ACTIVITIES FOR 4 DAYS, 3 NIGHTS
Here’s how we spent our four days and 3 nights in this tropical paradise:
Arrival Day is not too eventful, we use the day to relax, go around the resort, and plan our excursions.
After a buffet lunch and a nap, we were off on a sunset cruise. A speedboat takes us to the best spot to watch the sun set on El Nido.
The must visits in El Nido are the Big Lagoon and the Small Lagoon, so these are on top of our must-do list. We are informed that these beautiful lagoons are so popular that more than 90% of visitors to El Nido would include the lagoons in their itinerary!
The lagoons can get very crowded as the boats from El Nido town tour operators are in the area around 9 to 11 a.m. so it is best to go early.
We request to visit the lagoons before breakfast at 6:30 a.m. (1.5 hours ahead of the usual schedule set by the resort). It is not difficult for the resort to accommodate us since the Big and Small Lagoons are only about 7 minutes away by boat. And joy of joys, we pretty much have the lagoons to ourselves!
To get to the Small Lagoon from the Big Lagoon, one has to kayak through a small opening — even the smallest speedboat just won’t fit through the hole. Swimming through the gap is not recommended as Andy said box jellyfish abound in the area during summer.
The arm and shoulder work out from kayaking to and around the Small Lagoon is worth it. Inside, the water is calm, the rock formations are stunning, and the atmosphere is peaceful and quite magical. It is an exhilarating, soul-feeding experience.
After our lagoons excursion and buffet breakfast back at the resort, it is time to watch the fish feeding right in front of Miniloc. This happens twice a day and only takes 5 minutes each time, but it is a lot of fun to watch the lively and colorful fishes being fed with tuna chunks.
We are then whisked to another El Nido Resort, Lagen Island which is 30 minutes away by motorboat from Miniloc.
Lagen Island is nestled between a lush forest and a shallow lagoon. It has a more contemporary feel than Miniloc, with spacious water cottages on stilts connected by a boardwalk lined with pretty, colorful bougainvilleas.
Photo Credit: El Nido Resorts
At Lagen Island, one can enjoy a forest trail hike, but most of us choose to enjoy the good sized swimming pool with a view before lunch.
Lunch at Lagen Island is at a bright and airy building overlooking the swimming pool and the sea. I especially enjoy the grilled large wild oysters, which are super-fresh, flavorful and tender to the bite, no chewiness at all.
From Lagen Island Resort, we have the option of heading back to Miniloc at 2 p.m., or stopping and staying at the Entalula Beach Club for another couple of hours.
Glad most of us proceed to Entalula. The sand is powdery, the fronds of the tall palm trees sway with the wind, and the waters are clear and warm, perfect for wading or swimming.
If the afternoon heat is a bit too much for you, you can laze away in the shade on one of the hammocks and cabanas facing the Entalula beach.
At 4 p.m., we return to Miniloc Island Resort, and we recharge with a nap in airconditioned comfort in our rooms before dinner.
Post dinner, we repair to the conference room for an hour or so of videoke, then it is time for bed. Our first full day at El Nido has come to an end.
We wanted to catch the sunrise, so we are up early and at the dock at 5:30 a.m. for our sunrise cruise.
It is cloudy, but nevertheless we enjoy this lovely sunrise in El Nido
After breakfast we head to Shimizu Island (named after a Japanese diver who explored the island many years ago), one of the best snorkeling areas in El Nido. Shimizu is another popular spot, and yet again we get there before the crowds arrive.
We enjoy viewing the colorful fish, corals and even spot a sea turtle feeding on sea grass!
Next stop is the Dibuluan Beach Club where we enjoy the view under cabanas with hammocks as we wait for our next meal.
At Dibuluan, my jaw drops as the staff bring out one huge grilled talakitok (trevally) after another at lunch. Wow, the fresh-caught fish is out-of-this-world delish!
Our excellent lunch at Dibuluan Beach Club is capped with coffee and toasted ensaymada.
Our next stop is the Cudugnon Cave where again one has to crawl in and out of a narrow opening. Sunlight filters through the top of the cave making for some awesome photos.
Our last excursion for the day is at Snake Island, so called because of its long sandbar formed by opposing waves forming a long solid sand pile. It is not quite low tide so the sandbar is actually under a few inches of water when we get there.
You can climb up a forest trail to get a spectacular view of the sandbar, but we are quite tired and choose to just chill at a makeshift “bar” on the sandbar selling pinacoladas, rhum, and our drink of choice, coco water sipped straight from coconut shells using bamboo drinking straws.
Our most activity-packed day is done! We deserve our nap before dinner, and post-dinner all-OPM (Original Pilipino Music) videoke.
It’s gently raining on our departure day. Many of us want to sleep in and finish packing. The bags will be collected at 12 noon for our afternoon flight back to Manila.
A trip to the Secret Lagoon is on the agenda at 9:00 in the morning, but only three from our group go.