The next tour, with departure from Puerto Princesa, was in Honda Bay, a group of islands of various sizes, located on the eastern side of the Palawan archipelago. Because we love the previous experience at The Underground River (do follow this link and read the article: D), we chose to go with the same agency this time, as well, which offered us the tour for the price of 1100 PHP / person (≈ $ 22). The major difference was the distance from the hotel to the point where we had to board the boat. It didn’t last 5 hours like last time, with a tremendous speed and ups and downs. We actually arrived in less than 40 minutes at the destination. I generally do not mind travelling by car, and I can easily travel for up to 15 hours without problems, but the curves on the hills leading to Sabang Beach gave me a little headache, so I was glad to know that Honda Bay terminal is pretty close.
- Van transportation. Yup, air conditioning and comfortable seating included
- Transfer by boat, with wooden support frame, to each island
- Visiting 3 islands (Starfish Island, Luli Island and Cowrie Island)
- Entrances on the islands included in the price
- Buffet lunch
- Life vest
- Guide, which besides communicating about the time we had on each island, was largely absent
- Besides the actual cost of the tour, you will also have to pay an environmental tax of 40 PHP / person
Because the term “island hopping” will be more and more used here on my blog in the future articles, I want to get you familiar with it, so as to avoid confusion like “what did the author mean …? “. Thus, island hopping means a recreational activity, from one island to the other, that is, a day or a few hours tour, where you get to explore islands at small distances from each other. In the meantime, you can enjoy the landscapes that nature puts at your disposal, socialize with your boat or island “colleagues”, or get involved in some fun water sports. At the end of the hopping day, you are brought back to land, and you will again be on your feet, after a day of adventure, amongst fish, corals, starfish and sea hedges, and other marine life.
In Honda Bay, float far more than the three islands we had access to, but it depends on the climate and the agency from which you buy the tour, which one you will visit. Some are private, and you can not reach them, but others are available, and you will have to inform yourself in advance if you want them on your itinerary. You also have the option to rent a private boat, especially if you have a large group of friends to share it with. The price will be somewhat higher, but you will have the choice of where to go and how long you stay there. In the case of the organised tour for which we opted, we had about an hour for each island, enough time to explore it and enjoy the attractions it has to offer. These are the three islands I visited in Honda Bay:
As its name implies, Starfish Island is the island where I had the chance to see so many sea stars per square meter. The living creatures are fixed close to the beach and waiting to be laid and filmed with your waterproof camera. The most common are the orange coloured ones, but with some luck, you will be able to see other species. To make sure you don’t miss them, you need to know that most do not stay in the snorkelling area, but close to it. Given that Starfish Island was the island where we had our lunch, I didn’t have much time to spend amongst sea stars and fishponds, but there are a few memories and photographs to share with you. Also, on Starfish Island, I made a set of super sympathetic pictures with the help of a local who had all the “props” already arranged. If you want, you can give him a little attention for his help. 🙂
The lunch was buffet style, and quite similar to that of the Subterranean River. Fish, rice, chicken, cucumber, and eggplant, all helped to make the appetising dishes below. Although I did not expect to feed ourselves from the first stop, the food gave me extra energy for the rest of the tour.
Luli Island has a super sympathetic name, but its origin is full of meaning. In the case of the high tide, the island is lost under the swampy waters, full of mangroves – the phenomenon is called Lulubog. On the other hand, during the low tide, it rises as a mysterious, reborn-Lilitaw. I liked Luli Island, and it seemed like a patch of earth surrounded by waters, which measures only a few centimetres deep, over a fairly large radius. Of the three islands, Luli Island is the best when it comes to water sports. You can swim, snorkel and dive, from a specially arranged platform in a small setting.
We have reached the last island, the most spectacular in terms of landscapes. Cowrie Island is set in a very picture-perfect style with many towering palm trees, white sand and many towering palms. Cowrie is perfect for the well-deserved relaxation at the end of the tour, especially as there is a bar, massage area and volleyball net, all designed to entertain tourists. We preferred to stay on the beach and enjoy the sunshine and the green-blue shades around, but many travellers wanted to rent a canoe or a jet ski to complement the adventures of the day.
- Rent the snorkel equipment 150 PHP = 3 USD. You will see many fish, corals and sea stars. Do not rent aqua shoes, are completely useless because the sand is pretty ok, and you will not find too many stones in the water.
- Be patient. It is quite crowded, and you have to wait a bit until there is a boat available for your group.
- Pay attention to jellyfish.
- You can negotiate the tour price. We bought the tour with 1100 PHP/person, as the initial price was 1400.
- Always ask the guide for the time you have to spend on each island. You may forget this detail, and have the surprise that you didn’t do everything you wanted in that place, not knowing how long you have to spend there.
- Memorize the number of your boat, and the faces of your colleagues, so as not to confuse and climb into another boat.
- Do not forget to bring sunscreen, water, money for urgency, bathing suit, some snacks, camera, and a lot of joy.
- Which of the three islands are you anxious to visit?
- What do you think about the services offered and the price for this tour?