Astonishing seascapes, rock formations, lagoons, powder white beaches, jungles, diverse marine, and wildlife may it be under the sea or in its forest. It is a dream destination for all of us. There’s so much to do and I know that this article won’t be able to do justice, but I will share what I know and my experience of Palawan. Every year I make sure to return because I want to be reminded of that such place does exist. Living in the city can be numbing and will leave you lifeless if you stay too long. There are 3 parts to this Palawan Series. Puerto Princesa, El Nido, and Coron. Today we will focus on El Nido- We’ll show you Where to Go, What to Do and What to Eat. Should you want to know our full Palawan guide clicks here.
8 years ago it was a sleepy fisherman’s village. Electrical power comes only after 5 pm until it will get interrupted again at 9 am the next day because it was just run by a generator. As tourism boosted and the majority of the visitors are coming from European countries you could see that foreigners outnumber the local tourist. Main streets are cramped with tour agencies, souvenir shops, restaurants, bars and mini convenience stores. In any case, it added convenience and livelihood to the community and its visitors. These small proprietorships didn’t tarnish the beauty of the town but even complimented the place. Electricity now runs 2/47 with fewer interruptions.
I normally stay for four to 5 days whenever I’m in El Nido. The town center is so easy to get around with because it’s quite small and everything that you will need is within a block’s worth of walk. Locals are very friendly as they greet and smile at you as you pass by them. Most restaurants are owned by the French and Swedish folks who loved the town so much that they decided to make it a home.
El Nido is a gateway to bacquit archipelagos. Limestone verticals, cliffs, bays, secret beaches that you have to go thru underneath a limestone to get to the other side
Flight: On an average, there are 13 flights that go in and out of Puerto Princesa by local commercial flights coming from Cebu, Manila, Caticlan, and Davao. Make sure to keep an eye on promo fares as there are plenty to choose from.
If you are coming outside The Philippines, your kick of city can be Manila or Cebu. Quick and easy way to book your flight
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Once you leave the Airport in Puerto Princesa, you will see the shuttle vans waiting outside. They will take you to El Nido for P500 (10USD) within 3-5 hours. Don’t expect too much leg room though but these vans can take you to El Nido pretty fast. If you’d like more room and is not pressed for time you may opt to take the bus which will cost you roughly 350php (7 USD). Chartered flights are available for the few discriminating travelers.
How To Go Around: Popular and one of the cheapest way to go around the city is thru renting a bike or riding trycycles
A lot of accommodation of options for those who are frugal travelers like me. There are air-conditioned rooms with decent toilet & bath for as low as 500php-650php (12USD).
I normally stay at Ricgem Place (click here for rates/availability) it’s reasonable and the accommodation is better than the most budget alternatives. Moreover, the owners are pretty flexible when it comes to checking in earlier and checking out a later time. I recommend this place for travelers on a budget yet would still want privacy and AC in their rooms. It’s simple, basic and clean. Consider renting rooms in town will let you be close to restaurants and beachside bars, but also closer to the everyday sights and sounds.
If you want some cash to splash consider getting an accommodation in the archipelago itself. There are pretty plenty to choose from. To name a few that’s pretty popular are:
It’s very easy to book accommodations and plenty to choose from it will be just a matter budget allocation and availability of the place. Research, compare and read POV of travelers who stayed at your chosen place.
Normally they subdivided normal tours from Tours A, B, C, and D. You may book ahead thru agencies or book directly when you arrive in El Nido as there are quite a number of local tour agencies that you could talk to and will arrange everything. Tours can range from a low as 900php (20USD) to 1,200php (25USD). All packages come with a guided tour, safety equipment, buffet lunch and boat transfers. All boats are manned by a ship captain, lifeguard, and 1-2 ship caddies. Island hoping starts at 9 AM and ends at 5 PM.
Tour A is one of the best and most popular because of the variety of areas that you could go to in one day. During the day, you will discover beautiful lagoons, beaches and snorkeling spots. I suggest you start your Day 1 with Tour A as this is more physically demanding.
- Small Lagoon
- Big Lagoon
- Secret Lagoon
- Shimizu Island
- 7 Commando
- Snake Island (intertwining sandbar)
- Pinagbuyutan Island
- Other snorkeling sites
**Quick Tip: Make sure to bring lots of cash as ATMs are limited
- Helicopter Island
- Matinloc Shrine
- Secret Beach
- Star Beach
- Hidden Beach
- Cadlao Lagoon
- Ipil Beach
- Paradise Beach
- Pasandigan Beach
- Natnat Beach
- Bukal Beach
The restaurant scene in El Nido is pretty strong. I recommend trying the following places:
- Trattoria Altrove (one of the best brick oven pizza!)
- Art Cafe
- Bella Vita El Nido
If you enjoy going out a night there are lots of sunset sessions that happen beachfront playing loud music from dub, house to reggae from bars offering happy hours.
El Nido by its true nature is an eclectic town from its people, commerce, and archipelagos. Make sure to do your research ask other tourist and guides. Wrapping it as schizophrenic travel spot and to those who are fickle and who’d like to have options. This place is for the adventurous. Stunningly presented in its entirety as you leave this place it will keep calling you back because you will never run out of things to do.
Go forth and wander. Experience and tell its story when you return home.
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