Philippines // Palawan //

The Bacuit archipelago

The main reason most people visit El Nido is to go island-hopping around the enchanting Bacuit archipelago, 45 limestone outcrops riddled with karst cliffs, sinkholes and idyllic lagoons. Tours (generally 9am–4pm) of the islands have been standardized into packages, and prices only differ very slightly between agents and operators (prices are per person; including a packed lunch): tour A (P500–600) takes in the attractions of Miniloc and Shimizu islands; B (P650–700) goes to Snake Island, Cathedral Cave and points south; C and D (P600–700) usually take in Mantinloc and Tapiutan islands. The highlights are, naturally enough, scattered throughout each itinerary, designed to encourage several days of touring. If time is short you can charter your own boat taking in all the best locations listed below; reckon on P4000–5000 per bangka. Another option is kayak tours: Cadlao Island tours are around P1100; tours to other islands around P1350. If you simply want to stay put on a beach for a few hours and do some snorkelling, you can charter a boat for P1200 to 7 Commando Beach (which has a small bar behind a lovely strip of sand), P1300 to Helicopter Island or P1600 to Shimizu Island.