If you have landed on this page, you already know that you have 4 options for island hopping in El Nido – tour A, B, C, or D, and you’re probably wondering if tour B is worth your time.
El Nido is a popular destination, and no matter which island hopping tour you join, you are bound to share the day with many other people. I am happy to report that unlike the popular tours A and C, tour B is a bit on the under-the-radar side, and is a better opportunity to go on a group tour without the crowd.
I visited El Nido in November 2022 and joined tours A, B, and C during my 5-day stay. Here’s my honest review of the tour B to help you decide if it’s for you:
How to Book El Nido Tour B:
I booked all of my El Nido tours through Klook, which I highly recommend, as I did not have to spend any more time looking for a group tour whilst on the trip. Because of that, I was able to plan my days ahead of time, and if you are a Type A like me, you’d appreciate that, too.
I was surprised to see that the tour is advertised at a higher price on the island, which, while I am sure is negotiable, I very much prefer to have had it booked ahead online. El Nido is also a very cash-based town, so if you book the tour in person, you will most likely have to pay in cash. Speaking of which, come to El Nido with sufficient cash! Even though there seem to be plenty of ATMs in town, they do not always work. Currency exchange rates are very poor – I learned that the hard way.
How Much is El Nido Tour B?
El Nido Tour B itself costs $18.89, and unlike tours A & C, did not require any additional entrance or kayak rental fees. If you wish to rent a snorkel and mask, it’s an additional 150 PHP (about $3). There’s also a compulsory environmental fee to pay at 200 PHP, valid for ten days, and can be used for other tours. These fees are collected in cash only.
It ended up being the cheapest tour I took on El Nido, and even though it is advertised as a 4-5 hour tour on the booking site, it ended up taking the whole day from 8:30am – 4:30pm.
El Nido Tour B Itinerary:
Hotel transfer is not included in this tour. You can arrange a tricycle ride for about 300 PHP to the meetup point, which is Klook’s counter at Jhanna’s Inn, before 8:30am. Then, depending on your luck, your group may depart anytime between right away to an hour later, depending on the coastal guard clearance. This is the reality of group tours, don’t let it spoil your day! Once you board the boat, you must put on a life jacket for the boat to leave. The tour guide introduced himself and the rest of the boat crew, which consist of a cook, a captain, and two boatmen.
First Stop: Pinagbuyatan Island (30 minutes)
Unfortunately, the day started with quite a bit of rain for us, but that did not stop me from having fun! Pinagbuyatan is an isle that is famous for its limestone formations that were formed thousands of years ago. I enjoyed swimming in the rain and monkeying all over the limestones by the beach. We also had the beach all to ourselves for a good 15 minutes. This is something to remember when island hopping – you can’t control the weather, so just make the best out of it, whatever it is!
Second Stop: Papaya Beach (30 minutes)
I have to admit that I have no idea why this beach is named after papaya. The tour guide explained, but I was too busy putting my water shoes on to jump in the water because, lucky for us, the sky cleared, and the sun was out! The beach offers a combination of white sand, blue water, and lush jungle perfection that looks straight out of a Hollywood movie.
Third Stop: Cathedral Cave (15 minutes)
El Nido Tour B is also known as the Cave Tour; it takes you to two different caves, and the Cathedral Cave is one of them. This is a quick stop just to look up into the cavern-like cave formed in the cliffside of one of the islands – most tour boats are too big to venture very far inside. We spent about 15 minutes here for everyone to take turns getting pictures before heading to another cave.
Fourth Stop: Cudugnon Cave (45 minutes)
To get to Cudugnon Cave, you need to squeeze through a tiny opening into complete darkness and do a small climb up to a well-lit cave. If you are claustrophobic like me, the entrance might take a bit of a mental pep-talk, but it was very cool to check out the inside of these limestone cliffs and get a different point of view of El Nido’s islands.
Fifth Stop: Lunch Spot (1 hour)
I didn’t catch the name of this island, but we only stopped here for lunch. It is an established spot with bamboo huts and a basketball court, perfect for a lunch break and a quick game.
Sixth Stop: Snake Island (1 hour)
I later found out that this was typically the first stop for tour B, but in my case, the tour guide wanted to wait for the sky to clear to take us here. Unfortunately, when we arrived at around 1:30pm, the tide was so high that the iconic sandbar was barely visible. That was just our luck, but if you came on a good day, this will definitely be the trip’s highlight.
Snake Island is named for the long sandbar stretching from one island clear to another. There’s a quick hike up to a viewpoint from which you can take a bird-eye view of the sandbar.
Seventh Stop: Snorkeling point (45 minutes)
This was an extra stop that was not included in the itinerary. I feel that the tour guide wanted to make it up to us for the weather condition. We arrived at a beautiful beach as the sun came back out and snorkeled above beautiful corals and small fish.
Is Tour B Worth it?
While I did not have the best experience with tour B, it was totally because of the weather conditions, which is something uncontrollable. This tour doesn’t get as much love as Tour A or C, but for me, it ticked the boxes with sandbars, caves, and uniquely-shaped islands. Best of all, there weren’t as many people on Tour B, which contrasts nicely with the more popular Tour A and C.
If you are planning to do two island hopping tours on El Nido, I’d recommend picking one between the popular A and C and going on tour B for a change of scenery and also a quieter experience.
What to Bring on Your Trip
You will be out on the sea the entire day, so it’s best to come prepared! Here’s everything I brought on my island hopping trip, and they all fit into a 10L dry bag:
- 1 quick-dry towel
- 1 sarong to keep warm
- water shoes (essential!)
- 1 reusable water bottle
- 1 waterproof phone case
- mask and snorkel
- A quick snack (I always bring a granola bar)
I hope this article gives you a clear overview of what to expect on El Nido Tour B. If you are interested in checking out the other group tours on El Nido, read these next:
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