More detailed El Nido travel guide here: El Nido Budget Travel Guide
Helicopter Island, officially named Dilumacad Island, got its name because of the shape it takes when you see it from a distance. Once you get closer, it’s soft cream-colored sand and cerulean waters will lure you in and keep you entranced. It is a good place to relax, unwind, and enjoy the beautiful beachscape. It is often included in Tour C but the boatmen and guides may take you here on the other tours.
WHAT'S IN THIS GUIDE?
How to Get There
Nearest Airport: El Nido Airport, also known as Lio Airport (Palawan); Puerto Princesa International Airport (Palawan); Francisco B. Reyes Airport, also known as Busuanga Airport (Palawan)
- There are many flights to and from Puertro Princesa. From Manila, major airlines such as Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, and AirAsia have daily and regular flights. Buy your plane tickets months in advance to get the best and lowest possible price.
There are also direct flights to El Nido from Manila via Air SWIFT, but this will cost you more.
- Once in Puerto Princesa, you have the option to board the RoRo and Cherry Bus or one of the many vans that travel to El Nido. The bus option costs around P290-P480/way and the van’s fare costs around P550 to P600 per way.
- Once you arrive in El Nido, take a tricycle going downtown or directly to your hotel.
- From either the town proper or along Bacuit Bay, book El Nido’s Tour C.
Via van, head to Robinson’s Mall where the van terminal is located.
Via bus and RoRo bus, go to Junction 1 (P8), and then ride a multi-cab going to San Jose Terminal. You can also hire a tricycle for P80-100.
Entrance Fee and Other Charges
Helicopter Island is included in El Nido’s Tour C package. Check itinerary first before booking.
El Nido Island Hopping Tour C: P1400/person
Note: The local government standardizes the tour rates. Island hopping tour operation starts at 9am and ends at 4pm.
Eco-Tourism Development Fee: P200 (good for 10 days)
Tour C Private Boat Rental: P3000 – P6000 (depending on the size of the boat and group)
Others: P700 (kayak rental, whole day, within operation hours); P150 (snorkel gear rental)
- Helicopter Island is the perfect beach destination for those who just want to laze on the sand to get a tan and forget their worries.
- This is often the last or second to the last stop of an island hopping tour, giving visitors some time to take all their experiences in, wade in the waters, or sink their toes into the soft sand.
- Take plenty of photos of the beachscape from a distance to see the helicopter shape. The towering limestone, the azure waters, and the white shoreline create a beautiful background for your photos.
- You’ll need enough cash. Even if there are ATMs in town, there are often long lines and chances of those machines running out of money is relatively high.
- Food is included in island hopping tours, but you can bring your own snacks and drinks during your stay on Helicopter Island. Bring your trash with you.
- To save money, bring your own gear for snorkeling such as mask, snorkel tube, fins and others you may need.
- Waterproof your gadgets as you don’t want to damage your phone and/or camera and lose the photos and videos you took.
- Bring a power bank to keep your phone and camera charged for the trip.
- Follow the rules and regulations.
If You Have More Time and Budget
- El Nido has other joining tours (A, B, and D) and places you can visit by tricycle or on a motorbike.
- If you want to have a slow day of relaxing and unwinding, go to Nacpan Beach. You can also watch the sunset in Marimegmeg Beach or Las Cabanas.
- If you have more days to spare, you can plan for a trip to Coron and/or Puerto Princesa.
Where to Stay
Whether budget or high-end, you have plenty of choices in El Nido. Here are some of the top-rated accommodations according to Agoda users as of September 2017.
El Nido Resorts Miniloc Island
El Nido Resorts Lagen Island