El Nido Tour A Review – Palawan Philippines

El Nido Day Tour A boy

El Nido Tour A Review – Palawan Philippines

El Nido is paradise on earth. This cluster of islands is said to be the inspiration of many movies including “The Beach”. In my book, El Nido beats Fiji for having the prettiest water and beaches. The best parts of the area can only be reached via a booked day trip, and El Nido Tour A takes you to some of the most famous, and beautiful, parts of the archipelago. When looking for things to do in El Nido be sure to include the El Nido tour A!

Related Article:Things To Do In El Nido

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El Nido Tour A

El Nido Day Trip Tour A Map

El Nido Tour A Itinerary

  • Small Lagoon
  • Big Lagoon
  • Secret Lagoon
  • Simizu Island
  • 7 Commandos Beach or Entulala Island (depending on company)

El Nido Tour A cost: 1200 PHP + 200 PHP Eco-Tour Fee (Govt’) Good for 10 days and multiple trips

Best tour operator for El Nido Tour A: The island hopping day trip favorites are the Alternative Cafe and The Art Cafe. Just about everyone with a boat will offer a tour, but both of these companies have been around a long time and run quality tours. We traveled with The Alternative Cafe for El Nido tour A (Better Food), and we went with The Art Cafe  for the El Nido Tour C (Bigger/Better Boat).

Duration: Full Day (Usually 9am – 4pm)

Related Article: El Nido Tour C

Small LagoonEl Nido tour A - Palawan Philippines-1

After a short ride throughout the bay, our first stop on El Nido Tour A dropped us at Small Lagoon. It’s on the northern end of Miniloc Island and is an open top cathedral of limestone. Vertical walls of stone form a lagoon of shallow water in the shape of a nearly perfect circle. Staring up at the imposing walls from the inside, it starts to look like a very alien landscape.

Big LagoonPhilippines Photos-3

The Big Lagoon portion of the El Nido Tour A is all about cruising. For me, this was the best part of the day. The whole tour was great, but the water in the lagoon…just look at it. When I die, sprinkle my ashes here. There were a few spots to jump off the boat and swim but there wasn’t a ton of sea life besides the giant sea urchins. This part of the El Nido Tour A experience was more about being in the turquoise water surround by dark, jagged, limestone cliffs. The lagoon is extremely shallow and the deck hand (the boy in the red shirt) sat off the bow of the boat helping the captain miss rocks our entire trip in the lagoon. Some of my favorite pictures from El Nido Tour A, and the Philippines in general, are from here. I love the photos with the boy. His red shirt stands out in such contrast to the crystal clear, blue water.

Simizu IslandEl Nido Tour A Philippines - Day Trip A-25

The lunch stop was yet another ridiculously beautiful island. I almost got tired of looking at such amazing scenery, it made my eyes hurt and made me never want to leave. Lunch on El Nido Tour A had several options. It included the Philippino version of paella, grilled fish, chicken, salads, fresh fruit, and more. We took this trip with the Alternative Cafe and their food, both on shore and on tour, was great. The most striking feature of the island was an outcropping of rocks a short walk from where we docked the boat. A razor thin blade of the black limestone found all over El Nido stuck straight out of the sand. This piece reminded me of the top fin of a fish, and I wondered how it just stood straight up in the bright white sand. This place is just amazing.

Related Article: El Nido Palawan Guide

Secret LagoonEl Nido tour A - Palawan Philippines-3

This picture is what sold me on making the trip to El Nido, and is a good part of the reason we came to the Philippines. You will find a mess of boats jockeying for position while their passengers jump out to swim through the hole in the rocks that leads to the secret lagoon. Though, these days it’s more special than it is secret. El Nido Tour A seems to be the most popular tour and for good reason. The scenery they show is stunning, it’s one of the shortest rides, and of course, it has the secret lagoon as an ace up its sleeve.

El Nido tour A - Palawan Philippines-2

7 Commandos Beach

El Nido Tour A Philippines - Day Trip A-63

Seven Commandos Beach would be a great beach in any other part of the world but is just okay by Palawan standards. Most tours finish here because it’s close to El Nido and it’s an easy place to stop. The story behind the beach is arguably more interesting than the beach itself. As legend goes, Seven Japanese commandos took refuge here during WWII and ended up living here for a time (actual information is a little cloudy, but this is what the guides told us). Other companies like the ArtCafe stop at a different beach off the mainland for their last activity. By the looks of it, it’s prettier beach and there are fewer people who stop there. It might be something to check out and consider when booking (ask first, things change) if you want to do a tour other than El Nido Tour A.

El Nido Hotel Banner - Cheap hotels in El Nido Philippines

Tips for a good Tour A:

  • See if the operator would be willing to run the tour in reverse order. This will get you to most group’s last stop first, and miss the crowds at every stop on EL Nido tour A.
  • Find a boat that is leaving earlier than the rest, another great way to have the stops to yourself.
  • Book with an established place to ensure you tour leaves as scheduled.
  • Rent the snorkel gear, it’s a little extra, but you’ll be disappointed if you don’t.
  • Rent or bring a water bag for camera and other gear (50 PHP rental).
  • Bring water shoes – El Nido Tour A is manageable without, but it would still be nice to have them, El Nido tour C you really should have them.

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More on El Nido:

El Nido Tour C - Complete Travel guide Thumb El Nido Day Trip Tour A Thumb

filipino phood feature 1  boracay on a budget feature

Philippines in photos feature

  • rebecca
    Posted at 14:42h, 28 January Reply

    This sounds amazing. My only thought is was it touristy? Fromt he tours I took around South East Asia I normally found them to be touristy and disappointing. However, I certainly take your word for it if you didn’t find that.

    • Hannah
      Posted at 05:22h, 21 February Reply

      It wasn’t touristy when we were there in February 2014, but I would go sooner than later. It is very hard to get to therefore many people skip it and go to Boracay.

  • Goni
    Posted at 20:43h, 05 May Reply

    This sounds absolutely awesome. Why did I not go there last time I was in the Philippines?! Next time definitely after seeing those beautiful pictures 🙂

  • Mark
    Posted at 23:43h, 28 September Reply

    Hey Hannah,
    Thanks for sharing the love about this amazing destination in the Philippines. Camille and I just got back from there a couple weeks ago but unfortunately we went during rainy season. We ended up doing tour A which like you mentioned was incredible but weren’t able to do tour C.

    The tips you provided were excellent and I wish we we knew about doing the tours in reverse. The operators are pretty laid back and would have likely let us do it in reverse. Snorkeling is a must but again with the timing there were more currents and the weather wasn’t the best.. We’ll surely be back though as we’re looking at investing there but I can see the town changing very quickly.

    Thanks again for the post. Will be tweeting this out soon.

    Love from Manila,
    Mark and Camille

  • celyn
    Posted at 01:40h, 28 June Reply

    hello……..how much tour package rate for tour A?

    • Hannah
      Posted at 09:25h, 29 June Reply

      When we visited it was 1400 PHP but prices could have changed since our visit. We hope to visit again this year and we’ll update the article.


  • marie
    Posted at 14:38h, 27 July Reply

    Your posts are so informative and helpful. I’m planning my trip to Palawan so studying these with interest. Thank you!

    • Hannah
      Posted at 00:20h, 30 October Reply

      So glad we can help plan your trip to El Nido Palawan. Let us know if you have any other questions.

  • Denisse Davis
    Posted at 00:07h, 26 October Reply

    Love your tips! What do you think about doing the tour A but with the kayaks I heard that option is better than the normal tour A. Is it worth it to be in kayaks or is better just snorkle? I heard wothbthe kayaks you can go farther places that the boats can’t take you. Thank u

    • Hannah
      Posted at 09:43h, 27 October Reply

      We saw the kayakers when we were there and honestly it depends if you like snorkeling or kayaking better. We personally like snorkeling better. You also have to watch how much free time you have with the kayaks. No matter what you will have an amazing time in El Nido! Safe travels.

  • Nina
    Posted at 02:20h, 03 November Reply

    Thank you for such an informative post 🙂 just wondering, did you have to book in advance? Or do you just rock up on the day/day before and book? Would you recommend booking your day tours/hotels in advance in general?

    • Hannah
      Posted at 04:18h, 03 November Reply

      Glad we could help. We booked our tours in person when we were in El Nido, we did book them a day or two in advance. Are you traveling during high season? If so, you might want to book at least your first night accomodation.

      • Nina
        Posted at 06:16h, 03 November Reply

        Thanks so much for getting back to me so quickly! At this stage we are looking at going in April

  • Dee Brown
    Posted at 21:35h, 21 February Reply

    Thanks for the info. ..I will be going in march

    • Hannah Lukaszewicz
      Posted at 14:31h, 27 February Reply

      Safe travels and let us know if you have any other El Nido questions.

  • Meryl V.
    Posted at 13:26h, 27 September Reply

    This is so informative! Absolutely love your blog. My BF and I are going for 3 days with another couple. Can’t decide if we should spend all 3 in El Nido or spend a day in Puerto Princesa. Anywho, we will definitely be doing this and possibly Tour C. Already have my water shoes!

    • Hannah Lukaszewicz
      Posted at 14:52h, 06 October Reply

      Glad we could help plan your trip to the Palawan and El Nido. We just spent the night in Puerto Princessa, it was dark when we go there. So we didn’t do much so we can’t be much help there. I think 3 nights in El Nido is best, that way you can go on several El Nido ours.

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