Island Hopping the Philippines

With over 7000 islands in its archipelago, the Philippines is the ideal country to head to when considering an island hopping holiday. Divided into four main groups - Luzon, Mindanao, Visayas and Palawan - each region offers a vast stretch of warm tropical ocean, with something for everyone, from adventurers looking to explore the reefs, rivers and volcanoes to relaxation seekers after a spa, beach and sun lounger.

There are a number of fantastic spa retreats to choose from including the much accoladed Farm at San Benito, Luzon island near Manila. This fantastic retreat is nestled in the midst of the surrounding jungle with beautifully laid out gardens and quiet spaces to escape to. The focus is on overall wellness but you’ll benefit most from the detox programme which includes both inner and outer treatments by the Farm’s expert team. Spend a few days here to get rid of stress and emotional clutter before heading off to the seaside resorts to get your fill of sunshine and adventure.

There are endless beaches - and seemingly endless islands… if you were to visit just one per day, it would take around 19 and a half years to get to them all. You would no doubt at that point have a fantastic suntan (or sunburn), and you would certainly have found the stunning resorts of Huma, Amanpulo and Ariara private island. Resort islands like Amanpulo and Huma can be found throughout the Philippines, but few have the classic style, finishing touches and superb services as offered by them. Amanpulo’s Cassitas and Villas are dotted around the 5km long island; there’s enough privacy to disappear into the lush tropical forests, yet lots of action at the resort guest areas. Retreat to your own private pool and living area when you want peace and quiet or head to the beaches for water sports, sailing, scuba and snorkelling. Huma Island offers the idyllic villa over the water feel where hours can be spent lounging on your deck simply staring off into the teal coloured waters. Dining is superb with a number of top class restaurants to choose from - the perfect way to end a day of spa treatments and beach activities. For ultra exclusive hideaways, Ariara Island has just the place. One of the last untouched frontiers of the Philippines, the island is offered as an exclusive use destination where your every need is catered to without any annoying interruptions from other travellers. Surrounded by the waters of a sanctuary for an enormous diversity of wildlife on land and in the sea, there’s much to discover and enjoy at Ariara.

Any island hopping holiday wouldn’t be complete without a waterproof camera to ensure you get all those perfect pictures in. There’s nothing worse than having to worry about whether your camera is going to fall in the water or get splashed when you’re out and about having fun. For the water babies, a good pair of aqua shoes will come in handy to ensure you’ll be able to explore the reefs, waterways, rivers and waterfalls along the way. Top highlights to include along your island hopping route are:

  • San Augustine Church Manila
  • Tabbataha Reef
  • Mayon Volcano
  • Puerto Princesca Underground River
  • Chocolate Hills
  • Donsol
  • Boracay
  • Banaue Rice Terraces

Getting to the Philippines is fairly easy with flights into Manila (the Capital) and connections from here by seaplane, private air charter or boat. The Nobu Manila offers superb accommodation with easy access to the sights of the city. It’s best to avoid the monsoon rains if heading the the islands to spend some time in the sun. Due to the vast area covered by the islands, there are two distinct monsoon rain seasons: Southwest monsoon from May to October & the Northeast monsoon from November to April. The wet season doesn’t always rain torrentially and days can be hot and sunny with short intense downpours - but safest to plan to be on the alternate side to the monsoon when travelling. The high season is from December to April when the southern islands are dryest and the low season from June to September.

For more information on the above destinations or to organise your perfect Island hopping adventure, call our travel experts at 020 7843 3531