With its stunning limestone formations rising majestically above the turquoise water, El Nido is one of the most popular destinations in the Philippines. To visit and snorkel the area, you’ll have 4 standardized boat tours (A, B, C and D) to choose from, with different destinations. Tour C, which stops around Matinloc Island and Tipiutan Island, is often considered the best for snorkeling in El Nido.

Coral reef
Matinloc and Tapuitan islands reefs are covered with a wide diversity of hard and soft coral.

Practical information about El Nido Tour C

El Nido is a village in the north of the island of Palawan. This is the starting point for tours to visit the Bacuit archipelago, made up of 45 paradisiacal islands bordered by coral reefs. Tours in the Bacuit archipelago (“island-hopping”) are standardized: all local agencies offer tours called Tour A, Tour B, Tour C and Tour D, with the same itinerary.

These day tours combine visits to different sites, as well as one or more snorkeling stops. Tour C costs 1400 pesos pp., + a 200 pesos environmental fee. Boats usually depart from El Nido Beach or Corong Beach.

If you want to avoid the crowds in the most visited sites, it is possible to organize a private tour (around 7,500 pesos pp.) with a custom itinerary.

El Nido Tour C snorkeling map

Water entrance for snorkeling during El Nido Tour C

Water entrance is from a beach or directly from your boat, depending on which snorkeling spot you visit.

El Nido Tour C snorkeling tips

Tour C itinerary is mainly around the islands of Matinloc and Tapuitan, in the west of the archipelago. The itinerary is completed with a visit to Dilumacad Island, aka Helicopter Island.

Scorpionfish
On the reef, you may find a flasher scorpionfish, which can change its color to better match its surroundings.

Tour C is one of the best in the Bacuit Archipelago for snorkeling. Snorkeling stops for tour C usually take place around Star Beach (on Tapiutan), Secret Beach, and Hidden Beach (on Matinloc).

Coral reefs in the area are preserved and host a rich and colorful underwater life. They are covered in soft corals, hard corals, barrel sponges, sea fans, sea anemones and sea lilies.

In sea anemones, you will spot the ocellaris clownfish and the spinecheek clownfish, the two most common anemonefish species in the area. As you roam the reef, you may also find blue sea stars, red pencil urchins and the three colored phyllidia, a colorful nudibranch.

Ocellaris clownfish at El Nido
The ocellaris clownfish is a common sighting in El Nido area.

Sergeant majors, butterflyfish, pufferfish and tangs are some of the most common fish around the islands. Schools of sweepers hide in the shade of the caves at the foot of the cliffs. With a little luck, you might come across an angelfish sheltering between the corals, or a flasher scorpionfish perfectly camouflaged on the reef.

Standard itineraries may vary depending on the weather, local authorities’ regulations, and the site’s frequentation. You can get the confirmation of the itinerary when booking.

Restaurants and accommodation nearby

You’ll find in El Nido village and around Caalan Beach and Corong Beach a wide choice of accommodation and restaurants. Tours A, B, C and D include lunch on the beach.

 

  • Level required Intermediate
  • Protected areaEl Nido Marine Reserve Park
  • Maximum depth20ft/6m
  • Water entranceFrom sandy beaches or a boat
  • Visitor numbersHigh
  • Access costsBoat tour (1400 pesos pp., +200 pesos environmental fee)

MAP Spot

These spots are accessible to anyone with basic snorkeling skills, and feeling comfortable in the water and with his snorkeling gear. You will enter the water from the shore (beach, pontoon, ladder, rocks) or from a boat. The water height in the sea entrance area is reasonable, but you will not necessarily be within your depth. Moderate currents can occur in the area, even when the sea conditions are good. The distance to swim to reach the most interesting snorkeling areas of the spot does not exceed 200 meters.

This level only apply when the spot experiences optimal sea and/or weather conditions. It is not applicable if the sea and/or weather conditions deteriorate, in particular in the presence of rough sea, rain, strong wind, unusual current, large tides, waves and/or swell. You can find more details about the definition of our snorkeling levels on our snorkeling safety page.