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Island Hopping In El Nido


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Nevsa Oviedo



Welcome to El Nido, a true paradise nestled in the archipelago of the Philippines. Known for its crystal clear turquoise waters, towering limestone cliffs, and pristine white sandy beaches, El Nido is a must-visit destination for beach lovers and nature enthusiasts. One of the highlights of exploring El Nido is the famous activity of island hopping.


Island hopping in El Nido is an experience like no other, where you get to visit multiple stunning islands and discover the hidden gems of this tropical paradise. Whether you’re a solo traveler seeking adventure, a couple looking for a romantic getaway, or a family in search of an unforgettable holiday, island hopping in El Nido has something for everyone.


With a wide array of islands and tours to choose from, planning an island hopping excursion in El Nido can be overwhelming. But fear not, because in this article, we’ll guide you through the process of selecting the right island hopping tour and introduce you to some of the must-visit islands in El Nido.


So, if you’re ready to embark on an unforgettable adventure, put on your sunscreen, grab your snorkeling gear, and get ready to explore the breathtaking islands of El Nido through the exciting activity of island hopping.


El Nido: A Paradise in the Philippines

Located in the province of Palawan in the Philippines, El Nido is renowned for its natural beauty and stunning landscapes. The name “El Nido” translates to “The Nest,” which perfectly describes the town’s idyllic setting nestled between towering limestone cliffs.


El Nido offers a diverse range of attractions to suit every traveler’s preferences. From pristine beaches to enchanting lagoons and vibrant coral reefs, this tropical paradise has it all. The stunning backdrop of towering limestone cliffs adds a touch of grandeur to the already breathtaking scenery.


One of the reasons why El Nido stands out among other destinations in the Philippines is its commitment to environmental preservation and sustainable tourism. The town and its surrounding islands are part of a protected area, ensuring the conservation of its natural resources. This dedication to preserving the environment allows visitors to fully immerse themselves in the pristine beauty of El Nido.


Aside from its natural wonders, El Nido also offers a vibrant local culture and warm hospitality. Visitors have the opportunity to interact with the locals, sample delicious Filipino cuisine, and learn about the rich history and traditions of the area.


Whether you’re seeking relaxation on a secluded beach, adventure in the form of hiking or snorkeling, or simply want to soak in the beauty of nature, El Nido has something to offer everyone. It is truly a paradise that promises unforgettable experiences and moments of awe.


So pack your bags, leave the hustle and bustle of everyday life behind, and get ready to discover the wonders of El Nido, a true paradise in the heart of the Philippines.


What is Island Hopping?

Island hopping is a popular activity in many coastal destinations, including El Nido. It involves exploring multiple islands and islets in a single trip, usually by boat. The concept behind island hopping is to visit different islands and experience their unique attractions, such as stunning beaches, hidden lagoons, snorkeling spots, and more.


In El Nido, island hopping tours are the best way to discover the beauty of the surrounding islands. These tours allow visitors to explore the diverse landscapes, pristine waters, and marine life of this tropical paradise. Each island hopping tour typically covers a specific set of islands and focuses on showcasing their distinct features.


During an island hopping tour in El Nido, you’ll have the opportunity to swim in crystal clear waters, snorkel among colorful coral reefs teeming with marine life, relax on secluded beaches, and even venture into hidden lagoons surrounded by towering limestone cliffs. The tours are led by experienced guides who ensure your safety and provide interesting insights about the islands’ history and natural wonders.


Island hopping tours in El Nido offer a variety of experiences, catering to different preferences. Whether you’re looking for an adrenaline-pumping adventure, a tranquil beach getaway, or a chance to explore marine biodiversity, there’s an island hopping tour for you.


It’s important to note that each island hopping tour in El Nido is designated as Tour A, Tour B, Tour C, or Tour D. Each tour covers a different set of islands and attractions, allowing you to choose the one that aligns with your interests and time availability. It’s possible to take multiple tours on consecutive days to explore a wider range of islands and attractions.


So, if you’re ready for a day of exploring breathtaking islands, experiencing thrilling water activities, and immersing yourself in the natural beauty of El Nido, island hopping is the perfect adventure for you!


Choosing the Right Island Hopping Tour

When it comes to choosing the right island hopping tour in El Nido, it’s important to consider several factors to ensure you have the best possible experience. Here are some key factors to consider when selecting your tour:

1. Tour Itinerary: Each island hopping tour in El Nido has a different itinerary, visiting a specific set of islands and attractions. Research the itineraries of different tours and choose the one that aligns with your interests. If you’re interested in secluded beaches and snorkeling, Tour A might be the best option. If you prefer exploring hidden lagoons and caves, Tour C could be more suitable. 2. Group Size: Consider the size of the group on the tour. Smaller group sizes can be more intimate and allow for a more personalized experience. However, keep in mind that smaller groups often come at a higher cost, so weigh your options based on your budget and preferences. 3. Duration: Take into account the duration of the tour. Some island hopping tours in El Nido last for a full day, while others are half-day trips. Consider your time availability and choose a tour that fits your schedule. 4. Inclusions: Check what is included in the tour package. Does it include lunch, snorkeling gear, or entrance fees? Understanding what is included will help you plan accordingly and avoid any unexpected costs. 5. Reviews and Recommendations: Read reviews and seek recommendations from fellow travelers or reliable sources. Their experiences and insights can provide valuable information about the quality of different island hopping tours. 6. Environmental Awareness: Consider choosing a tour operator that demonstrates a commitment to environmental conservation and sustainable practices. Look for operators that adhere to responsible tourism practices and minimize their impact on the fragile marine ecosystem of El Nido. Remember, the best island hopping tour for you will depend on your interests, budget, and preferences. Take the time to research and weigh your options before making a decision. Once you’ve selected the right tour, get ready for an extraordinary adventure exploring the stunning islands of El Nido.


Islands to Visit in El Nido

El Nido is home to a multitude of picturesque islands, each with its own unique charm and attractions. Here are some of the must-visit islands that you should consider including in your island hopping tour itinerary:

1. Shimizu Island

Shimizu Island is famous for its vibrant marine life and excellent snorkeling opportunities. Dive into the crystal clear waters surrounding the island and discover a colorful world of coral reefs teeming with tropical fish.

2. Secret Lagoon

As its name suggests, the Secret Lagoon is hidden behind towering cliffs, offering an enchanting and secluded paradise. You can swim or kayak through a small opening to reach the lagoon, surrounded by lush greenery and steep rock walls.

3. Big Lagoon

The Big Lagoon is a breathtaking expanse of turquoise water surrounded by towering limestone cliffs. Explore this serene lagoon by kayak or stand-up paddleboard to fully immerse yourself in its beauty.

4. Small Lagoon

Similar to the Big Lagoon, the Small Lagoon offers a stunning natural environment surrounded by limestone cliffs. This hidden gem is best experienced by swimming or kayaking through its narrow entrance, leading to a peaceful lagoon filled with tranquil waters.

5. Seven Commandos Beach

Seven Commandos Beach is a beautiful stretch of white sandy beach with emerald waters, fringed by coconut trees. Relax on the soft sand, take a dip in the clear waters, or simply enjoy the picturesque views. The beach is named after the seven Japanese commandos who were stranded on the island during World War II.


These are just a few of the incredible islands awaiting you in El Nido. Each one offers its own unique beauty and experiences, from stunning beaches to hidden lagoons. When planning your island hopping tour, make sure to include some of these islands to make your El Nido adventure truly unforgettable.


Shimizu Island

Shimizu Island is a jewel in the crown of the El Nido island hopping experience. Known for its vibrant underwater ecosystem, this island offers an incredible opportunity for snorkeling enthusiasts and nature lovers.


Named after a Japanese diver who discovered the beauty of El Nido’s waters, Shimizu Island is a haven for marine life. Its crystal clear waters are home to a wide variety of vibrant coral reefs and colorful fish species. Snorkeling around the island allows you to witness the stunning underwater world up close.


As you dip your head beneath the surface, you’ll be greeted by an array of marine creatures, from playful clownfish dancing among the anemones to schools of colorful angelfish and mesmerizing coral formations. Keep an eye out for beautiful reef dwellers such as butterflyfish, parrotfish, and even the occasional sea turtle gliding gracefully through the water.


Aside from snorkeling, Shimizu Island also offers a splendid beach where you can relax and soak up the sun. The powdery white sand and crystal clear waters create a tranquil setting, making it a perfect spot to unwind and rejuvenate.


When visiting Shimizu Island, it’s essential to practice responsible tourism. Be mindful of the fragile coral reefs and marine life, and avoid touching or damaging them. Take only pictures and leave only footprints to ensure the preservation of this natural wonder.


Shimizu Island is often included in El Nido’s popular Tour A, which showcases some of the best attractions in the area. It’s recommended to check with your tour operator to confirm if Shimizu Island is part of your chosen island hopping tour.


So, whether you’re an avid snorkeler or simply looking to relax on a beautiful beach, make sure to include Shimizu Island in your itinerary for a remarkable island hopping experience in El Nido. Explore the underwater wonders and immerse yourself in the natural splendor of this pristine island.


Secret Lagoon

Prepare to be enchanted by the mystical allure of Secret Lagoon, a hidden gem nestled within the limestone cliffs of El Nido. As its name suggests, the Secret Lagoon offers a secluded and enchanting paradise waiting to be explored.


To reach the Secret Lagoon, you’ll need to swim or kayak through a small opening in the rocks. As you make your way through this narrow entrance, you’ll be enveloped by the natural beauty that awaits you inside. Steep limestone walls rise around you, creating an intimate and tranquil environment.


Once inside the Secret Lagoon, you’ll find yourself in a peaceful sanctuary surrounded by lush vegetation and vibrant turquoise waters. The lagoon offers a quiet retreat away from the bustling crowds, allowing you to soak up the serene ambiance and appreciate the untouched beauty of nature.


Swim in the calm waters, float on your back and gaze at the clear blue sky above, or admire the striking rock formations that surround the lagoon. The silence and solitude within the Secret Lagoon create a sense of serenity and seclusion, offering a truly memorable experience.


The Secret Lagoon is a must-visit destination for those seeking unique and picturesque spots in El Nido. It’s advisable to visit either early in the morning or later in the afternoon, as it tends to get crowded during peak hours. This way, you can fully immerse yourself in the tranquility of the lagoon and make the most of your visit.


When exploring the Secret Lagoon, remember to be respectful of the delicate ecosystem. Avoid touching or damaging the surrounding rocks and vegetation to preserve the natural beauty for future generations to enjoy.


Make sure to check with your island hopping tour operator to see if the Secret Lagoon is included in your itinerary. If not, consider booking a private tour or arranging transportation to this hidden gem independently.


Discover the magic of the Secret Lagoon and unlock the beauty that lies within its hidden embrace. Immerse yourself in this tranquil oasis and create memories that will last a lifetime.


Big Lagoon

Prepare to be awestruck by the breathtaking beauty of Big Lagoon, one of the iconic attractions of El Nido. This natural wonder is a testament to the untouched splendor of the Philippines, with its pristine waters and majestic limestone cliffs.


Big Lagoon is a picturesque expanse of turquoise water surrounded by towering limestone cliffs, creating a dramatic and awe-inspiring setting. As you enter the lagoon, you’ll be greeted by crystal clear waters that reflect the vivid colors of the surrounding cliffs and the sky above.


Exploring Big Lagoon is a truly enchanting experience. You can navigate the lagoon by kayak or stand-up paddleboard, gliding along its calm waters. As you paddle through the lagoon, you’ll feel like you’ve entered a hidden paradise, surrounded by sheer cliffs covered in lush greenery.


The tranquility of Big Lagoon is perfect for those seeking a serene escape. The peaceful ambiance allows you to fully appreciate the beauty of nature and soak in the idyllic surroundings. Take in the breathtaking views, marvel at the towering limestone formations, and listen to the gentle lapping of the water against the kayak or paddleboard.


Aside from the stunning scenery, Big Lagoon is also home to a diverse array of marine life. Keep an eye out for tropical fish swimming beneath the clear waters, and if you’re lucky, you may spot some stingrays and sea turtles gracefully gliding by.


To ensure the preservation and protection of the lagoon, it’s important to practice responsible tourism. Respect the natural environment by avoiding littering and damaging the coral reefs or marine life. Take only photographs and memories, leaving no trace behind.


Big Lagoon is often included in El Nido’s island hopping Tour A, which showcases some of the top attractions in the area. Make sure to check with your tour operator to confirm if Big Lagoon is part of your chosen itinerary.


Immerse yourself in the beauty of Big Lagoon and let its majestic presence captivate your senses. This natural wonder will leave an everlasting impression and create cherished memories of your time in El Nido.


Small Lagoon

Prepare to be enchanted by the magical allure of Small Lagoon, a hidden gem tucked away within the stunning landscapes of El Nido. This picturesque lagoon captivates visitors with its tranquil waters, dramatic limestone cliffs, and serene atmosphere.


The Small Lagoon is a hidden oasis accessible by kayak, adding an extra layer of adventure to your island hopping experience. As you navigate your way through the small opening in the rock formation, you’ll enter a serene lagoon surrounded by towering limestone walls covered in lush vegetation.


Inside the Small Lagoon, you’ll be greeted by crystal clear waters that reflect the vibrant hues of the sky and the limestone cliffs. The calmness of the lagoon creates a peaceful ambiance, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the natural beauty that surrounds you.


Swim in the lagoon’s inviting waters, or navigate through its narrow channels on a kayak or paddleboard. As you paddle along, the cliffs seem to embrace you, creating a sense of intimacy and tranquility. The tranquility and seclusion of the Small Lagoon make it a perfect spot for relaxation and admiration of nature’s wonders.


Immerse yourself in the serenity and breathtaking beauty of the Small Lagoon, and savor the moment as you embrace this hidden paradise. Marvel at the striking rock formations and the delicate ecosystem thriving within.


It’s important to respect the natural environment and practice responsible tourism when visiting the Small Lagoon. Avoid touching or damaging the corals and other marine life, and be mindful of your impact on the delicate ecosystem. By doing so, you can help preserve the beauty of the Small Lagoon for generations to come.


The Small Lagoon is often included in El Nido’s island hopping tours, specifically in Tour D. If you want to experience the beauty and tranquility of this hidden gem, check with your tour operator to ensure that it is included in your itinerary.


Uncover the secrets of the Small Lagoon and let its captivating beauty leave a lasting impression on your El Nido adventure. Prepare to be mesmerized as you explore this hidden wonder and create unforgettable memories in the heart of the Philippines.


Seven Commandos Beach

Seven Commandos Beach is a stunning gem tucked away along the picturesque coast of El Nido. With its pristine white sand, crystal-clear waters, and breathtaking scenery, this beach is a must-visit spot for those seeking relaxation and natural beauty.


Legend has it that Seven Commandos Beach got its name from seven Japanese commandos who were stranded on the island during World War II. Today, it serves as a tropical paradise where visitors can unwind and enjoy the serenity of the surroundings.


As you step onto the powdery white sand, you’ll be greeted by an expansive beach framed by swaying coconut trees and vibrant turquoise waters. The calm waves and gentle breeze create a soothing atmosphere, inviting you to kick back, relax, and soak up the sun.


Seven Commandos Beach is not just a place for sunbathing; it also offers a range of activities to keep you entertained. Take a refreshing dip in the clear waters, go snorkeling to explore the vibrant underwater world, or try your hand at beach volleyball with fellow beachgoers.


If you’re feeling hungry, there is a beachfront hut that serves up delicious local delicacies and refreshing drinks. Enjoy a tasty meal while taking in the stunning views of the beach and the surrounding islands.


One of the highlights of Seven Commandos Beach is the captivating sunset. As the sun dips below the horizon, the sky lights up in a kaleidoscope of colors, creating a breathtaking moment that will stay with you long after you leave El Nido.


While Seven Commandos Beach is a popular destination, it still manages to retain its peaceful ambiance. Its size and natural beauty allow visitors to find a quiet spot to relax and enjoy the serenity of the surroundings.


When visiting Seven Commandos Beach, remember to practice responsible tourism by picking up after yourself and respecting the natural environment. Let’s ensure that this idyllic paradise remains a haven for generations to come.


Seven Commandos Beach is often included in El Nido’s island hopping Tour A. Check with your tour operator to confirm if this beautiful beach is part of your itinerary and be prepared for a beach experience you won’t soon forget.


Indulge in the beauty of Seven Commandos Beach, a tropical paradise where you can unwind, reconnect with nature, and create cherished memories against the backdrop of El Nido’s breathtaking landscapes.


Tips for Island Hopping in El Nido

Island hopping in El Nido is an adventure that offers a unique and unforgettable experience. To make the most of your island hopping tour, consider these tips:

  1. Plan in advance: Research and choose the island hopping tours that align with your interests. Look into the itineraries, group sizes, and inclusions to find the best fit for you.
  2. Book in advance: El Nido is a popular destination, especially during peak seasons. To secure your spot on the island hopping tour of your choice, it’s recommended to book in advance, especially if you have specific dates in mind.
  3. Wear proper attire: Dress comfortably and wear appropriate swimwear. Bring a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen to protect yourself from the sun. Don’t forget water shoes or sandals for rocky areas.
  4. Stay hydrated: Bring ample drinking water with you to stay hydrated throughout the day. It’s important to keep yourself hydrated, especially under the sun.
  5. Bring snorkeling gear: If you have your own snorkeling gear, bring it along for a more personalized experience. If not, most tour operators provide rental gear. Snorkeling is a highlight of island hopping tours, so don’t miss out on exploring the underwater world.
  6. Pack essentials: Bring a towel, dry bag, and extra clothes in case you get wet during water activities. It’s also a good idea to bring insect repellent and a waterproof phone case or camera to capture the stunning moments.
  7. Respect the environment: El Nido is known for its commitment to environmental preservation. Practice responsible tourism by avoiding littering, damaging corals, or disturbing marine life. Leave only footprints and take beautiful memories with you.
  8. Be mindful of the tides: Some attractions, such as hidden lagoons, are only accessible during specific tidal conditions. Check with your tour guide to ensure you visit these sites at the optimal time for the best experience.
  9. Carry cash: Some islands may not have ATMs or card payment options. Bring enough cash for additional expenses like entrance fees, souvenirs, and food and drinks not included in the tour package.
  10. Enjoy and immerse: Finally, savor every moment of your island hopping adventure. Take in the breathtaking scenery, engage with your fellow travelers, and forge memories that will last a lifetime.

Following these tips will help you make the most out of your island hopping experience in El Nido. Embrace the beauty of the islands, respect the environment, and create unforgettable memories in this tropical paradise.



El Nido’s island hopping tours offer a gateway to the stunning beauty of this tropical paradise. With its pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and breathtaking limestone cliffs, El Nido is a destination that will leave you in awe.


During your island hopping adventure, you’ll have the opportunity to explore a variety of islands and attractions, each with its own unique charm. Swim in turquoise waters, snorkel among colorful coral reefs, discover hidden lagoons, and relax on picturesque beaches.


It’s important to choose the right island hopping tour that suits your preferences, consider factors like itinerary, group size, and duration. Planning in advance and securing your spot will ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience.


Responsible tourism is crucial in preserving the beauty and sustainability of El Nido. Respect the environment by practicing proper waste management, avoiding damage to coral reefs, and appreciating the flora and fauna without disturbance. Leave nothing but footprints and take home memories that will last a lifetime.


As you embark on your island hopping adventure in El Nido, be prepared for extraordinary moments and breathtaking landscapes. Immerse yourself in the natural wonders, soak in the tranquil surroundings, and embrace the serenity of this paradise.


Whether you’re snorkeling through vibrant coral gardens, kayaking through hidden lagoons, or simply relaxing on pristine beaches, El Nido’s island hopping tours offer an unforgettable experience. Let the beauty of this tropical haven captivate your senses and create memories that will last a lifetime.


So pack your bags, set sail, and get ready to embark on a journey through the dazzling islands of El Nido. Your island hopping adventure awaits!