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El Nido Tour A Review – Palawan Philippines

El Nido Tour A Review – Palawan Philippines

El Nido is a paradise on earth and Tour A holds some of the best sights in the Palawan. In my book, El Nido has some of the prettiest water and beaches, it’s definitely one of the best places in the Philippines.

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! It’s one of the best Palawan attractions.

El Nido Tour A Itinerary

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

El Nido Tour A cost: $32 + 200 PHP Eco-Tour Fee (Govt’) Good for 10 days and multiple trips

Best tour operator for El Nido Tour A: You can book Tour A in person in town or during high season we highly suggest booking online in advance to secure your dates. Book online here for only $28 with Viator.

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 9 am – 4 pm)

Related Article: El Nido Tour C

Yellow Kayak in Small Lagoon in El Nido's Miniloc Island on Day Tour A

Small Lagoon

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.

Note: You will only be able to visit either Small Lagoon or Big Lagoon on Day Trip A. This is done to keep both sites from getting overcrowded. 

Related Post: Visiting El Nido’s Snake Island

Yellow Kayak paddling through Big Lagoon on Miniloc Island in El Nido with Aqua colored water and tall limestone rock cliffs surrounding

Big Lagoon

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 surrounded by dark, jagged, limestone cliffs.

The lagoon is extremely shallow and the deckhand 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.

Related Article: Best Restaurants in El Nido

White Filipino boat anchored at Secret Lagoon Beach

Simizu Island

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 onshore 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 Post: Visiting Nacpan Beach

Drone photo of Secret Lagoon with tall limestone rock walls surrounding a small lagoon - El Nido Day Trip A

Secret Lagoon

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. The view ties as to as epic as Kayangan Lake in Coron.

View of the sand at 7 Commandos Beach on tour A in El Nido

7 Commandos Beach

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 the 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 a 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.

Related Article: El Nido to Coron Ferry

Tips for a good Tour A in El Nido:

  • Book online in advance here
  • See if the operator would be willing to run the tour in reverse order. This will get you to most groups’ 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 your 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 the 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.

Related Article: El Nido Palawan Guide

*When looking for the best price and biggest selection of hotels in El Nido check prices on, we’ve found they are the best option and have a great cancelation policy.*

Recommended Hotel in El Nido – Cuna Hotel

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Sunday 11th of December 2022

This is a very nice place.I used to work in El nido and the place is very nice and also the people here.You must visit El Nido


Wednesday 27th of March 2019

it was very informative and helpful thank you. we will be going in May 13- 14 so definitely will use your tips. cindy


Saturday 30th of March 2019

Great! If you have time Tour C is also really great! Have an awesome trip to El Nido!


Sunday 30th of December 2018

FYI, as of December 1, 2018 Big Lagoon and Small Lagoon have been removed from the regular Tour A and will now require a premium tour. Each lagoon will also include an extra P200 environmental fee and you won't be able to visit both in one day. The number of visitors will be strictly limited.


Wednesday 6th of June 2018

My bf and I are planning on going in july 2018. I was wondering if this tour was just one day? We are planning to stay 5 days and are wondering if you have enough time at every spot if you do it all in one day? I love reading all your tips about traveling it made it easier since we were so lost in the beginning!


Wednesday 6th of June 2018

This is a day trip, you don't have a ton of time at each spot, but for most people, it is enough. Also, consider doing day trip c also it's pretty amazing too. Have an amazing trip in El Nido!

Ada Binetti

Friday 13th of April 2018

Hello! Where can I rent a motorbike? Would like to rent it our for a week, do your the the price ? We are also looking for quiet place to stay, on the beach or on the hill, prefer clean bungalow, any suggestion? We also want to try a night or two in a nice resort has bungalow on the water that won't break our wallet, any suggestion on that too?

We're arriving on May 18 at 4pm, cos' our flt is a bit late to go up the El Nido, ll probably spent a night at PP then catch an early van up to El Nido.

Is Taytay a good stop? or a a day trip? Thank you

Hannah Lukaszewicz

Monday 30th of April 2018

There will be several shops to rent a motorbike in El Nido, you can book this in person when you are there. Make sure to check our El Nido guide for hotel suggestions, things to do in El Nido, and more

We spent the night Puerto Princessa too as we didn't want to arrive late into El Nido. Good decision on that.

Safe travels.