Contrast the chaos and bustle of city life in Manila with the relaxed way of life in Palawan. With an option to extend your trip on either end, you can focus on the stuff you want.. Take an evening adventure to the Iwahig River where you’ll see swarms of fireflies dancing at dusk. The natural beauty of the Philippines continues to shine, whatever time of day.. Enjoy a full day of island hopping and snorkelling off the coast of El Nido. Look to the bottom of these clear waters, and glide among the coral and tropical fish.. Have plenty of free time beachside to choose your own adventure – day trip to the pristine Nacpan Beach, self-guided kayaking adventure or a spot of shopping? You choose!
Be mesmerised by the nature and people of the Philippines on this eight-day adventure from Manila to Palawan. Explore one of the greenest cities in the country, trek to the Batak tribe to meet some locals, stroll white-sand beaches and island hop around El Nido. Snorkel in the sapphire waters, discover the limestone caves of Sabang and see fireflies dancing at dusk at the Iwahig River. With plenty of free time to travel your own way, this is a beach getaway abounding with natural beauty, stunning landscapes and vibrant culture.
Breakfast Included: 7 Lunches Included: 1 Dinner Included: 1
Welcome to Manila, Philippines. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm today. You can arrive at any time during the day as there are no activities planned until this important meeting. If you do happen to have free time to explore before the meeting, Manila is an intriguing, bustling and overwhelmingly chaotic city. With surprises around every corner, Manila is packed full of things to see, do, taste and experience. After your briefing, perhaps head out with the group in the evening to sample foods like lechon (whole roasted pig) and longganisa (Philippine sausage).
In the morning, take the short flight from Manila to Puerto Princesa (approximately 1.5 hours). On arrival, you'll instantly see the slower pace of this island compared to the busy capital. Puerto, as the locals call it, is the capital of Palawan and has been internationally recognised as the cleanest and greenest of all cities in the Philippines. You’ll likely arrive after lunch, and if your group has time, head to the Palawan Heritage Museum, the Palaweno Brewery for a drink and the Baywalk for a stroll. Later on, travel for around 45 minutes out of Puerto Princesa to the Iwahig River, where you'll see fireflies glowing among the mangroves by the river. It's a truly magical experience and the perfect way to spend an evening.
San Rafael Beach
Head out this morning in a private minivan and drive to Sabang, which should take around 2 hours. Sabang is most famous for its Subterranean River that's eight kilometres in length and passes through a magnificent limestone cave that opens onto the ocean. Jump into a boat with a local guide and explore this great cave complex and remember to bring a camera. After lunch you may want to embark on an optional mangrove boat trip which gets you into the heart of the thick mangrove forests. You will travel in small traditional boats down the river with plenty of opportunity of wildlife spotting. After a 40-minute drive you’ll arrive at your private beach for the next two nights. San Rafael Beach has basic beach cottages with private ensuite facilities.
San Rafael Beach
This morning you meet up with your local guide who'll be walking with the group to meet the Batak Tribe – one of about 70 indigenous communities of the Philippines. The trek will take around two to three hours in total, and you’ll leave early in the morning to avoid the afternoon heat. The trek is generally quite flat with only small rises along the way, but the path is quite rocky so shoes with a good grip is recommended. There are quite a few river crossings today, so packing some sandals with a back strap and decent grip would be ideal if you don't want to get your shoes wet. If you're lucky enough to be there in the right season, you may be able to eat the fruit directly from the cashew trees. After finishing the hike, drive back to the beach chalets in San Rafael Beach. There's plenty of free time for a swim or to read a good book and relax into the evening.
Say farewell to San Rafael Beach today and travel to El Nido in a private minivan (approximately 5 hours). With a backdrop of marble cliffs to its white sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters, El Nido town is the base for many island adventures. There are over 50 beaches to discover that are all accessible by the boats docked. It's quite easy to pick an isolated beach, book a local boat, pack some food and drinks, and head out on your own adventure. The afternoon is free for you to wander around town, have a drink at one of the many beachside restaurants, do a spot of shopping or count how many different coloured tricycles you can spot on the streets.
This morning head off on a full day snorkelling trip, island hopping off El Nido. Pass by jagged limestone islands, rocky coves, virgin rainforest and white sandy beaches. The snorkelling is just as spectacular, with beautiful coral and many different species of colourful fish. After an included lunch, venture out on various trips to lagoons throughout the afternoon. Your evening is then free to do as you wish.
You'll have plenty of free time today in El Nido for beach-loving activities. If you feel like some more adventure, then hire a kayak from El Nido town or jump on a boat out to one of the lagoons. You'll kayak on turquoise, crystal-clear waters, lagoons with dramatic cliffs or past pristine, untouched beaches – and see a plethora of tropical fish. If you want to see a picture-perfect beach, take an optional trip to Nacpan Beach. White sand and lined with palm trees, this is another beach in paradise and worth the drive out of town. Your leader can help you organise transport here if you are interested. Otherwise, hire a bike and get pedalling around El Nido town.
With no activities planned for today, you are free to leave the accommodation at any time. This doesn’t mean your Philippines adventure has to come to an end! If you would like to spend more time in El Nido, we’ll be happy to organise additional accommodation (subject to availability).