Matinloc Island is an absolute gem located just 20 minutes away from El Nido town, making it a must-see attraction in Bacuit Bay. Paired with Tapiutan Island, these two neighboring islands form the narrow Tapiutan Strait, home to some of the best snorkeling spots in the area.
Matinloc Island boasts several highlights, including the Matinloc Shrine, Hidden Beach, and Secret Beach. To reach Matinloc Shrine, you'll need to climb the steps of an abandoned building, where you'll be rewarded with a panoramic view of the stunning Tapiutan Strait. Additionally, there's a chapel dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary that you can visit.
The tiny Secret Beach, located on Matinloc Island, can only be accessed by swimming through a small slit in the rock face. It's said that Alex Garland, the author of the novel turned movie, "The Beach," lived in El Nido and was inspired by Secret Beach. Meanwhile, Hidden Beach is a small, paradisiacal cove nestled within limestone cliffs, making it invisible from the open sea. Its powdery white sand and crystal-clear waters make it a must-visit spot in El Nido.
Tapiutan Island is situated further out in Bacuit Bay and offers a serene atmosphere with pristine sandy beaches and excellent snorkeling opportunities. Talisay Beach is one of the highlights of Tapiutan Island, boasting calm and shallow waters that are great for snorkeling or relaxing on the warm sand. Meanwhile, Star Beach is named after the harmless starfish that populate its seabed, making it one of the best snorkeling spots in Bacuit Bay.
Lastly, Dilumacad Island, also known as "Helicopter Island," is another must-visit spot with its towering cliffs, lush tropical vegetation, white sand beach, and excellent snorkeling opportunities.