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Polaroid of the week: A picture-perfect lagoon near El Nido, Philippines

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polaroid of the week philippines bacuit archipelago el nido palawanIt wasn’t even intentional, but when my boat left the bay in which the little town of El Nido sits and drove out into the archipelago it dawned on me that I had saved the best for last. El Nido was the last stop on my Philippines trip, and as our little boat was getting closer to the massive limestone karst cliffs that are prominent on all the islets out here, I couldn’t stop thinking how lucky I was to be able to see this little piece of heaven.

El Nido and the Bacuit Archipelago are often named as the last unspoiled paradise on earth, and as we were passing deserted, immaculate beaches, steered through lagoons with crystal clear emerald green water, stopped the boat to swim through narrow holes in the towering limestone walls which turned out to be entrances to hidden beaches and lagoons, snorkeled with colorful tropical fish and ‘hopped’ from one uninhabited island to the next, I could see why people are so smitten by this truly awe-inspiring wonder of nature.

The archipelago, consisting of 45 limestone outcrops pierced with steep karst cliffs and lined with dozens of palm-fringed beaches is best explored on an island hopping tour like the one I was on, which can be booked everywhere around El Nido town. There are four different boat tours which include various islands, allowing you to snorkel in hidden lagoons, explore beautiful caves and visit secret beaches, or just take in the magnificence of this serene setting from the boat. But not to snorkel would mean missing out on the incredible underwater world here, which has more than 800 different species of fish and over 100 species of coral.

I was lucky enough to go on two island hopping trips during my stay in El Nido, but I wish I could have gone on all four – I could’ve sailed through the archipelago for weeks and never gotten bored of just looking at the breathtaking beauty of this chain of lush green isles which all look like they are the picture-perfect Robinson Crusoe-like retreat. I couldn’t have asked for a better ending to my island hopping trip in the Philippines – Palawan turned out to be the most impressive ‘grand finale’ to an absolute dream trip.

Think I am exaggerating with my gushing over this heaven on earth? Then check out these photos in an article named ‘Palawan, the most beautiful island in the world, is sheer perfection.

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25 Comments

    1. Oh there are so many more to come, Melinda!! 🙂 I am so excited to share all of them… I can’t get over how beautiful these islands are!

    1. Katie – so worth it! It was a bit of a pain to get there and I wasn’t sure if it would really be worth it, but it definitely was 🙂

  1. I agree! It’s undeniably beautiful around El Nido. I imagine you could spend months there exploring everything it has to offer. El Nido is definitely one of those places I would like to revisit. So glad to hear it was the perfect ending to your trip. And so glad that you ended up loving the Philippines as much as I did 🙂 Such an amazing country!

    1. Months, definitely, Justine 🙂 I regret that I didn’t go on the Tao trip, a 5-day cruise around the archipelago. Everyone I met who did this trip was raving about it. Next time, I guess 😉

    1. I so hope that the tourists don’t take over! I was a bit annoyed at first about how hard it was to get there (my minivan ride from Puerto Princesa was horrible) but when I arrived and saw the archipelago I was happy that it’s not easier because if it was, it would probably be just as crowded as Boracay 😀

    1. I did eat at Altrove, YES! Couldn’t believe the lines there and so I expected something AMAZING AMAZING but imho, it was just okay. I mean, still the best pizza I had in the Philippines, hands down, but I am a hard-to-please pizza snob 😀 The alternative has closed down, sadly 🙁

  2. Some suggestions to visit next time. In Manila, visit the new city of dreams. All the luxury 5 stars casinos n hotels. It’s still pretty new, so not sure how far it’s been fully landscaped. There’s also a new 3D art wall museum just opened in Cubao. The biggest in Asia. A kind of museum where you can play w the arts n b a part of them. Looks really cool! Also Mall of Asia! Manila has some of the biggest malls in the world!

    For some islands. Siargao is up n coming, but everyone been there R raving . There’s also Malapascua in the north of Cebu. Amazing beach n tresher dive! Don’t forget to dive w the whale sharks too in Cebu or Donsol. And of course More of palawan islands. Try Coron next time!

    For some stunning surroundings. Lots of beautiful mountains n volcanos. Sagada, Rice terraces n Pinatubo crater lake in the north r not to b missed! Also the prettiest volcano in Albay! And just south of Manila is Tagaytay where u can find the smallest volcano. Tagaytay is where mostly the expats R owning homes, so more

    on the western standards. Beautiful lake n sceneries.

    Many many more, but maybe hard to get to. 4000 islands in the Philippines R uninhabited n all beautiful, but likely deserted! Hundreds of them R coated by white sands, so I suggest u do the Tao expedition to experience portion of those deserted gorgeous islands! Happy Travels!

    1. Thanks so much for the tips, Ivy! I actually found out about the Tao expedition while I was in El Nido but ran out of time to do it. Well, next time I guess. And combine it with Coron 🙂 The rice terraces and Malapascua are on the list for my next visit, too. Already looking forward to it!

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