Tao Philippines

Travel

Planning Your Itinerary

From the early days of Tao, we have suggested the minimum number of days you should spend with us is 4 nights. This is the ideal amount of time to fully appreciate the island experience that we are offering.

Palawan is a remote region to access. We suggest that 10 days is the minimum number we suggest you to stay in the Palawan including the Tao trip.Try not to take on too much destination as traveling in the Philippine islands takes time. You don’t want to spend half your trip on a bus or waiting in an airport as most destinations will take one day to journey between. If you would like to visit several provinces, try to plan to spend at least week in each place. This is enough time to take it all in, and at the same time get as much as possible out of your trip.

Which Direction is best for Expedition – Coron to EL Nido or EL Nido to Coron?

It does not matter, both are special. From EL Nido going north the underwater gets better and better. From Coron going south, the islands and beaches gets more stunning every destination. Just depends on your travel plans, if you want to relax after the trip then end in EL Nido. If you want to go diving after the trip, then end in Coron.

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Spending time in El Nido

El Nido is the destination on everyones itinerary when visiting Palawan and therefore can get quite crowded in certain areas. However with a little inside knowledge you can escape the crowds and find your own spot of this iconic destination.

The main town of El nido is located on the west coast of the mainland facing the Bacuit Bay. These are the limestone karst rock formations that give El Nido its name. Small swiftlet birds lay their eggs in a nest made from their own saliva stuck on the side of the caves. These nests are treasured by the chineese for birds nest soup, so locals have been harvesting these small rubber like delicacies since spannish times, hence the name El Nido, ‘The Nest’ in spannish.

The Islands around El Nido offer plenty of island hopping, diving and exploring activities. Some of these destinations include, Big Lagoon, Small Lagoon, Secret Beach etc.

Many guests ask whether we will visit these places on the Open Expeditions. We specialize in avoiding the tourist crowds, and take you to remote island destinations. So if you have few days available on either side of the Tao trip, we recommend that you see these places in smaller island hopping boats available for hire in town.

El Nido town is split into two parts, the Town Proper and Corong Corong.
The Town Proper has the port to where all boat traffic departs from as well as many restaurants, bars and places to stay. Corong Corong is a short 10 min trycycle ride away. It is the stretch of coast that faces the stunning sunset across the Bacuit Bay. There are many places to stay and cool sunset bars and places to eat. Also the Tao El Nido Office is located here.

Heading North of El Nido is Lio Beach resort development where the Airport is, with shops, restaurants and a public beach. But if you are exploring the coast by motorbike, then we suggest visiting here for sunset at the end of the day, where you will be closer to town so you are not driving too far in the dark.

Instead head North to Nacpan beach, the longest beach in El Nido. Be careful of rip tides during strong weather. There are usually notices to tell you if it’s safe to swim in the water or not.

If Nacpan is still too touristy for you then head north still to Duli beach. It’s an undeveloped surfers hang out and one of the coolest vibes in El Nido. Be warned that the road gets rough and can be quite tricky if you are not an experienced driver.

Back on the main road, keep going north and just after the turning for Taniguiban you will pass a point overlooking Daracounton Bay and the stunning Daracouton Island. Keep on the road past San Fernando village and their Highschool. Take a left on the corner and drive down to San Fernando Pier [or ‘Pantalan’ if you are asking a local for directions]. Park your bikes here and walk along the path on the coast to Tao Farm. From here you can stay and hang all day, get some lunch or island hop over to Daracouton Island where Tao has a basecamp also. Tao Farm is also open for Bed and breakfast so you don’t have to rush back to El Nido in the same day.

Back on the road, head south to the village of Sibaltan. Here you can do great diving to see Manta Ray cleaning station and the more healthier coral reefs in the area. The crew running Dive Sibaltan are good friends of Tao.

Spending time in Coron

Coron Town is located on Busuanga Island in the very North of Palawan. The airport here has connections to various other destinations including Manila.

Coron Town is not the prettiest place and does not have a public beach like El Nido. But for what Coron lacks above water it makes up for below water. The reefs in this area are some of the most healthy in Palawan. At the end of WWII , the U.S attacked the Japanese Imperial fleet and sunk 17 war ships. Now these rusting giants lay covered in corals waiting to be explored. There are many dive shops operating out of Coron town and the surrounding resorts.

For most of the island hopping you have to take a day boat over to Coron Island. This is the same geology as the islands of El Nido Bacuit bay, with many lagoons, white sand beaches and picnic spots. Also on the island are 2 fresh water lakes, with brakish water hot springs at the bottom. The water is crystal clear and is a must for any free diving enthusiasts. You can also scuba dive in the lakes, which involves passing through a thermocline where the cool fresh water meets the warm brakish water. Try to arrive early as possible in the lakes to enjoy the morning sunlight illuminating the water, before the hoards of tourists arrive mid morning.

You can hire motorbikes and drive around the island. However we recommend doing this in El Nido on the mainland because there are so many more beaches to access there. Whilst in Coron focus on island hopping and Scba Diving.

There are Daily fast ferries connecting Coron to El Nido.

Where to stay

We recommend that you research in online forums such as tripadvisor.com or virtualtourist.com for accommodation recommendations.

Here you will find other travelers personal reviews and recommendations for places to stay to suit every budget and time scale whether you are looking for a convenient place to stay for a night or a chilled out place on the beach to relax for a week after your expedition with us.

Staying in Island Resorts

If you are staying in an island resort please inform them that you will be travelling with Tao and they will be able to advise you on their transfer policies.

Staying in Island resorts BEFORE the trip; eg El Nido Resorts Miniloc, Lagen, and Pangalusian; you will not be able to come to town for the 5pm group briefing a day before your scheduled departure. In this case please inform us and plan to arrive in our office 7am for a quick briefing with your guide before heading to the port for the 8.30am departure.

Staying in Island resorts AFTER the trip; Please inform the resort that you will be traveling with Tao Philippines so that they can coordinate with our crew to arrange your transfer to the resort.

Traveling with Children

Children have an amazing sense of adventure and discovery. We love having them on board, especially when we introduce them to the young villagers who are fascinated by foreign children. However children on a Tao expedition require constant supervision from both the parents and the crew. Unfortunately our Open Expedition are not suitable for children under 14 years old. Children can join Private expeditions. We provide extra crew on trips with children and do not offer discount.