EL NIDO ISLAND HOPPING: TOUR A – WHAT TO EXPECT (PHOTOS AND REVIEW)
In this article, I will share with you my review on TOUR A in El Nido and why it is the most popular tour!
ISLAND HOPPING IN EL NIDO, PALAWAN
I was lucky enough to experience Tour A, Tour B and Tour C, but have not yet made it on Tour D. However, don’t stress about which ‘letter tour’ will be the best. It’s El Nido, you are going to be visiting lagoons and beaches that will blow your mind no matter what tour you are on.
To book your EL NIDO ISLAND HOPPING A TOUR you can Click Here to check the availability and book online (It’s just $18 USD)
- It includes Three Lagoons at Miniloc Island, Shimizu Island, Snorkel with turtles at Seven Commando Beach, BBQ Lunch
To book your EL NIDO ISLAND HOPPING B TOUR you can Click Here to check the availability and book online (It’s just $18 USD)
- It includes Snake Island, Pinagbuyutan Island, Cudugnon Cave, BBQ Lunch
To book your EL NIDO ISLAND HOPPING C TOUR you can Click Here to check the availability and book online (It’s just $18 USD)
- It includes Helicopter Island, Secret Beach, Matinloc Shrine, Talisay Beach, BBQ Lunch
To book your EL NIDO ISLAND HOPPING D TOUR you can Click Here to check the availability and book online (It’s just $18 USD)
- It includes Cadlao Island, Pasandingan Beach, Small Lagoon, Natnat Beach, BBQ Lunch
Tour A in El Nido is the most popular tour. Everyone wants to see the Big Lagoon and Small Lagoon. I don’t blame them they are both epic. This tour is a good mix of snorkeling and sightseeing, hanging on beaches and swimming. It can get crowded but that is the nature of the beast in El Nido. The most beautiful places are the most popular more often than not.
The tour runs from 9 am and returns at 4 pm including drinking water and lunch. Below is the itinerary we enjoyed during tour A. I’ve done the tour twice now and have included the photos and experience from both trips in 2016 and 2019.
SEVEN COMMANDO BEACH
Coconut trees lined Seven Commando beach and we, of course, sipped on a few after a quick snorkel. Our boat docked here for a 45-minute chill/exploration session. Many people snorkeled but we just hung out on the beach and had a swim. The rocks in El Nido are incredibly sharp, Seven Commando Beach was no exception. Wear shoes if you are planning on exploring in caves and on rocks like us.
On my second visit to Seven Commando Beach, I also did a beach clean-up. El Nido is making great changes but trash on the islands still remains prevalent.
BIG LAGOON EL NIDO
Cruising up the lagoon was our first real look at how dramatic the cliffs and landscape was in El Nido. The lagoon has a narrow and the boats manage to navigate alongside each other as everyone on board arches their necks checking out the intense cliffs. The boat glides across the glassy water, almost crystal as the narrow entrance finally opens up into a giant lagoon. The boat did a slow circle in the lagoon letting us take in the sights before heading back out the narrow stretch.
LUNCH AT SHIMIZU ISLAND EL NIDO
Our guides had been cooking on the grill all morning as we cruised around from island to island. It was time to see what they had produced. It was an absolute feast. I’ll be honest I’ve been on some tours where you get a cruddy sandwich and a bag of chips. This blew it out of the water. Grilled pork and chicken, fresh grilled fish and fruits and of course an abundance of rice. There was plenty for everyone as we sat around on the logs watching monitor lizards amongst the trees. A bit of exploration post-lunch never hurts and we found a very shallow spot for a couple of jumps.
SECRET LAGOON EL NIDO
This spot was amazing but probably my least favorite as there were more than fifty tourists crammed into a tiny lagoon at once. We had to swim to a small hole and clamber through. One through sun shone down into a tennis court-sized lagoon, totally enclosed by sharp cliffs. It was a great spot but a little bit of an anti-climax. However, the beach around the corner once back out of the lagoon was really cool. The landscape here was by far my favorite spot of the day and I camped on my favorite spot at the front of the tour boat as we left snapping a few shots to capture the entire scene. I have never seen anything like it before in my life.
The second time I visited Secret Lagoon in El Nido on Tour A, I was armed with a drone. It gave me a whole new perspective on the lagoon and the scale of the beach. I’ve added those photos below.
SMALL LAGOON EL NIDO
Our last stop of the day would be the small lagoon. By now I had become a bit desensitized to the majestic beauty all around me. But the small lagoon hit another chord. We were offered kayaks as we arrived but also given the option to swim. Being the cheap guys Jorden and I were of course we swam. It wasn’t too far just a few hundred yards both ways. Swimming through this lagoon was beautiful, calming and a great way to end the day. We went as far in as we could and just spend a while floating on our backs taking in everything around us.
The second time I visited Small Lagoon was actually with the Red Bull Cliff Diving team, which was a whole new experience. They had set up ladders to a platform and were jumping from 21m and 27m for their competition. I’ve put the video below about this epic experience.
WHERE TO STAY IN EL NIDO
(Value) Spin Designer Hostel: Let’s go for Spin! This rad hostel is located at the bustling town of El Nido. This property is highly recommended by many travelers as the service is superb. Spin Designer Hostel also provides a shared kitchen with a barbecue facility. It is value for money and very close to shops and beach. If you stay here you will make friends with like-minded strangers and be in the prime location for the nightlife, island hopping and hiking Taraw Peak. The beach literally steps away.
(Most Insta-worthy) Panorama Resort: Panorama Resort is an exotic boutique resort tucked between Corong-Corong Beach and Maremigmeg Beach, is a 3-star property that features a panoramic view of the mountains in El Nido. The resort is very insta-worthy and has a lot of amenities including a private beach, outdoor and indoor swimming pool, and free WiFi. It offers an amazing sunset view and chill vibe to guests.
(Luxury Resort) Las Cabanas Beach Resort: This incredible beach resort is situated perfectly on the shore of Las Cabanas beach in El Nido. It offers a peaceful sanctuary from the harsh realities of the outside world. The resort is picturesque and provides easy access to island hopping and other activities. It has rooms with sea and garden views, and the beachfront cottages are single standalone units.
ARE YOU KEEPING UP WITH MY EL NIDO SERIES?
You want to go island-hopping in El Nido but aren’t sure whether TOUR A,B,C or D will be better? Take a look at my El Nido Island Hopping Guide that compares all of the four tours to help you pick the best one for you.
Wondering what there is to do in El Nido? I’ve been twice and spent almost 30 days in El Nido so I’ve got some great recommendations for you in my Travel Guide to El Nido: 20 Awesome Things To Do
Which region will you choose for your accommodation in El Nido? I’ve broken each region down and given you suggestions for budget, value and luxury in El Nido Town, Lio Beach and Las Cabanas Beach in this guide: Where to stay in El Nido
My Review and photos of: Tour A
My Review and photos of: Tour B
My Review and photos of: Tour C
The most epic activity you can do in El Nido on the land is to hike up Taraw Peak and I share the photos and tell you how you can use the same local guide as me in this blog post: Hiking up Taraw Peak – What You Need to Know