CADLAO LAGOON, EL NIDO, PALAWAN: Ultimate Travel Guide

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If you’re familiar with El Nido, you’ve probably heard of Big Lagoon and Small Lagoon, but Cadlao Lagoon is another incredible destination on one of the El Nido island hopping routes. This beautiful, blue lagoon is part of Cadlao Island, the largest island in El Nido and Bacuit bays, and one of our favourite El Nido island hopping stops.

With a tiny pocket of pristine white sand, turquoise waters perfect for kayaking and even a short hike to a rocky lookout, Cadlao Lagoon is pure magic. When we asked our tour guides what their favourite lagoon was in El Nido, their answer was Cadlao Lagoon, and it’s easy to see why.

WHERE IS CADLAO LAGOON

Cadlao Lagoon belongs to Cadlao Island, the largest of the many, many islands around El Nido on the Palawan mainland. It’s only accessible by boat or if you’re feeling particularly adventurous you can rent a kayak from town and paddle out, but the lagoon is on the far side of the island.

READ: BIG LAGOON EL NIDO

HOW TO BOOK A TOUR TO CADLAO LAGOON

Gone are the days of the famous A, B, C & D tours, so now you’ll need to book what’s called the Cadlao Channel tour, which includes Cadlao Lagoon, Pasandigan Cave and Helicopter Island. We did considerable research before choosing our tour company, so we can 100% vouch for Ape Tours. The whole crew was so fun and professional, with the added bonus of being skilled behind a camera. It’s ₱1700 per person which includes lunch, drinks, environmental permit, kayaks and photos! If you want to book with Ape Tours, quote ‘NOPOSTCODE’ to receive 10% off your tour!

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WHAT TO BRING TO CADLAO LAGOON

Prepare for your trip to Cadlao Lagoon with our must-have travel essentials.

Waterproof backpack & phone case: Earth Pak 35L or 55L Heavy Duty Backpack, IPX8 Waterproof Phone Case Included (click for price)
Quick dry microfiber travel towel: Wise Owl Outfitters Camping Travel Towel (click for price)
Insulated water bottle: Hydro Flask Vacuum Insulated Water Bottle (click for price)
Snorkel, mask & fins: Cressi Adjustable Mask, Fin & Snorkel Set with Carry Bag (click for price)
Hiking Sandals: Teva Women’s Hurricane Hiking Sandals (click for price), Teva Mens Hurricane Hiking Sandals (click for price)

If you’re interested in photography and/or videography this is the gear we can’t live without:

Professional camera: Sony a7iii (click for price)
Action camera: GoPro HERO9 Black (click for price)
Drone: DJI Mavic 2 Pro (click for price)

To see our complete camera gear read this post here.

WHAT TO EXPECT AT CADLAO LAGOON

We pulled into Cadlao Lagoon right when it was going on golden hour, so the whole place was practically glowing. It was magical! The water was turquoise blue and crystal clear, and we could see all the way to the coral at the bottom as we kayaked from our big boat to shore. We didn’t get the chance to swim, as we were racing the clock to get golden hour photos, but it’s definitely the kind of place you’d want to bring a snorkel.

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The best mode of transport around the lagoon is definitely kayak, and the great thing about Ape Tours is that kayak rentals are included in your package. But, if you decide not to take our advice and go with another tour operator, kayak rentals are available in the lagoon, so don’t forget to bring cash.

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READ: SMALL LAGOON EL NIDO

The highlight (literally, it was quite tall) of our Cadlao Lagoon trip was hiking to the lookout. When we say hike we mean a climb up jagged, limestone rocks for like ten minutes. It’s not that difficult but it is incredibly sharp. You’ll want to make sure you wear shoes or at the very least flip flops to protect your feet from the limestone spears.

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The view from the top was incredible and was the perfect spot to watch the sun pass behind the neighbouring islands. Thankfully, there are a few flat bits to stand comfortably or sit rather awkwardly as you take in your surroundings. It was the perfect end to our Cadlao Lagoon trip!

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MORE LAGOONS IN EL NIDO

If you’re looking to tick some more lagoons in El Nido off your bucket list, you’ll definitely want to visit Big Lagoon and Small Lagoon. Situated right next to each other, they’re two of the most iconic Palawan destinations.

Big Lagoon El Nido
Drone shot of Small Lagoon El Nido

PIN IT FOR LATER

Cadlao Lagoon El Nido Palawan Philippines Travel Guide

WHERE TO STAY IN EL NIDO

There’s no shortage of accommodation in El Nido, but having all those options can be a little overwhelming when it comes to choosing the best place to stay. We’ve chosen our top four picks for budget, midscale, boutique and luxury hotels in El Nido to make things easier for you.

BUDGET: DEN’GI INN

If you’re planning on being in El Nido for a while and you’re not looking to break the bank, Den’Gi Inn is our top recommendation. We stayed for two weeks and found it was the best value for money. It’s one of the cheapest properties in El Nido, but offers clean rooms, good amenities and is in a prime location in town.

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Where to stay in El Nido
Image by Den’Gi Inn

MIDSCALE: FRENDZ HOSTEL

Frendz Hostel has a million dollar view without the million dollar price tag. It’s right in the centre of town but its height offers unbeatable views of the bay. From private to share rooms, it boasts having a bed for every budget, and its social environment makes it a great place to make new friends.

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Where to stay in El Nido
Image by Frendz Hostel

BOUTIQUE: THE BIRDHOUSE

If you’re looking for something a little different, The Birdhouse is that something. It’s a small five tent glamping hotel with unbeatable sunset views. Their tents are decked out with all the finer things in life, including private bathrooms, and their yoga platform is a destination in its own right.

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Where to stay in El Nido
Image by The Birdhouse

LUXURY: SEDA LIO

For those with a little more cash to throw around we recommend Seda Lio, one of the biggest luxury beach resorts on the mainland. Housed within the Lio Tourism Estate, Seda Lio offers a haven to escape to after a long day of activities and island hopping.

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Where to stay in El Nido
Image by Seda Lio

SEARCH ALL HOTELS & RESORTS IN EL NIDO

MORE EL NIDO TRAVEL GUIDES

Big Lagoon, El Nido
Small Lagoon, El Nido
Entalula Island, El Nido
Shimizu Island, El Nido
Nacpan Beach, El Nido
Duli Beach, El Nido
Las Cabañas Beach, El Nido
Papaya Beach, El Nido
Seven Commandos Beach, El Nido

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Philippines | Asia

July 7, 2021

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