Welcome to one of the most beautiful sites in all of Asia; El Nido and the Bacuit Archipelago. The town of El Nido sets the stage as the jumping off point for exploring the Bacuit Archipelago located on the north end of the Palawan island group. This remote corner of The Philippines is known for the jagged limestone cliffs that shoot out from its crystal clear water creating a surreal landscape that can only be explored by boat. The islands are mostly uninhabited but are home to hidden beaches, coves, caves and wildlife. Pack a bottle of Tanduay and enjoy the ride!
Soon after your arrival in El Nido you will notice that there are 4 pre-set tours that are available for you to explore the islands. All tours begin and end in El Nido and are standardized across all tour companies. There are numberous tour operators that will be competing for your business although each tour operator will provide the same 4 tours with a similar itinerary and price. You will have a hard time negotiating a lower price but it can be done if you work hard and have enough people to make it worthwhile for the boat driver.
The 4 tours are simply labeled A, B, C, and D. Each tour has its own pre-defined itinerary and will include lunch and snorkeling…and sometimes even rum and live music. Tours A and C tend to be the most popular and each tour takes about a full day but you’ll be back before the sun goes down. Here’s the breakdown:
Tour B: Snake Island, Pinabuyutan Island, Lagen Island, Cudugnun Cave and Cathedral Cave– Price: Php900 – Duration: 9am – 4pm
Tour C: Matinloc Island, Tapiutan Island, Secret Beach, Tres Marias Island, Cagbantang Cove and Star Beach– Price: Php1000 – Duration: 9am – 4pm
Tour D: Cadlao Island, Pasandigan Beach, Nat Nat Beach, Bucal Beach and Paradise Beach– Price: Php700 – Duration: 9am – 4pm
If you want to avoid the standard tour routes you can always hire a private guide to take you to some lesser traveled islands. However this could end up costing you more money if you are traveling alone or with a small group. One of the benifits of the standard tours is that they are affordable and provide the solo traveler the opportunity to meet other backpackers.
That’s about it for the hard facts. So have fun, explore and don’t drink too much Tanduay!…at $2 a bottle, it’s very tempting 🙂