EL NIDO ISLAND HOPPING: TOUR C – WHAT TO EXPECT (PHOTOS AND REVIEW)
Tour C in El Nido is probably the second-most popular tour behind Tour A. Everyone flocks to Tour A for the big and small lagoons but Tour C has epic snorkeling and a couple of secret beaches!
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 C in El Nido takes you to the famous Helicopter Island where you can hang out and do some great snorkeling. After that, you explore several hidden beaches and lagoons! 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.
The first island on the itinerary of Tour C in El Nido is the famous Helicopter Island. It isn’t hard to figure out how this island earned it’s name with a distinctive helicopter shape, visible from a side profile. It is incredibly busy… always but you can still have a great time here. You can hang out here on the beach or go for a bit of a walk but the best way to explore Helicopter Island is with your snorkel and mask.
When your boat docks walk down towards the left (while facing the island) and then snorkel around the corner. Here you will get away from the crowds and be able to explore some beautiful coral. There are also some unique shelves and rock formations under the cliffs if you go far enough. I embedded a video from my underwater exploration at Helicopter Island below.
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MATINLOC SHRINE (OR NEARBY BEACHES)
Matinloc Shrine is a bit of a weird stop on an island hopping tour and it is probably the least impressive thing to do on Tour C. It is essentially an abandoned shrine. Your captain will likely ask if you do indeed want to visit or just go snorkeling/visit another beach. I believe it costs extra to visit as well. All you do is get off and go look inside the abandoned building. Bit of a waste of time when there are beautiful beaches, reefs, and turtles nearby!
We chose to visit a nearby beach instead (no extra fee) and went snorkeling and exploring. The beauty of the area near Matinloc Shrine is that there are lots of different beaches, coves, and snorkel spots so your captain should be able to pick a spot that isn’t crazy crowded!
Our captain took us to an amazing snorkel spot and beach but we just hung out on the boat and ate there. We snorkeled after but there was no need to get out and unpack the food we just ate it straight on the boat. I can’t remember the name of this spot for the life of me but most of the tours will choose lunch at one of a few spots.
Hidden Beach is a cool little cove hiding behind the karst limestone cliffs. Your boat will drop you at the entrance and you swim/wade through the water until you make your way into the cove after about 200m. It is usually very crowded in here although it is incredibly beautiful. If this cove was empty it would be one of my favorite places in El Nido but both times it has been full of life jackets and hundreds of people so it is often a bit more manic than magic. Nonetheless, I’ve always enjoyed sitting on the sand here and admiring the jagged cliffs and the beautiful scenery.
On my second visit to Hidden Beach, we did a cleanup and carried out 1.5 bags of trash and even swam out with it. It’s great to leave places better than when you found them and added a challenge to our Hidden Beach experience.
SNORKEL SPOT (TURTLES!)
Our final stop of the day was right next to Matinloc Shrine again where our captain told us there was a great reef. He wasn’t wrong and our guides even spotted a couple of turtles for us to swim with. There was a huge drop-off and it was an epic spot for free-diving and getting a closer look at the coral below. There were some really cool table corals and lots of fish in this area. We were the only tourists enjoying this spot, which is what I liked about Tour C in El Nido. It seemed a bit more flexible than Tour A, which was all about the lagoons. Tour C was a bit easier to change depending on what you were interested in.
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