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Escape to the ultimate 'off-the-beaten track' destination - Ariara Island is a private island paradise, available for let and yours to share with whomsoever you choose.
Ariara spans the entirety of a 125-acre tropical island with a 600 yard long white sand beach and protected private reef. In true desert island fashion the centre of the island is a peak, encircled by tropical forest itself fringed by beautiful and varied beaches. The island and the surrounding waters are a sanctuary for Palawan sea eagles, several species of turtles and the endangered dugong or seacow. There is an amazing variety of marine life and coral, and unexplored reefs and wrecks providing exceptional diving.
Famous Filipino architect Jorge Yulo designed the accommodation and public areas in contemporary style and with real sensitivity to the island's ecosystem. All in all there is extremely comfortable and spacious accommodation for up to 18 guests as well as a central Lodge for dining and entertaining with a master bedroom suite above, an infinity pool and deck area, beach cottages, and a jungle villas on stilts. All the rooms are situated along the main beach and have wonderful and uninterrupted views out to sea.
The South wing comprises a spacious lounge with oversized comfortable sofas to relax and unwind, equipped with a cinema style projector and a huge screen. The lounge leads onto the infinity pool and deck area and from there onto the beach. Above the lounge, reached by a bridge from the gallery, is a master bedroom suite With suitably impressive views.
In addition there are four beach cottages, each consisting of a large bedroom with vaulted ceiling, a four poster style bed and walk-in wardrobe. There is a huge marble bathroom and an open-air shower. Each cottage is surrounded on two sides by wide verandas with hammocks and a breakfast table. To the rear of each cottage is a private terrace with a secluded pocket garden.
Life on Ariara is lead very much at your own pace. You can eat exactly when you choose, and the island cook prepares traditional filipino and international dishes according to clients' individual tastes. If you prefer to bring your own cook along or employ a Michelin-starred chef for the duration of your stay, that would be fine too. Ariara grows its own bananas, mangos, pineapples, papaya, coconuts and cashew nuts alongside herbs, salad leaves and vegetables, supplemented by the huge selection of unusual fruit and vegetables grown in the region such as delandan (a type of orange) and kalamansi (Filipino limes). Local fisherman then bring their catch - lobster, crab, Spanish mackerel, tangigi (tuna), maya-maya (snapper), lapu-lapu (grouper), and a variety of game fish to name a few. Excellent quality meat is also available.
In between meals the excellent staff are there to cater for your every need. There is a yoga instructor and also masseuse on the island, and even an island dog who loves to be taken for walks, but by far the best activity on offer is the diving and snorkelling. The diving, with the island's own PADI divemaster, is spectacular with hundreds of coral reefs and an incredible diversity of marine life. Incredible wreck diving is found around Busuanga and Coron Bay where US forces sunk 13 Japanese naval ships in 1944. Some of the world's finest dive sites: Tubbataha (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), and Apo Reef are also accessible on longer trips. On the fauna front, there are four endangered species of turtle including Hawksbill, Leatherback, Olive Ridley, and Green turtles to see, many of whom return annually to lay their eggs along Ariara's main beach.
Why we love it
This is diver heaven - the divemaster at Ariara even recently discovered the intact wreck of a US supply boat from WWII just two miles away.
Miranda, Original Traveller