Shimizu Island is one of the more underrated islands in El Nido, but one with a very interesting past. You might look at the name and wonder how an island in the Philippines ended up with a very Japanese moniker, but legend has it, it was given its title after a Japanese woman (Shimizu) went diving to find an underwater cave and unfortunately drowned on her journey.
Flash forward to today and Shimizu Island is now part of the Big Lagoon Premium El Nido island hopping tour, alongside Big Lagoon and Entalula Island. It’s also known for its monitor lizard population who often wander onto the beach after the tourists have gone to see if there are any lunch leftovers, but we didn’t happen upon any the day we visited.
WHERE IS SHIMIZU ISLAND
Shimizu Island is just a little beyond Miniloc Island in Bacuit Bay. It takes around 45 minutes to get there from the mainland, and the only way to visit is to go as part of the Big Lagoon Premium El Nido island hopping tour.
READ: BIG LAGOON EL NIDO
HOW TO BOOK A TOUR TO SHIMIZU ISLAND
We did our research beforehand and booked all our island hopping with Ape Tours. Personally, we think they’re the best in the biz, as they’re incredibly professional but lots of fun! If it wasn’t for one of their guides, Jason, we never would have found the hidden cave at Shimizu Island as all other tours just go to the beach. If you want to book the best tours in El Nido with Ape Tours, quote ‘NOPOSTCODE’ to receive 10% off your tour!
WHAT TO BRING TO SHIMIZU ISLAND
Prepare for your trip to Shimizu Island El Nido 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)
Action camera: GoPro HERO9 Black (click for price)
GoPro dome: TELESIN Dome Port Lens for GoPro Hero 9 (click for price)
Drone: DJI Mavic 2 Pro (click for price)
Snorkel, mask & fins: Cressi Adjustable Mask,Fin & Snorkel Set with Carry Bag (click for price)
READ: WHAT’S IN MY CAMERA BAG
OUR EXPERIENCE AT SHIMIZU ISLAND
Instead of pulling up to the beach in front of Shimizu Island, we went around the back to the jagged limestone cliff face. The wind and waves were a little too hectic to battle on the beach side, so we dropped the anchor and had lunch on the boat. After lunch, we jumped into the water to cool off. If you decide to scramble up the rocks, here’s your friendly reminder to wear shoes! Limestone hurts.
We swam around the side of Shimizu Island and had a little fun diving deeper. If you get Piña as your guide, you’ll be able to witness his incredible and natural freediving ability.
After a five minute swim from the back of Shimizu Island to the side, we entered Jason’s Cave. To the untrained eye, you’d never know it was there. A small hole in the limestone underwater opens up into an enclosed lagoon with an open roof. Don’t forget to bring your mask, it’ll make all the difference when you try to navigate through the small hole.
After a quick Google, it’s pretty safe to say this cave is so low key, we don’t think anyone really knows about it except for the people Ape Tours has taken here. We swam around for a little while and caught our breath before heading back outside.
Once outside, we made our way around to the beach of Shimizu Island in the hopes of spotting a monitor lizard or two. Unfortunately, no one wanted to come out and play so we made our way back to the boat. Our trip was short but memorable, and different from the average Shimizu Island tour since we were able to visit Jason’s Cave. It made for the perfect lunch break in paradise!
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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.
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.
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.
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.
MORE EL NIDO TRAVEL GUIDES
Big Lagoon, El Nido
Cadlao Lagoon, El Nido
Small Lagoon, El Nido
Entalula 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