El Nido Private Boat Tour: Speedboat vs Banca

Wondering which type of boat to charter for your Bacuit Bay tour? Find out what's best for your trip! (Opinions expressed by the author are her own).

Taking an El Nido private boat tour is no doubt the best way to witness the amazing nature of the region. I highly recommend this option to my clients who are not here to haggle or stress about group tours but to make the most of their once-in-a-lifetime holiday experience. Although there’s nothing wrong with going with the crowd especially if you travel alone or enjoy being with strangers onboard, it’s just sometimes, not worth all the hassle.

El Nido Private Boat Tour

The idea is to make the planning for your El Nido private boat tour less of a pain. And this is why I am here to help you choose the best boat tour based on your interests, budget, and specific needs.

Type of Boat

The El Nido private boat tour can either be on a speedboat or a traditional spider-like wooden boat called Banca. The outrigger or the indigenous boat is the most popular mode of sea transportation in Palawan or anywhere in the Philippines. The locals take this boat to move between the islands. This is also the most common way to take the typical “Tour ABCD” circuit.

Why Banca?

Simply because it’s more fun to take it slow. Why the rush? This is the main reason the locals are happier in this part of the world.

Back in the day, when El Nido was still untainted by mass tourism, Banca had always been the preferred way to tour around the islands. Travelers could still take it slow and just enjoy the wonders of nature. And if you want to have an immersive experience or get a feel of the local culture, Banca is the way to go.

Unfortunately, the time has changed and change is inevitable. The world population is increasing at an alarming rate and more and more people want to travel nowadays. This means more opportunities for massive profit (international flight companies and big-box travel agencies). As a result, there are now more travelers taking the Banca tours making the sights less appealing to others.

I still offer Banca tours especially for our off-the-beaten-track adventures that don’t require you to rush from one sight to another. And also for couples who cannot charter the whole speedboat. As always, it would all depend on my clients’ travel preferences and needs.

Why Speedboat?

Travelers who want to beat the crowd and enjoy the pristine state of El Nido come to me looking for a better option. As much as I want to offer the Bancas, I just don’t have much choice but to give the best possible way to see El Nido. After all, the needs of my clients come first. And of course, getting away from the crowd comes at a price. Speedboat charters are more expensive, but then, you get to appreciate El Nido’s nature and make the most of your vacation. The experience is absolutely priceless.

As another result of mass tourism, Bancas are getting more regulated these days. There are more restrictions as to where you can go or not. Since most people are taking Banca tours, it does make sense to control the tourists in order to protect our nature.

Anywhere you look, there will always be other people, other Bancas. And based on my clients’ experience, seeing all the queue and splashing around just ruin their whole El Nido holiday experience.

And so the solution is to take a speedboat tour.

Private Speedboat Tours

The best thing is that we are not limited to one speedboat. The goal is to offer a lot of choices based on your interests, needs, or budget. Our great connections enable us to give the best private tour experience to our exclusive clients.

For families, a group of friends and traveling business professionals, a full-day speedboat charter is what I always recommend. Travelers can leave earlier than the rest and the itinerary is customizable – the great thing about speedboat tours!

Semi-Private Speedboat Tours

I offer semi-private tours to couples or individual travelers who can’t charter the whole speedboat. You will share your trip with other people who share the same interests. Travelers who choose semi-private tours will still be able to enjoy some sights with less crowd as the speedboat can move between islands way faster than the Bancas.

Our expertly led small group tours give us the possibility of being more flexible and being able to personalize your trip more.

Activities

Whether taking a semi-private tour or a private speedboat, our boat trips are designed to make strategic stops to get away from the crowd and enjoy El Nido’s nature more.

The best Palawan tour operator can get you in where doors are otherwise closed. It takes time, a good network, and a great deal of research just to be able to offer unique experiences. And it’s not easy as it sounds. Most of my clients don’t know what it really takes to take them away from the crowd.

With El Nido’s mass tourism situation and politics, it’s almost impossible to give my clients what they really want. Most of the time, I do have to fight for it. Nevertheless, I am still here to do my best to make things possible and make my clients’ travel dreams come true.

Karen is the local expert and itinerary specialist of Palawan AlterNATIVE. When she’s not traveling, she likes to immerse herself in a good book or blog about her life. Parts geek, parts scuba diver. Her other obsessions include things-to-do lists, cycling, solitude, and cryptocurrency. She currently lives with her cat in El Nido.

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