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Wondering what to pack for an island hopping trip in the Philippines?

You’re in the right place – this island hopping packing list is for you!

I’m Mel, a British-Filipino travel blogger, and island hopping is one of the best things you can do in the Philippines: expect crystal clear waters, lush greenery, and gorgeous photos!

But to make the most of your trip, you need to be well-prepared – so in this post, from what to wear when island hopping to what photography gear you need for island hopping, I’ve rounded up my essentials for island hopping in the Philippines.

So, let’s dive into this comprehensive island hopping packing list!

Sipping coconuts in a beachfront nipa hut in 7 Commando Beach, El Nido, Palawan, during an island hopping tour in the Philippines

Sipping coconuts in a beachfront nipa hut in Seven Commando Beach, El Nido, Palawan, during an island hopping tour

Essential Things To Know Before Island Hopping in The Philippines

Yellow kayak in Secret Lagoon in Palawan during an island hopping boat tour in the Philippines

Mel paddling in a yellow kayak at Blue Lagoon, El Nido, during an island hopping tour in Palawan. Shot by the ever-talented @jordhammond!

What To Expect When Island Hopping In The Philippines

I’ve been lucky enough to experience the best of island hopping all over the stunning archipelago – from the shores of Zambales to surf paradise Siargao, to the untouched Gigantes Island, to the iconic island hopping around Palawan, Boracay, and Bohol.

Each island hopping experience in the Philippines is like stepping into a postcard: it’s pure beauty.

The drill’s pretty much the same every time when island hopping in the Philippines: you hop on a traditional bangka boat, moor up on a secluded beach, and have a seafood feast that you’ll remember for a lifetime.

But because I’ve had many a moment where I’ve been sailing around an island and thought ‘oops, I really should have brought that‘, this guide is to make sure you make the most out of your island hopping trip and don’t forget anything important at home!

Remember the Philippines is a tropical country, so it’s usually pretty humid (although it can get chilly during monsoon season). I’m assuming it will be hot weather during your island hopping trip. If it’s going to be rainy, just bring some extra layers!

Sunrise Hitting Ocean Spray against a Bangka Boat in The Philippines

Soft sunlight hitting the ocean spray as our bangka boat takes us on an island hopping tour in the Philippines

Where Has The Best Island Hopping in The Philippines?

When it comes to island hopping in the Philippines, you’d be hard-pressed to beat the sheer spectacle and awe that Palawan offers. I can tell you firsthand that the tropical paradise that is Palawan is a true treasure trove of pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and abundant marine life.

Island hopping tours around Palawan take you to enchanting lagoons and secret beaches, as well as unspoilt tranquil islands of Coron. In my opinion, this ridiculously incredible mix of adventure, relaxation, and natural beauty, makes Palawan the undisputed champion of island hopping in the Philippines for me!

Related: 5 Best Islands To Visit In The Philippines

Brunette girl walks in black bikini - Siargao Island Hopping In The Philippines: Essential Packing List

Strolling along the shoreline in Daku Island, Siargao during an island-hopping tour in the Philippines

What To Bring For Island Hopping In The Philippines

What To Wear Island Hopping?

Remember, comfort is key when you’re hopping from one island to another – especially in The Philippines. Lightweight, quick-dry clothing is ideal because you’ll get splashed, if not fully wet!

  • Swimsuit / Swim Trunks – so you can splash around in the ocean
  • Shorts – these will be easy to pull on and off but protect your bare skin from the bot bench
  • Long-sleeve linen shirt – to put over your swimwear, protect you from the sun and keep your warm if the breeze gets too chilly
  • Sliders / Flip-Flops – easy to slip on-and-off, waterproof and dry quickly
  • Reef shoes – to protect your feet from sharp corals and rocky shorelines.
  • Rash guard – to protect your skin from the sun or chilly temperatures if diving or snorkelling
  • Sandals – extra secure arch support if you’ll be exploring the islands on foot

If it’s monsoon season: Light rain jacket or poncho – The Philippines has a tropical climate, which means rain is always a possibility, even during the dry season. Rainy season that lasts from June to November. But since rain can spring up at any time of the year, a light rain jacket or ponchoย will come in handy for light showers that break out on your island hopping tour.

A bangka boat floating on crystal clear waters in Naked Island in Siargao

A bangka boat floating on crystal clear waters in Naked Island in Siargao

Essential Accessories to Pack for Island Hopping

Essential accessories to bring on an island hopping trip in the Philippines:

  • Sunscreen (high spf) – to protect your skin from harsh tropical UV rays while staying reef-friendly
  • Towel – to keep you dry and provide some cushioning from the boat bench
  • Sunglasses – make sure they’re good quality and have UV protection
  • Cap or Hat – protect your head from the sun
  • Waterproof Dry Bag – so your valuables stay dry and secure
  • Hair-Tie or Bandana – to tie up long hair
  • Water Bottle (reusable) – bring your own water along for the journey to prevent dehydration
  • Medication you might need – you’ll be out on the water all day
About to tuck into a seafood meal on Antonia Island in Islas de Gigantes, Philippines

About to tuck into a fresh seafood meal on Antonia Island in Islas de Gigantes, Philippines, during an island hopping boat tour

Elecetronics and Accessories to Pack for Island Hopping

  • Band-aids or plasters – in case you get a little scratch or cut
  • Power bank – in case you run out of mobile battery
  • Portable speaker – in case you want to sunbathe and play some tunes
  • Spectaclesย – in case your contact lenses fall out!
  • Spare contact lenses – it’s easy to get salt in your eyes when swimming or snorkelling!

Camera Gear & Photography For Island Hopping

What camera equipment should I bring island hopping in The Philippines?

You’re going to want to remember these moments, trust me. A waterproof camera lets you capture every snorkelling adventure and each picturesque sunset.

 

Snorkelling and Free-Diving Gear for Island Hopping

I’m assuming that snorkelling gear would be included in your island hopping tour in the Philippines, but if you fancy bringing your own snorkelling gear, or you have icky feelings about using a mask that someone else has drooled on, here are some travel-friendly snorkelling masks and equipment:

Island Hopping In The Philippines: Essential Packing List

With my new friend, a cute puppy on Daku Island in Siargao during an island hopping boat tour in the Philippines

So there you have it – my comprehensive list for what to pack for your island hopping adventure in the Philippines. I hope you found this island hopping packing list useful.

And although the above is a comprehensive guide – remember to pack smart, travel light, do what works for you, and have fun!

Where are you headed next in The Philippines?

Mel Legarda

Melissa Legarda is the founder of illumelation. She has worked as a travel blogger, creator and writer since 2015, and has collaborated with well-known brands worldwide. She has helped over 1,100+ students improve their travel photography skills since launching her creative courses. Her mission is to encourage and empower others to travel and create more. Find her on Instagram.