Private Boats, Public Ferries and Flights between El Nido, Linapacan and Coron

island-hopping-philippines-linapacan-big2Linapacan is a beautiful area off the beaten path and about half way between El Nido and Coron, as shown in these beautiful videos. The easiest and least expensive way to get here is by Jessabel and Bunso ferries (details below). Big safe banca boats with capacity for 80 people, but they do not make a regular stop in our harbour, so you need to contact the new manager at Arnold Cabiguen <[email protected]> so he can arrange for them to stop in the ocean and transfer you to a smaller local boat which can take you either to my island or to San Miguel (or elsewhere locally). 1000p each to get you to Linapacan and then another 1000p for the small boat to transfer you locally.

A second option is to take the Marfye’s ferry from San Fernando, a small town about one hour van ride east of El Nido. There is another ferry called Lara running every Monday, Wednesday and Friday between San Fernando and San Miguel in Linapacan, contact Sir Rruel Llado at +63 939 925 6218 for reservations. For other options you can contact Dory at +63 920 954 8991.

To get from El Nido to Sibaltan, one van service is Leila Baja at 09753868473 / 09753006616, 200p per person or 2,500p for special commission.

If you need to get here from Coron when Jessabel is not operational, I can possibly organise a small boat for 4,000p, capacity for 2, or a larger private boat for 8,000 (can include a little island hopping). Same prices apply from San Fernando, details here.

Then there is the Atienza ferry which runs between Manila and Linapacan (apparently does not stop in Coron), and now apparently also between El Nido and Linapacan (check details below).

You can also try the beach of San Fernando or the public market in Coron and ask different boats, but the coast guard is getting strict about boats having the proper permits to take foreign passengers, so you will have to be surreptitious about your endeavours or actual departure. Or perhaps wear a burka??

And lastly but most interesting, you can hire a private boat (depending on the number of passengers, can be less than $20 a day), between El Nido and Coron. There are tons of beautiful islands and things to explore, such as caves, the Spanish fortress, cliff diving into the ocean, and fantastic snorkeling in the clearest waters in the world.

Or click here if you are interested in booking some local Coron tours.

book-tour-now

Mbca Jessabel

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Their numbers are +63 918 967 6838 and +63 917 655 5915 and they can even help arrange van or bus pickup for you. Or arrange ferries to Manila, Puerto Princesa or Mindoro. If in Coron you can find them here:

MAP-CORON

Or in El Nido you can get tickets and details from The Og’s Pension or The Artcafe Boutique near the pier.
Jessabel on Facebook.

Atienza Shipping Lines (contact below)

MV-may-lillies-atienza-shipping-lines-2Click on to zoom in

Pictures below from their Coron office, March 2018:

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Below picture taken of schedule at the Coron office, but everything seems to have shifted one day forward, the ferry from Linapacan to Manila now leaving every Tuesday at 11:00 a.m. Best to always call them.

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[email protected], their facebook, Manila office: 0999 881 7266, 986 3118, Palawan office: 0939 912 6840, 0998 881 7226 (best to call them as they do not seem to respond to emails), Linapacan: 0909 2022 079.

For their boat going to Linapacan, called MV May Lillies, you can check out that link for more info online. But be warned, at 14.5 km/hr, make sure to bring a deck of cards with you!

According to the latest inside scoop from Dory (contact above), MV May Lillies now leaves from El Nido To Linapacan on Tuesdays at 8pm, leaves from Linapacan to Manila 10am Wednesday, and leaves Linapacan to El Nido on Sunday at 2am.

Marfye 

Runs between San Fernando (about an hour by van east of El Nido) and Linapacan (no longer goes to Coron).

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Contact: 0910 992 6727, 0907 927 8630, marfivenia caabay <[email protected]>

Bunso Transport (contact below)

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Bunso on Facebook – tel: 0907 985 5306

D’Asean Journey

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Contact: 0920 617 4950, 0917 563 1230, 0920 721 0011

Montenegro Lines

This is a new FAST BOAT but does not stop in Linapacan (although they plan to soon), but if enough people keep asking perhaps they will make it a regular stop, as there is so much to see in this beautiful area and they cruise right by it on their way.

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Their website wasn’t working when I tried it a few times, and when I sent them an email I received the following automatic information. I called the head office and they confirmed the above information.

For any inquiries and booking reservation please contact our MSLI Travel and Tours (Batangas / Main Office) 0908-571-3984, MSLI Booking Station (El Nido / Ticketing Booth) 0928-826-1645/ 0915-092-0358 and MSLI Booking Station (Coron / Satellite Office) 0917-496-2009/ 0917-520-1993 for any inquiries and booking reservation.

More info and contact to other booking agents on this Tripadvisor thread.

Ferries between Manila and Coron

Although they are slower than flying, a ferry can be more fun and less stressful. There is live entertainment on the 2Go ferry, you sleep comfortably in a bed, leave in the afternoon and arrive at your destination early next morning. At 1,500p it can be the same price as accommodation.

2GO Travel (large ferry)

Please check their webpage for updated schedule
Leaves Manila from Pier 4 Fridays at 5pm – arrives at Coron Saturday 7am.
Leaves Coron Sundays at 4.30pm – arrives at Manila Monday 6.30am
Trunkline : (+63 2) 5287000
E-Mail: [email protected]
https://www.facebook.com/2GoTravel
http://travel.2go.com.ph/Schedules/schedules.asp

2Go-ferries-island-hoppingBunso

CORON – EL NIDO
Tuesday/Thursday/Friday/Sunday
EL NIDO – CORON
Monday/Wednesday/Friday/Saturday
Booking office downtown Coron/El Nido
Phone: +63 (0) 9103710621
or +63 (0) 9359588273

Atienza Shipping Lines (freighter)

M/V April Rose, (steel hull) Estimated travel time: 17 hours
Wednesday 4pm MANILA – CORON, Saturday 4pm CORON – MANILA
PHP 1,000 Ordinary / PHP 1,150 Aircon
Pier 5, Manila
Telephone No: +63(0)29863118, +63(0)25368123
Mobile No: +63(0)999-8817266
E-mail address: [email protected]
http://www.atienzashippinglines.net/schedule.htm

 Flying in, Flying out

  • Cebu Pacific – Several daily flights from Manila, Princesa, Cebu and Davao.
  • Philippine Airlines – Several daily flights from Manila, Princesa, Cebu.
  • Air Asia – Manila, Princesa, Cebu.
  • SkyJet Airlines – Boutique airlines with one flight from Manila every day.
  • Air Juan Airline – Small 9 seat charter airline that flies between Coron and Boracay (Tuesday & Saturday) and Coron – Puerto Princesa (Thursday & Sunday). The 45 minute flight costs from P3,499 each way. It also flies between Puerto Princesa and Cuyo, and Boracay and Cuyo (refer to comments at bottom).
  • Air Swift – Four flights daily between El Nido and Manila, one flight daily between El Nido and Boracay. You can also book flights with them in the Art Cafe.

Borneo – Palawan

[The following was taken from the internet but from what is now a suspended account:]

Borneo-Sandakan-boatIf you take Aleson Shipping from Sandakan, Sabah it will not make any stops along the way to Zamboanga. If you take Weesam – they will make deliveries along the way.

I have not yet made the trip with Weesam and likely will not be taking them in the future, because I prefer the open air deck of the Aleson Shipping vessel.

The Superferry does make trips between Zamboanga and General Santos – I have done that trip one time a few years back – we did make a port of call in Cotabato City on the way.

I suggest not driving from Zamboanga through Cotabato City on the way to General Santos. The 2 times that I made this trip on my bike, I did not see any buses at all on the road coming in from the north. Traveling that route is a bit dicey.

The ferries between Surigao City, Mindanao and Liloan, Leyte take about 4 hours and it’s a basic run.

Here is an option that might interest you – Sandakan – Zamboanga – Pagadian – Ozamis – (to Mukas by ferry – 45 minutes) – Iligan- Cagayan de Oro – Butuan – Surigao City – Liloan – Sogod – Agas Agas

Palawan-boat-tours

Back to Suggested Travel Itinerary for the Palawan Area

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Henkey Boat Operator

Henkey owns a grocery store and homestay on a small rural island near to Linapacan. He also collects catch from locals to ship off to Manila, so you can expect an abundance of seafood here, and be pleasantly surprised by his excellent cooking! His stop is one of our favourite recommendations as a sleep over or at least lunch during a tour. There is a small lagoon at the end of his beach for interesting snorkeling, and a small private beach just around the corner from that.

henkey boats

Two of his boats bobbing in the background, the left his smaller one and suitable for locals tours,
the right one larger, for up to five people with gear and for longer tours. 

henkey pool

Filipino style pool at his homestay.

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Henkey’s son and daughter-in-law who will accompany you on your tours, together with Henkey’s other son.

Back to list of boat operators.

Theresa Boat Hire

Arcenas and Theresa are a husband and wife team who run a homestay on a small rural island east of El Nido.

They collect the daily catch from locals and ship it off on ice every day to Manila, so you can expect plenty of delicious seafood when on a tour with them.

They have two boats at your disposal:

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Here’s the other one:

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Here’s the view from their homestay:

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A picture of their homestay, second building closer to the beach.

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Picture of village life:

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Theresa

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!

Palawan-boat-tours

Back to our boat sizes and list of boat operators.

Linapacan

The Linapacan area comprises of 52 paradise beach islands half way between El Nido and Coron. It is not very developed and definitely off the beaten path, but nice little resorts and hotels can be found.

You can get there by the public ferries or hire one of our private boats for a multiday tour through the area. Check out my suggested travel itinerary for the Palawan to get the best experience.

Palawan-boat-tours

History

During the 16th century the Spanish sent missionaries to the Philippines, including one to Linapacan. When they landed on shore, they saw footprints, traced them and eventually came to a hut where a beautiful woman resided. She replied that her name was Pacan and they later discovered that she was the wife of the island’s chieftain. They thus named the island Reina Pacan, in honour of the beautiful queen, but which much later was renamed to Linapacan.

In 1954 the municipality of Linapacan was created, breaking away from Coron and comprising of 52 islands covering a land area of 15,520 hectares.

After 1960 the mayor of San Miguel, the main village on the island of Linapacan, established a high school there, from which has sprouted a college specialising in fisheries and tourism.

In 1995, Ben, the property owner of our kitesurfing resort, became mayor of San Miguel, the youngest ever. His main concern was to develop the municipality in accordance with the Strategic Environmental Plan of Palawan (SEP Law), the construction of a multi-purpose building (gymnasium), construction of some municipal roads, the widening of the port, improving the water supply, construction of some deep wells, and a fishing landing in San Nicolas, a similar sized village on the other side of Linapacan. He also owns the BRC hotel, where you can rent a bicycle or motorbike to get through the jungle trail to San Nicolas.

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Linapacan is about half way between El Nido and Coron and where most of the ferries stop on their way between the two. It is declared by numerous sources to have the clearest waters in the world. The locals are good at respecting and protecting the coral reefs, making it an excellent destination for snorkeling. There are also two US shipwrecks for avid divers. All the islands in the surrounding area are either completely undeveloped or very rural in nature, with small villages at the most. This makes it a perfect ferry stop along the 8+ long hour journey between El Nido and Coron and where tourists can enjoy the natural splendour to relax on a multitude of desolate and pristine beaches – or sleep on their very own island. Caves may also be found.

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One of the deserted islands you can sleep on.

The island of Linapacan is also home to the ruins of an old 18th century Spanish fort at Caseledan, very much overgrown by vines, with only the walls and a well remaining. It is near a pearl farm and may require a guide to find.

Tourist Destination for Nature Lovers

With its clearest waters in the world, covered by 60% forest and a population of 14,180 (about 2 hectares per person), Linapacan is definitely a treat for nature lovers. The 52 surrounding islands are additional pearls in this gem of the Philippines.

With Siargoa named one of the world’s best surf spots, and El Nido making the cover of top travel magazine “Travel+Leisure” in July of 2013, the Philippines in general is set to become a hot tourist destination. Most of the people speak good English, unlike other SEAsian countries they clean up the streets and sidewalks, they are friendly, and the 7,107 islands make it a natural paradise.

Although places like Cebu or Boracay are more famous, Palawan is becoming a favourite for those who want to get off the beaten path.

For two years in a row the readers of Condé Nast Traveler magazine have voted Palawan as the best island in the world, more than 85,000 of them voting as such most recently.

It is now home to one of the seven natural wonders of the world, the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River, while more recently Hollywood star and Australian bombshell Margot Robbie cast some limelight on El Nido, proclaiming: ‘I died and went to heaven’.

Margot-Robbie-on-El-Nido

Palawan beat out other popular island destinations such as Bora Bora, Bali, Santorini, and Maldives, making the Manila > Puerto Princesa > El Nido > Coron > Manila route increasingly popular.

If you love nature and like to get off the beaten path, check out our suggested itinerary for this corridor. Although El Nido and Coron are becoming increasingly touristy, San Miguel is still a quaint village and the many surrounding islands will certainly remain undeveloped for many years still. Come and explore our beautiful back yard!


Palawan-boat-tours

inspirock

Kitesurfing and Kiteboarding in Palawan

Click Patoyo kitesurfing and kiteboarding for our own nature resort near the common ferry stop half way between El Nido and Coron.

Map of kitesurfing and kiteboarding locations in the Palawan area, Philippines.

Palawan is the nicest part of the Philippines with around a thousand, mostly undeveloped paradise beach islands and one of the top two locations (area 2 below) in the country for kitesurfing (example on windfinder):

wind-map-philippines

According to our itinerary suggestion, the best and most action packed way of passing through this area is to fly into Puerto Princesa (balloon farthest to the south) and make your way back north to Coron, from where you can take an overnight sleeper ferry to Manila, arriving there early in the morning. You should give yourself a minimum of 10-14 days to traverse this route so that you can see it properly and enjoy your vacation in relaxation, especially since the transport can be somewhat sporadic.

In the spirit of that suggestion, an explanation to each of the above 5 balloons will be organised in that order (below – to be added shortly), with Cuyo at the end (requiring a major detour).

Puerto Princesa
Kite Club Palawan
kitesurfing-kiteboarding-palawan_kite-club
Description: The wind is on the rather light side here, but when the Amihan is northerly, there is a good side shore breeze—usually around 12 to 15 knots, but days with 20 to 30 knots as well. Prime months are December and January. The season here goes from November to March/April.
Accommodation:
kitesurfing-kiteboarding-palawan_kite-clubKuyba Almoneca – 30 Minutes away from the airport and 10 minutes to kiteboarding area room rate 1,500p per night good for two with breakfast and drop and pick-up to kite boarding Area
Bahay Kubo – 20 Minutes away from the airport kiteboarding area at your door step room rte Php 2,200 to 3, 800 per night good for two with breakfast.
* Free airport service upon arrival and departure.
Kite and board rentals:
1450 Php – 1 hour, 2700 Php – 1/2 Day (3h), 4200 Php – 1 day (5h), 16000 Php – 5 Days, 19000 Php – 1 Week
Lessons:
Kite Taster 1,500p/hr, Kite Intro 8,000p/5hrs, Beginner Course 16,000p/10 hrs, Private Lesson 2,000p/hr
Weather forecast:

 

El Nido
Qi Kiteboarding Resort
kitesurfing-kiteboarding-palawan_qi
Description: With just six hotel rooms on a kilometre of beach, Qi kiteboarding Palawan offers uncrowded kiteboarding. The hotel has upscale accommodations and gourmet food, a billiards table, a small pool, large yoga deck and spa. And, the location is only one hour from El Nido town, where there is plenty of shopping and bars.
The flat waters and sandy bottom are perfect for learning or advancing your skills. Winds are moderate (12 to 20 knots) cross on-shore most days. Of course, Qi Palawan has its heavy days where everyone has to breakout the small kites, but there are other places to go for the strongest winds. With exception of extreme wind days, the water is flat with a small wave on the outer reef for the advanced riders. The season goes from November to March with December to February being the prime months.
kitesurfing-kiteboarding-palawan_qiAccommodation:
Cottages – standard: 8,800-9,900, holidays: 9,900-11,500
Villas – standard: 13,000-14,500, holidays: 14,000-16,000
Kite and board rentals: (contact)
3,500 half day, 5,000 full day
Lessons:
Full course 22,000p – 9 hours private, 12 hrs group Advanced lesson 7,000p 2 hours private, 2.5 hours group
Weather forecast:

 

Linapacan
Patoyo Kitesurfing Nature Resort
kitesurfing-kiteboarding-palawan_patoyo
Description: Break away far off the beaten path and enjoy a real vacation in beach island paradise in the clearest waters in the world. Excellent snorkeling, inexpensive island hopping tours, caves to explore, diving at 2 shipwrecks, trekking in jungle trails or just camp out on your own island. Half way between El Nido and Coron (we also organise island hopping tours between the two) but an undiscovered gem. We are on a small island next to a rural community of fishermen families, with pigs, chickens, ducks and half naked children frolicking freely in the sun. An all natural resort built from bamboo and coconut leaves, or tents nestled into jungle pockets for the budget conscious. Island is small so can easily get to the other side for different wind conditions. Ideal for beginners and advanced
surfers alike.
Small island, so beginners can learn on the side sheltered from the trade wind, wherever it is coming from. Easy to get to the other side.
kitesurfing-kiteboarding-palawan_patoyoAccommodation:
Tents only at the moment, 300p/night, or 400p if 2 people.
Kite and board rentals:
1,000p per day but must share with others, as there are only two boards at the moment.
Lessons:
2,500p until you get it, flat rate.
Weather forecast:

 

Coron
250k Kiteboarding
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Description: They have their own private island and take people places by boat. There are lots of places to kite with different beach angles and setups. Best to come from mid-November to mid-April. The region still gets good wind towards the end of the season when the Amihan is more Easterly.
Accommodation
kitesurfing-kiteboarding-palawan_250In their camp, bamboo huts.
Full package
includes: boat transport from Coron town and back; accommodation in native style bamboo huts; three meals a day; taken by boat to different kiting spots, depending on the weather or your skill level; instructor present if you have any questions; sight seeing tours if there is no wind (diving available at surcharge); stand up paddle boards
– 9,500p/night or 50,000p for 7 days/6 nights
Kite and board rentals, with lessons:
One hour private, including gear 3,000p, 10 hrs incl. gear 25,000p
Weather forecast:

 

Cuyo Islands
(2 beaches)
kitesurfing-kiteboarding-palawan_cuyo
Description: Cuyo Island is located pretty much in the middle of the Sulu Sea, only slightly south of the windiest area there. The wind yield is very good during Amihan season and days with strong wind are absolutely no exception during Kitesurfing season.
There are only two weekly flights by Air Juan connecting Cuyo with Puerto Princesa on Palawan. The only other way to get there is by ferry from Iloilo and Puerto Princesa about four times weekly. Once a week there is a ferry from Manila to Cuyo with a stop at Coron. This connection works well if you want to stay at the Kitesurf Camp in Coron, however a bit of adventurous spirit is required.
Little or no night life, hard to get to.
Accommodation (2 beaches): kitesurfing-kiteboarding-palawan_nikki

Anino Resort
– right at Victoria beach, side onshore wind.
May 1 – Sept 30 1,350-4,700p (both incl. breakfast, all year)
Oct 1 – Apr 30 1,800-7,750

Nikki’s Pension
– kite with Buradol Kite Center
Family room 850p, Double 700p, Single 600p, Fan room 350p, Dormitory 600p
Kite and board rentals:
Buradol
– 2,000p half day, 3,500p full day
Lessons:
Anino Resort
3hrs at 9,000p for beginners – 9hrs over 3 days at 15,000p
Buradol
2 hours introduction 2,000p, 10 hours (2-3 days) beginner course 16,000p
Weather forecast:

Other Useful Sites on Kitesurfing or Kiteboarding in the Philippines

Kitesurfing and Kiteboarding Philippines on Facebook
Help Go Abroad
Surf Today
Kiteboarding Philippines
Other Kitespots

If you would like to island hop your way between these kitesurfing spots and other beautiful islands, 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!

Palawan-boat-tours

Boat Operator – Benji

His primary source of income by profession, Benji also runs a regular schedule to Coron on Fridays, 2 days, with a one day trip back leaving on Sundays.

Every operator has their own contacts or relatives who have islands you can explore or people to meet and stay at on different islands, making tours by each operator special. But what makes Benji’s tours extra special is his particular love for Emperador, a local brandy, with the contagiously jovial mood it brings with it once you settle down for the evening.

Keep in mind though that he manages several boats and crews, so it might be just the luck of the draw which boat he actually captains. But if you like to party, send him a special request and try to work out a deal!

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The master captain himself.
Below: Takling, island owned by his father-in-law
and where he often likes to camp overnight on his tours.

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Below, entertainment hut on Calacala,
another island owned by one of his relatives and an exclusive to his tours. 

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Yours truly celebrating his son’s birthday with them.

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Below: more pics from his camera, this time of the local Eli caves.

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His new boat:

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He wrote: We serve towels also to my guest all in white color with the beddings.

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Mango swans.

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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!

Palawan-boat-tours

Back to our boat sizes and list of boat operators.

Suggested itinerary and travel plans for Palawan

The Palawan area of the Philippines is the nicest, most natural, safe and devoid-of-typhoons area in the country. And the Puerto Princesa > El Nido > Coron to Manila corridor is rapidly growing as a favourite tourist route.

suggested-itinerary-palawan-philippines

If you are short of time, such as 12 days or less, and you like pristine beaches and off-the-beaten-path places, I would suggest to fly instead to El Nido and skip the south, since you tend to lose way too much time in a crammed van going from place to place. The underwater river tour is not so spectacular to make it an absolute must see and you will spend most of the day waiting with the flood of other tourists. Port Barton and Sabang are nice off-the-beaten-path places, but there are better or as good places between El Nido and Coron. In any case, if you do want to check out the south, below you will find lots of info on places to stay and a good way to go about it.

If you would like to limit your tour from El Nido to Coron and like off the beaten path places in nature, you can check out my suggested places to stay along this route. Beach hop your way along the north peninsula with a maximum 30-60 minute van ride each day, until you get to the nice archaeological village of Sibaltan, from where you can start a multi-day Palawan boat tour to Coron and check out the beautiful Linapacan area half way in between, surrounded by 52 other islands. Many of them deserted if you’d like to camp out on some just yourselves. Check out these videos for an idea of what this wonderful area offers.

Palawan-boat-tours

After that you can continue on to Coron, see some more sites along the way, including some of the most popular lagoons to see around Coron. If you are on a tight budget and cannot join a boat tour, you can check out the public ferries and save on inexpensive accommodation available in the Linapacan area, or take less expensive local day tours (reformulated as a 10 day all-inclusive Manila-Palawan package for 10,000pesos). Or get totally off the beaten path and visit our little nature camp on a small, nearby island.

If you plan to stay longer, visa extensions are really easy in this country.

Manila

As explained on the Manila page, if you are limited for time, best to just move on straight to paradise and enjoy your vacation on the beach. If you do have time, the page has some suggestions where you can stay and what to do.

Puerto Princesa

Fly to Puerto Princesa, although you can also take a long ferry there. Hopefully your plane will land by 6pm so that can go directly to one of the two travel agencies located to the left as you leave the building. There you can book a van which will pick you up the next morning to take you to the Underground River Tour (in Sabang, below), designated as one of the seven wonders of the world.

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If on the other hand you’d like a private tour or a more native experience, you can try my friend Joseph. [Note that this above picture can be rather misleading. The only lighting they have is from flashlights on the boats waving around in random directions. The boats are constant, one after the other, in both directions, inching along to a recording of what the different rock formations supposedly look like (penises, cucumbers and so forth). It has become totally over-commercialised and you waste an entire day just to get there and back, constantly waiting in line.]

As explained on the Princesa page above (where you will also find info on vans and buses, or to book the river tour in advance), not so much to see there, so one night should be plenty.

Sabang

The next morning the van will pick you up from your hotel. Make sure to take all your stuff with you, so that you can continue heading north after exploring the underwater river tour. The agent on the right offered a 200p tour of the Mangrove Paddle Boat Tour, while waiting in the long line for the underground river tour, which I thought was better than the local zipline, as I feel the one in El Nido is better. Aside from the busy mayhem during the day, Sabang is a nice peaceful town and I heard a good place to stay overnight, if you have the time. I’ve been told there is a good and active couchsurfing community there.

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credit: Marc Anderson

When your or other van takes you back to Puerto Princesa, you can ask them to drop you off at the highway junction so that you can take another one continuing north.

Port Barton

If you have the time, Port Barton is another quaint and peaceful town off the beaten path. They recently completed the paved highway there, so who knows how long that will last, but well worth the visit if your schedule permits it. You can also ask around and take a private boat to El Nido, for a greater adventure, as the van ride is not so interesting.

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If you decide to take the land journey continuing north, there are many vans to catch, but I found the public buses better. Not only are they less expensive, but much more spacious. If you are limited for time, you can take the night bus which leaves around 11pm from Princesa and arrives in El Nido around 5am. The vans, although about one hour faster, can be quite crammed and uncomfortable.

If you do stay in Port Barton and don’t mind tenting, I heard good things about Thelma and Toby’s Island Camping Adventure.

El Nido

Like Princesa, El Nido also has a good live music scene, but if you are a musician, it is much easier to find a venue where you can jam with others. Three long beaches for romantic strollers, a great zipline, beautiful lagoons to explore, or you can rent a kayak and explore some of the nearby islands. There are also nice lagoons in Coron, so depending on what you want to see, one to two days should suffice for this town.

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How many places you see in the Palawan area depends on how much vacation time you have. With a seven day trip, I would suggest the underwater tour in Sabang, El Nido, Coron, and to squeeze in at least one other place. You need some time to enjoy and relax and not constantly rushing to the next place. On this page, Sabang, Port Barton, Sibaltan and Linapacan are good places to relax. El Nido and Coron or more high strung but offer special sites and a good night life. I would consider Manila and Puerto Princesa only a quick pitstop.

To see the most, a private boat tour is the best, so that you are not dependent on the schedules of the public ferries between El Nido and Coron. The private boat can pick you up from Sibaltan, take you to Pical, tent on a deserted island, snorkel on the way, see the caves of Linapacan, and check out some of the lagoons around Coron before they drop you off there. This can easily work out cheaper than if you tried everything separately.

From El Nido you can take a 1.5 hour van ride to Sibaltan, 20 minutes north of which is the port of San Fernando, from where you can catch Marphye’s big banca ferry heading north towards Coron. But the ferry is a grueling 7+ hours, so if you have the time, better to stop halfway in Linapacan.

The Philippines has a landmass the size of Italy, but broken up into 7,107 islands. Logistically it is better to choose a certain area and focus on that so that you can also rest and enjoy the sites. Come back another year to see other parts of the country.

Sibaltan

This is a nice archeological town about 1.5 hours by van ride east of El Nido. You will find a big banca boat builder and an old wooden ship acting as a museum. The town aspires to maintain its historical flavour, it has a very long and beautiful stretch of beach, along a small section of which you will find some great resorts.

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About 20 minutes to the north is San Fernando, from where a lot of the ferries head north to Coron. Some leave from El Nido, as explained on that page. But if you have some more time, the following is a worthwhile visit.

Pical on Iloc Island

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A 30 minute boat ride from Sibaltan, this is a great stop if you have the time. Or is part of our regular island hopping tours if you’d like that option on your way to Coron. If you instead prefer the public ferries (big banca boats) leaving from San Fernando, it will cost you roughly 1,000p each way to get on and off the island from Sibaltan, but with its endless, beautiful beach and warm hospitality of the locals, well worth a visit. The lodging owner can also organise a local day boat tour for some excellent snorkeling in the area. He also collects the daily catch from all the local fishermen before sending it off to Manila, and loves to cook, so expect the best of fresh seafood. You can check out some reviews at its airbnb listing.

Boats and Public Ferries between El Nido and Coron

Private boat and public ferries between El Nido and Coron.You will find the latest information about this on our page here, as it often changes.

From El Nido, most of the ferries leave from San Fernando, which is about 1 hour van ride east of El Nido.

Once you get to Linapacan, you can take a local, one day tour for as little as 1,500p total for a five person boat.

Private Boat Tour Operator

However, the above public ferries have set schedules, which can be delayed for various reasons, in which case, if you are on a tighter schedule, getting on a private boat tour can not only make your trip through the Palawan area logistically easier, but you can see a lot more.

There are 52 islands in the Linapacan area alone, and there are several private boat tour operations servicing the El Nido <> Coron stretch, the most famous of which is Tao Expeditions.

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We work with several operators, found on our Boat Tours Schedule page, where you can also form a group if you want to share and reduce costs (to as little as 1,500p per person for a four day trip). If you hire your own boat, you can invite others to join to reduce costs, and decide who you want to let on board. If you allow others on your booked tour (requires deposit payment in advance), you are in charge of which places you want to see, otherwise you must decide collectively as a group.

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Note that most of our operators are from Linapacan and depart from San Fernando or Sibaltan (on the mainland east of El Nido). Not only is El Nido significantly farther and would cost more, but the waters can be exceedingly rough around the north peninsula of El Nido and all the special paradise beach islands to visit are east of the peninsula anyway. If you want to check out the lagoons around El Nido, best to organise that separately.

There are around a thousand islands in the Palawan area, so much to see. Here is a video of some of the larger towns in the Linapacan area (not on the island of Linapacan), for a feasibility study by a power company proposing to set up solar power stations there:

Possible Boat Tour Itinerary between El Nido and Coron


Possible interest points.
So many islands, so many options. With a private tour you have a say where exactly you want to go. With a smaller group in a smaller boat, or larger group in a larger boat, the cost per person can approach the same if taking the public ferries. Throw in some lagoons before disembarking in Coron and it can easily be less. We are growing a network of boat operators, each with their own contacts and relatives owning different islands.This of course can also be taken backwards, if you are going in the opposite direction from Manila, although this way you may need an extra day to see the underground river tour. Below are some of our favourite places so far.

Time permitting, visit this archaeological village of Sibaltan east of El Nido. Would recommend you stay there for one or two nights. Accommodation on the beach varies from 300p for tent to 1200p for nice cabin.

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Our boat operator can pick you up from there and take you to a rural, authentic village on a small island. 300p per night for small bed in small room, but worth a visit for a day. For 300p you can also hire a local guide to take you to an even smaller community, through the jungle to the other side of the island.

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Then you can camp out on your own deserted island, such as Takling, (next two pictures), or some other deserted islands in the vicinity (last three pictures immediately below – click to zoom in).

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Food is provided either on open campfire or on charcoal on the boat for 100p per meal. Usually seafood, rice and veggies, but if you want something more exotic, we will tell you where you can stock up on the way and you can even cook it yourself right on the boat!

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Then it is off to San Miguel in Linapacan, with 52 islands in the area, mostly deserted or sparsely populated for excellent snorkeling (or camping out on) in the clearest waters in the world. There are also caves to explore, trekking in the jungle, kitesurfing at our own resort, diving with hired gear at two sunken shipwrecks, or even stay on your own island overnight. You can combine snorkeling with fishing, or borrow our own fishing equipment, or go on excursions with local fishermen. Learn how to build with bamboo and coconut leaves, or for avid climbers, there are many islands along the way with vertical cliffs plunging deep into the ocean in this interesting post-volcanic terrain. And there is the old Spanish fortress on Linapacan. Lots to see!

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Senora caves near San Miguel.

Along the entire journey you can sleep for free on the boat, in tent for 300p per tent or 400p if two people in one tent, or stay in the home or a local for 300p per night. Sheets and snorkeling gear can be provided or hired. Meals are 100p each, and you can stock up on your own booze and snacks.

Once you are satisfied with soaking in the paradise and have truly relaxed on your vacation, you can continue on to Coron, exploring some of its beautiful lagoons before disembarking from your fantastic journey. Time permitting, you can even explore the beautiful and secluded area and islands around Culion on the way.

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Coron

There are eight sunken shipwrecks around Coron, if you are an avid diver, after which we would recommend you take the overnight sleeper ferry to Manila. 1,500p, good live entertainment in the evening, and arrive in Manila early enough in the morning for a quick tour before boarding your flight. We can help you with local Coron tours.

Of course you can also take the trip backwards, but a little harder to see the underground river tour that way.

Enjoy your trip!

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