As an archipelagic province in the Philippines, Palawan is known for its sandbars, crystal clear waters, islands, and islets — even the hidden ones. There are three best places to explore when island hopping in Palawan: Coron, El Nido, and Puerto Princesa. Here are some of the best boat tours to explore these main islands.
Best island hopping tours in Palawan
These are the places to island hop in Coron:
- Kayangan Lake
- Twin Lagoon
- Malcapuya Island
Coron is famous for its island hopping plus snorkeling activities. However, Kayangan Lake is the most famous attraction due to its crystal clear waters, limestone cliffs, and walls. In the same way, Twin Lagoon is separated by two tall limestone cliffs.
The last stop is usually the snorkeling spot called Malwawey Reef, which is known for its colorful coral reefs. Alternatively, some boat tours proceed to Reef Garden (also known as Coral Garden), Pass Island, Lusong Gunboat Wreck, and Lusong Coral Garden. This area hosts a bountiful coral garden, fish, and other marine life.
Other destinations to include in the tour are Coco Beach and Ditaytayan Bar, particularly if you are on a Malcapuya Island tour. These islands are perfect for those who want to explore without the need to mingle with other tourists because they are not as commercialized as the others.
All island hopping tours in Coron are inclusive of tour guides, entrance fees, picnic-style lunch, and transfers.
These are the places to island hop in El Nido:
- Hidden Beach
- Big Lagoon
- Small Lagoon
- Secret Beach
- Snake Island
- Paradise Beach
- Secret Beach
Yes, these are the actual names of the islets and beaches in El Nido.
Most of the island hopping tours combine going to Big and Small lagoons. However, the Big Lagoon is for appreciation only — you cannot swim here due to sea urchins, unlike in Small Lagoon. Small Lagoon also features lush tropical vegetation and limestone and rock formations.
From there, your group may go to Secret Beach and Shimizu Island. The latter is a good snorkeling spot. Other destinations are West Entalula Beach and Seven Commandos Beach. The former is smaller in scale, but you can swim there, whereas the latter offers beachfront snack areas. So, this could be your last stop.
If not the Secret Beach, your likely next stops after Small Lagoon are Paradise Beach, Cadlao Lagoon, and Pasandigan Beach. Cadlao Lagoon is known for its water that changes in color from brilliant blue to deep green.
If your island hopping tour starts from Snake Island, your next stops would be Cudognon Cave and Cathedral Cave. The first one is historical because it was once the burial site of the locals. Your other stops would be Popolcan Island and Pinagbuyutan Island, a perfect snorkeling spot for beginners.
You may start your island hopping tour from Matinloc Island, where you can visit the mysterious Matinloc Shrine. From the Shrine of the Blessed Virgin, you will see the magnificence of the entire island. Next, you may proceed to Secret Beach and Dimulacad Island, more commonly known as Helicopter Island because of its helicopter-like shape.
All island hopping tours in El Nido are inclusive of tour guides, entrance fees, picnic-style lunch, and transfers.
These are the places to island hop in Puerto Princesa:
- Honda Bay
- Cowrie Island
- Pandan Island
Island hopping tours in Puerto Princesa are relatively short compared with that of Coron and El Nido. However, they are always full of magnificent limestone formation views.
Starting from Honda Bay, you will be taken to Cowrie Island, where you can kayak, ride a banana boat, or snorkel. Some huts line the shore, where you can experience a full body massage for a fee. The next stop is Pandan Island, which the locals call Makesi Island. This island is home to mangroves.
If not Cowrie Island, you may head to Luli Island and Starfish Island. Luli comes from lulubog-lilitaw, which means ‘sink then rise.’ The island has long sandbars that are completely submerged during high tide and visible during low tide, hence the name. Starfish Island has shallow waters where hundreds of small and big starfish can be seen.
All island hopping tours in Puerto Princesa are inclusive of tour guides, entrance fees, picnic-style lunch, and transfers. Apparently, there are many tours to choose from. Island tour prices generally vary, but the more of you in a group, the lower the costs of these boat tours. You may book as soon as you arrive in Palawan or ahead of time through travel aggregators. Whichever you choose, enjoy your stay in this paradise!