Island Hopping in Palawan
The best way to get to know and to enjoy Palawan is by getting yourself on a bangka and taking on the different islands of Palawan.
Even when you’re hopping between islands, you’ll get to enjoy the view of the clear blue waters and the steep limestone rocks scattered throughout the archipelago.
When you’re already in the island, you can then picnic, snorkel, swim, kayak, and just relax under the Palawan sun.
In El Nido and Coron, there are already well-known packaged island hopping tours that you can easily reserve through the travel agencies in town. These tours will get you to most of the know islands and tend to be cheaper than chartering your own bangka (although no one is stopping you to do the latter). Remember to protect your gadgets from sand and water!
There are various operators and travel agencies in Palawan offering tours in Coron and nearby islands. Some popular spots include the Twin Peaks, Hidden Lagoon, Kayangan Lake, and Siete Pecados. There are also shipwreck tours for those who are searching for this particular experience. Snorkeling is essential in these areas so make sure that you have the necessary gear. There are also tours that can bring you to Culion, Calauit, or Malcapuya. Depending on the distance of the islands, the tour can cost PHP 500 (USD 12.5) to PHP 2500 (USD 62.5) per person.
In El Nido, there are 4 standard kinds of island hopping tours (A, B, C, or D) that you can choose from. Each tour covers different spots (lagoons, caves, coves, beaches) in El Nido and costs at least PHP1200 (USD 30) per person for a full day trip that includes boat rental and lunch. Look for a tour provider that also offers snorkeling gear without extra charge.
Scuba Diving in Palawan
Palawan is extremely popular for its underwater treasures. Many divers from all over the world have come to Palawan to explore its colorful and magnificent reefs and even the spooky Japanese shipwrecks in Coron that have already bustled to life with schools of fish.
There are many diving centers in Palawan that offer diving classes just in case you get too addicted from snorkeling and introductory dives and you want to get your license on the spot. You also have the option of starting your Open Water Diver course online. Through PADI’s eLearning® system, you can complete the knowledge development portion of the course online. This allows you to spend more time in the ocean when you get to Palawan.
Snorkeling in Palawan
If you prefer snorkeling than diving in Palawan, this can also be easily arranged. The waters are very clear in Palawan that even when you’re just snorkeling, you can already see (and be amazed by) a large number of colorful fish of various shapes and sizes. This can easily get you lost underwater and forget to check out what’s above – so do take a break once in a while to check where you left off the bangka.
Most accommodations and tour operators include snorkeling gear in tours. You can also request to rent the gear for a whole day.
Kayaking in Palawan
When there are no strong currents, many travelers enjoy kayaking in between the islands of Palawan or within boundaries in a resort. Some people go as far as camping out in another island and kayaking home the next day.
Trekking/Hiking in Palawan
Conquering hills in Palawan is also another stimulating day activity. The views from the top of these hills are spectacular since you also get to see neighboring islands as well. In some hills like Tapyas (in Coron) and Agila (in Culion), concrete steps going to the top have already been constructed; while other hills, such as the one in Popototan, are more “raw”. All the same, they have amazing views from the top.
Motorcycling/Biking in Palawan
Exploring the grounds of Palawan is also another one of the plenty of activities in Palawan. Rent a bike or a motorcycle and be an adventurer in the island.
You can have pre-selected sites that you can visit or you can just go to one direction and remember your way back. You can also always ask locals to help you find your way around town or the nearby towns.
Chasing the Sun
Because of the magnificent natural beauty of Palawan, you get to witness splendid sunrises and sunsets that have often been taken for granted. When the clock strikes 5 in the afternoon, make sure you are well-positioned, whether sitting on the sand and drinking your cold beer or sitting on a bangka on the way back to your resort, and patiently wait for that spectacular sunset. Often, it happens too fast! You feel like you’ve been waiting for hours and then, in a snap, that’s it – the sun’s out of site! Enjoy those precious seconds.