On this 12-day itinerary, explore Palawan's best sites both above and below water while staying on a luxury private island. Dive in El Nido which, thanks to its location in the Coral Triangle, boasts magnificent reefs. Explore the archipelago's famous limestone islands, whether hiking, kayaking, snorkelling or sailing.
Start your Philippines adventure with a glass of champagne in the departures lounge before boarding your indirect international flight from London Heathrow to Manila. There are several ways to do it but this route stops over in Abu Dhabi, arriving into Manila the following afternoon and taking around 17 hours.
Upon arrival in Manila, and once you have cleared customs, you will be transferred to the domestic terminal for your onward flight to El Nido.
Keep your eyes glued to the window for a birdseye view of the archipelago's signature limestone islands. The flight will take around an hour and upon arrival you will be met by the resort representative and transferred 15 minutes to the jetty, where you will cruise past some of the aforementioned spectacular limestone islands until you reach your private island paradise.
Once you have checked into your room, enjoy your first dinner under the stars. You will be staying here for the next ten nights.
After a delicious breakfast spread it's time to head out to explore the local reefs.
Located in the Coral Triangle, and consequently home to pristine coral gardens, minimal currents and bath-temperature water, Bacuit Bay is the perfect place to learn to dive, or for anyone who just enjoys being underwater. While there are a number of dive sites to enjoy during your stay, today head off to Twin Rocks to see how many turtles, moray eels and blue spotted stingrays you can find. If you're not too bleary-eyed from the flight you might be lucky enough to spot ghost pipefish or even an eagle ray.
Today you will be on the water rather than in it as you explore by kayak.
This region is among the most picturesque on the planet with its looming limestone rocks, clear turquoise waters and hidden coves and beaches; stop to swim and snorkel as you kayak around. In the afternoon, once the crowds have dispersed, visit the Big and Small Lagoon at Miniloc Island and watch the sun as it begins to set. A little tip from us, make sure you have your waterproof camera at the ready for this day!
Make sure you have a hearty breakfast today before you head off to explore the island's jungle-clad interior.
Venture through the thick, tropical jungle as you follow the forest trail inland, discovering the various different lookout points dotted around Lagen Island. Head back to the hotel for a late lunch before spending the rest of the afternoon relaxing. If you're still feeling energetic, take out one of the complimentary stand-up paddleboards or kayaks to explore the mangrove forests around the island.
Gather your mask and fins to explore more of Palawan's underwater world. Today you will dive one of El Nido's most famous sites, Miniloc South.
Nestled between Miniloc and Simizu island, the site carries a current that attracts a huge variety of marine life, from turtles to tuna, Spanish mackerel to moray eels. Continue on to Entalula in search of turtles, marble rays and, if you're lucky, the occasional eagle ray.
Spend your surface interval relaxing at the hotel's Beach Club which, located on a beautiful deserted island, is equipped with a bar and beach loungers where you can relax, unwind and get ready for your next underwater adventure. That is, if you haven't been tempted by the cocktails on offer…
It's an early start this morning as you venture into the island to spot its colourful birdlife.
As well as the magnificent marine life on show, this area is also known for its wildlife above the waves, and in particular birds. Armed with a pair of binoculars, head out at dawn with your guide to spot some of the island's incredible birdlife.
Enjoy the rest of the day unwinding on the island; swim in the pool or the inviting turquoise sea; kayak or paddleboard out on the water; or spend some time in the spa to completely unwind and spoil yourself - you are on holiday after all.
Spend the next couple of days diving to your heart's content.
We can advise on the very best dive sites to visit for your particular interests; if it's macro critters you're after, Paglugaban is the best spot, where you'll also see turtles and maybe even a crocodile fish; or the Dilumacad Tunnel, which extends 35 metres at a maximum depth of 12 metres, where you can spot electric oysters, map pufferfish and ring pipefish, to name but a few.
It's also well worth doing a night dive while here to see all of the nocturnal critters, not to forget the magical sight of bio-luminescence. For a really other-worldly experience, take a UV LED torch to see corals light up in highlighter shades of pink, purple and green - the reaction of corals in UV light.
This morning you'll head out on an island-hopping adventure.
Spend the day sailing across the archipelago, discovering secret beaches as you venture to more remote islands, stopping on a beach of your choice for a delicious picnic lunch. This is another day you'll want to have your camera at the ready!
Sail back to the resort during sunset, finishing off your final night in paradise by enjoying a beautiful private dinner under the stars.
Sadly, today it's time to leave your island paradise for home.
After a final breakfast you will be transferred by boat back to El Nido airport in time for your flight to Manila. After landing in Manila you will be transferred to the international airport in time for your afternoon flight home, arriving in to London Heathrow the following morning.
If you would like to book the exact itinerary mentioned above, with economy flights, during mid-season and staying in our preferred room category at our preferred hotels.
If you would like to pare back the above itinerary by travelling at non-peak times, staying in a standard room and removing some or all of the guided activities.
If you are looking for something extra special and would like to add business or first class flights, stay in top room categories at some of the most luxurious hotels we work with, and add more activities and guiding.