours are available.
Note that you will want to book these a few days in advance. Depending on the season, they fill up quickly. We had to wait until our fourth day to do our tour and we booked it on our first day in town.
Have a kick-ass time in El Nido, no matter what you choose to do.
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I'm an adventurous introvert from Vancouver, Washington who lives on sleep + "me time." I'm a lover of lifting weights, dinosaurs, real talk and traveling with my husband. I am here to help you move better, lift more, bust the myths of the fitness industry, and inspire you to love the process.
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