Island hopping is one of the activities you can do while exploring and discovering the many attractions of the Philippines. The country is home to several lagoons, lakes, beaches and captivating beachscapes and landscapes. If you are on a tight budget, here are a few places you can add to your Luzon island hopping itinerary.
1. Coron (Palawan)
Coron is a bucket list destination for a lot of local and foreign travelers but that comes as no surprise because it has everything one is looking for in a tropical destination.
The attractions have the whitest and softest sand, the clearest and bluest waters, and a frontier-like beachscape with teardrop-shaped limestones surrounding lagoons and lakes. The island’s most famous destinations include Kayangan Lake, Twin Lagoons, Barracuda Lake, Malcapuya Island, Banul Beach and others.
- The cheapest tour you can go on is ₱750, but it may not include all the places you want to visit or just a combination of Kayangan Lake, Twin Lagoon and other places.
- If you want to cover the best places in one trip, you’d have to pay for a tour that costs around ₱1800/person.
- The prices listed above are for joiner tours which include, entrance fees, guide fees and food. You have the option to rent a boat on your own which costs approximately ₱2700 to ₱4900 depending on the size of the group and boat. The guide fee costs around ₱500. So if you are traveling in a large group, you can save money.
2. El Nido (Palawan)
Just like Coron, El Nido is often number one on the list of must-visit places in the country. It has fine, white sand beaches, towering limestones, glass-like waters, spectacular lagoons and a thriving underwater ecosystem you can admire without having to wear scuba gear.
- The cheapest tour you can join, if you are traveling solo or traveling in a small group, is around ₱1200/person (this is for Tour A). Tours B and C cost around ₱1300/person and ₱1400/person respectively. This includes guide fees and food.
- You can rent a boat for around ₱4500 to ₱6000 for the day, but it doesn’t include food. Take this option if you are traveling with a large group.
Marinduque is a go-to destination for many because of its accessibility from Manila. You don’t have to book cheap flights to and from the island months before your trip. You can go on a whim because the beach and beautiful islands are only a bus and ferry ride away. While in this province, go on an island hopping excursion to see Gaspar, Melchor and Baltazar Islands.
The islands have a fetching beachscape and blue-tinged waters where beachgoers will have a good time swimming and relaxing. Spend the night on Gaspar Island to watch the captivating sunrise. Bring your own food to spend less on your trip, if you plan to have a picnic on one of the islands.
Island hopping starts at ₱1000 for the boat, if you are traveling in a group you’ll spend less per person.
4. Palaui Island (Cagayan)
When talking about the north of Manila, the places that would often come to mind are Baguio, Ilocos and the mountainous regions. However, you can get your dose of island hopping and beach bumming by heading further north to Palaui. It has rolling, verdant landscapes, fine, white sand beaches and waters that have different shades of blue.
During your island hopping, some of the noteworthy places you’ll visit include Anguib Beach, Punta Verde, Cape Engaño Lighthouse and Crocodile Island. The destinations provide an idyllic, laid-back ambiance and the very best nature has to offer.
The boat rental fee varies depending on the destinations you want to go to. The price which includes stops to Anguib Beach, Punta Verde, Cape Engaño Lighthouse and Crocodile Island is ₱3500, plus an additional ₱500 for overnight in Anguib and ₱300 for staying the night in Punta Verde. Entrance fees are paid separately and cost ₱30 for Cape Engaño and ₱100 for Anguib Beach. If you are a group of five, you’ll be spending less than ₱1000 each for a day trip.
5. Hundred Islands (Pangasinan)
The Hundred Islands in Pangasinan is another popular and budget-friendly island hopping destination in Luzon. It is also one of those places where you can spontaneously go to on a Friday night because of its accessibility and regular overnight bus trips from Manila.
Notable destinations of the trip include: Marcos, Governor’s, Quezon, Scout and Children’s Islands. Spend a couple of hours on the beach relaxing and unwinding, swimming and having a picnic among other activities. There are also snorkeling spots for those inclined to do so.
The boat rental rate varies depending on the size of the boat; small ones that can accommodate up to 5 people cost ₱1400, medium-sized boats that can accommodate up to 10 people cost ₱1800 and the large boats that can accommodate up to 15 persons cost ₱2000. All prices are for day rates and exclude fees for activities and rental equipment on the islands. The entrance fee for the park is ₱20 for day trips. If you’re traveling as a group, you’ll get to save more money.
6. Caramoan (Bicol)
Caramoan gained further popularity because a hit reality TV show used some of the islands as a camp for the tribes. Caramoan has a raw appeal and frontier-like charm because of its beautiful beaches with different types of sand that range from fine white to pebble-lined shores.
Swim in the cool waters to combat the afternoon heat, relax on the beach and get a tan, and take plenty of pictures of the captivating beachscape. Some of the noteworthy destinations you’ll visit while island hopping include Matukad Beach and Lagoon, Tayak Beach and Lagoon, Lahos Island, Sabitang Laya and others.
The price of the boat rent depends on the places you’d like to visit, with the cheapest costing around ₱1500 for 6 people. For islands further from the mainland, the rental is around ₱2500 for up to 6 people. The environmental fee is ₱30. If you travel as a group or join others, you only need to spend around ₱500 for the trip.
Luzon has many other island hopping destinations worth going to and are just as budget-friendly. As always, it is better to travel with others so you can share expenses for places where there are no regular tours.This way, you don’t have to rent an entire boat to start your trip.