We set out on an overnight island hopping camping tour in El Nido, Palawan, an archipelagic province of the Philippines. We had opted for the Overnight Camping Safari Tour with tour operator, El Nido Paradise (We DON’T recommend them for obvious reasons mentioned below!).
The tour included 2 nights camping on a deserted island and 3 island hopping tours. We chose tour A, B and D. Tour C was our first choice but was closed on account of the weather and rough seas. The overnight camping package also includes all your meals, drinking water, unlimited alcohol (beer/rum & coke), tents and bedding, mask and snorkel.
On our first day we got to experience Tour A, one of the best and most popular island hopping tours in El Nido. The Big and Small Lagoon’s tranquil turquoise-green waters of its orchid-lined limestone walls, were definitely the highlight of the tour. Unfortunately, the weather did not allow us to see much else.
After the tour we got dropped off on a beach by the friendly boat captain and were told to wait for a transfer to the island where we were spending the night. This is when things went pear-shaped.
Our tour operator (El Nido Paradise) had no idea we were there and totally forgot about us. Fortunately, we were with two other guys who had gone with a different tour operator and they picked us up. If we were alone, no one would have known we were there and with no phones or provisions, we would have had to apply our wide range of survivor skills compliments of Bear Grills.
To cut a long story short, we were unable to go on any other tours and were stranded on the island for two days (Which we really did not mind). The coast guard had forbidden any tourist boats out on the sea and they eventually “rescued” us.
We highly recommend the overnight tour package (just with a different tour operator) as it is the ideal way to discover the beautiful and preserved islands, clear water lagoons, white sand beaches and their snorkeling sites. El Nido, although touristy, is a piece of paradise and one of the reasons why Palawan is constantly ranked as one of The Best Island’s In The World.