Boat tours conditions and weather forecast

This page serves to give a description of our boat tours between El Nido and Coron to help you decide if this is the right thing for you. Some key points to think about:

  • This is a developing country. There are fancy resorts along the way, but if you are happy with the basic accommodation that can be arranged by our boatmen, such as simple hotels, bamboo huts or tents on the beach with mattresses, sheet and pillows, all each for an average price of about 500p/person/night, you can expect the following:
  • the shower or flushing the toilet may require a small bucket you pour over yourself or into the toilet and drawn from a large basin, as most people do in Southeast Asia.
  • electricity in these remote places may only be functional for limited hours, so you can forget about air conditioning or a fan blowing on you all night.
  • As is the case throughout much of SE Asia and places like South America, don’t get uptight about punctuality. If you want that and spend your winter vacation in Germany, that is your choice. When you arrange to meet somewhere, make sure it is in a pub, restaurant or your resort. Chill out with a beer and enjoy your vacation.
  • The toilets on our boats are generally a little cabin without a roof. If you want more privacy you can go in the ocean during one of the stops or ask to be taken on shore somewhere.
  • In some areas you may experience limited or no internet connection/mobile signal, roosters hollering or pigs squealing or snorting at certain hours, or mozzies (mosquitoes) biting at dusk and dawn. We generally avoid any beaches with sand flies, but doesn’t hurt to ask if you are sensitive to that.

As they say, “When in Rome, be as a Roman.” And this basically applies anywhere you travel to in the world. In the case of SE Asia, you can take the predominantly Buddhist attitude. It will eventually happen, chill and relax in the meantime. Do not develop expectations, for every expectation there is an equal and opposite disappointment. Why let your expectations born from what you are used to living in the west let you spoil your enjoyment of endearing people, beautiful beaches and pristine nature away from the tourist crowd?

If on the other hand you are not interested in experiencing rural Filipino life, we can pick you up from and take you to some very fancy resorts, if that is within your budget, but you will need to arrange reservations and payment to those in advance.

More to check out: description of the various spots you can visit, our recommended accommodation along the way, and our different boat sizes.

The weather

At around 33C all year round, it is a wonderful place to visit, but the rainy season does kick in from May until around end November, although often only for a short while during the day, or only at night when you are sleeping. The winds and waves can get a bit rough from December through to the end of February, but you can wear a snorkel mask to protect your eyes from any salt water splashing in your face.

For your belongings there is a watertight compartment under the hull, space in the captain’s chamber, and above, with plenty of plastic tarps to keep your stuff dry. In any case, it is always advisable to bring water bags for your sensitive electronics and which are readily available for a few bucks in Coron and El Nido.

The following are weather reports for the Linapacan area, half way along our regular route between Sibaltan (El Nido) and Coron. The section between Linapacan and Coron is generally more open ocean and rougher than the section between El Nido/Sibaltan and Linapacan, where there are a lot more islands.

You can check out the seven day forecast for the Qi Palawan weather station, north east of El Nido. The winds are generally calmer there, but it can serve as a guideline for a seven day forecast.

If the boat operator feels that the conditions are too extreme and unsafe, you will get your deposit back in full. The boat is their lifeblood and they will not risk losing it for a little income. They get a steady stream of tours from us and do not need to take such risks.

Another source is google’s Weather Hazards Report for the Philippines:

Another option is to do a google search for “typhoon philippines”, go to the News link at the top, and at the bottom of that page subscribe to a google news feed/alert based on this search. This will send you an email about news articles which have those two keywords in it.

Generally though the typhoons go around the north tip of the country and hit the east coast the hardest. By the time they get around to the Palawan area, they are generally tame and you only get the tail end of them, the main body moving on towards Vietnam and mainland China. I survived 8 typhoons last year and only about two of them actually went straight through this area, or nearby, but even then it was quite manageable and even invigorating. However, after planting trees for seven summers in Canada, I find wild nature quite invigorating and nothing to fear.

For an indication of annual trends:

From May until October the Habagat trade winds blow from the southwest. They are rather sporadic and unpredictable, but can produce strong winds.
From November until April the Amihan trade winds blow from the northeast but are much more consistent and stronger. They flow around the island to produce onshore winds on the west side but which are generally subdued and ideal for beginners and intermediates. This is generally the best time of year to come, as it is the tourist high season, it almost never rains and there are no bugs. Many of our guests sleep on the beach under the clear stars.

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You can join or book one of our private custom Palawan boat tours between El Nido and Coron. Tons of paradise beach islands to see along the way, excellent snorkeling in crystal clear waters, caves to explore, Spanish fortress and much more. Completely off the beaten path!

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