Get set for a pulse-quickening, eyes-agog escape. Melissa Rimac plunges in to find the regions’ most extraordinary, most romantic, aquatic wonders.
Personifying an oriental watercolour, El Nido is a fairytale seascape: satin-smooth sea studded with hundreds of karst islands, each showcasing distinctive seascapes; sorbet-coloured coral gardens, bulbous coral outcrops resembling gargantuan mushrooms and cabbages, crenulated snorkel-through caves and tunnels.
The springy bamboo pontoons are lovely to lie on for a break.
In this hauntingly beautiful tropical fiordland, curtains of rock cascade into indigo depths lassoed by pulsing schools of neon-bright fish. You’re likely to see giant trevally swarming through schools of smaller fish or dense whirlwinds of tropical fish the moment you step off the jetty.
For castaway romance, get dropped off at your own private island–it makes for an unforgettable champagne breakfast or candlelit dinner. Simply point out a desired haven and an awaiting boat will whisk you there.
El Nido’s eco-chic resorts are embraced by a jungle ringing with hornbill and kingfisher calls. There’s no need to torment yourself with thoughts of restraint at the scrumptious Asian and fusion buffets. Instead, work it off by walking through the jungle to isolated beaches or kayaking to nearby islands or lake-like lagoons encased by painterly limestone bluffs.