El Nido’s cluster of gumdrop-shaped islands, well-known for his or her dramatic limestone cliffs and white sand seashores, really is as unimaginable in individual as it appears in pictures.
One of the simplest ways to take pleasure in El Nido is to hop round these islands, armed with a masks and snorkel, and sunscreen, in fact!
Tours in El Nido are organized with set stops and labeled A by way of D. Tour A is the preferred in El Nido, thanks to the Huge and Small Lagoons. Given this, there are some issues you must know before diving in (pun meant!). Written in 2019, this is probably the most up-to-date resource on the Web for El Nido island hopping tour A:
The Huge and Small Lagoons
Floating within the Massive Lagoon
It used to be that Tour A stopped at each the Huge and Small Lagoons. Nevertheless current laws, in an effort to curb the amount of people who visit each day, dictates that visitors might now only visit one or the opposite within the span of a day.
You’ll need to be sure that your tour operator has certainly one of these permits out there for you before reserving. I received to experience the Massive Lagoon and thought it was good. I’ve been informed that each are superb, so I recommend going for whichever is on the market.
It’s troublesome to get the lagoons to your self, however the Huge Lagoon is large enough that it doesn’t feel crowded, notably the farther in you go.
Nearer to the entrance within the shallower water, hence this lovely water colour!
Everyone I noticed at the Huge Lagoon rented a kayak for 250 pesos. But I really like to swim, so I opted to swim by means of the Huge lagoon as an alternative and it was the spotlight of my entire El Nido expertise! When you love to swim as a lot as I do, convey along a masks and snorkel and go for it. Just be additional cautious to avoid stonefish and sea urchins. I advise by no means standing up previous the sandy entrance so only do this should you gained’t want regular rests.
Understand that you have to put on a life jacket when within the Massive Lagoon, whether or not you’re swimming or kayaking. Nevertheless there isn’t a present and 0 waves, so I clipped the lifejacket to a buoy and had most of my Huge Lagoon experience without one. To me it’s a foolish rule and I utterly detest lifejackets, however do remember that the lagoon really is huge and in the event you assume you’ll get drained, you’ll be able to deliver it alongside as a type of kickboard.
All to myself
Hidden Lagoon isn’t so hidden anymore, however this round, virtually utterly sealed off pool is just accessible by way of a tiny gap in the aspect of the limestone and it’s so cool!
Cool rock formations close by
I acquired lucky and had a full jiffy within the lagoon all to myself. There are sometimes queues to get in, however you’ll be able to all the time hang around on the seashore close by or near the rock formations a couple of yards out until it clears up.
Crystal clear water
There’s a number of snorkeling concerned on Tour A, together with a spot devoted simply to snorkeling. The corals are pretty, and a highlight for me was the varsity of tiny glittering blue fish swimming around.
The good thing about snorkeling in El Nido is the tremendous clear water. Likelihood is good that your tour will do the snorkeling portion earlier in the day before there’s a lot wind and present, so it makes for a simple, fulfilling experience.
Shimizu from the air
A powerful limestone island with a small white sand seashore, this is often the lunch spot for organized Tour A groups.
There’s also some snorkeling round here, but watch out not to get swept down the channel between Shimizu and its neighboring island. It’s not a loopy robust current, a minimum of not once I was there, but things can change with the seasons.
Seven Commandos Seashore
Not a nasty wanting seashore!
In contrast to Shimizu island, this seashore has a much bigger, longer stretch of white sand together with palm timber, a bit of basketball courtroom in the sand, and seashore huts.
That is where most tours finish up as it’s the closest to El Nido town. You can too entry this seashore with a kayak afterward for those who love it enough to come back!
Organized excursions present kind of the identical unfold of rice, grilled fish and hen, recent fruit, and salad. It’s a reasonably good offering but tends to value 1500 pesos additional in the event you’re doing the tour by yourself as a personal tour. In this case, I’d advocate bringing your personal meals.
One other angle of 7 Commandos
The prices for all group tours are fastened now in El Nido with Tour A priced at 1200 pesos per individual. I read online previously that the costs would differ relying on quality but this is not true. The only place I found the worth a bit cheaper was by way of booking on Klook. The scores are fairly good, so if I had finished a gaggle tour I might in all probability have achieved that. Tour A also has a 200 pesos environmental charge per individual, which is sweet for some other tour for 10 days, and a further 200 for either the Massive or Small Lagoon. You’ll additionally need to convey some additional money in case you want to buy a coconut or lease a kayak.
As for the personal tours, you’ll be able to anticipate quite a wide range. Just about everybody on the town can sell you one, from tour operators to motels to even the tricycle drivers. I asked about 15 totally different places about their pricing and the most cost effective ended up being at my lodge, El Nido Overlooking. Their tour is priced at 6000 pesos, which is 1000 lower than anyplace else I checked. Again, since virtually everyone just goes by way of the identical businesses and books random boats, I don’t know that high quality control varies should you pay more.
It’s also attainable that the boats will quote a better worth. That happened to me with Tour A but not with Tour B. So I ended up needing to pay 6000, however with out food. When you reduce out food from the journey, you can save 1500 pesos. It’s highly unlikely that you’d spend more than that in case you get food on your own, so I’d recommend doing what I did and getting additional meals the night time before and storing it in your room fridge (El Nido overlooking has them in their rooms). I brought alongside the Mexican beans and rice bowl from Taste El Nido and it was good.
Is a Personal or Group Tour A Higher?
Loving taking my time within the Massive Lagoon
Is it better to do Tour A with a gaggle so as to minimize down on costs, or is it better to do a personal tour? Yr over yr, the cost of a personal tour in El Nido has been compounding. Even simply two years in the past, it was about half the worth that it is lately. I discovered a couple of corporations on-line that had too-low-to-be-true prices, and once I contacted them to confirm, they informed me that that they had truly doubled. So in case you’re doing a personal tour in El Nido you’ll be able to anticipate to be quoted anyplace from 7000 pesos on the low-end to 9000 on the high-end….. virtually $175 USD!
Is it value it to do a personal tour? This completely is dependent upon how a lot flexibility and freedom you want to change up certain gadgets in the itinerary (and even attempt to depart earlier or do a few of it in reverse order), AND how many people you’re sharing the boat with. On one hand I favored doing the excursions as personal excursions because it meant no ready around within the morning, in contrast to group excursions where typically you possibly can wait up to two hours, and being able to take pleasure in every place for as long as I needed. I used to be typically in a position to get issues to myself this manner, like the Hidden Lagoon.
The draw back is whoever you guide this with, whether it is a lodge or agency, likelihood is good the correct hand isn’t really speaking to the left.I used to be fairly dissatisfied that the information on my boat tried to minimize out two of the stops on my Tour A, rationalizing it by saying that Shimizu Island was the “lunch stop” however since we had brought our own lunch, he might reduce that stop off. I also did a personal Tour B, which I was in a position to customise a bit extra, but general my expertise with each guides in El Nido was not that constructive, especially in comparison to Coron and Romblon. Perhaps it’s as a result of the blokes make a great commission off of the included lunch and have been mad we’d gone the cheaper route, or they only figured we didn’t know which stops ought to be included, but this was a bit frustrating and disappointing, notably since this is the costliest island hopping in El Nido that I’m conscious of. I solely point out this as a result of in the event you’re on a personal tour, it’s a bit easier for a cease to get minimize off or missed and you’re in all probability not getting the most effective crew and boats, so just just remember to’re getting what you paid for and requested for.
I’m not aware of a risk of just displaying up on the boat docks like one can do in Coron. It seems in El Nido finding a boat that isn’t employed out by someone is more durable to do nowadays, but just because I didn’t manage to do it doesn’t mean it’s unattainable. Should you do manage to do this, please let me know in the feedback under!
General, I’d still choose to do personal tours as a result of that’s just my choice, even when it prices extra. Nevertheless if it’s not in your price range, the group tours take you to all the same places and on a tour as common as Tour A, you’ll be sharing it with others no matter what anyway.
What to Convey
Most group excursions will embrace lunch and water, although it’s your decision to double verify that they may have water for you to refill your bottles with. In concept El Nido is making an attempt to reduce down on single use plastic, however not every tour supplies water.
You’ll also need to convey along snorkeling gear, which you’ll be able to lease for 150 pesos for a masks and snorkel and 150 for a set of fins. I introduced my very own masks from house and would recommend you do the same. You might be extra positive of the standard and gained’t have to pay the equal of three US dollars every single day that you simply go island hopping. I didn’t use fins during my El Nido expertise and didn’t actually feel it they have been mandatory, however I might base your choice on that on how robust of a swimmer you’re without them. There are plenty of locations in town the place you possibly can lease, or a lot of the tour operators may have gear as properly.
It can be a good suggestion to convey alongside a dry bag (I exploit this one) if you would like to find a way to take photographs, especially if kayaking in the lagoons. All of those photographs have been shot with a GoPro HERO7 Black, and my DJI Mavic 2 Professional. You possibly can read extra about my digital camera gear here.
Additionally be certain to deliver alongside sunscreen, as you’ll have your again to the sun typically on this journey. It’s additionally useful to convey alongside your personal seashore towel.
General, El Nido Tour A provides you a glimpse into some really lovely and unique beaches, snorkeling spots, and rock formations you can’t see anyplace else on the earth. It’s in style, so plan on sharing it with others. Nevertheless despite that, the Huge Lagoon was still the highlight of my time in El Nido. So deliver some additional endurance, undoubtedly deliver your digital camera, and enjoy the experience!