If you’ve been itching to go island hopping in the Philippines, then you’re in luck because Contiki has just launched our sparkliest and newest trip which will make all your beach-side dreams come true. Now, we’ve put a lot of thought into this one, and we’re 100% sure that this is the BEST 2 week itinerary!
True to Contiki form, you won’t be burdened with all that annoying planning and the stress of reserving accommodation and transportation – we’ve got it covered. Let yourself be swept away by the blissful sounds of waves crashing against the shores of paradise on our Philippines Island Hopping trip, because as far as island hopping tours go, this is one of the best!
Oof, you’ve done it, you’ve arrived in the Philippines – that’s the hardest part! Manila is beautiful, and there’s lots to explore so make sure to arrive a few days before your Contiki departure so you can take full advantage! On day 1 though you’ll be meeting your crew for the next 9 days, and then zip through the sky to get yourself to Puerto Princesa to get the adventure started!
Say hi to Palawan island, your home for the next few days. Turquoise waters surround you, and what a beautiful backdrop they make to get to know your fellow travellers and start the early bonds of friendship. Keep the party going in true Filipino fashion at a tiki bar to enjoy island tunes and cocktails.
Rise and shine, day 2 of island hopping in the Philippines, and it’s a good one. Get yourself a fresh and fruity breakfast to fuel up for some fun! Today you’ll be visiting the Subterranean River National Park. Sounds a little scary, but we promise that it’s not. You’ll actually set off on a very serene boat ride through the clear waters of this underground river and impressive limestone caves.
After that unique exploration, time to grab some lunch, and where better to do it than at Nanay Elena’s? Nanay Elena will host you on her property near Port Barton, where she will cook you a hearty meal (her spring rolls are famous in the village). This is a MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experience, and the proceeds of this go directly to supporting Nanay Elena and her family. We can’t possibly think of a purer way to spend lunch. Then, the evening is yours, and you can spend it splashing through the crystal waves or heading to the local beach bar to watch the sunset and enjoy happy hour.
This is a free day in Port Barton, and that means 24 hours of total bliss. Dig your toes into the warm white sand beaches, dip into the blue waters, get your tan on, and don’t forget to fully indulge in amazing foods and drinks. If you’re patient and lucky, you may even catch some sea turtles gliding under the surface, going about their relaxing day just like you. Who would have thought you’d have something in common?
If you’re in need of a new hobby, you can join a jewellery making workshop and check out the local artisans who sell their products at the shop. Let your hair dry in the salty ocean breeze and get together for an easy hike with your Contiki pals. This is the perfect opportunity to get to know everyone better, and maybe even swap some friendship bracelets you made earlier.
Feel like you’re not doing enough island hopping in the Philippines? Well don’t worry, it’s definitely on the menu today! We’re treating you to a private boat tour, just for the Contiki crew, which will include a delicious locally-cooked meal. You’ll be ferried from beautiful island to beautiful island, with plenty of chances to swim with sea turtles, snorkel down to colourful reef beds, or just simply float and bask in the beauty of it all.
We’ll stop off at the starfish sandbar which, as I’m sure you can guess, is home to an abundance of starfish which line the sandy ocean floor. Setting your eyes on these starfish is probably one of the most special things you’ll do as it’s a beautiful and peaceful sight – just make sure not to step on any. Ouch!
Today, you leave Port Barton, but not to worry, because you’ll be headed to El Nido for an (even more) amazing few days. Get your breakfast, get your bags ready to go, don’t forget your new best friends, and then off you pop to other utopian destinations.
Spend the afternoon strolling through town, doing some light shopping, and filling your bellies with scrumptious street-food. What a life! Save your ooo-ing and ahh-ing until tonight, though, because you’re heading to Las Cabanas – a world famous beach – atop a Filipino tricycle to catch the most stunning sunsets ever. Meditate, get your yoga on, or simply take in the natural beauty; peace is yours this evening.
Ready for a change of pace? It’s time for a classic and colourful Jeepney ride! This trip will give you major Mystery Machine vibes, but the destination won’t include any ghouls or goofy dogs. Instead, you’ll visit two gorgeous beaches, and a majestic waterfall. Don’t forget to pack your bathing suit.
First, Lio Beach. Enjoy some peace and walk along wooden footpaths into the deep blue. Then, it’s off to Bulalacao Waterfalls which are sure to stun you, not because waterfalls are generally awe-inspiring, but because the water here is… different. And finally, you’ll reach the crescent shaped Nacpan Beach, Palawan’s most iconic destination. Now that’s island hopping in the Philippines done right!
Another free day on your island hopping itinerary to do whatever you like and explore El Nido’s lagoons at your leisure. If you’re not sick of bathing and tanning yet then by all means, lounge along the shore until the sun sets. Or, if you’re in need of some green, set off on a nature walk around the area with your crew. This is a ‘you do you’ kind of day.
We depart El Nido today for the best, of the best, of the best. Trust us. Maybe you booked this trip with this experience in mind, or maybe this will come as a total surprise, but it’s time for a night in heaven. It’s the Island Special Stay, a fabulous MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experience that’ll immerse you in local culture and have you staying in a beachside hut.
Go snorkelling, explore a local shipwreck (how cool?), and, literally, dig in to a traditional feast, served on a long banana leaf, meant to be eaten with your hands. This is called a boodle fight, and once you’ve had your fill, settle down around a bonfire and laugh and babble into the night with your friends.
After the festivities of last night your brain is probably packed with amazing new memories, and your heart filled with so much love. Catch up on your beauty sleep, enjoy the last of these sandy beaches, and prepare to say goodbye.
Now, this marks the end of the classic version of Contiki’s Philippines Island Hopping trip, but if you’re keen to keep the adventure going, and maybe add a little sprinkle of adventure to it, make sure you book the Expedition version of the trip and stay aboard for another 4 days!
Day 9 – Expedition version
Oh good, you’re still here! How could you resist the extra holiday days, right? Instead of teary goodbyes (those may come later), the next few days are packed with rugged adventure. 15 new islands, a private boat, and camping in the warm Philippines air, wow.
It starts today with visiting reefs and witnessing the massive schools of vibrant fish flit between the even more vibrant corals, and it ends with a campfire, dinner, and music on a remote and island.
Day 10 – Expedition version
Another day, another adventure. Your exploration of the emerald seas continues, and this time you can take a dip below the surface. Swim with sea turtles, swim along the coral reefs, or swim alone – the choice is yours and each option is as good as the next.
Don’t fancy getting wet? Take a hike through some crazy rock formations and discover a secret cave that was apparently used as a hiding spot by Japanese forces during World War II. Your meals are covered by the private boat crew, so you can fuel up at anytime and carry on with your day.
Day 11 – Expedition version
Why call this an expedition if there’s no exploration? The discoveries continue with a walk through a tropical mangrove forest – these trees grow out of the water and have beautifully intricate roots, so cool! Then it’s time for more swimming with wildlife, but this time swap sea turtles for giant groupers and dugongs, aka manatees or sea cows; the gentlest of marine mammals.
You’re off to Coron in the evening, where you can do even more snorkelling and diving, and then grab some well-earned dinner in town. Finally, some rest at base camp is definitely needed!
Day 12 – Expedition version
This is the last full day of island hopping in the Philippines, and it’s all yours to enjoy exactly how you like! Make the most of the serene seas by swimming and scuba diving and slinking along the shore. Want to gain some new knowledge – there are Japanese shipwrecks in the area that you can explore. Or you could revisit the old haunts on a tricycle ride to other beaches in the area and make a definitive tier list later!
Hot springs, good food, refreshing drinks, soak up the last of Coron with your best friends.
Day 13 – Expedition version
Okay, you can break out the tears and the heart-felt hugs now, because sadly, it’s time to bring your vacation to an end. But it’s been great having you, why don’t you come back sometime?
What are you waiting for?
If this hasn’t thoroughly enticed you, then I don’t know what will. Beaches, beaches, and more beaches. Blue water, emerald water, clear water. Sea turtles, manatees, and starfish. At this point we’re just waffling! Book the Philippines island hopping trip of your dreams right now, we promise you won’t regret it.