If there is a paradise on earth, I think this is it! God was very generous to the Philippines when it came to the distribution of islands and Palawan is the icing on the cake. It is no wonder that Conde Nast Traveler readers have ranked Palawan as # 1 of the Top Islands in the world.
The highly recommended thing to do in El Nido, Palawan is to take an island hopping tour. There are four tours to choose from – A, B, C & D. The most popular ones are A and C. We took both as we did not want to miss out on anything! This article gives you a delightful peek into Tour C. More on the other tour later. Read on….
The name says it all, if you look at this island from a distance, it is shaped like a helicopter of course! As we approached this island, I noticed that it had a large beach, about 300 meters, much more than any of the islands on this tour seemed to have. Perfect to sit around and relax!
But, since we are not the kind of people who can sit and relax when we have crystal clear waters in front of us, we decided to go explore the area and swim around the reef. To be honest, I didn’t see as much marine life as I would have liked to. However, we did return to scuba dive here on a different tour, this time we got see lots of fish!
When we arrived at the second island I was filled with such excitement! My heart beat began to rise, I felt chills through my body. It was a lot like the feeling you get when you have that huge crush on someone! You know what I mean?
For me, Hidden Beach was the highlight of Tour C. Amazing limestone, white sand, warm water in beautiful emerald tones. The only thing that was missing was the marine life… Oh boy, I think I’m a little too obsessed with marine life, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t appreciate the rock formations. I was amazed. I couldn’t stop staring at these limestones. Now, I can honestly say that I love Hidden Beach as much as I love Phra Nang Beach in Thailand.
After we tore ourselves away from the fabulous time we had at Hidden Beach, our boat docked at Matinloc Island and Brandon, our tour guide, told us a little bit of the story of this place… It all revolves around a dream a man had many years ago.
He dreamed of this heart shaped island and saw a dome shaped structure supported by 12 pillars. And in this structure was the image of the Virgin Mary. In his dream, he had a revelation that he would one day build this dome. He then sought out the place and built the shrine, he also built a mansion that he and his wife lived in. Quite mysteriously, they abandoned the island. The dome and mansion is all that is left behind.
We didn’t get to go inside, I was too distracted taking pictures of the surroundings. But I’ll be willing to go back on a different trip to learn more about this guy and check out the mansion…
Reaching Secret Beach was a bit of an adventure. We had to swim to the entrance of a tiny opening that separated the ocean from the beach. I never would have imagined there was a beautiful beach just by looking at that tiny hole from a distance. There were some awesome rock formations under the water. It was quite deep, but once you crossed that point, the water near the beach was very shallow and warm.
Our last stop was at CadLao Lagoon. Like the rest of the islands we visited as part of Tour C, this lagoon was surrounded by tall limestone formations and deep turquoise waters. But truth to tell, I was super exhausted by the time we got here, but I did my best to enjoy it… I swam around the limestone rocks but I didn’t see much fish.
On my way back, I realized that all the fish were hiding near the boat around some corals. Ah! I bet they were laughing at me going crazy looking for them! But I hope to go back to this island when I am not dehydrated and tired from all the swimming.
Who would I recommend Tour C?
Absolutely. I would recommend it to those who appreciate mother nature’s wonderful work, especially the gigantic limestone structures. I don’t think this tour was great in terms of snorkeling. If you want to get a little more action and spend more time exploring the sea life, there are other tours that focus on just that. Tour C, like the other 3 island hopping tours are more of an island sampling.
We were recommended Caera Travel Tour by the local Tourism Office. I was very happy with the owners, Beth and Ramil and our guide, Brandon. The food options were amazing. A great selection – plenty of sea food, vegetables, chicken and fruit. They offer group and private tours. I’d highly recommend that you join the private tours, as it gives you more control on which islands you would like to visit and you can custom build a tour of your preference.
Disclaimer: This tour was sponsored by Caera Travel Tour. However all opinions are my own.
- Island Hopping in El Nido, Philippines – Tour A
- Scuba Diving in El Nido, Philippines – The Best of Both Worlds
- Discover the Beauty of Thailand at the Railay and Phra Nang Beach
- Top 5 Things to do in Siem Reap, Cambodia
- The Cu Chi Tunnels & Cao Dai Temple Tour – Best Experience in HCMC
- A O Show Saigon: A fascinating snapshot of Vietnamese culture