EL NIDO: TOUR C

Tour C is one of the most popular island hopping tours in El Nido. While Tour A is all about lagoons, Tour C flaunts El Nido’s best beaches. It revolves around Matinloc Island and the stunning beaches it conceals including Talisay Beach, Matinloc Shrine, and the legendary Secret Beach, which is widely believed to be the inspiration for Alex Garland’s The Beach.

Matinloc Island is one of the farthest limestone islands from the town proper, so Tour C takes longer than others. Also included in most Tour C itineraries is a stop at Helicopter Island.

Tour Stops

Tours in El Nido are standardized. Most boat trips take around 7 hours to finish, usually starting at 9am and ending at 4pm-5pm.

Lunch is included in every tour. It’s part of what you paid for. It usually includes grilled fish, grilled pork or chicken, rice, vegetables, and fruits (usually bananas, watermelons, or pineapples). However, drinking water is often EXCLUDED, so bring your own.

The beaches on the itinerary are some of the best in El Nido; the towering limestone and the swaying trees add to their idyllic charm.

  • Helicopter Island
  • Secret Beach
  • Talisay Beach
  • Star Beach
  • Matinloc Shrine

The cerulean waters are enticing to swim in and picture perfect with the limestone and trees behind them.

There are snorkeling spots for those who want to make the effort, and there’s a lot of space for beach bums who just want to chill.

Prepare your cameras for taking videos or photos of Helicopter Island; the island got its name because of its helicopter-like shape from a distance.

Note: The guide may change the itinerary depending on the weather and the number of tourists in a place.

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Fees and Rates

Tour C can be done in two ways: by joining a group tour or chartering a private boat.

  • Group Tour: Around P1400 per person
  • Private Boat Tour: Around P4000-P6000 (depending on the size of the boat and group)
  • Eco-Tourism Fee: P200 (good for 10 days, paid only once)
  • Snorkel Rental: Around P150

Klook offers discounted El Nido tours.

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Getting There

Airport: El Nido Airport and Puerto Princesa International Airport

By Air

    1. There are many flights to and from Puerto Princesa from Manila; major airlines such as Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, and AirAsia have daily and regular flights. Buy your plane tickets months in advance to get the best and lowest possible price.
    2. From Puerto Princesa, you have the option to board the RoRo and Cherry Bus or one of the many vans that travel to El Nido. The bus option costs around P290-P480/way and the van’s fare costs around P550 to P600 per way.

Note: There are also direct flights to El Nido from Manila but will cost more; AirSWIFT plies this route.

By Sea

  1. If you were unable to buy discounted tickets, you can go to Puerto Princesa by boat. 2Go plies the Manila-Puerto Princesa route every Tuesday and Friday. The boat arrives at around 9:00 PM the following day. The Super Value Class is the cheapest option this costs around P1,680.
  2. Once in town, you have the option to board the RoRo and Cherry Bus or one of the many vans that travel to El Nido. The bus option costs around P290-P480/way and the van’s fare costs around P550 to P600 per way.

Nearby Resorts

Here are some resorts in El Nido.

El Nido Resorts Miniloc Island
Location: Miniloc Island, El Nido, Palawan

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Matinloc Resort
Location: Matinloc Island, El Nido, Palawan

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Vellago Resort
Location: 7 Commando Beach, El Nido, Palawan

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El Nido Resorts Lagen Island
Location: Lagen Island, El Nido, Palawan

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Photos above courtesy of respective resorts (via Agoda).

For more options, search here: Palawan Hotels

Travel Tips

  • Tour C encompasses El Nido’s most distant islands, some facing the open sea. Hence, the current here is much stronger than other parts of the bay.
  • Do Tour C as early as you can. If possible, do it on your first full day in El Nido. Of all island-hopping tours, Tour C is the most prone to cancellation because, as mentioned, it involves the farthest islands and the closest to the open sea. Hence, if the weather is good on your first day, do Tour C right away.
  • You will need to swim underwater through a hole on a cliff to get to Secret Beach. It can be challenging for some. If you decide to go for it, watch out for the rocks immediately after the hole because they can scratch (or wound) your limbs.
  • If you’re staying in the region for a longer time, head further north to Coron or make a stop at Linapacan.

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