Snorkelling in El Nido

When I was a little kid, I remember begging my parents to let me do swimming lessons. For whatever reason – they were hesitant at the time – but through near constant nagging I eventually got my wish. I started swim school when I turned 7 and felt immediately at home in the water. I wasn’t a natural born swimmer and lacked a lot of actual skill, but I loved being in the water then, and I still love it now.

One of the most appealing parts of the El Nido region is the incredible coral reefs and huge abundance of incredible fish and ocean wildlife. Needless to say, I could hardly wait to don a snorkel and explore this underwater wonderland.

After grabbing a snorkel, mask and fins I was just about ready to meet some Filipino fishies. I was encouraged by the staff at El Nido Resorts to wear a life jacket, but I instead insisted on wearing a weight belt. While I may not be the most graceful or speedy of swimmers – I am strong, I have good endurance and I am confident in the water. Also, I have a tendency to float! This is good for my swimming ability, but means that when I am snorkelling I find it difficult to duck dive and stay below the surface for extended periods of time. This is where the weight belt comes in – extra weight around my waist helps me stay down where I can explore the anemones up close and personal.

After halfheartedly applying sunscreen, it was finally time to dive below the surface!


The first creatures I met were the enormous jackfish that Miniloc is famous for. These huge fishes can grow up to 1.5m long and can move incredibly quickly through the water! They are generally harmless to humans but have incredibly sharp teeth. Make sure you aren’t holding onto any food when you enter the water – they will smell it, and they will go for it, regardless of whether your extremities are in the way.


The sheer quantity of life in this body of water is pretty damn impressive, especially when you consider that all these fish are hanging out within 50m of the beachfront!


Aside from fish and coral, the other wildlife that is abundant in these waters are jellyfish! I was initially a bit nervous about these jellyfish – I was in the water in nothing but a little bikini after all! But as it turns out, they really aren’t anything to be overly concerned by. I got stung by the moon jellyfish several times and the stings really weren’t bad. I was aware that I had been stung, but didn’t experience any pain, just an awareness and an extremely subtle light burning sensation. Getting stung wasn’t enough to make me want to get out of the water so it really can’t be that bad!



That being said, I was only stung by the moon jellyfish. There is numerous breeds of jellyfish in these waters and some have a stronger sting than others. Keep your eyes on the lookout for anything resembling a yellowy-orange and translucent long string, apparently these suckers can cause a bit more discomfort! Jellyfish do not move overly quickly, so as long as you are aware of your surroundings they are fairly easy to avoid.


Every time I saw a new breed of fish I got extremely excited. Check out this little rainbow fish!


Another thing that is easy to find amongst the coral – starfish! There are heaps of different varieties of starfish – but these big blue bad boys seemed to be the most common in the Miniloc Reef.



My little point and click camera does a pretty decent job underwater, but I am becoming more and more desperate for underwater housing for my Olympus DSLR. I want to be able to capture these underwater worlds more effectively. For example, this little electric blue fella was the most incredible colour in real life, but I feel like he isn’t done justice in this picture.


Watch this space – I had planned to invest in a telefoto lens next, but I think underwater housing will have to take priority! Now I just have to save up the cashola.


Possibly my favourite part about this stunning coral reef would have to be the few anemones housing clownfish – or little ‘Nemos’ as I like to call them.




This bigger clownfish was rather assertive! He/she was obviously protecting the smaller baby clownfish, and each time I duck dived down it would swim out of its anemone to try and ward me off! Clownfish are apparently super protective parents. Finding Nemo just keeps getting more and more accurate!



Swimming around and exploring the fish and the coral was a pretty incredible way to spend a morning in Miniloc. The water is perfectly warm, somehow I didn’t get sunburnt (a veritable miracle) and not even a few stingy jellyfish could put a damper on things. Snorkelling in El Nido was amazing, now I just have to work out how soon until I can return!



T H E   L O W D O W N
Getting There: From Manila, book a direct flight with Air Swift
El Nido Resorts: I’d like to say an enormous thank you to the wonderful team at El Nido Resorts for not only making this stay possible, but also for making it so wonderful
Miniloc: To explore more of this gorgeous resort and to book, visit the El Nido Resorts website here
Snorkelling in Miniloc: All snorkel gear is free for resort guests
Camera: Nikon Coolpix S31
Threads: I am wearing a gorgeous bikini by Aussie label Tigerlily
Remember: To keep your eyes peeled for jellyfish!

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30-something year old Australian backpacker writing her way around the world.

93 thoughts on “Snorkelling in El Nido

  1. Thanks for sharing your adventure! I’ve done quite a bit of snorkelling and diving in the RasternandSouthern Caribbean and none of my experiences have been as clear a the water that you snorkeled in. Also your photos are lovely.

      1. Very often it is not nearly as clear as the waters that you’ve pictured. It is very blue in most islands nonetheless.

  2. Fun shots. You actually have two different kinds of clown fish there, the bigger one is a more aggressive and territorial species.

    1. Huh! I had no idea – thanks for telling me! I should do some more research on the waters I snorkel in in advance so that I can keep my eyes peeled for all the different species 🙂

  3. That camera does pretty well, though I can see the draw of wanting a good housing for your Olympus. The blue starfish and the Clown fish are my faves…Cheers!

    1. For a little point and click I paid $80 for I certainly can’t complain! Underwater housing would definitely make my pictures better though 🙂

  4. Love, love, LOVE the photos! The blue starfish are especially adorable! Oh and the rainbow fish you mentioned is called a parrot fish I believe. Thanks for sharing! Snorkeling is the best! So! many! exclamation! points! in! this! comment! (!!!)

    1. Hahaha I love getting comments like this! I am so glad you enjoyed my post 🙂 and thank you for telling me about the rainbow/parrot fish! I am useless at identifying species!

      1. Haha, great! I’ll keep commenting on your posts then. Your blog is great. I might perhaps be your #1 fan; I really look forward to reading whatever you write! Plus your photographs are stunning! Seriously, thanks for sharing your adventures with the Internet! 🙂

  5. EB… Love reading about your adventures … I daydream that I’m really there. Thank you – it’s a great release!
    BTW – I can still see the movie 😉

  6. Superb pics for a little point and click. Peaceful world down there, I done scuba diving with fish like that and it will stay with me forever. Unfortunately I don’t have any photos to remind meveryone, these pics brought it all back to me.

  7. I’ve been stung by a couple of different jellies before; the first was similar to the moons, and really seemed more itchy than painful. The other, well, it left red welts across my stomach and made me want to cry. It didn’t last too long though, and was definitely worth it for the ocean action!

    Wonderful photos; even though they may not be as vivid as what you saw in person, these are still really great! Thanks for sharing.

      1. It was the coast of Alabama. A storm several miles off shore had driven a huge amount of jellies inland. We were body boarding, and I got rolled in a wave. I was laughing about it as the water receded down the beach, until it left a jellyfish laying across my stomach- OUCH! It hurt pretty badly in that moment, but started to diminish pretty quickly. All in all, it was worth it for the good time.

      2. Isn’t that always the way – temporary discomfort is easy to deal with if it’s the result of an amazing experience!

  8. Such a great experience! Thanks for sharing. I recently heard about the Jellyfish Lake in Kakaban Island [Indonesia], where you can snorkel with stingless jellyfish. Have you heard of it? Seems like something you might like to do someday. =)

  9. I always love your selfies…to be honest, I think you take better selfies than most people…but this time…I’m afraid the clownfish tops the bill. 🙂

      1. Weeeee now I am jealous! I am thinking Croatia and Greece will be in my 2018 travel plans – which seems like aaages away, but I have so many places to go! It is going to take a lifetime to get to them all!

      2. Ah yes the same as us the list is never ending… We are on 58 countries after Croatia. How many do you have under your belt? We can revel in jealousy together!!!

  10. These pictures are so beautiful I wanna cry! I’m from the Philippines and I’ve also been to El Nido about two years ago. Seeing your posts seriously makes me wanna go back! You should also try going to Coron. My friends say it’s beautiful in there as well. Palawan is truly a magical place.

  11. I really like this line of yours, “I wasn’t a natural born swimmer and lacked a lot of actual skill, but I loved being in the water then, and I still love it now.” I kinda feel we’re on the same boat when it comes to water.

    This is a great travel blog. 🙂

  12. You own great adventures which drove me to pursue my travels. I wish I can travel the world just like you do, but for today I have to discover the land where I born. Then slowly traveling the world.

      1. Under the sea for one, love of the ocean, fish, and going with the flow. Perhaps, you have some other Pisces signature in your astrological birth chart.

      2. I must admit, I do not know much about astrology, but I have been told before that I am stubborn like a bull which I think is one of the prominent Taurean traits? Not one of the best ones I’m afraid!

  13. You may want underwater housing for your DSLR, but your Nikon did a pretty good job as is!!!! The photos are great! I enjoyed your post and photos as usual! Good to be back! Now…to play catchup!

  14. I love Palawan! I’m from Philippines but now residing in Dubai. I just miss the beach and the sand. I’m currently surrounded by skyscrapers on a huge desert. So you can just imagine how much I miss nature and it’s authenticity.

    1. Dubai must be a pretty amazing place to live though! I am actually contemplating moving my home base to Dubai in a year or so!

  15. You’re having WAY too much fun there! lol. I’ve lost count as to the number of times I visited Philippines over the ten years spent working based in Singapore. Lovely country, wonderful people.

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