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The Philippines is an intriguing destination, much less on the tourist map compared to its popular neighbours of Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. The infrastructure is not as developed and island hopping a bit more of a challenge but that is part of the appeal of this picture perfect destination. This is untouched nature with breath-taking scenery, immaculate beaches – and with far less visitors you can enjoy it at its pristine, unadulterated best. Turquoise Holidays has unravelled the complexities of getting around the Philippines, sought out the most exquisite islands and sampled the best resorts to help you create the perfect, romantic escape.
‘With over 7000 islands there is such a variety of experiences, from remote islands with dramatic limestone scenery to small barefoot beach retreats with the whitest most powdery soft sand and crystal clear waters we’ve seen in South-East Asia.’ Rachel Gleave, Asia Product Manager
Visit one or two islands for a variety of experience and scenery. For nature and adventure lovers Bohol is a beautiful natural island, covered with jungle clad mountains, rice paddies and scattered with charming local villages. At its heart are the famous Chocolate Hills, a unique collection of hills so called as in the dry season they turn brown and resemble Hershey’s Kisses! Enjoy a day tour to see the smallest primates in the world – Tarsiers, cute little creatures about the size of a squirrel with huge eyes, cruise down the river observing local life along its banks, see how rice is grown and walk amongst the chocolate hills. Stay in nearby Panglao, linked by a short bridge from Bohol and home to some charming resorts.
Boracay is one of the best known and most popular islands of the Philippines due to its four kilometre white sand beach which is lined with hotels, restaurants and bars. The sand is so powder soft it squeaks between your toes and is pure white, the sea turquoise and great for snorkelling and diving. Whilst it is a busy little island it also has a unique charm and is not tacky or spoilt – it is fun and vibrant and perfect for those looking to include a bit of nightlife in their holiday.
Stunning Palawan is a collection of islands in the west of the Philippines including the island of Coron and El Nido, both famous for their impressive limestone karst scenery, azure lagoons and amazing snorkelling and diving. Stay in one of the resorts tucked away within the bays and coves of this dramatic landscape – this is the part of your holiday where you’ll feel castaway in a remote hideaway retreat.
Getting between the islands does often involve a journey via Manilla or Cebu but it’s worth it. You can also include an exciting city stopover in Hong Kong, Singapore or Kuala Lumpur on the way there or on the way home to break up and long journey.
It’s hard to pick the best beach as pretty much the whole of The Philippines is littered with long stretches of powder soft white sand beach. You really can’t go wrong and if a perfect beach is top of your holiday or honeymoon wish list then The Philippines is perfect for you. Boracay is a favourite as the beach is simply beautiful and there is a lively nightlife scene for those who like a touch of atmosphere with their cast away retreat. However the beaches of El Nido in Palawan do get our vote for scenery as the beaches tend to be small hidden coves surrounded by dramatic limestone scenery. On Panglao, near Bohol, the beach in front of South Palms Resort really does take some beating, the resort offers simple Filipino hospitality but the beach will take your breath away.
Shangri-La Boracay really does tick the boxes for those seeking a beautiful luxurious resort, a perfect beach, access to local restaurants and plenty of facilities. It is one of the larger resorts in the Philippines but has a unique charm and really impressed us. El Nido is a region within Palawan with a number of resorts, our top pics are El Nido Lagen for four star hospitality and plenty of activities in this spectacular region. For the ultimate retreat El Nido Pangulasian Island really is a stunner, located on a long stretch of white sand beach, surrounded by the impressive scenery of Bacuit Bay with stylish villas built in harmony with the natural surroundings it really does take some beating. For those with the budget then Amanpulo is worth every penny – trust us – it’s gorgeous!
Azura Quilalea - Mozambique
Barefoot luxury meets wild natural beauty on this private island off the coast of northern Mozambique. For lovers of marine life, snorkelling and scuba diving, Azura Quilalea will be your paradise. This is a place to relax in a hammock beneath a giant baobab tree and forget about the worries of the world...
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