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Palawan, Philippines: Your guide to El Nido's island-hopping Tour A

By Mariel Abanes 28 November 2021

Header image courtesy of Adam Navarro (via Unsplash)

Finding beauty in El Nido, Palawan—a prized destination in southern Luzon in the Philippines—isn’t difficult. Known for its white-sand beaches, limestone cliffs, emerald waters, and rich marine life, this quiet town has grown to be a major hotspot in the province, making it one of the top tourist destinations in the country.

And when in El Nido, going on an island-hopping adventure is a must, what with several points of interest clustered together in one big ocean area. When choosing a tour, you’ll find operators offering travellers four tour options, each doable in a day—a choice of Tour A, Tour B, Tour C, or Tour D. Here, we’ll get to know the route of Tour A, the most coveted option as it covers the major attractions the “Philippines' Last Frontier“ is best known for.

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Small Lagoon

Entering Miniloc Island’s Small Lagoon through a small pathway crack between a limestone rock wall, one will be welcomed with a fascinating view of rock cliffs and caves, bathed in crystal clear waters where you can enjoy a fun kayaking adventure. Exploring this smaller counterpart to the more famed Big Lagoon introduces interesting nooks and crannies you won’t find in its neighbouring islets.

Big Lagoon

It’s called the Big Lagoon for a reason—it is a massive area composed of towering limestone walls, lush greenery, and blue waters stretched so wide it’s a challenge to fully roam around the area in one go. Situated beside the Small Lagoon, you’ve probably seen several selfies of visitors taken in this major El Nido attraction. The entrance to the lagoon is a shallow area where you can just float and relax as you soak in its beauty, while deeper waters await you as you further paddle your way inside.

Secret Lagoon

Also part of Miniloc Island, the Secret Lagoon is called so simply because it is tucked within tall limestone cliffs. One needs to pass through a small opening to find the enclosed beach where you can wade and cool down for a bit. Though it isn’t much of a secret anymore as thousands of tourists flock to this spot, it has kept the understated charm that makes it a memorable stop.

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Shimizu Island

Raring for some underwater sojourn? You’ll enjoy the stop at Shimizu Island, an isle considered as one of the best snorkelling areas in El Nido. Prepare your gear and soak in the colours of live corals, schools of fish, and other sea creatures. Once you’ve had your fill of the marine life, relax by the beach as you enjoy a sumptuous lunch and the view of natural rock formations and turquoise waters.

Seven Commando Beach

This isolated beach is lined with thick coconut trees, a perfect location to get your fresh coconut juice fix. The salty air, white sand, and clear waters of this tropical paradise are the perfect backdrop for those staying the night in a tent or the nearby resort, while island-hoppers on a day tour are treated to its laidback and invigorating aura.

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Mariel Abanes


Mariel Abanes is a writer/editor from Manila who constantly finds herself packing her bags and exploring places in and outside her country. Apart from juggling her day job and planning out her next itinerary, she spends time immersing in the indie music scene, finding the next great read, and hopping from one social or cultural gathering to the next.