Philippines // Palawan //

Touring the islands

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The most popular stop in Honda Bay is Snake Island (free), named after the curving sand bar that forms its main body. The central beach area here can be a bit of a carnival, with bangkas lined up offshore, large groups snorkelling, a row of trinket stalls, a bar and even some cooked food available. Walk a while and you’ll have the fine white sand to yourself, though the snorkelling opposite the stalls is best; there’s an incredibly steep drop-off just beyond the beach, with great schools of tropical fish (in part encouraged by the dubious practice of feeding them).

To snorkel at the lush Pambato Reef (P50), the best place in Honda Bay for coral and giant clams, boats moor at a floating pier. Starfish Island (P50) is a sand bar backed by mangroves named after the abundant horned sea star (starfish) that carpet much of the inner shallows around the island. The island also has some fine snorkelling towards the northern end, with delicate soft corals, butterfly fish and even moray eels further out. Pandan Island (P50) comes much closer to a stereotypical desert island, with palm trees and a white sand beach perfect for swimming – the snorkelling here is not so great. There are plenty of huts and shelters for picnics. The least visited islands are Luli Island (P50), only accessible at low tide, and tranquil Cowrie Island (P25). It’s also possible to visit Dos Palmas Resort for an extra P500; this will add an extra 20–30 minutes, but you can use the resort facilities (Princesa hotels charge P2500 for this trip).

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