Paddling Palawan

The Paddling Palawan trips are the best possible way to explore the world’s most beautiful islands. 

All Paddling Palawan trips are accompanied by a safety boat (actually a traditional outrigger ‘bangka’ fishing boat), Tim Altman plus an additional experienced local guide. You can choose to paddle, or catch a ride on the bangka whenever you like. The bangka also carries cold drinks and the bangka’s crew prepares delicious picnic lunches. The guides not only ensure safety, but help you learn as you go. 

If you choose not to paddle on a particular day there are plenty of fantastic alternative activities - from mountain biking to exploring local villages, or just lazing by a pool in your resort. The use of a mountain bike for a day tour (should you choose to take this option) is included in the price.

Your day might start with a quick dip in the resort pool, then a delicious breakfast of tropical fruit. Tim will meet you and take you to the bangka which will then ferry you out to an island that has been chosen as the starting point for the day's paddling. If you're interested Tim might show you some stretching exercises - or even run a gentle yoga session. You might already be ready for a snorkel over a spectacular coral reef, or you might want to explore hidden lagoons and beaches from your canoe. Then you might island hop across crystal water to a private beach where the bangka crew has prepared a simple, but delicious, lunch - perhaps some fresh barbecued fish the crew has caught, rice, a vegetable curry, and some fruit. After lunch there's more time for exploring, or you might choose to head back to your resort to have a massage and to read a book....

The base for our Paddling Palawan trips is a small town, El Nido, which is connected by regular flights to Manila. In and around the town there are a number of exceptional places to stay at a variety of prices. We have selected a superb luxury resort group at the top end, a beautiful mid-range resort and, right in town, a clean budget guesthouse. You can choose the accommodation (and price) that suits you best. All three have unique advantages - talk to us and we’ll make sure you make the choice that is right for you.

At the top end, there are two of the world famous El Nido Resorts on small islands: Lagen Island and or Miniloc Island. It is possible to stay at one or other, or both. Both resorts have over-water villas, and both are extremely luxurious. The bangka boat will pick you up in the morning - to take you adventuring.

Alternatively, the highly-rated, luxury Cadlao Resort is just beyond El Nido’s port. The resort has swimming pools, a restaurant and very comfortable, modern, stylish villas. The bangka is based in El Nido so you can easily hook up with the rest of the group in the morning. 

For those on a budget, El Gordo’s Guesthouse has four basic rooms (including dorm style) close to town and with a view over the bay. Gordo is our local guide and gear supplier.

Paddling Palawan


  • 7 to 14 Jan 2018
  • 8 to 15 April 2018
DAY-BY-DAY ITINERARY (subject to change)
Day 1: 

Arrive at your accommodation via a flight from Manila to El Nido and a boat transfer from El Nido Airport. Relax and enjoy the sunset over a drink as you settle in and prepare for our Palawan adventure.

Meals: (Dinner tbc)

Overnight: El Nido Miniloc Resort, Cadlao Resort, or El Gordo's Guesthouse

Day 2: 

An introduction to the week ahead, a safety briefing along with some helpful technique instruction, before we hit the water and begin exploring the picturesque and aptly named Big, Small and Hidden lagoons.  Spectacular scenery, wonderfully hidden natural swimming holes and caves are awaiting our exploration before lunch on Shimizu Island. Snorkelling and swimming at Tres Marinas and Entalula Island will cap off a perfect first day.

Paddling: 3-4 hours at leisurely pace

Meals: Breakfast & Lunch (Dinner tbc)

Overnight: El Nido Miniloc Resort, Cadlao Resort, or El Gordo's Guesthouse

Day 3:

Well fuelled by a sumptuous breakfast, we head off to Matinloc Island, which snakes some 8km along the western edge of the Bacuit Archipelago.

Along with neighbouring Tapiutan Island, it forms the narrow Tapiutan Strait, the walls of which offer some of the best snorkeling in the entire archipelago.

Paddling: 3.5 hours at leisurely pace

Meals: Breakfast & Lunch (Dinner tbc)

Overnight: El Nido Miniloc Resort, Cadlao Resort, or El Gordo's Guesthouse

Day 4: 

Today we all join our bangka boat for the shuttle to either El Nido or Cadlao Island where some fabulous hiking options await. From waterfalls to a forest hike or and inland lagoon, none are too long or strenuous, and we are sure to be rewarded with spectacular scenery, secluded beaches and great swimming and snorkeling opportunities!

Paddling: Rest Day

Meals: Breakfast & Lunch (Dinner tbc)

Overnight: El Nido Miniloc Resort, Cadlao Resort, or El Gordo's Guesthouse

Day 5: 

This morning a leisurely paddle (or cruise in the bangka boat) sees us heading to the northwest shore of Lagen Island and onto Pinasil Island where we can explore inside the magnificent Cathedral Cave and Cudognon caves. After lunch we can visit the remote village of Vegan - a small typical Filipino village, where locals still hunt, fish, and forage like they have for 100’s of years.

Paddling: 3 to 5 hours at leisurely pace

Meals: Breakfast & Lunch (Dinner tbc)

Overnight: El Nido Lagen Resort, Cadlao Resort, or El Gordo's Guesthouse

Day 6: 

We explore the north end of Lagen island this morning as well as nearby Malapacao island and Pinabuyutan island providing spectacular, yet contrasting scenery of very steep cliffs and beautiful sandy beaches. After our lunch stop, there is an optional 45 minute paddle or bangka shuttle to the mouth of a mangrove river, where a lovely, peaceful paddle up the river awaits or a leisurely cruise by bangka for those who wish to relax.

Paddling: 3 to 5 hours at leisurely pace

Meals: Breakfast & Lunch (Dinner tbc)

Overnight: El Nido Lagen Resort, Cadlao Resort, or El Gordo's Guesthouse

Day 7: 

Our last full day of exploring sees us paddle to Cadlao Island to explore the beaches of the south shore and Cadlao lagoon, We can enjoy a beachside picnic lunch in the lagoon, before a paddle over to Helicopter Island beach for some great snorkeling. The option is then yours to paddle back or enjoy a leisurely bangka shuttle back to your accommodation. 

Paddling: 2-3 hours at leisurely pace

Meals: Breakfast & Lunch (Dinner tbc)

Overnight: El Nido Lagen Resort, Cadlao Resort, or El Gordo's Guesthouse

Day 8: 

We depart paradise known as Lagen Island Resort and bid farewell to Palawan this morning after breakfast.  Our boat shuttle will take us back to El Nido before our onward flight home via Manila.

Meals: Breakfast


The average day begins from 6:30 am – 9:00 am with a buffet breakfast the resorts. Tim Altman will be available daily on the beach from 7:00 am – 8:00 am for a morning yoga/meditation session. There is still plenty of time after yoga to enjoy a relaxed breakfast before the day gets under way.

We aim for a mid-morning start to avoid the wind and heat of the day as much as possible. Normally we stop for a snack / morning tea at a beach along the way or simply pull alongside our support bangka boat.

You will always need to carry sunscreen, polarized sunglasses with a strap so that if you fall out of the canoe you do not lose your glasses! We also suggest wearing a long-sleeved quick-drying rashie / t-shirt to protect against the sun, and also to keep you dry. A hat is another invaluable item. A hat with a brim and a strap to prevent it blowing off in the wind is a great idea.

Our lunch destination is usually a deserted beach somewhere, and our support crew and local guide assist with the set up and preparation of this. We generally sit down to lunch and maybe a cold beer around 12:30 pm – 1:00 pm depending on how everyone is feeling, and what our destination is.

After lunch we paddle for a couple of hours. Normally we return to our resort around mid-afternoon, which leaves time for relaxing, or exploring. 

Night falls early (around 7.00 pm) and it can be a little cooler – a light jacket or long sleeved t-shirt is useful. Nightlife is not a feature of the islands! The resorts do have televisions and a selection of movies available for rent if you wish.

Due to the nature of the places we visit and stay, the amount of local interaction is limited to the guides and support staff we have with us, and the wonderful staff who work in the resorts.

We are often in remote locations and local schools and communities are not accessible. If you wish to give to the local community, speak with our expert local guide who will be able to give you some suggestions how best do this in a socially responsible way.

Please also note that it is not compulsory to paddle! You may do as much or as little as you like.  If you decide not to partake in the day’s activities that we have planned, you may stay at the resort and enjoy the activities on offer or indulge in spa treatments, or some of the activities that are happening each day at the resort.

The itinerary is a guide only and is subject to change. Weather conditions may require itinerary modifications or substitutions to ensure safety and to make it possible to get the most of out of your time in Palawan.


8 days / 7 nights 

  • budget from AUD$4000 per person twin share *
  • luxury from AUD$4750 per person twin share *
  • top-end luxury from AUD$6750 pp twin share *

The Paddling Palawan trips include:

  • expert guidance and training from Tim Altman
  • local guide
  • accommodation
  • all breakfasts and lunches
    • Some packages at the El Nido and Cadlao Resorts include dinner. El Gordo's Guesthouse does not include dinner. Around The Sun will advise.
  • all equipment (including kayaks, paddles, life jackets, snorkelling gear and mountain bikes)
  • safety boat
  • return flights between Manila and El Nido
The Paddling Palawan trips do not include:
  • flights to/from Manila
  • accommodation in Manila
    • Around The Sun can arrange bookings in Manila on your behalf
  • dinners, unless otherwise advised by Around The Sun
  • tips and gratuities
  • alcoholic drinks



Palawan Island is a large, relatively undeveloped island that is sometimes described as a kris (dagger) pointing towards Malaysia. The South China Sea lies on its western side, the Sulu Sea, on its east. The most well-known region is the island's north and the Bacuit Archipelago, which can be reached from the small town of El Nido. The islands of the Bacuit Archipelago have been described by many as the most beautiful on the planet, with sheer limestone cliffs, and beautiful beaches.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

If you have any questions please contact us. We have an enormous amount of experience – and we have expert operators on the ground in all our destinations.

If our small group guided tours don’t meet your needs we’re set up so that we can create private tours – using our published itineraries – or custom tours that are both private and customised to meet your wishes.

See Create Your Own Journey.

Paddling Palawan

The Paddling Palawan trips are the best possible way to explore the world's most beautiful islands. Explore remote beaches, snorkel in hidden lagoons, island-hop across crystal clear waters... All the trips are accompanied by Tim Altman, a champion paddler and naturopath, a local guide, and a safety boat (actually a traditional fishing boat). You can choose to paddle, or catch a ride on the boat, whenever you like.

Luxury:budget / luxury / top-end
Type of Tour:Expert Leader / Special Interest Tours
Experience: Ocean Paddling & Kayaking
Challenge: Medium
Cost: from AUD$3790

Philippines Trips