Palawan is a group of many islands in the Southwest part of the Philippines. It’s a favorite vacation island of many tourists local and abroad. One of the top travel destinations in Palawan is El Nido. El Nido serves as gateway to the beautiful Bacuit Archipelago composed of several small islands and islets plus about 30 dive spots. It is likened by many who have seen it to a paradise. Indeed, the municipality of El Nido has been very often nicknamed as “heaven on earth” by many tourists.
Perhaps what makes El Nido more popular than the other islands of Palawan is that it was the first island developed for tourism in 1983. Even so, the lifestyle in El Nido is still very much laid-back. The town itself is no different from other city centers of Palawan. And just a boat drive away can be found the magnificent lime stones surrounding clear blue waters of picturesque islands of the Bacuit archipelago.
Seasoned travelers have proclaimed the archipelago of Bacuit as reminiscent of Ha Long Bay in Vietnam and Krabi and Phuket in Thailand. That’s really not surprising because the island of Palawan stands on the same tectonic plate as Vietnam and Thailand. The jagged, impressive limestone cliffs and rocks of the islands in Bacuit are very similar to those found in the beaches of the said countries. Many, however, are of the opinion that the islands in Vietnam and Thailand are no match to the islands in Bacuit.
The nearest jump-off to the islands of Bacuit is El Nido. There are about 50 small islands making up the archipelago. The stunning seascape of limestone towering above turquoise blue water of small deserted beaches and hidden big and small lagoons makes Bacuit a famous diving and snorkeling site. Matinloc, Miniloc and Simisu Islands are amongst the favorites of island-hopping vacationers. Local boat operators offer three major tours passing through different routes. Depending on your time availability, you could opt to take all three or take one and stay in the islands for as long as you want.
One of the must-see islands in Bacuit is the secret beach in Matinloc Island, where you have to swim through a small opening between two rocks to go there. And when it’s high tide, you have to pass through the opening underwater. Most tourists described this as the highlight of their visit in Bacuit.
For an extra fee, you can also ask your boatmen to prepare lunch for you. You can then have your lunch of fresh fish and shrimp with some equally fresh vegetables and fruits. Just be sure to request this before leaving El Nido and setting off for the sea.
Whatever you plan to do in El Nido, an island-hopping trip in Bacuit Archipelago is one you shouldn’t miss. Make your sea adventure complete and escape into the pristine waters and uninhabited islands of Bacuit. Spend a leisurely morning in the beaches and eat your lunch on a secluded island spot: it’s an experience you wouldn’t forget quickly.
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