I’m not proud of saying this, but as you’ve noticed, I haven’t been sharing so much content on my blog lately. At least for the last couple of months. I just didn’t feel creative, and the juices just weren’t coming. I was feeling a bit uninspired and unmotivated, so instead of forcing myself to write mediocre content for my readers, I thought I’d let time heal me first.
Of course I didn’t just sit there and watch the world go by. I surrounded myself with all things beautiful, and I tried to be around creative minds as much as life would allow me. It worked, and the inspiration definitely took over me like a shot of tequila. But somehow, I just couldn’t find myself to write something, to put things into words. Somehow, I found myself focusing on creating content for my Instagram instead. It sounds wonderful, sure, but it overwhelmed me. I went to beautiful places with the intent of capturing all of its beautiful corners, but it was hard to find the balance of working and just enjoying the moment. If you’ve ever been hung up on social media, you at least have an idea where I’m coming from. (READ: El Nido vs Coron: Which Paradise Is Better For You?)
I’ve been pulling my hair trying to think of a creative way to share my El Nido experience with you– but I’ve got nothing. Do I wanna write something funny? Inspirational? Or informative? I can do all. But how many guides about this island are already circulating the internet though. I can assure you there’s at least one in every language directing you what, where, and how to do El Nido right.
So finally, I thought, why don’t I share this with you the best way I know how. Instead of giving you details on places to eat and sleep, let me share with you how to kill it on Instagram on your El Nido photos. To be honest, you need not to try too hard because, duh, El Nido. But for those willing to be a bit extra like I am, here’s the ultimate guide for you. (READ: How To Up Your Beach Photography: Tips For Creative IG Worthy Tropical Shots)
First things first though; if you want the cutest photos, you’re definitely gonna need the cutest bikinis too. Secondly, be friendly. Either to other tourists, or better yet, make friends with the guides. I went with SeaLand Venture and the kuyas (big brothers) will help you make the best of your tour. I befriended them and not only did they take amazing pictures of me, but one of them also gave me free diving lessons too. They brought me to the less crowded corners and well, just let my photos prove it to you.
I will be making this a four-part series and on this one, we’ll be focusing on Tour A. That way, you also know what islands to expect on each tour, AND it might help you decide which tour to go for. I did skip Tour D though, because I wanted to go back to Nacpan Beach instead. But you’ll find out why on the last part of this series.
So before we continue, by now, I’m gonna assume you’re well aware that you’re gonna be needing a good waterproof case or camera to achieve the most fabulous shots. Some other factors you might want to consider are the colors of your outfit. Does it stand out in blue? Does it compliment the surrounding? I mean it’s just a little something to consider that might give a little extra boost to your picture. But you know what, even if don’t want to go that little extra mile, it’s still El Nido, so you’ll be alright.
7 Commando Beach
“It’s like…filtered.” My cousin says, as we approached the shore. Although this was my second time in El Nido and even with this tour, I was still captivated by the insane colors that seemed to just have vibed so perfectly together.
Kill it on Instagram by utilizing the beach itself. It’s a shame if you don’t use this clear blue water as your backdrop. This wouldn’t be the only goal-worthy beach though, so don’t be overwhelmed. You have limited time in each stops so try not to focus on just taking pictures. Otherwise, you’ll miss out. But that’s why I’m putting all my energy and knowledge on this post, so you’ll know how to utilize your timing well, my dear reader.
There are some huts on the beach that makes a good tropical photo as well. If you wanna capture the island vibe, this will be a good shot. Bonus points if you’ve got yourself a coconut in hand!
Don’t miss the opportunity to take photos of the coconut plantation at the back of the island. There’s a lot of them, scattered like a tropical labyrinth, and they make a perfect “running away” shot. I think these type of shots looks especially good if a.) you’re wearing a flowy/twirly dress or b.) a onesie bikini.
Shimizu Island is my favorite island of all. This island has a couple of small beaches and I’ve been to two on separate occasions, and they were both such magical memories. This is a popular spot for lunch, and since our tour guides knew better, they picked a less crowded beach for us. Some beaches of the island are covered by huge limestone formations, giving it the kind of isolation you only see in the movies, regardless of how many tour groups are in the island itself.
Depending on where your boat lands, they’re all definitely Instagram worthy. The beach itself is one, but because this is El Nido where drool worthy beaches are countless, a beach photo might get old, no? But how about a beach bordered by giant lime rocks?!
Or how about find your own little mermaid cove? If you stay here for lunch, they usually give you an hour so there’s no need to rush.
The signature El Nido photo is usually taken on a boat as you cruise along the lagoon. If you’re really determined to get the best shot, be assertive! Everyone in your tour group is gonna want to take a picture here, trust me. Time is of the essence here because even though the boat slows down for you, like I said, there’s gonna be a line.
So here’s what you do– since you’re buddies with your tour guides, every time you’re headed to a new island, ask them where you’re off to right away. As soon as they say Small Lagoon, be on the lookout. Sit at the edge of the boat already if you must, the bottom line is, you wanna be up front first. You’ll know as soon as you start approaching the lagoon– you’ll see the gradient of the water changing from deep blue to turquoise. Like, intensely, unbelievably turquoise. It’ll be surrounded by the quintessential El Nido limestones and yes, this is the famous El Nido spot. Possibly the most photographed too. You want the boat to be right on that gradient when you take your photos. BAM! Money shot. Now don’t be greedy. Let the others capture this memory too.
If you weren’t quick enough or for some reason you aren’t happy with the photos you took, don’t worry, the boat will be turning around so you’ll pass by the same spot. Depending on what time you go, you might even have better lighting by then and the color of the water will look even more amazing in pictures. Same thing as earlier, get in position!
On my first trip to El Nido three years ago, my camera broke. That means I had no decent photo from Small Lagoon. Back then, kayaks for rent were expensive so most people either just swim or walk to the Lagoon. This time around, kayaks are only 200php so we got one right away. We also went in the morning this time so the color of the water is incredibly enchanting.
Even if you can kayak yourself, this is where you’ll really need the assistance of your guide. Have him come along, and if you’re lucky like me, he’ll take you to quiet spots where you can achieve the dream shot. My guide from SeaLand Venture was amazing. He literally climbed sharp rocks for me. I’m not saying abuse your guide, I’m just saying, he’ll be able to help if you give good directions, and maybe slip a generous tip when the day ends. (READ: Where to Stay in El Nido: Sea Cocoon Hotel)
Secret Lagoon is beautiful, yet it’s not easy to photograph. It’s a small enclosed Lagoon, and depending on the amount of people and the time of day you go, the water can get pretty murky. I didn’t go this time, I ended up just staying on the boat. My cousin did though, and looking from the photos she took. It was pretty damn crowded already. Unfortunately, I don’t have any photo tips for Secret Lagoon. You’re going to need some mad photoshop skills to manipulate this one.
Tour A was definitely my favorite of all. It was the perfect balance of relaxation and tropical action. You’ve got the nice beaches to bum around, and you’ve also got the world class lagoons that takes a bit of work to explore. Just make sure you prioritize being in the moment instead of just focusing on selfies and whatnot. Some times I’d be overwhelmed, and some times I’d let myself just turn off Stories and sit back and enjoy my fresh coconut. After all, I was in paradise!
READ: Part 2 of my 4-part series — Your Guide To El Nido Tour B: Instagram Edition
Disclaimer: Thank you to SeaLand Venture for taking me around El Nido and providing me with the best tour guides! All thoughts, pictures, and opinions are my own. As always, I only recommend what I know would be good for my readers.
Hey, you! If you loved this post, why not connect with me on Instagram too? I’m all about spreading travel inspiration one photo at a time so, see ya there? I’m also on Facebook and Twitter— come say hi!