Island Hopping Philippines: Best Destinations to Explore
The Philippines is a popular destination for island hopping. With over 7,000 islands, each with its unique charm and beauty, there are endless possibilities for exploring different beaches, coves, hidden lagoons, and underwater wonders. No wonder locals and tourists love island hopping in the country to enjoy and relax.
But where are the best places to go island hopping in the country? In this post, we will share with you the best destinations for your island hopping Philippines experience. We will cover destinations from the Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao island groups. We will also share the best times to go island hopping in the country and some tips and things to remember.
Best destinations for Philippines Island Hopping
Here are the best island-hopping destinations from the Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao island groups.
Island hopping Luzon destinations
Luzon is the largest island in the Philippines, with many great destinations for island hopping. Some of the best ones include the following:
Discovering the Hundred Islands
The Hundred Islands is a group of more than 120 islands and islets in the Lingayen Gulf in Pangasinan. You can go from one island to another and enjoy activities like cliff jumping, banana boats, snorkeling, helmet diving, and swimming. Some famous islands to visit are Governor’s Island, Quezon Island, and Children’s Island.
Island hopping in El Nido
El Nido is a paradise of pristine beaches, stunning lagoons, and towering limestone cliffs in Palawan. You can visit Miniloc Island, where you can dive and find the Big and Small Lagoons. Next, explore Shimizu Island, where you can see colorful corals and fish. Finally, head to Matinloc Island, climb to a viewpoint, and see the hidden beach.
Coron is another gem of Palawan that boasts breathtaking scenery and amazing underwater diving adventures. You can hop from one island to another and see the Kayangan Lake, which is dubbed as the cleanest lake in Asia, the Twin Lagoon, which has two lagoons separated by a narrow opening, and the Malcapuya Island, which has a long white beach and a coral garden.
Port Barton island hopping
Port Barton is a less crowded and more laid-back alternative to El Nido and Coron in Palawan. You can go island hopping and visit the dramatic cliffs at Inaladelan Island, the lively and colorful reefs at Exotic Island, and the jaw-dropping sandbars at Star Fish Island.
Island hopping Visayas destinations
The Visayas is located in the central part of the Philippines. It consists of several islands, each with its own natural beauty and cultural heritage. Here are some of the best destinations for island hopping in the Visayas:
Island hopping Cebu
Cebu is one of the Philippines’ most popular and developed islands, with a rich history and vibrant nightlife. You can swim, dive, and go island hopping in Cebu and discover the nearby islands and beaches. In your Cebu Island hopping adventure, you can visit destinations like Sumilon Island, which has a sandbar and a marine sanctuary; Pescador Island in Moalboal, which has a coral reef and a sardine run; and Malapascua Island, which is famous for spotting thresher sharks and manta rays.
Bohol is known for the Chocolate Hills, tarsiers, and heritage churches. It is also famous for its beaches, where you can enjoy a day of island hopping, diving, and dolphin watching, starting from Alona Beach or Panglao Island. You can visit Balicasag Island, which has a turtle sanctuary and a dive site; Virgin Island, which has a long sandbar and a seagrass bed; and Pamilacan Island, which has a whale shark and dolphin watching spot.
Iloilo island hopping
Iloilo is another fascinating place to go island hopping in the Philippines. Head to the northeastern province, where you can find the Islas de Gigantes or the Islands of Giants. These islands have rugged rock formations, turquoise waters, and white sand beaches. Some places to see are Pawikan Cave, Tangke Lagoon, Cabugao Gamay Island, and Antonia Beach1.
Guimaras is a small island province famous for its sweet and delicious mangoes. It is also an excellent destination for island hopping, as it has many islands and islets with clear blue water and fine sand. You can start your trip from Alubihod Beach and visit places like Natago Beach, Turtle Island, Baras Cave, Baras Beach, Ave Maria Islet, and the SEAFDEC Station.
Boracay island hopping
Boracay is one of the most famous islands in the Philippines and the world. It is known for its powdery white beach and lively nightlife. You can go island hopping and explore the other islands and beaches nearby, such as Crystal Cove Island, which has two coves where you can swim and snorkel; Puka Beach, which has a long stretch of white sand and shells; and Crocodile Island, which is shaped like a crocodile and has a rich marine life.
Island hopping Mindanao destinations
Mindanao is the second-largest island group in the Philippines, located in the southern part of the country. It has many great destinations for island hopping, including the following:
Exploring Britania Islands
Britania Islands in Surigao del Sur are a group of 24 islands and islets with crystal-clear water and fine sand. You can hop from one island to another and enjoy the scenic views and the relaxing atmosphere. Some popular destinations include Hagonoy Island, which has a long sandbar; Boslon Island, which has a rock formation and a lagoon; and Naked Island, which has no vegetation and only sand.
Siargao island hopping
Siargao is a surfing paradise with world-class waves and a laid-back vibe, but you can also go island hopping. Visit nearby islands, such as Naked Island, which has no vegetation and only white sand; Daku Island, which has a fishing village and a long beach; and Guyam Island, a small and picturesque island.
Discovering Samal Island
Samal Island, located in Davao del Norte, is a tropical getaway with resorts, beaches, caves, and waterfalls. You can go island hopping in the area and explore Talikud Island, which has coral gardens and a turtle sanctuary; Ligid Island, which has a white sand beach and a mangrove forest; and Vanishing Island, which disappears during high tide.
Island hopping in Camiguin Island
Camiguin is a small but beautiful island with seven volcanoes, hot springs, waterfalls, and white sand beaches. You can go island hopping and see the White Island, which is a sandbar that changes shape depending on the tide. You can then head on to Mantigue Island, a marine sanctuary and snorkeling spot, and then the Sunken Cemetery, a cross marker for a graveyard submerged by a volcanic eruption.
Enjoying Balut Island
Balut Island is a volcanic island in Saranggani with a mix of Filipino and Indonesian cultures. It is a fascinating destination for island hopping and discovering other islands in the Sarangani group. These include Olanivan Island, which has a long sandbar and a lighthouse, and Sabang Island, which has a fishing village and a beach.
Best times to go island hopping in Philippines
The best time to go island hopping in the Philippines is during the dry season, between December and May. The dry season means there are fewer chances of typhoons and rain that might ruin your trip. The weather is also sunny and pleasant, perfect for enjoying the islands’ beaches, lagoons, and reefs. However, this is also the peak season for tourism, so you might encounter more crowds and higher prices in some popular destinations. If you want to avoid the crowds and enjoy lower rates, you can also consider going during the shoulder months of May and October, which are still relatively dry and sunny but less busy.
Island hopping in the Philippines: tips and things to remember
Island hopping in the Philippines is a beautiful way to experience the country’s natural beauty and diversity. Below are some tips and things to remember to make your trip more enjoyable and safe:
- Plan and book your island hopping tours in advance. The Philippines has many islands to choose from, and some of them are more popular and crowded than others. Depending on your preferences and budget, you can research online or ask locals for recommendations on the best islands to visit. Booking your tours in advance can also help you save money and avoid scams.
- Pack light and bring the essentials. Island hopping means moving from one island to another, sometimes on small boats. You don’t want to carry a lot of luggage that will weigh you down and take up space. Pack light and bring only essentials, such as clothes, swimwear, toiletries, sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat, and a camera. You can also bring a dry bag to protect your valuables from water and sand.
- Respect the environment and the locals. The Philippines is blessed with natural wonders, but they are also fragile and must be protected. When you go island hopping, respect the environment and the locals by following the rules and regulations of each island. Don’t litter, don’t touch or feed the marine life, don’t collect shells or corals, and don’t damage the plants or rocks. Also, be polite and friendly to the locals, who are usually hospitable and helpful.
- Be flexible and adventurous. Island hopping in the Philippines can be unpredictable and challenging but also fun and rewarding. You might encounter bad weather, boat delays, or changes in itinerary, but don’t let that ruin your trip. Be flexible and adaptable, and make the most of every situation. You might also discover new places and experiences you didn’t expect, so be adventurous and open-minded. You never know what surprises await you in your adventure.
Island hopping is a fascinating experience where you can explore the Philippine islands, enjoy the views, and experience fun water activities like swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving. Whether in Luzon, Visayas, or Mindanao, there is always a captivating island-hopping destination in the Philippines waiting for you to explore and enjoy.
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