Fun in Paradise (El Nido)

On Wednesday 16th we had booked to do one of the four day trips they offer in El Nido. We booked Tour A as that included the two lagoons that were supposed to be breathtaking. Jonny and Louise recommended we book the tour with their hotel as it was a little cheaper (1,000 pesos each) and meant we would all be together on the trip. The other English couple Nat and Josh also booked with them so we were all together for the day. The tour included going to see; small lagoon, big lagoon, secret lagoon and two beaches.

First was small lagoon. The boat anchored up in the crystal clear water and our guide told us we could either swim to the lagoon or rent a kayak. Natalie’s not a particularly strong swimmer so we opted for the kayak which was quite fun anyway. The water outside of the lagoon was honestly so clear and beautiful.

Some of the coral was a little dead obviously from where the boats come in and out of the bay all the time, but there was still a fair amount of marine life to look at. You didn’t even need to snorkel - you could see the fish when floating on the top in the kayak. So we kayaked through the crystal clear water to the small rocky entrance of the lagoon. Somehow, the colour of the water changed completely and it turned a vibrant green colour. Jordan got in with his mask on but the water wasn’t very clear and there wasn’t much to see as the lagoon was so deep that it just went into darkness. We had a mosey around the lagoon, paddling from one side to the other and taking pictures. Unfortunately there was quite a lot of people there so it was very hard to get that typical Instagram shot, but we gave it a go…

After about 45 minutes there (and a quick snorkel around the boat after we returned the kayak) we headed for Shimizu Island. This island had a stunning beach surrounded by limestone cliffs making it into a little cove area. Again the sea was crystal clear and the two of us plus Jonny and Louise saw some amazing marine life whilst snorkelling off the shore line. The coral was more alive here so the sea life was bigger and brighter. Jonny was very good at spotting cool fish and shellfish that was camouflaged so he was a great person to snorkel with.

It was here that our guides also prepared our lunch. This was included in the price of the tour and consisted of barbequed fish, mussels, chicken curry and some vegetables with rice and a sweet and sour type sauce. All washed down with a glass of water and some watermelon. It was all delicious.

After we let our food go down whilst sunbathing, we all got back on the boat to go to Secret Lagoon. This lagoon was harder to get to. The boat anchored up and we had to walk with our flip flops on across the very rocky and corally seabed to get to the very small entrance, in which you had to climb through on your hands and knees (or bum if you would prefer). After the first lagoon this one was a disappointment. The water felt and looked dirty, only being knee deep and the lagoon was so tiny that it was a big underwhelming. You had to queue for ages to get in or out as there was one one entrance/exit and the whole thing just wasn’t worth cutting your legs/feet on the coral in order to reach it.

Next on the tour was Big Lagoon which was so big, and so far away from the boat that it took forever to get to. Again you could either swim or rent a kayak. All three couples chose to swim this time, taking our snorkels with us in case we saw anything good. The boat anchored way far out of the lagoon as it was low tide. Apparently if it’s hide tide they can get much closer. The sea bed became much more shallow and we could walk through the two large limestone rocks that formed a long passageway to the lagoon. Several of us gave up the closer we got as it didn’t look anything special and it was again very awkward to walk over the dead coral and rocks in our flip flops.

The tour ended with some sun bathing on Seven Commandos Beach. This was a lovely beach too with nice white sand and clear sea. It was a shame we didn’t stay there longer before returning back to El Nido boat port to end the day.

After the day trip we had to move out of Lualhati Garden Cottages and to Amos Hostel which was a bit cheaper at 500 pesos per bed. Lou and Jonny joined us in Amos hostel, then we met up with Nat and Josh as well and went to the pizza place we had been to the night before for dinner. After eating way too much pizza we headed to the beach to play some card drinking games in one of the bars. Such a great night with lovely people.

On Thursday we were all a bit hungover so we had a lay in, then Natalie, Louise and Jonny went for some breakfast/lunch at CB Cafe where we had been the day before. Jordan was too hungover so decide to sleep some more. That afternoon we shared a trike down to Las Cabanas Beach and luckily spotted Natalie and Josh, so we chilled out with them and watched the incredible sunset. Definitely one we will remember from this trip.

As we had been out drinking the day before, we had a early night after ordering the amazing fried chicken at our hostel - a must if you stay there.

The next day we wanted to get up early-ish to get stuff done before renting bikes and going out for the day. Firstly we took advantage of the free breakfast at Amos Hostel then got a trike into the town to go to CB Cafe which we knew had good wifi so we could book flights and accommodation. By the time we got back to the hostel to get ready for the beach, it was nearly midday, and the bikes would have cost us the same as having them for the whole day (400 pesos) so we decided to leave it as we weren't sure if the weather would turn on us again. Instead we got a trike down to Las Cabanas Beach and chilled there for the rest of the day. The boys went out snorkelling for a long time and spotted; a turtle, a jaw fish, puffer fish and a box fish among others. That night we had a chilled one as we had to get up at 4:30am to catch the boat over to Coron. We invited Natalie and Josh over to our hostel for our last night and had a few drinks and a chat before bed.