I am a full-time traveling registered nurse, fitness enthusiast, and nutrition expert. Every morning I wake up intending to bring awareness of the importance of health and spiritual wellness, especially to the traveling community. At Messy Bun Traveler, we promote travel that allows the traveler to either kick-start, maintain, or enhance a healthy lifestyle. So whether you're someone who travels for business, travels for pleasure, or new to travel and looking for health advice while on the road, this blog is for you!
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It’s safe to say that the beauty of the Philippines is no longer a secret. Hundreds of thousands of people flock from all over the world to see the magnificent emerald rice fields, smoldering volcanoes, pristine blue waterfalls, crystal clear oceans, and of course the smiling, happy-go-lucky Filipino people.
Among the many popular Philippine destinations is a little region called El Nido. El Nido is a municipality on the north side of Palawan island. It’s mainly known for its white sandy beaches, glorious coral reefs, and as the gateway to the Bacuit Archipelago- a vast beauty of islands made from limestone rocks and steep cliffs.
Coron has also been booming in popularity; especially for free divers, scuba divers, and snorkelers. We see the beautiful photos all the time on Instagram– all those dreamy pictures of the many islands around Coron have just been creeping their way into your feed; making it impossible not to want to go check it out for yourself.
But how do you experience all these beautiful places without running into all the crowds? I’ll be the first to admit- having to stand in line to see a beautiful waterfall or swimming in a “secret lagoon” with another hundred people does take some of the magic out of an exotic place.
El Nido Paradise offers exclusive tours all around El Nido Palawan and its surrounding areas (including Coron). Not only do they offer incredible tours, but their website also assists you with general trip planning in order to create one perfect and memorable experience!
If you want to stay off the beaten path, El Nido Paradise’s Ultimate Adventure Tour may be the perfect fit for you. I myself went on this tour back in April 2019 and was very pleasantly surprised. The following is an honest review as well as a comprehensive guide to El Nido Paradise’s Ultimate Adventure Tour.
I will go into detail about the expedition so you can determine if it is a good fit for you! If it is- here’s some info you’ll want to know before hopping onboard into paradise!
If you’re the type of person that likes to go off the beaten path and tends to stay away from the “touristy spots” you may want to consider this tour.
It is offered either from El Nido to Coron or from Coron to El Nido, so if you were planning on traveling from one area to the next, this is a great way to do it!
The expedition will take you past northern Palawan to Culion and the beautiful Linapacan Islands where you’ll be able to swim in crystal clear waters, kayak around natural limestone caves, and snorkel in some of the most beautiful and lively reefs (one of the Australian girls in our group said the snorkeling was even better than the Great Barrier Reef!)
Depending on the tour you sign up for, it can last anywhere from three to five days. The typical age range for our tour group was 20’s and 30’s; encompassing solo travelers as well as couples.
The accommodations include staying in tents and beach hut bungalows on uninhabited islands. With that being said; you will not have access to electricity, hot water, or even running showers for that matter. There are some toilets and large buckets filled with water to rinse off with.
If getting down with nature and raw camping doesn’t sound fun; this tour may not be a good fit for you.
I want to start out by saying I was not paid to go on this tour. I was offered a discounted rate in exchange for my honest feedback on the Ultimate Adventure Tour.
With that being said, I absolutely LOVED this experience! The Ultimate Adventure Tour was one of the highlights of my boyfriend and I’s entire three-week vacation in the Philippines!
I was just amazed at the vast beauty of the islands and how we were able to appreciate their beauty without running into all the crowds. We spent three days and two nights with some fun and incredible people, and the tour guides really bent over backward to make sure everyone’s time was a fun one.
As soon as we arrived on the boat, we felt welcome and a part of the family.
Hats off to the chefs as they prepared some of the most delicious and fresh breakfasts, lunches, and dinners we had on our entire Philippines trip!
In between meals snacks were offered, and the bartender always made sure we had a drink in hand whether that be water, coffee, juice, beer, or rum and coke for that pirate in you.
The destinations we stopped and explored were second to none. There was so much color and life in the coral- and a countless amount of fish! Every single person on the boat (well, except for my boyfriend who took too long to get into the water, HA!) was able to spot a sea turtle!
We seemed to be the only people in the Philippines throughout most of the tour with entire reefs and beaches to ourselves for the most of it, which considering how overcrowded some of the hotspots can be in other tours is very impressive!
All the beverages (both alcohol and nonalcoholic) as well as breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks in between so come hungry! The food on El Nido’s Ultimate Adventure Tour was absolutely incredible so make sure to try everything!
When you book on El Nido Paradise’s website, it will require a 20% deposit at checkout. The rest will be paid in full either the day before or the morning of in-person- CASH ONLY. As El Nido and Coron are very limited on ATMs and sometimes even go empty, make sure you have plenty on you before arriving.
UPDATE: El Nido Paradise tours now excepts payment by credit card!
…or any cell reception for that matter. Take this time to appreciate being unplugged from life for a few days.
If you have any serious health impairments or injuries, you may want to reconsider going for your own safety and well-being. El Nido’s Ultimate Adventure Tour does carry a first-aid kit on the boat, but any serious medical problems may not be solved at a speedy rate.
You’ll spend most of your time out in the sun so make sure to lather up on the sunscreen! The sun in the Philippines is very intense and if you’re not careful, you will get BADLY sunburned. Also, mosquitos will come to pay you a visit during your island stays- so make sure to have some bug spray on hand!
Purchasing a dry bag is an excellent investment.
For your island stays, the main boat will not be able to dock on the islands. Instead, you’ll take a kayak and a small bag of your belongings (all major luggage stays on the boat). Putting them in a dry bag will ensure they won’t get wet during the journey.
El Nido’s Ultimate Adventure Tour is most definitely a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so make the most of it! Enjoy your time, take lots of photos, leave no trace, and have a blast!
* We will never share your details with any third party
Thanks for sharing your experience with us in your blog, that’s awesome!
Just one additional information regarding the payment: we know accept Transferwise payments, so there’s no problem to pay in full using a credit card, as long as it’s done long enough in advance (at least 4-5 days before departure).
Have a great day and cheers!
Thank you for the comment! I’ll be sure to update the information, thanks!
Beautiful! It will be a while until I could visit the Philippines… but I would love to! Are there options to go there by sailboat? I’m asking because I’m a sailing nut, always preferring the sailboat to something motorized.
Hi Anja! I actually don’t know the answer to that question. You’ll be traveling a far distance on sailboat, though.
Wow! This sure does sound like an incredible, off the beaten trail tour. The snorkeling in those waters must have been magical!
It was! Definitely some of the most lively coral reefs I’ve ever seen!