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If there’s one island that will stand out during your El Nido island hopping tour, it’s Snake Island. Named after the squiggly sandbar that connects Snake Island to mainland Palawan (no, there aren’t any actual snakes), Snake Island is one of the most picturesque El Nido tourist spots. Having visited Snake Island El Nido countless times over the years, we’ve put together this handy guide outlining how to book an El Nido island hopping tour, what to bring to Snake Island and what to expect once you’re there — including the unexpected.

WHERE IS SNAKE ISLAND EL NIDO

Snake Island El Nido is literally walking distance from mainland Palawan — at low tide — but you won’t be able to access it quite so easily. The only way tourists are able to get to Snake Island is by boat. It’s around 40 minutes from the dock in El Nido town to Snake Island, but the trip will fly as you coast through Bacuit Bay’s incredible limestone islands.

HOW TO BOOK AN EL NIDO ISLAND HOPPING TOUR

Gone are the days of the famous A, B, C & D El Nido island hopping tours, so now you’ll need to book what’s called the Cave Exploration tour, which includes Cudugnon Cave, Snake Island and Cathedral Cave. 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!

PALAWAN TOUR PACKAGES

WHAT TO BRING TO SNAKE ISLAND EL NIDO

Prepare for your trip to Snake 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)
Snorkel, mask & fins: Cressi Adjustable Mask, Fin & Snorkel Set with Carry Bag (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)
Hiking Sandals: Teva Women’s Hurricane Hiking Sandals (click for price), Teva Men’s 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)

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WHAT TO EXPECT AT SNAKE ISLAND EL NIDO

After visiting Snake Island El Nido around 3 times each during previous trips to Palawan, we didn’t think anything could surprise us. What we didn’t expect was an American TV crew filming a reality show on Snake Island. Unfortunately, this meant we weren’t able to step foot on Snake Island, so we anchored just offshore and cooled off in the turquoise waters in the shallows. Because of the film crew and the fact tourism hadn’t yet revived from the pandemic, we were fortunate enough to have Snake Island to ourselves! This isn’t usually the case, however, so be prepared to share this paradise with many other island hopping boats.

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During low tide, you can walk the entire length of the sandbar that makes up Snake Island El Nido, as well as climb to the viewpoint on the rocky island and admire your surroundings from above. There used to be a nasty resident monkey that would accost tourists, but after one too many bites he was relocated somewhere a little more monkey friendly. Perhaps Monkey Island would’ve been a more fitting name?

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Snake Island 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

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