Philippines // Palawan //

Kayangan Lake

To visit volcanic Kayangan Lake boats dock at a gorgeous lagoon rimmed with coral and turquoise waters – here the Tagbanua have a small hut with basic information about the island and the tribe, with staff on hand to answer any questions. The lake itself is reached by climbing up a steep flight of steps – at the top turn left along a narrow path to tiny Kayangan Cave for awe-inspiring views of the lagoon below. The main path continues down to the lake, where you can snorkel in the warm waters and spy schools of odd-looking needlefish.

Nearby Barracuda Lake offers similar scenery, but is only worth the additional entrance fee if you are on a dive trip; on the surface the water is the usual temperature, but 18 metres down it heats up so much that you can drift along on hot thermals. To the west are the Twin Lagoons (P100), hemmed in by jagged pillars of limestone towering over the water like abstract sculptures. Boats dock at the end of the first lagoon, where you can swim through a low-lying water tunnel into the second one, a tranquil and very deep inlet (the other end opens to the sea). Odd coral formations cling to the sides of the lagoon, looking like a sunken city under the surface. A little further along the coast is Skeleton Wreck (P100), a sunken Japanese fishing vessel easily viewed by snorkellers, and a series of narrow beaches backed by sheer cliffs. Tours usually have lunch on one of these (Banol Beach is the most popular), but each one charges a P100 fee.