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Cadlao Island

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Attractions Details

📌 Address

Caalan Masagana, El Nido, 5313 Palawan, Philippines

Opening Hours

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

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expert
Chen
Local tour guide
"Make sure to visit Cadlao Lagoon early in the morning to avoid the crowds and relish the tranquility of the emerald waters; it's a local secret that not only gives you the best lighting for photographs, but also a more serene experience. Additionally, check with the local fishermen for a personalized tour around Cadlao Island; they often offer more flexible itineraries and authentic insights than the standard tour packages."

What is Cadlao Island?

Cadlao Island is the largest island in the enchanting archipelago of El Nido, located in the province of Palawan, Philippines. It is renowned for its powdery white beaches, towering limestone cliffs, and its lush, green jungle interior. The island is an epitome of a tropical paradise, offering breathtaking views and a serene atmosphere that captivates the hearts of travelers who venture to this remote gem.

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With a multitude of hidden lagoons, secluded beaches, and diving spots, Cadlao Island is a treasure trove for nature lovers and adventure seekers. It’s an ideal escape for those looking to immerse themselves in pristine natural beauty, away from the bustling tourist spots. Dotted with various trails and enchanting spots, Cadlao Island beckons explorers to discover its many secrets, like the hidden Makaamo Lagoon, tucked away from the casual eye.

History of Cadlao Island

Cadlao Island, like much of El Nido, has a rich history dating back to the pre-colonial period, where initial settlers and various indigenous groups such as the Tagbanwas inhabited the area. Remnants of their presence can sometimes be found in the form of antique pottery and even burial sites within limestone caves. Its waters also carry tales of warships and maritime exchanges that trace back to World Wars and the Spanish Galleon Trade.


Although not overflowing with historical monuments, the island's history is predominantly tied to the culture and the way of life of its earliest inhabitants, which can still be felt today in the neighboring communities. With El Nido being a part of the Palawan Biosphere Reserve, Cadlao Island serves as a living testament to the conservation efforts preserving the region's abundant biodiversity and the traditional practices of its people. Notably, the island's name is derived from the Cuyonon term "kalaw," meaning "hornbill," attributed to the island's distinct silhouette and the presence of these birds.

Why is Cadlao Island Important?

Cadlao Island plays a significant role in El Nido's natural ecosystem and its tourism industry. Its ecological importance is highlighted by its status as a protected area. The island serves as a haven for various species of flora and fauna, many of which are endemic to Palawan. Its undisturbed nature contributes to the ecological balance of El Nido, providing critical habitats for wildlife, including the Palawan Hornbill after which it is named.

From a tourism perspective, Cadlao Island is a cornerstone of El Nido's appeal to visitors. It epitomizes the raw, unspoiled beauty of the Philippines' island landscapes, which attracts tourists from around the globe and drives local livelihoods. The conservation of Cadlao Island ensures the sustainability of the natural attractions that are central to the community’s way of life. This importance is not merely ecological but also economic, underscoring the island’s role in supporting the population.

Things to Do & See at Cadlao Island

Visitors to Cadlao Island are greeted with a plethora of activities that cater to all sorts of preferences, be it relaxation or adventure. One of the highlights is certainly exploring the shimmering, emerald waters of Makaamo Lagoon, where the adventurous can kayak in solitude. There's also the chance to snorkel in Helicopter Island, famously known for its vibrant marine life that's akin to swimming in a living aquarium.

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Beach enthusiasts will fall in love with the soft, white sands of Paradise Beach and Pasandigan Beach, perfect for sunbathing or enjoying a quiet picnic. Those who are keen on trekking can embark on a journey through the trails leading to the peak of Cadlao, offering a vantage view that will render you speechless with its panoramic display of El Nido's islands.

At the end of a long day of exploration, nothing beats witnessing the sunset from Ubugon Cove, as the sky's colors reflect off of the calm waters, creating a painting-like scenery that's nothing short of magical. It's easy to lose track of time while enveloped in the island's natural wonders, which is why I always recommend taking a moment to simply breathe and take it all in – trust me, these moments become memories that last a lifetime.

Frequently asked questions

What is Cadlao Island known for in El Nido?

Cadlao Island is known for its pristine beaches, clear turquoise waters, stunning limestone cliffs, and lush jungle. It's a popular spot for snorkeling, kayaking, and hiking, offering some of the best natural scenery in El Nido.

How can I get to Cadlao Island from the main town of El Nido?

To reach Cadlao Island from El Nido, you can rent a kayak for a more adventurous experience or join an island-hopping tour that includes Cadlao Island in its itinerary. Boat tours are commonly available from El Nido town proper.

Are there any accommodation options on Cadlao Island?

Cadlao Island is mostly uninhabited and does not have mainstream hotels or resorts, but there may be private, eco-friendly accommodations or camping options available for those looking for an overnight stay close to nature.

What activities can be done on Cadlao Island?

Visitors can enjoy snorkeling in the clear waters to see vibrant coral reefs, kayaking around the island, exploring hidden lagoons, hiking to viewpoints for panoramic views, or simply relaxing on the beautiful beaches.

What is the best time of year to visit Cadlao Island?

The best time to visit Cadlao Island is during the dry season from December to May when the weather is more stable, and the sea is calmer, making it ideal for water activities and exploring the island's natural beauty.

Attractions Details

📌 Address

Caalan Masagana, El Nido, 5313 Palawan, Philippines

Opening Hours

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

Find it on google maps