El Nido: Tour D — Why you should try the least popular tour

Tour D is often left off travellers itineraries for El Nido. There are a few reasons for that:

  • Cadlao Island, where the tour is based, is located very close to the main area of El Nido. This causes travellers to wonder whether or not it’s good value to pay for a boat to take them to an island that looks so close by
  • The main draw, Cadlao Lagoon, isn’t as famous as the Big and Small Lagoons. How many lagoons are travellers expected to visit?
  • After Cadlao Lagoon, the rest of the stops are just various beaches around the island
  • Lastly, it’s not always economical. It’s quite hard to find a group tour for Tour D. Even in high season, we struggled to find anything going and ended up paying for a private tour.
  • All these points are valid, but allow us to inspire you and let you know why you should consider this tour.


Why you should try it

Our sailors for the day, experiencing pure bliss in perfect water and Natnat Beach

We’d heard from a few sources that Cadlao Lagoon is arguably the most beautiful in El Nido. So, we decided to see it when we’d heard that Tour A’s at that time would be skipping either the Big or Small Lagoon due to congestion.

No matter how beautiful something is, it’s hard to appreciate it when you’re surrounded by people in fluoro-orange life jackets. It ruins the mood a bit, you know?

We ended up having our favourite boat tour of the Phillippines with Tour D as we were treated to a stunning lagoon and deserted beaches all day. The atmosphere in each stop was calm and chilled out, which was exactly what we needed at that time during our trip.

The beaches themselves were the best we’d ever visited (partly due to having them all to ourselves).

Cadlao Lagoon

Perfect emerald water

The absolute highlight of this tour for us. We arrived early in the morning and shared the entire area with just 4 or 5 other people. The limestone karts surround and tower over you as you enter the lagoon. The emerald water dazzles and invites you to jump in for a swim.

Limestone karsts from Cadlao Lagoons beach

There is a beach that you’ll find through some rocks as well. You’ll be free to hang out here to swim, jump off rocks and explore as long as you’d like.

The rest of the stops on the tour are beaches, all with their own distinct character. The following were our favourites:

Natnat Beach

Approaching Natnat Beach

Natnat Beach was easily our favourite beach on our tour. The limestone karsts, palm trees and soft sand all come together in a way that captures everything distinct about El Nido, creating an iconic environment thats perfect for photography and relaxing.

Picture perfect Natnat Beach

The beach stretches quite far and you’ll find rope swings and local’s boats docked as you walk across it. We ended up having this beach all to ourselves for an hour or so and enjoyed wandering aimlessly and floating in the warm water with all the natural beauty surrounding us.

Paradise Beach

Exploring the rocks at the end of Paradise Beach

Next was Paradise Beach. This is also where we stopped for lunch. The beach is great to explore and there are some rocks to explore and walk through that lead to another smaller beach.

Bukal Beach

Boats docked at Bukal beach

Our last stop was Bukal Beach, a relatively simple beach with some rocks to climb nearby. There isn’t anything particularly special about this beach but its a great place to relax (from all your relaxing you’ve done all day) before heading back to the El Nido town.

Last Thoughts

Tour D ended up being our most enjoyable island hopping tour we did in Palawan, and we went on several from Port Barton, El Nido and Coron. The lesser crowds definitely added to this, but there was a certain charm to each place we visited as well.

Cadlao Lagoon was absolutely stunning and we shared it with just a few other people. Natnat Beach was simply beautiful.

Overall, Tour D makes a perfect pairing with Tour A or C. You will see the vast majority of what makes El Nido special with a combination of these.