Spending the day basking on some of the best beaches and islands in Honda Bay Island Hopping Tour in Puerto Princesa Palawan is an excellent choice. For me, Honda bay Tour is a budget-friendly tour that is perfect for those wanting to spend a day surrounded with sparkling clear waters, long stretches of white sand beaches, and rich marine life – if you’re staying in Puerto Princesa.
Sta Lourdes Wharf - Honda Bay Port
We booked with one of the tour agents in the Hotel where we stay. It was that easy. The next day, we had to wake up really early for a day tour. A shuttle van which the tour guide is Kuya Bonbon picked us up from our hotel around 7 am, continued to pick the rest of the group up, then we’re off to Sta Lourdes Wharf where boats going to the islands were docked.
The harbor was crazy, a little bit crowded with people being organized onto boats, and then the boats being called from out in the harbor to the wharf so the tourist could be shuffled onto their allocated boat.
Argh! And don’t even start me on the people hustling you while you wait… bottled water… sunglasses… drybags… etc. “Ate, bili na po kayo, bigyan ko kayo discount (Buy this now, I’ll give you discount)” And yeah, I admit, it is a small inconvenience when you’re about to go island hopping around Honda Bay. Especially when you bought something from them, then after a couple of minutes, you’ll be surprised that there are dozens of kids who will follow you around. So, beware! Look after your belongings.
Travel time from the town proper to the wharf could take 45 minutes. (I dozed off a few times in the motorboat). Honda Bay island hopping Tour first destination, Starfish Island.
Honda Bay Island Hopping Tour - The three islands
The name of “Honda Bay” was derived from the Spanish term “unda de agua,” which means deep water. The whole bay is rich not only in aquatic life but also in terrestrial ecosystems. Before the Honda bay island Hopping tour begins, be sure to have the appropriate gear and apparel ready:
- Swimming attire (for the enjoyment of swimming and snorkeling activities)
- Aqua shoes* (highly advisable as some beaches are rocky)
- Snorkel mask*
- Swim fins (optional)*
- Waterproof case for smartphone and other small valuables
- Eco-friendly and reef-safe sunscreen!
*Aqua shoes, snorkel masks, swim fins, and towels can be rented. Depending on where you stay, towels may also be borrowed from your hotel.
Starfish Island Palawan is a small snorkel spot of Puerto Princesa with less than 20 cottages as an accommodation for picnicking island-hoppers. Its main island made up of white sand and is surrounded by greenish waters. A few palm trees grow on the island with a mangrove forest grew on the eastern side of the island.
Palawan’s Cowrie Island, part of our Honda Bay Island Hopping trip, is named after the brightly-shelled mollusks which residents said thrive in the area. It is 12 kilometers away from Puerto Princesa City proper and it takes less than 30 minutes travel time by land to the Honda Bay Wharf, which is the jump-off station to get to the island and just about 10-20 minutes boat ride.
More tips to keep in mind when doing Honda Bay Island Hopping Tour
- All of the islands have designated swimming areas so be mindful of them.
- Be dressed for the occasion—wear proper swimming attire so you can enjoy the waters of Honda Bay. Don’t worry, there are changing rooms with toilets and a shower at the wharf.
- Help preserve the underwater landscape; be careful to not step on the corals when swimming or snorkeling.
- To avoid the big crowds, you can leave extremely early or late: if you leave early, you’ll get ahead of the crowds; and if you depart later than the others, you may find that the crowds have subsided in the afternoon. However, if you start your tour late, you may have a shorter time to enjoy each location.
- Bring extra cash (and put it in a waterproof case) for activities and extra snacks. Jetski, kayak, and banana boat fees are not included in the tour.
Remember: Puerto Princesa runs on cash. It is difficult to withdraw money in the city, but there are several money exchange shops if needed. When I arrived at the Puerto Princesa Airport I was hoping to withdraw cash, but the ATM did not accept any of my cards! I highly recommend arriving with enough cash on hand for most of your stay on the island of Palawan to avoid problems.
NOTE: Take a selfie with the sea stars as your backdrop but make sure not to take them away from their habitat.