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Exploring the Rich Marine Life of Darocotan Island, El Nido, Palawan, Philippines

Updated: Jul 9, 2023

Welcome to the mesmerizing world beneath the waves surrounding Darocotan Island, located in the breathtaking El Nido archipelago of Palawan, Philippines. In this article, we will delve into the marine wonders of this paradise, showcasing its thriving ecosystems, diverse species, and the conservation challenges they face.

Geographic Overview of Darocotan Island:

Let's begin our journey with a geographical overview of Darocotan Island. This stunning island is nestled within the pristine waters of El Nido, Palawan, and boasts a remarkable diversity of marine life. Its location, size, topography, climate, and water conditions all contribute to the flourishing ecosystem that exists here.

Biodiversity of Darocotan Island Marine Life:

Darocotan Island is home to a variety of coral reefs that support a rich array of marine species. These include fringing reefs, which grow directly from the shoreline, patch reefs scattered throughout the waters, and barrier reefs that run along the coastline. These reefs serve as habitats for numerous marine organisms, including vibrant fish species.

Fish Species:

One can encounter a variety of fish species around Darocotan Island. The Chevron Butterflyfish and Raccoon Butterflyfish, known for their vibrant colors and intricate patterns, can be seen darting among the coral formations. Surgeonfish, such as the Blue Tang and Palette Surgeonfish, are also common in the area. Large predatory fish like the Brown-Marbled Grouper and Leopard Grouper can be found around the coral reefs. Trevallies, including the Giant Trevally and Bluefin Trevally, are swift, predatory fish inhabiting the waters surrounding the island.

Mammals and Marine Reptiles:

In addition to an abundance of fish, Darocotan Island is a haven for a diverse array of marine life, including captivating marine mammals and reptiles. One of the most remarkable occurrences on our beautiful island is the regular arrival of turtles to our shores, where they diligently lay their precious eggs. Our beach is an important nesting ground for Green Sea Turtles, playing a significant role in their conservation efforts. Alongside these graceful creatures, we are also fortunate to have Olive Ridley Turtles gracing our shores. Exploring the vibrant waters surrounding the island reveals a fascinating underwater world, where various shark species and distant cousins like stingrays, as well as the majestic Dusky Shark and Silky Shark, can be observed. These encounters with marine life create a truly enchanting experience for all who visit Darocotan Island.


Darocotan Island is a haven for diverse invertebrate species. Crustaceans such as hermit crabs, colorful shrimps, and lobsters can be found in the crevices of coral reefs. Mollusks, including clams, oysters, and gastropods, contribute to the ecosystem's balance.

Echinoderms like starfish, sea urchins, and sea cucumbers play important ecological roles.

Coral-dwelling invertebrates, such as sea anemones, porcelain crabs, and shrimp, can be found living among the corals. Nudibranchs, known for their vibrant colors and intricate patterns, add to the visual spectacle of the underwater environment. Sea fans and soft corals adorn the waters, providing habitat and food for various species.

Threats and Conservation Efforts:

In addition to the breathtaking beauty of Darocotan Island, it is crucial to recognize the pressing issues that its marine ecosystem is confronted with, including coral bleaching, overfishing, and plastic pollution. However, Isla is dedicated to taking action to preserve and sustain the ocean environment. Apart from our commitment to beach cleans, we actively participate in initiatives for ocean sustainability. By establishing marine protected areas, we aim to protect crucial habitats and regulate fishing practices. Moreover, we empower residents through community engagement programs, fostering a sense of environmental stewardship among the local population. Furthermore, our collaborative research efforts generate valuable data, which aids in developing targeted conservation strategies. At Isla, we believe in the power of collective action and are determined to safeguard Darocotan Island's marine ecosystem for generations to come.

Responsible Tourism:

During my research on the marine life around Darocotan Island, I had the privilege of interviewing Mr. Dudoy Pineranda, BFARMC Teneguiban Chairman, who shared valuable insights about the conservation efforts being undertaken by the local community. Their dedication and commitment to protecting the marine environment are commendable, and their work serves as a shining example of the importance of community engagement in conservation initiatives.

As visitors to Darocotan Island, it is crucial to practice responsible tourism to minimize our impact on the marine environment. Respect for marine life, proper waste disposal, and supporting local initiatives are important guidelines to follow. By adopting responsible practices, we can enjoy the beauty of Darocotan Island while contributing to its long-term preservation.

If you're planning a visit to Darocotan Island, I highly recommend staying at Isla Experience. This eco-friendly accommodation not only offers a comfortable and immersive experience but also supports local initiatives for marine conservation. Isla Experience provides opportunities for guests to participate in community-led conservation activities, learn from knowledgeable guides, and gain a deeper understanding of the marine wonders that surround the island.

Keep in mind that the marine species you'll encounter during your visit can vary depending on the season. However, one thing is certain: the underwater world around Darocotan Island is full of surprises. From the vibrant colors of butterflyfish to the graceful movements of sea turtles, each encounter with marine life is a precious moment to be cherished.

Whether you're lucky enough to witness the courtship rituals of fish species or spot playful dolphins in the distance, these experiences will leave an indelible mark on your memory. So, be prepared to be captivated by the beauty and diversity of the marine life that Darocotan Island has to offer.

In conclusion, Darocotan Island in El Nido, Palawan, is a haven for marine life enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. Its thriving ecosystems, diverse species, and conservation efforts make it a destination worth exploring. By embracing responsible tourism practices, supporting local initiatives, and appreciating the wonders of the underwater world, we can ensure the long-term preservation of this marine paradise.

So, when you find yourself standing at the edge of the azure waters of Darocotan Island, remember to not only marvel at its beauty but also to become a conscious explorer. Pledge to be a responsible and compassionate guardian of our oceans, and let your actions inspire others to do the same.

Together, let's create a future where the marine beauty of Darocotan Island and other natural wonders continues to flourish for generations to come. Safe travels and happy exploration!

Colorful Coral Reef at Darocotan Island
Clownfish on a Vibrant Coral Reef at Darocotan Island


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