Island hopping on a private boat is a MUST :). We definitely recommend to treat yourself with this amazing experience. Our day was hectic. We stopped at the 6 following spots: Kayangan Lake, Barracuda Lake, Smith Beach, Twin Lagoon, Hidden Lagoon and Calachuchi Beach. We also explain why it is worth to get a private boat, what was our budget. Finally we also add the contact details of our guide at the end of the article.
How to find a private boat?
We didn’t have any tour booked in advance as we decided last minute to get a private tour due to the weather condition the following day. We arrived at the port around 7.00am to check whether it would be possible to get a private boat. There were many guide starting their day so we just asked them. Nobody answered us at first but 5 minutes later someone came to us and said that he was available for a private tour.
Our guide came with us at the food market to buy some food for the day. In 10 minutes we bought everything we needed for our lunch – fresh fish, vegetables, seasoning, charcoal for the barbecue etc. In total we spent about 350 PHP/person in food and water. Then we decided which spot we want to visit for the day as the guide has to pay the entrance fees in advance in order to enter some of the spots we wanted to visit.
Finally around 8.00am we were one of the first boat to leave the port. Just for information, the port opens at 7.30 am so impossible to leave earlier than that. And most group tours leave around 9-9:30am so we left before them. We also got used to the fact that in the Philippines everything goes slowly ;)! Hence, we were excited to leave so early.
In addition, we are delighted as we had the opportunity to fly our done at each spot :). Thanks to the drone, we have so many amazing memories – dozens of photos and at least one hour of video !
The landscapes are amazing, we took several photos at the entrance from the boat.
There are about 150 steps to climb and then your reach a beautiful view deck to take some pictures – there is also a small cave.
After an other 150 steps down, we discovered the lake. Kayangan Lake is majestic. We were almost alone in the lake, it’s a good thing to leave early. It was incredible.
The spot is really perfect. We swam and just chilled in the lake for about 30 minutes.
Note – if you have a drone, here it’s not allowed to fly above the lake itself.
First of all, when we arrived I was a bit disappointed as about 30/40 people were already there. But grouped tours stay a very limited amount of time on each spot and the beauty with a private boat tour is that we could stay as long as we wanted. After 15 minutes a few big groups left and we were less than 10 people enjoying the beautiful lake. It gives a complete different feeling!
And then we left the lake at about 10.45am in the direction of Banul Beach.
When we arrived around Banul Beach we could see about 10 boats already there. Our guide advised us to stop at Smith beach instead which is a smaller beach where group tours are not going to. It’s less than 3 minutes before Banul beach and we were the only boat there when we arrived ;).
We literally had the beach for ourself!
If you are thirsty, there is also fresh drinks available there ;).
We left at 12.30pm direction Twin Lagoon. The entrance is a beautiful lagoon.
We decided to go there during lunch time to avoid the crowd! It was a good idea, when we arrived there were about 25 people but they all left quite rapidly. Then we literally had the lagoon for ourselves – there were nobody, it was just amazing :).
We left after we flew our drone to go to a private spot recommended by our guide – Hidden Lagoon. It is difficult to describe the spot. You have a lagoon with this is a unique small cottage in the middle that we enjoyed just for ourselves and had our lunch there. It was like being in a paradise!
Then we finished the day at Calachuchi Beach – there are a couple of cottages on the beach. It was very quiet and there were just another boat, we decided to go snorkelling for a bit.
We took several pictures and flew our drone one last time. At 4.00pm we had to go back to the port. What an incredible and amazing day !!!
Why is it worth going on a private tour?
We didn’t regret a second our choice of choosing a private boat tour. We visited the key spots with almost no tourists around. It gave us so much flexibility on where to go, how long to stay etc. As our guide kept repeating us « time is yours ».
Our guide was really nice, talkative and advised us to the perfect spots to avoid the crowd. The cherry on the cake, it was great to have a private photographer for the full day, he took so many pictures! We also visited some places which are private. Alexis and I both agreed that it was definitely worth to visit those spots on a private boat.
Budget for a private boat
The total price for both of us was 5800 PHP. The private boat and the crew is 2700 PHP, then we spent 700 PHP for the food at the market and 2400 PHP for entrances fees and some tip we left for the crew. As a comparison the price of the most complete tour in Coron is Super Ultimate 1700 PHP / person. So for 2 people it costs an extra of 2400 PHP for a private tour. If you are planing the budget for your next trip in the Philippines – you may want to have a look at our dedicated post – how to budget a trip in the Philippines?
The total of the entrances fees are the following (PHP/person):
- Kayangan Lake – 300
- Barracuda Lake – 200
- Smith Beach – 150
- Twin Lagoon – 200
- Hidden Lagoon – 200
- Calachuchi Beach – 150
Note – if you plan to go on a tour with a private boat we definitely recommend to do it in Coron instead of El Nido, as it is much more affordable and you can enjoy the spots more as there are usually less tourists.
There are so much to see in Coron you have to stay there at least 3 days :). We also did an other private boat tour in Coron to visit Black island – see our post about our stay in Coron.
Private boat guide contact details
We provide you the details of 2 guides for private boat tours as it can be overwhelming with so many options and difficult to know which one to select. We recommend our guide without any hesitation. He was great, see his contact details Arian Dela Cruz (Onsen) +63 955 702 7298.
We also contacted another guide that was recommended on some other blogs. We didn’t book the tour with him as we changed our mind at the last minute due to the weather and decided to move our tour earlier from one day. But he was really reactive. His contact details Argy +63 906 277 1609. You can contact him on WhatsApp.
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