You’ve been to Bali a billion times, had your time in Thailand and are in need of a relaxing tropical beach holiday! Philippines beaches are among the world’s best, and as well as being a slice of untouched paradise not too far from home, they offer great value for a splash of luxury. Here are some top spots to get the sand between your toes.
The Palawan region was named the best island in the world 2 years running by Travel + Leisure magazine. Boasting incredible limestone cliffs, surreal clear water and of course world-class underwater life, it's no wonder why. The best way to explore is by booking an Island hopping tour. They can be easily booked through your hotel or even on the beach with the locals! Most of the tours take you to the Big and Small lagoons and the best hidden beaches the surrounding islands have to offer. Most tours include snorkelling gear and a freshly caught seafood lunch!
Coron Island is home to some of the world’s best diving sites. Swim alongside turtles, sea horses, crustaceans, endless coral and countless varieties of fish. You can even dive Japanese shipwrecks. Coron isn’t just an underwater wonderland. One of the most popular sites to visit is Kayangan Lake. A short hike (300 steps return) will have you standing on a boardwalk hugging the edges of limestone cliffs that plunge into 43-metre deep fresh water. Clearer water is hard to imagine and after that hike you won’t be able to resist a refreshing dip.
With a choice of two airports and only a 50-minute flight from Manila, Boracay’s beaches are easily the most popular of the Philippines. It’s most famous is the aptly named White Beach, a 7 kilometre stretch of palm tree lined paradise, perfect for spending your days soaking in the sun. For those who want a bit more action in their beach holiday, Boracay is known for its huge water sport offering; including windsurfing, kite boarding, zorbing, scuba diving and parasailing, the list goes on. The action doesn’t stop when the sun goes down… after enjoying a cocktail watching the famous sunset, head out to one of the many beach clubs and dance the night away.
Panglao Island is home to yet another picture perfect stretch of white sand and clear water – Alona Beach. Located in the Central Visayas region, east of Cebu, the main island of Bohol is quite popular to visit. It is one of the only places left to see the Tarsier in the wild at the conservation area. Bohol is also home to the famous Chocolate Hills. The area is made up of some 1,500 grass covered hills. They get their name from when dry season hits and the grass turns brown, like chocolate.
Cebu beaches are some of the Philippines’ most popular. The tourist hub has a large range of hotels, perfect for a quick beach break. To escape the crowds, drive 2 and a half hours south-east of Cebu City and get yourself to Moalboal. The sleepy fishing village is a hub for professional divers. The sea life itself is worth the drive. Something unique to the area is the popular sardine run where you can swim amongst literally millions of sardines. Ocean aside, a short walk from the beach through jungle leads you to Kawasan Falls. Known for its intense turquoise water, the area boasts seven waterfalls, natural swimming holes and plenty of photo opportunities.
Caramoan boasts a 4,000 hectare limestone forest with a diverse range of flora and fauna, white sandy beaches, tranquil lakes, caves and rich marine life. Completely free of tourists, it’s no wonder why this untouched natural beauty was chosen for a season of Survivor. Just like the show, there are countless activities to enjoy here from kayaking to rock climbing to simply floating in a lagoon. There is something for everyone to enjoy here ¬– without getting voted out of the tribe!
One of the most northern islands of the country, Palaui Island possesses a rugged coastline, sweeping views and lush green mountains. It was declared a national marine reserve in 1994. The waters around the island contain 120 acres of undisturbed coral gardens. Like, Caramoan, its raw beauty was also utilised to film episodes of the hit reality series Survivor.
This tiny island off the coast of Dumaguete is famous for it’s sea turtle population. Swimming with turtles is a travel experience high on most people’s list and at Apo Island a sighting is almost guaranteed. It’s not only about the turtles though, visitors flock to the community organised marine sanctuary for its abundance of coral and schools of tropical fish.
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