Our main reason for coming to Palawan was so we could travel to El Nido and do the island hopping tours as the scenery looked so beautiful. We booked through Caera tours and our driver picked us up at 8:45am… living dangerously by sitting on a wooden plank across the back of a pick up truck on our way into El Nido centre to the tour office. FYI before you can take part in any tours you have to pay a one-off eco-tourism development fee (to go towards protecting the area) which was PHP200 each and lasts a week.
After paying our fee we head down to the boat and we are given a snorkel and mask for free. Our first trip is El Nido Tour A and the view coming out of Bacuit Bay is stunning with many islands with limestone cliffs and covered in lush greenery; this area is often compared to Halong Bay in Vietnam. The area is apparently home to 45 islands and islets and our first stop 30 minutes later is Small Lagoon where we swim and snorkel. To enter Small Lagoon you swim through a hole in the cliffs where you are then surrounded by this view…
Once we’re back on the boat we head for Big Lagoon where we have to swim quite far to reach the lagoon as our boat is too big to travel deeper into the area. The swim isn’t so tough when there are so many fish to admire but we also spotted a few, soon-to-be famous jellyfish. We spend some time in the lagoon where there are plankton before swimming back to the boat. Unfortunately our boat was only one of a few left and it had also turned around so everyone swam to the back of the boat where there were no steps. While we were enjoying the lagoon our boat had become surrounded by hundreds of jellyfish and everyone was getting stung all over on their way back. When I realised I was at the wrong side of the boat and getting stung constantly I panicked and couldn’t swim to the other side of the boat so had to be hauled out of the water by Rhys and one of the guides… not my finest hour but I was freaking out!
Our next stop is Shimizu Island which is very busy so we decide to stay on the boat and eat our delicious seafood lunch which was prepared by the boat crew. Afterwards we move on to Secret Lagoon but now we’re wise to the tons of jellyfish lurking in the water and no-one wants to get back in so we head to our last stop which is Seven Commandos Beach. Here we swim a little and take in the view from our own little paradise. The sun and heat is intense but the water was surprisingly cold so after taking a few pictures we head to the bar and hang out with others from our trip. This is the only island of the day with facilities including the bar, a bathroom, a swing and a volleyball area.
At 4pm we head back to El Nido and get dropped off back at our hotel. We meet people from our tour again later for a taste of some local food including adobo pork, shrimp in coconut milk, squid, crocodile and garlic fried rice. Gazing at hundreds and hundreds of stars while enjoying our dinner and listening to the waves was just wonderful and was a perfect end to our day.