Before we visited the Philippines, we were told that it’s all about the island hopping. We couldn’t really fathom what was meant by that, but after exploring this magnificent country for a month, we totally understood.
Get to your destination and then head out on boats to explore what lays beyond. We were lucky enough to experience three different island hopping tours across the island of Palawan.
Island hopping tour in Port Barton
Out of all of the island hopping tours, the experience in Port Barton was our favourite. This is due to the fact that sunny Port Barton is still considered quiet as a tourist spot. Hiring a private boat was the best way to see the islands and our accommodation Janpour Pension House gave us some recommendations. Our host organised it all and we can’t thank him enough for securing us the best boat tour in town.
We left at 6am to watch the sunrise and headed over to our first stop which was swimming with turtles. This is never guaranteed but the captain of Rainbow Runner is a true local, he nailed it. We luckily swam with two charming turtles which was absolutely breathtaking. The rest of the tour involved deserted islands, a fresh lunch on a private beach and more snorkelling.
Cost – 5000 php for the private boat hire which included snorkel hire and lunch each
How – Our captain did not have a website so it’s a simple as heading down to the main beach and asking about for a boat called Rainbow Runner.
Island hopping tour in El Nido
We teamed up with some fellow travellers on this tour which was organised by Rasta Family House. It was a private boat hire and we split the cost between the five of us. El Nido is an extremely busy tourist spot in the Philippines and it’s famously known for its island hopping tours. Which meant we really noticed the difference in the amount of boats compared to Port Barton.
As we had paid more for the private boat hire we did manage to leave earlier, but there are rules. All boats going on tours must be cleared by the coastguard first – it’s a lot more strict than Port Barton. The tours are split into four: tour A,B,C,D – we chose tour A, it’s the best due to the twin lagoon.
The landscape was completely different thanks to the vast rocky mountains that surround the lagoons and open ocean. It might be busy but the views are so stunning, you forget how many other boats there are around you. The lagoon was the highlight of this boat trip, as we were the first to arrive, we had the it to ourselves for 20 minutes.
We kayaked around the lagoon, stopping in shallow waters to admire the landscape – we were truely wowed by its beauty. The rest of the tour was filled with snorkelling, beach chills and more secret lagoon hunting. We were also treated to healthy lunch which we enjoyed on the boat.
Cost – 2300 php per person, El Nido is a more popular destination so you’ll find private boat hire more expensive here
How – Visit Sulit Trips for more information on the tours offered in El Nido (we booked private, Tour A)
Island hopping tour in Coron
We hired a private boat for our Coron island hop as we wanted to inhale the views in all their glory. Sometimes they cram the boats full with people, making the experience far less tranquil. We were so proud of our drone shots from the island hopping in Coron. The beauty that you can capture from the sky really does showcase the islands in all their wonderfulness.
Our experience here was probably our least favourite as our tour guide could hardly speak english. Also, the corals we snorkelled in El Nido and Port Barton were far better. However, the twin lagoon and Kayangan Lake was dazzling – the blue of the water really is a natural wonder. Our highlight on this tour was our tasty lunch at a private beach. We ate, chilled in hammocks and peacefully admired the sheer beauty of this magical place.
Cost – 4800 php for the private boat hire which included snorkel hire and lunch
How – Visit Tutu Tours for more information on the tours offered in Coron
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