Solo Island Hopping in The Philippines

Day #5..

… of the Philippines taking my breath away. If there is anything most people know about the Philippines, then it is that there are so many wonderful islands to see that island hopping is a must-do. Though I did not prepare properly as this trip was more or less spontaneous, I am very happy to share my super positive very first island hopping experience.

What I booked

Agency: Cebu Tours
Price: 80 – 180€ (the earlier you book, the cheaper)
Tour Package booked: Mactan Private Island Hopping Tour 6-8 hours
Included: Pick-up from Hotel (in Cebu city) with experienced driver and sophisticated car, a crew of three for your safety, lunch with barbecue, rice, vegies, seasonal fruits and 1-2 Water bottles, a snorkel-set, life vest (April 2023)
Not included: Tips, towels and further items of personal convenience
Minimum booking time: 10 hours ahead

I found this tour by scrolling through the well-known book a guide website. As I like to avoid the middlemen as much as possible, I went straight to the local agency’s website as soon as I could peep their name in the details. Booking through their website was pretty straight forward. One can browse through all tour details to find preferred offer. Prices are listed as per how many people are joining the tour so everything was pretty transparent. The more people join the tour, the lower the price per person will be, so for a one-person tour you pay the highest price – which I found pretty fair for what was offered. Payment was possible via Paypal. I paid 50% uppon booking and the other half was to be handed to the driver upon pick up. For the last minute of it all (I booked 24 hours ahead) I found the whole procedure super easy.

The agency contacted me a few minutes after booking via E-Mail with the exact pick-up time and further details. Fast forward to the next day my driver arrived around 10 Minutes earlier (6:50 AM) and was very polite and kind. He collected the other half of the fee gave me a brief info on where we were going. And then we started the 45 minute drive from the hotel in downtown Cebu to the harbor. After the super comfortable drive I was greeted by my two boat men at the port (one of which was the main boat responsible and the second one my guide). And we departed super punctual at 7 AM.

Tour Highlights

Pandanon island

best secret beach feeling. At 8 AM when we got there, I was pretty much the only person there. It was such an out of this world experience and my guide absolutely came through with taking photos and swimming around and showing me the island and the cute sea cretures we could spot there.

Gilutungan Island

the most white sandy beaches I’ve seen in my life. We went snorkeling around the marine sanctuary and I got to see those beautiful shiny silver fishes and anemone fish.

Nalusuan Island

though a man-made island, the log bridge leading to the unique isolated resort is an amazing place for snapshots. We spent a significant amount of time snorkeling here until departure back to Mactan.

Caohagan Island

more touristy but still small and calm enough. I met a group of chinese travelers who were quite the vibe and had the longest wholesome conversation with an American expat couple based in South Korea (aren’t they living my dream life?). I call this place touristy because they set up two bases to accomodate the island hoppers: 1. you meet very kind ladies selling souvenirs there and a group of fishermen / cooks offering a variety of fresh out of the ocean sea food to be grilled on the spot for your lunch or you can just buys some fruits and enjoy fresh coconut water.

Honest Opinion

Pro – Just Do it!

  • Great value for money
  • Very individual pace since it’s a private tour
  • Super accommodating and hospitable crew.
  • I always felt safe and respected as a solo traveling black woman
  • Live vest was always on and my guide always nearby thankfully as I cannot swim :’/
  • No communication issue, the crew was fluent in English
  • For me this tour is the epitome of secret beaches and secret island visits
  • Endless picturesque sun-bathing and swimming/ snorkeling spots (even deep diving opportunities for the brave)
  • Fresh fish and coconut water on mass.

Con – Zero, just a few tips.

  • Ask for a tour without pre-prepared lunch and eat to your hearts delight on Coahagan island.
  • Give emergency contact details to your tour provider and share live-location with that person for a safer feeling as solo traveler.
  • Bring enough sunscreen and avoid direct sun (I never get a sunburn, but the Philippines’ sun reflected on the ocean was my endgame) though careful when using those cream to avoid polluting the waters
  • Bring sufficient cash to tip the crew. They are absolutely worth every little penny. Mine worked so hard I was mindblown.
  • Bring enough waterproof gear to capture the moments, water shoes, an own snorkel set is a plus and more than one towel just to be comfortable for the commutes from one island to the other and on the way back. Don’t forget reusable ear plugs!! The motorboats can get super loud.

There is so much more to say, but I want to keep this blog as short as possible. If your curiosity is sparked, just let me know what you think of this tour and ask away on Instagram or peep more story highlights.

Would you go on this tour?

The Congolese Travelholic

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