Have you ever been dreaming of being on a world class beach and being the only tourist there? Well, on Cuyo Island in the Philippines, I was the only tourist there when I visited and the beaches were world class.
I came there by chance.
I was actually on a 2 day from Iloilo to Puerto Princesa with the ferry when I realized that the ferry was docking for a day on a small island called Cuyo. I had never heard of the island, but the ferry was docking there the entire day, so I had enough time to take a good look around Cuyo town when I was there and spend some time on the beach, before the ferry was leaving for Puerto Princesa in the evening.
Hidden island paradise with zero tourists.
The little harbor where we were docking with the ferry was very busy as the ferry was carrying a lot of goods for the island, that needed to be offloaded, but right next to the harbor was a little beach that was quiet. Just a few local sailing boats and some of the most perfect sand and clean water I have seen anywhere in the 73 countries I have visited so far. And I was the only foreigner there, sharing the beach with a few local youngsters.
And Cuyo town is pleasant too.
After the beach, I went up to Cuyo town where I walked around for around 3 hours and it was a very pleasant little town with an old spanish fortress and a couple of war memorials from the second world war, where Cuyo Island played a role in the fight against the japanese occupying forces.
Why do the tourists not come to Cuyo?
Well, the simple reason is that the place has limited transport to the rest of the world. There is the ferry that I came on, but that is an overnight ferry from either Iloilo or Palawan and then there is the occasional small flight from Kalibo. In the old days, that could still have brought some backpackers in, but these days backpackers are not very happy to stay away from the budget airline trail, where they can fly almost for free, so they do not see any of those. There is a little airstrip on the island and if one of the Philippine budget airlines decide to start a route there, then this is an obvious place for the young crowd.
But you should visit Cuyo, cause it is unique.
I meet so many people all around the world who tell me that they want to visit a place that is untouched by tourism, but in reality they almost all end up in some place that has a mention in Lonely Planet as a place to go and then they sit there with all the other foreigners, pretending that they are in a place with no tourists. El Nido, which is not that far from Cuyo is a perfect example of that. Hundreds of backpackers arriving there every day because “the place has no tourists”. These people should really visit places like Cuyo if they want a place with no tourists (and yes, backpackers are also tourists). But I am not sure if they really want it, cause a place like Cuyo has no full moon parties and no happy hour and no shops where you can buy colored baggy pants. But you do have a couple of small guest houses on Cuyo, so it’s possible to stay there for a few days or weeks if you like.
Getting to Cuyo Island.