A Travellerspoint blog

El Nido Island Hopping Tour

View South East Asia Grand Tour 2023 on Grete Howard's travel map.


Today is a water-based day, and we are picked up at 08:30 by a man with a van who is accompanied by his small daughter. Neither speak much during the short journey to the centre of El Nido Town, where we are dropped off at the office of a company called Discover El Nido, who specialise in boat trips around the bay. From here we are walked down the road by Amal who will be our guide for the day, and his two young helpers.

El Nido is a ramshackle town with a chilled hippy feel.


We are heading for the beach, where we wade out waist deep to climb aboard the using a ladder, where the bottom rung is thigh high – quite a challenge for my arthritic knees.

Boats lining up to take tourists around the islands

I'm in!

The crew


After assessing my disabilities, the crew re-arrange the itinerary to suit us.


Big Lagoon

This was meant to be our first stop, but as it is only accessible by kayak, we just stop and take some photos from our boat.


Shimizu Island

The island is named after a Japanese scuba diver who didn’t surface after a dive in a deep underwater tunnel, and his body was found days later on the beach here.


I send up the drone for some amazing views.


Shimizu is one of the numerous stunning islands with imposing rock formations and fine white sand in Bacuit Bay.


As we get back on board the boat to move to the next island, the scenery all around us is nothing short of breathtaking.


Entalula Island

With its crystal clear water, and fine white powder sand beach, Entalula Island is a good place to spend some chill time.


Like Shimizu Island, it is almost completely deserted, making it another great place to use my drone.

Two SCUBA divers

Us on the beach

You can barely see us here

Incredibly clear - and warm - water


While we take a picnic lunch, David charges the drone using his mobile phone (for those of you who have not read yesterday’s blog entry, we left the spare batteries for the drone behind in Puerto Princesa).



After lunch, we ‘swim’ a little – more like just floating in the bathwater-warm sea.


Just as we are leaving, a whole load of people arrive – perfect timing!



David has found his place


Seven Commandos Beach

There are a couple of stories about the origins of the name of this beach, one legend claims that seven soldiers were stranded here during WWI, whereas the other legend suggests that it was the name of a fishing vessel that was stranded here, and the passengers decided to make it their home. Either way, it’s a beautiful place.


More drone images:


Because we did not stop at Big Lagoon, nor have we been snorkelling, as is part of the trip, and most people will do, we have finished earlier than they normally do, so Amal asks us if we’d like to visit another island or whether we’d prefer to return to El Nido now. Much as these islands are incredibly beautiful, one sandy beach is very much like another sandy beach, and we suggest heading back.

Amal and his crew

A tourist resort on one of the beaches

Jagged karst landscape

Returning to civilisation at El Nido

Huni Lio Hotel

On the return to the hotel, we jump straight into the pool where we chill for a while.

Great view


Cold sore

Having spent a large part of the day in the sun, I find my lips starting to tingle this afternoon – a sure sign I am developing a cold sore. I am prone to them, and they often turn into a secondary infection, leaving me with an enormous sore covering half my lip, so David goes to find the local pharmacy – but unfortunately, they have nothing to treat cold sores.

David dons a mask and a sun hat for the short walk to the local shops


This evening we share a cheese, onion, and bacon pizza with some chips and onion rings.

The pizza

Chips and onion rings

I order a Tequila Sunrise, which is not available, but tonight they have White Russian, so I have that instead.

White Russian

Just as we are about to retire to bed at 22:45, a package arrives with our missing batteries, which is a great relief, as we are moving on to another island early tomorrow morning.


Thank you Undiscovered Destinations for arranging the Grand Tour of South East Asia, and their local partners for looking after us.


Posted by Grete Howard 10:11 Archived in Philippines Tagged beach pool scuba picnic kayaks karst boat_trip island_hopping el_nido drone undiscovered_destinations picnic_lunch big_lagoon drone_photography el_nido_island_hopping shimizu shimizu_island entalula entalula_island seven_commanos_beach swimming_poolhuni_lio_hotel cold_sore

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents


My gosh, your pictures are amazing!!! Ever considered to work for a travel magazine!?
My friend already told me she fell in love with the Philippines, I liked her pictures, but yours are just beyond that! Seeing them, wants me to jump in a plane and go and see it for myself ... sadly enough that's not possible, so I like to see your pictures instead and dream a bit more!

by Ils1976

That karst landscape is stunning! But I'm not sure I'd like the idea of wading out to the boat waist-deep. Did you just settle for having wet trousers?!

by ToonSarah

Aww, thanks, Ils, that is very kind of you. ♥

It was so warm, Sarah (the water and the air), that having wet clothing did not matter.

by Grete Howard

Comments on this blog entry are now closed to non-Travellerspoint members. You can still leave a comment if you are a member of Travellerspoint.