El Nido Marine Reserve, Phillipines

Our accommodations are in seaside lodges and award-winning resorts, ideal places from which to explore majestic karst islands, hidden lagoons, and world-class snorkel sites.

Photo by Shannon Hastings

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Snorkeling and Sea Kayaking in Palawan

The Magical Underwater World of the Coral Triangle

Snorkeling and Sea Kayaking in Palawan route-map

Trip Details at-a-Glance

Cost From: $5995  
Length: 12 days
Arrive: Manila, Philippines
Depart: Manila, Philippines
Lodging: 11 nights in hotels and beach resorts
Meals: All meals included
Activity: Snorkeling, Wildlife & Natural History, Sea Kayaking
Trip Level: Snorkeling, easy sea kayaking on sit-on-top kayaks, 2-4 hours a day (no experience required), day hikes


  • Paddle a sea kayak in secluded coves and beneath towering limestone cliffs
  • Snorkel pristine waters over vibrant coral reefs teeming with fish
  • Extend your trip to search for the gentle, nine-foot-long dugongs at Dimakya Island

The snorkeling was fantastic and we did just the right amount of sea kayaking.Vicki G.—Oakland CA

Choosing the Right Trip

We work hard to help you choose the right trip for you, paying attention to your individual interests, abilities, and needs. If you have questions about the level of comfort or any of the activities described in this itinerary, please contact us.


We are proud to have an exceptionally high rate of repeat travelers. For more information, we would be happy to put you in touch with a client who has traveled with us.

Departure Notes

Once you have signed up on the trip, we send a complete packing list, relevant health information, and required travel documents.

Join us for a dream journey to remote Palawan, a stunning Philippine archipelago in the heart of the famed Indo-Pacific Coral Triangle, recognized as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. With our Trip Leader, who is also a marine conservationist, we discover a naturalist’s paradise of pristine beaches, soaring limestone cliffs, sea caverns, and miles of spectacular coral reefs teeming with jewel-bright fish and other exquisite sea creatures. We snorkel and sea kayak these inviting waters each day, and in the evenings, the Trip Leader shares informal talks on marine biology and coral reef conservation that offer us extraordinary insight into this fascinating realm. We offer a post-trip extension to a wonderful resort on Dimakya Island, with its distinctive reefs and the chance to glimpse the shy and endangered dugong.

Itinerary at a Glance

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

Days 1-6
Manila, Philippines / Palawan/ Apulit Island

From Manila we head to the east side of Palawan, where we snorkel the spectacular reefs surrounding the island, many just minutes from our resort. One of our excursions is to Noa Noa, a small deserted island where we explore shallow reef flats and steep, sloping, fringing reefs that plummet into the crystal-clear blue waters. On Nabat Island, we snorkel above colorful staghorn coral and among damselfish and resident schools of anthias and spadefish. Our home base here is the charming Apulit Island Resort, the only resort on this gorgeous island.

Days 7-12
El Nido Marine Reserve / Manila

The El Nido Marine Reserve, an ecological wonderland on the northwestern tip of Palawan, includes Bacuit Bay and its 45 majestic karst-limestone islands. From our beach lodge on Miniloc Island, we snorkel and kayak in pristine aquamarine waters that are a virtual aquarium of tropical fish, corals, and stately sea turtles. As we paddle our kayaks among the islands, we discover hidden lagoons and fantastic reefs, enjoy beautiful Pacific sunsets, and stargaze under a brilliant tropical sky. On some nights, we may try a night snorkel to search for nocturnal reef creatures. Depart Day 12 via Manila.

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

Optional Extensions

If you would like to continue your adventure, we offer the following extension:

What the Trip is Like

This trip is Level 3, Moderate. It is relaxed enough to allow ample time for photography, snorkeling, extra paddling, and beach combing. Days are spent paddling on “sit-on-top” kayaks, ideal for these crystal-clear turquoise waters, plus snorkeling, hiking to sites of interest, birdwatching, or swimming. On most days, we paddle for two to five hours, although usually not more than an hour at a time, interspersed with snorkeling and other activities. Our pace is leisurely, and there is always an extra guide to bring up the rear, whether while kayaking or snorkeling. Previous kayaking experience is not necessary. There is ample time for both scheduled snorkels and free snorkeling, and for the most part the water time is at your own pace. Anyone who wishes to spend more time snorkeling (rather than paddling) can go directly to our snorkel site via our support boat (the crew and a guide will remain with you for safety).

On any given trip, it is impossible to predict what the weather will have in store and it often varies with each successive day. The Trip Leader will present each day's combination of paddling, snorkeling, and hiking activities based on the prevailing conditions. In general, we choose routes that are largely protected from high winds and strong currents.

Our single and double kayaks are Perception Swing sit-on-tops made in New Zealand. They are extremely stable and spacious enough for all body types, and are equipped with comfortable backrests, footrests, and thigh straps.

Because the primary focus of the trip is snorkeling, you must bring your own good quality, well-fitted equipment with you, including mask and snorkel. Try out your gear in a swimming pool before you go to make sure that it works for you and is comfortable. Standard dry boxes and dry bags will be provided. For protecting cameras, trip members must bring their own dry boxes/bags designed for this purpose.

Explanation of Trip Levels


Departures & Leaders

Mar 1-12, 2015  Rima De Dios
Mar 2016  *
*2016 date will be confirmed at the beginning of 2015

Trip Cost

Prices are for 2015
$5995 (7-10 members)
$6295 (4-6 members)
Single supplement: $1995
Forced single supplement: $1695
Internal airfare: $475 (subject to change)
more on pricing

Extension Costs
Dimakya Island Extension
   from: $1095

Trip Payment Schedule

At time of reservation: $500
120 days prior to departure: 20% of trip cost
60 days prior to departure: Balance

Cancellation and Transfer Fee Schedule*

Minimum fee: $250 per person
90-46 days prior to departure: 25% of trip cost
45 days or less: 100% of trip cost

*Please note that this differs from our regular catalog departures.

Trip Cost Includes:

  • Expert leadership of a Wilderness Travel Trip Leader and local crew
  • Accommodations in hotels and beach resorts
  • All meals included
  • All land transportation (in air-conditioned vehicles) and banca boat transportation
  • Airport transfers in Manila for arrival on Day 1 and departure on Day 12
  • Entrance fees and service charges
  • Baggage handling; gratuities to hotel and restaurant staff
  • Sea kayaks, paddles, PFDs (life jackets), and all boat safety gear

Trip Cost Does Not Include:

International airfare; internal airfare; airport transfers for independent arrival or departure; international airport departure taxes; any meals not specified after each itinerary day in the Full Trip Brochure; hotels en route and any hotel nights that may be necessitated by airline schedule changes or other factors; optional tipping or gratuities to trip leader and local guide, boat captains, and drivers; snorkeling equipment; medical immunizations, travel insurance, passport and visa fees; items of a personal nature (alcoholic beverages, laundry, telephone, etc.).

Dusit Thani Manila

Dusit Thani Manila

Day 1 (1 night),
Day 11 (1 night), Manila, Philippines

This large high-rise hotel enjoys a central location, within walking distance to shopping areas and other attractions. The hotel features several ...
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Apulit Island Resort

Apulit Island Resort

Days 2 to 6 (5 nights), Apulit Island, Palawan, Philippines

Apulit Island Resort is located on an unspoiled private island on the east side of Palawan. Overwater bungalows decorated with contemporary Filipino ...
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Miniloc Island Resort

Miniloc Island Resort

Days 7 to 10 (4 nights), Miniloc Island, El Nido Marine Reserve, Palawan, Philippines

Set in a beautiful cove of clear turquoise waters and framed by sheer limestone cliffs, the Miniloc Island Resort offers a peaceful “close to ...
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Extension Accommodations

If you would like to view the accommodations offered with our extensions option:

Note: Listed above are our signature accommodations for this trip. Although it is highly unlikely, we may make substitutions when necessary.

Rima De Dios

Rima De Dios, who grew up in Manila, took up biology at the University of the Philippines and entered one of the country's most prestigious medical schools, but after three years her real passion called-nature conservation and the great outdoors. Rima headed for El Nido, a marine sanctuary in the island world of Palawan, where she led snorkeling trips and educational programs on marine biology, ecology, and conservation. In 2012, Rima joined the non-profit Haribon Foundation, facilitating community workshops on forest management throughout the Philippines, giving biodiversity lectures, and leading birding trips. In Rima’s words, "Filipinos are incredibly warm by nature—we always have a ready smile and do our best to make you feel at home and connected, and in that respect, I am Filipino to the bone! I share more than just the facts about Palawan. I try to share the deeper stories behind what can readily be seen and touched." The incredible biodiversity of marine life in Palawan inspires her, and she advises WT travelers to expect "encounters with thousands of colorful reef fish, dazzling coral gardens, unusual and interesting invertebrates, several species of sea turtles, and perhaps even a shark." Rima is a licensed scuba diver, an avid snorkeler and birder, and a great lover of literature. When she’s not marveling at the beauty of nature, she can usually be found in a quiet spot reading a good book.

Upcoming Trips:

Snorkeling and Sea Kayaking in Palawan, March 1-12, 2015
Visayan Snorkeling Expedition, April 21-May 3, 2015

Optional Extensions

If you would like to continue your adventure, we offer the following extension:


Dimakya Island Extension

Snorkeling and Extraordinary Wildlife Encounters

4 days  -  Level 3

Client Comments

The snorkeling was fantastic and we did just the right amount of sea kayaking. Vicki G., Oakland CA I would easily repeat this trip...it was excellent! Karen S., Tesuque, NM Lee is very knowledgeable, pleasant, and easy to get along with. He’s also very passionate about the Palawan area and its wildlife. Scott and Heidi D., Grass Lake, MI Lee is an excellent guide and an enthusiastic and knowledgeable marine biologist. He has great people skills and is thoughtful and considerate to all the people he is responsible for. Bravo! Roslyn K., Oakland, CA
What an unbelievable treat it was to swim with the beautiful whale sharks off Donsol, kayak around magnificent islands like Pinagbuyutan, Lagen, and Miniloc just to name a few, snorkel in the gorgeous El Nido Marine Reserve, search for the Dugongs around Dimakya, and learn all that we did from our simply superb guide! Jill R., Sacramento, CA We loved this vacation (who would not love paradise?). Karen F., Santa Barbara, CA Nido resorts were lovely, good selection of activities, and nice meals. Cindy B., Saint Louis, MO