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10 best beaches in the Philippines

best beaches in the Philippines

Just when you thought that island hopping in Asia couldn’t get any better – it can. We’re happy to introduce one of Asia’s best kept secrets: the Philippines! Our newest 9 day trip Philippines Island Hopping is the perfect way to enjoy your down time on vacation this year. 

The trip will give you blissful days of island hopping around Palawan, exploring turquoise seas, and breezy beaches which include Puerto Princesa, Port Barton and El Nido.   The Philippines is one of Southeast Asia’s hidden gems and should 100% be on your bucket list if it isn’t already. Take this as you sign to book your trip, organise flights, pack your beach bag, and discover the 10 best beaches in the Philippines with us!

Palawan

A destination that cannot be missed, Palawan is a unique island that has nature reserves around both land and sea. The limestone cliffs, underground rivers, mangrove forests, lagoons and pristine beaches make it both an adventure wonderland and relaxing holiday destination.

Palawan’s marine reserves are home to giant clams, dolphins, and sea turtles nesting on the shorelines. The land reserves include more than 600 species of butterflies, lush palm forests and is home to a number of endemic birds. These are the BEST beaches of the island:

FUN FACT ALERT: The city was named after Saint Vincent Ferrer, whose statue was found entangled in a box of fishing nets. He was a famous Saint throughout history, and he is known for performing miracles around Europe. There is now a 400m high statue made out of bamboo in Bayambang to remember him by, built by the Dominican missionaries.

El Nido

El Nido is a municipality of the province of Palawan. It includes 45 islands and islets, each with their own geological formations, with the highest peak being Cadlao Island which towers up to 640 metres! El Nido is a Spanish word for “The Nest” and the island was named after the swiftlets that were found in the caves of the limestone cliffs.

When you visit here with Contiki, you’ll be spending the afternoon tasting street food and looking around shops in the local town, heading to Las Cabanas by tricycle to see one of the best sunsets in the whole country, riding in a Jeepney and touring across the island to enjoy the shores of Lio Beach. These are the best beaches of the area:

Darocotan Philippines

Image source:Contiki

Coron

An island in the Philippines that’s famous for its dive sites. The shipwreck diving here is unmissable, as the zones are full of colourful fish, interesting rock formations, and unbelievably clear waters so you can see every corner of the wreckages left from WWII.

Travellers fall in love with Coron, and the smaller islands surrounding it. On the beaches you’ll experience crystal clear waters, white sandy beaches, rows of palm trees and coconut trees, all flanked by limestone rocks across the horizon. This is the beach of the area you MUST visit:

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Bantayan

This island is quite secluded with little traffic around it, but it still has a number of roads which enable you to get out and explore by scooter. There are lots of beautiful beaches on Bantayan which feature the classic white sand and turquoise waters.

As part of the regulations for this beach, it’s important to bring your valid ID, passport, pay the terminal fees at your port of arrival and have your accommodation booked through one of the accredited establishments. When you’re on the island make sure to spend some time at Ogtong Cave, as well as these amazing beaches:

Some of the sweetest fruit you’ll ever taste can be found on this island and you can enjoy it while you sunbathe on Paradise Beach. There are also rocky outcrops and small caves to explore, but if relaxing is more your thing you can spend the day hanging out in the shade of one of the many palm trees. 

Doong Island, Bantayan, Philippines

Image source:Michael Maga-ao

Panglao

Panglao Island is one of the leading biodiversity projects in the Philippines. This region of the Philippines is where they discovered 250 new species of crustaceans, and 2500 new species of mollusks.

Today the island is quite quiet, so if you’re looking to escape the crowds, this is the place to be. And the beaches are the same; quiet and amazing:

Boracay

The name Boracay comes from two words in the indigenous language Inati: bora meaning bubble and bukay meaning sandy. A sandy bubble, Boracay is one of the most iconic islands in the Philippines, and has even won awards! 

It first became popular in the 1970s when it appeared in a German guidebook and was the location of the war movie called Too Late to Hero. By the 1990s more than 100,000 backpackers were visiting Boracay annually, and In 2022 it was estimated that 1.75 million tourists came to the island.

Siargao

A tear-drop shaped island that is located off the northeastern coast of Mindanao, Siargao is best known for its reliable surfing conditions all year round – in fact it’s known as the surfing capital of the country!

The island focuses on eco-friendly activities including surfing, paddleboarding, kayaking, snorkelling and diving. There’s plenty to see and do on the land too, with an array of hiking trails, waterfall visits, and boat tours to explore the hidden lagoons.

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Are beaches in the Philippines free?

Some of the beaches in the Philippines are private, which means they require an entrance fee. Beaches that are in the National Park will require your passport registration details and tickets as an addition. 

If you’re booking dive and snorkeling adventures, or sailing around looking for isolated spots, make sure you have the correct tickets and cash to pay for your National Parks or entrance fees. These fees are used to cover the cost of the restoration of the parks and maintain the upkeep. 

Where are the clearest waters in the Philippines?

The clearest water in the Philippines is said to be all over, however one of my personal favourite is Onuk Island. All across the Philippines you will find secret beaches, powdered white sands, azured waters, tall coconut trees, shady palms and colourful umbrellas along the beach front. The Philippines is a very seasonal country, and public transport can be hard to navigate at times. It’s important when island hopping to check the schedules of local flights and boats as some companies only operate on certain days of the week.  

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