So, you want to plan the perfect Philippines island-hopping itinerary but don’t know where to begin? I get it, with over 7000 stunning and unique islands to choose from it can be a little bit hard to narrow things down.
The Philippines is an extremely diverse country. It’s best known for its remote islands and paradise beaches but also has some extremely unique natural wonders, such as the chocolate hills of Bohol and the largest underground river in the world!
Whilst the Philippines has some pretty awesome landscapes, it’s also home to some of the friendliest and most welcoming people on the planet.
10-days in the Philippines might not feel like enough time, but it certainly is enough time to uncover a glimpse of what this magnificent country has to offer.
I hope this 10-day Philippines island-hopping itinerary helps you narrow down your choice of the 7000 islands and that it helps you plan an epic 10 days in the Philippines.
So, what is included in this 10-day Philippines island-hopping itinerary? Read on below to find out!
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About this Philippines island-hopping itinerary
This 10-day Philippines island-hopping itinerary was formed from the exact route I took on my own trip to the Philippines.
I tried to curate an itinerary that gives the perfect balance of relaxation and adventure, mixed with seeing some hot spots, as well as getting off the beaten track.
In short your Philippines island-hopping itinerary will look something like this:
- Days 1-3 – Isla Experience on Darocotan Island
- Days 3-5 – El Nido
- Days 5-7 – Coron
- Days 7-10 – Siquijor
Looking for more Philippines Inspo? Check out my guides here.
Starting the trip – Arriving in Palawan/El Nido
This 10-day Philippines island-hopping itinerary starts in El Nido on the beautiful Island of Palawan.
There are two airports in Palawan, one in El Nido and one at the other end of the island in Puerta Princessa. It can be somewhat expensive to fly into El Nido. So, if you are on a budget it might be cheaper to fly into Puerta Princess and book a shuttle bus to El Nido.
The drive between Puerta Princess and El Nido is roughly 5 hours but can take longer due to stop-offs and breaks. Please note if you are tight on time that this option will waste a whole day.
Days 1-3 – Isla Experience on Darocotan Island
Located just an hour from El Nido is the stunning Darocotan Island. Darocotan Island is a serene island paradise that offers some peace and solace from the tourist hustle and bustle of El Nido.
It’s the perfect place to recharge and reset if you’ve had a long flight to the Philippines.
How to get to Darocotan Island
Isla Experience is located a 50-minute drive from El Nido, followed by a 10-15 minute boat journey to the island.
You will need to get to the Teneguiban port which you can reach either by moped rental, private taxi or a shared shuttle organised through Isla Experience.
Once you reach the port you will then need to catch the free boat to the island which leaves at the following times:
To Darocotan Island
- Trip 1: 10:00am
- Trip 2: 12:00pm
- Trip 3: 14:00pm
- Trip 4: 17:00pm
For my full guide on Isla Experience click here.
Where to stay in Darocotan Island
Isla Experience is the best accommodation to stay in on the island if you after affordable luxury and a sense of community. Please note boat options I have listed above are for guests of Isla Experience only.
If you do want to explore your options, there are two other accommodation choices on the island which are Dryft Darocotan and Backpackers Island El Nido.
What to do on Darocotan Island
The best bit about Darocotan Island is that there isn’t much to do here other than relax and enjoy the stunning beaches. However, if you want to get active then you’ll be pleased to know that you can go snorkelling and paddleboarding.
If you do stay with Isla Experience you will be able to use their snorkel gear free of charge and rent a paddleboard for the day for only £4 / 250php.
Days 3-5 – El Nido
Stop 2 on this 10 day Philippines island-hopping itinerary will see you heading back to the town of El Nido. El Nido is best known for its white sand beaches, lagoons, iconic limestone cliffs and of course its crystal clear waters.
Getting from Darocotan Island to El Nido
Getting back to El Nido from Darocotan Island is super straightforward. If you are staying with Isla Experience you can get the following boats back to the Teneguiban Port:
To Teneguiban port:
- Trip 1: 9:00am
- Trip 2: 11:00am
- Trip 3: 13.30pm
- Trip 4: 16:00pm
From there you can take your private taxi, or shuttle bus back to El Nido (this can be arranged through your accommodation).
Where to stay in El Nido
There are a whole host of places to stay in El Nido from the town centre all the way down to the famous Napcan Beach. I’d personally recommend staying in El Nido town centre so that you’re close to all the bars and restaurants as well as being close to the port if you choose to book on a boat trip.
Looking for that social backpacker vibe? Frendz Hostel is the best place to stay! Not only is this the best party hostel in El Nido but it also has one of the best views in town.
If you’re after something a little more chilled and private then SANSE boutique hotel is a stunning option and very reasonably priced.
You can find more El Nido hostel options here and more El Nido hotel options here
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What to do in El Nido
One of the best things to do in El Nido is to go on an island hopping tour. This will see you visit some stunning beaches located in this Archipelago.
There are two island hopping tours, Tour A and Tour C which take you to two different sets of islands and beaches.
The best Island-hopping tour operator has to be Haqqy Life. Haqqy Life is part of the Frendz Hostel operation but welcomes customers of all demographics (not just backpackers). Their tours start from £22/1390 PHP.
Tour A is usually the most popular (and the one I booked) as it takes you to the famous El Nido (big and small) lagoons which you can pay a little extra to Kayak through.
This was one of my favourite days on my 10-day Philippines island-hopping itinerary so DO NOT miss this.
Haqqy Life also offers a Jeep and waterfalls tour if you are looking for a little break from the beach.
Nacpan Beach is another good option to choose from when looking at things to do in El Nido. Nacpan Beach is a remarkable 4km stretch of golden sand backdropped by a never-ending row of palm trees and coconuts.
If you are looking for somewhere to perch and chill for the day then Nacpan Beach might be a good option for you.
Days 5-7 – Coron
Stop 3 on this 10 day Philippines island-hopping itinerary will see you heading to the island of Coron. Coron is best known for its incredible diving spots and unique rock formations.
Getting from El Nido to Coron
There are two ways to get to Coron from El Nido, plane or ferry.
You can catch a direct flight from El Nido to Busuanga Airport in Coron however these flights can be extremely expensive (upwards of £70/4,000 PHP) considering it’s only a 40-minute flight.
However, if you have the budget to stretch, this is a great option to give yourself a little more time on the island.
A cheaper, yet slightly longer option is to catch the ferry to Coron. This journey is approximately 5 hours and costs £48 / 3300PHP.
Friendly warning that this journey can sometimes be unpleasant for those who suffer from seasickness. Try and take some preventative medication beforehand.
Where to stay in Coron
For a private option with incredible views and a central location then you can look at Vela Terraces Hotel. For a super budget-friendly option you can look at Bay Area Lodge.
You can find more Coron hostel options here and more Coron hotel options here
What to do in Coron
Coron Island Hopping Tour
There are a whole host of different Island hopping activities to do in Coron. This is the main activity in the area.
The island hopping tours will allow you to see some of the most famous spots in the Philippines including:
- Kayangan Lake
- Barracuda Lake
- Twin Lagoon
- Balinsasayaw Beach
- CYC Beach
- Coral Beach
- Siete Pecados
- Skeleton Wreck
- Malwawey Beach
- Ditaytayan Island
- Waling-Waling Island
- Malcapuya Island
Please note each tour will include a variation of the destinations above and not all (this would be far too much to fit in one day).
You can find some of the best island hopping tours to book in Coron on either Get Your Guide or Klook. Or if you prefer, you can book a tour in person, in one of the many tour offices in the town centre.
Please be careful with which tour operator you choose and make sure to read as many reviews as possible. The one I booked was terrible and came with so many extra costs. This is why I haven’t shared the specific tour I went on with you.
Days 7-10 Siquijor Island
Siquijor is one of the places on this 10-day Philippines island-hopping itinerary that will see you getting off the traditional tourist path.
Getting from Coron to Siquijor
To get to Coron from Siquijor you will need to take a flight followed by a ferry. A ferry from Coron to Siquijor is not possible on this 10-day Philippines island-hopping itinerary as it will take you almost 2 days to get there.
To get to Coron from Siquijor there are two options:
- Fly from Coron to Dumaguete. From Dumaguete catch a 50-minute ferry to Siquijor. Book your ferry tickets ahead of time here.
- Fly from Coron to Cebu. From Cebu catch a 5.5-hour ferry to Siquijor. Book your ferry tickets here.
Where to stay in Siquijor
San Juan is the best area to stay in Siquijor. This is the perfect location to stay in order to be close to all of the top spots Siquijor. It is also only a 15-minute journey from the ferry port.
I can highly recommend staying at Aventura Bed and Breakfast. Rooms start from just £14 a night and the staff are super friendly.
Looking for a hostel option? Love Shack Siquijor came highly recommended by many of the solo travellers we met on our trip.
What to do in Siquijor
Paliton Beach is one of the most stunning beaches on the whole island. It’s the perfect place to chill for the day and is also one of the best places to watch the sunset in Siquijor.
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Runik Beach Bar
If you fancy a luxurious day by the pool (without the luxury price tag) then make sure to head to Runki Beach Bar. The cocktails are incredible, the views are amazing and the music will leave you feeling super relaxed.
Cambugahay Falls is the most popular attraction in Siquijor and for good reason. Cambugahay Falls is a spectacular 3-tiered waterfall with powder blue water, perfect for plunging into on those hot Filipino days.
If you are planning on a trip to Cambugahay Falls, make sure to get there early so you can experience this natural wonder away from the crowds.
Read my complete guide to Siquijor Island here.
If you have more time or want to consider some other islands, below are some alternative places you can visit. These are still on the same/similar travel routes as the destinations listed above.
Option 1 – Port Barton
Why not spend a little longer on the island of Palawan? Instead of heading straight to Dartocan Island, spend a couple of days in the town of Port Barton.
Port Barton is a gorgeous beach town that is often skipped in favour of El Nido, but definitely one worth visiting. Port Barton is at the opposite end of the island to El Nido. If you do plan on doing this it is best to fly into Puerta Princess Airport and catch a shuttle bus from there
Option 2 – BOHOL
Why not add in an extra island on your way to or from Siquijor? Ferry routes from Cebu to Siquijor stop in Tagbilaran on the island of Bohol.
This is the perfect opportunity to hop off and explore Bohol. Bohol is home to the famous Chocolate Hills and one of the best places in the Philippines to spot the cute Tarsier Monkey!
Option 3 – Negros Island
Heading to Siquijor via Dumaguete? Again why not get off here to explore the Island of Negros? Whilst this island has some beautiful beaches it is best known for having some pretty epic waterfalls!
Booking transport in the Philippines
I wouldn’t have gotten very far on my own Philippines island-hopping itinerary without the help of the websites below! Make sure to give them a visit when booking your ferries and shuttles.
I hope that this 10 day Philippines island-hopping itinerary was helpful in planning your trip. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to reach out.