Darocotan Island – A Hidden Gem North East of El Nido

Darocotan Island – A Hidden Gem North East of El Nido

Another year, another island paradise, imma right? 

In this post, I’m going to tell you about my favorite beach/island so far. Located in North East of El Nido called the Darothan Island. We found out about this place by accident while browsing our itinerary backpacking in El Nido. Beautiful calm beach, endless coconut tress, white sand and beautiful corals, shipwreck, you name it, Darocothan island has them all. 

Well, without further ado, let’s begin…

 

The beauty of Darocothan Island

In the beginning of new year, Rebecca (Hi Rebecca! :)) and I went to Darochotan Island to escape the windy winter in Taiwan and enjoy some sun (maybe a little bit too much and we got burnt). We set our journey aka backpacking trip during the best time, which was during the Corona virus outbreak (sarcasm inserted here). Airport was the last place you want to go during an outbreak, but we had no choice because we booked the ticket already. 

“Hmm there is no virus case in Philippine yet, so we’ll be safe” we thought and well, we jinxed it. One day before our departure the first Corona virus was found in Cebu, Philippines. We freaked out of course. So, we went to the airport all prepared with mask and hand sanitizer. We kept ourself updated with the virus case. Rebecca was all eyes for any news update, well I, the other side, kept myself l far away from the news and ate more food to make myself less stressful about the virus. Yes because in my Indonesian theory, when you have appetite for food means that you’re healthy. 

Start off with "Chinese New Year means busy airport, why didn't we check in online??!"

That’s right! It was during the Chinese New Year aka busiest airport time here and we forgot to check in online, so we had to wait in queue for 1,5 hours to get our boarding pass even though we had no check-in baggage (lesson learnt). What was worse? We were hungry as heck because we didn’t eat dinner properly because we procrastinated packing our backpacks, typical.

How To Get There?

Darocothan island is located in Palawan Island. The route that we took was a flight to Puerto Princessa and 5 hours van ride to El Nido. From Downtown El Nido, the driver from our homestay called “Backpacker island” in Darocotan Island picked us up at the bus terminal. 

Unfortunately, we had to wait for a quiet long time for the driver to pick us up because he left us. The driver forgot that there are four guests instead of two guests (we waited for a while, but the owner gave us free dinner as a compensation. Well, couldn’t complain anymore haha).

The drive from down town El Nido to the nearest beach, Teneguiban beach, to the island is approximately 45 minutes then continued by a boat ride to the island. The tide was quite low, so we had to walk quite a while from the shore to the boat. It was interesting experience.

Darocathan island seen from Teneguiban beach

The boat crews were so nice and carried our backpacks to the boat for us. This reminded me of how nice people from Philippines are. 

The boat ride was so smooth because there was no big wave between the mainland and Daracothan island. As we approach the shore of Daracothan island, we could see the blue and crystal clear water from the boat. The water was so calm with the perfect temperature as well. Ah paradise was found~

The view on the island before the sunset

Where Do We Stay in Darocothan Island?

Daracothan island is such a hidden gem that not so many tourists in Philippine know its existence. We were so thankful that we found this island. Why? Not only this island is so quiet, clean, and peaceful, but also the accommodation that we found was affordable. 

We stayed at Backpacker Island El Nido, a locally owned accommodation. We were so surprised with the hospitality and the price. Compared to the accommodation in the big island, the price of this simple hut in front of the ocean was way better in my opinion

There are two options, one is staying in the hut or in a tend, and we opted for the hut, because the hut was such a unique experience (the hut also got a little swing and gate, which was kinda cute). 

Since we were staying in island which rely on solar panels, it was common to run out of electricity. Usually they would turned on the electricity only during the night time. So we could only charge our phone and powerbank during the night time (but who would miss the sun to charge our phones?!)

The view of the huts and the tend

The room in the hut was quiet simple with a bed, a fan, and a mosquito net. Talking about the mosquito nets, we had a funny story. We got awaken by a flying roach in the middle of the night. It was pitch black because the electricity was out, but we could it feel it crawled on our feet. We got panicked and trapped it inside the mosquito net and slept without the net (it was risky but we both freaked out and too afraid to deal with the roach haha). Worst thing? In the morning the roach was gone from inside the net. But thankfully, it didn’t return to our hut, or worst, brought his friends for a revenge haha).

Backpacker island is a small homestay in Darocothan island which offer a beautiful location right in front of the beach with an affordable price around 1400 Php/per night. They offered a great food and activities that we could do while in the island, which I will cover on the next section. 

Sunset from the island overlooking the main island

Hidden Gem Explained...

The view of in front of the huts

One of the best parts of this island was the snorkeling area, because it was located right in front of our hut. There was a small shipwreck which offered a bunch of beautiful corals and fish (If you look the picture above closely, you can see the top part of the shipwreck which was visible during the low tide in the morning). 

We rented snorkels gears from the homestay for 50 Php/person. We had to walk/swim to the shipwreck and the visibility was so clear. We could swim inside the middle part of the ship which had a lot colorful corals and some Nemos as well. It was amazing and easily became one of the highlight for our trip in the Philippines.

Another fun activity was kayaking. The weather was so nice so we rented a kayak for 200 Php/ hours. We kayaked for a while until our skin turned so red and we got burnt. The water was so calm and clear that we could see some healthy corals and from the kayak. After that, we also rented a bamboo floaty for only 50 Php/person to chill and got some more sun in the middle of the ocean.

The view from our kayak

The other things that you can’t miss if you visiting this island is the sunrise and the sunset. We set our alarm to 5.30 am to watch the sunrise on the east side of the island. The sunrise was amazing and peaceful. On the way back, some guests told us about the starfish on the other beach, so we had to check it out too. 

Hopefully this blogpost can help and  inspire you to visit Daracothan Island if you visit Palawan. If you have any further questions, just drop me your question down below on the comment section, I’d be happy to answer 🙂

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