El Nido is a town located in the island of the Philippines. It is one of the top tourist destination in the country. The town is best known for the lime stone formation, beaches and scuba diving. El Nido Palawan has transformed in the past few years, there are more tourists and establishments in the area. At the moment the government is trying to rehabilitate El Nido with a goal for a more sustainable tourism.
8 Things You Need to Know Before Coming to El Nido Palawan:
- Most locals can converse in English so there is no problem with communication. They tough I was a foreigner so they always try to talk to me in English.
- Power interruptions are common, most establishments have generators but make sure to check with your hotel.
- There is only one ATM in town. It can easily run out of cash so better withdraw in Puerto Princesa. Cash is the preferred mode of payment. there are few establishments that accepts credit card payment. El Nido is not cheap so make sure to have enough cash to spend.
- There are Money Exchange establishments in town but the rates are not good.
- Tricycles (tuk tuk) are the most common mode of public transportation within the town.
- There are no hospitals in Town, only a clinic that can’t handle serious injuries. So always be careful and avoid accidents.
- No Side walks, so be careful.
- Cellular signals and internet signals are not reliable. A sign to disconnect and enjoy paradise.
How to Get to El Nido Palawan
Direct Flights: The only direct flight to El Nido is via Air Swift. The planes lands at Lio Airport in El Nido and you can just ride a tricyle to El Nido Town center.
Via Puerto Prinsesa Palawan: There are several airlines that flies to PP. It is generally cheaper to fly to Puerto princesa compared to a direct flight to El Nido. Check Budget airlines Air Asia and Cebu Pacific,or check Philippine Airlines.
Via Coron Palawan: There are boats (MBCA Jessabel & Bunso ) available and may take 5-9 hours of travel time depending on the weather. Montenegro Lines also offers ferry service check link to book online. And lastly you may also opt for a cargo ship, the Atienza Shipping Lines takes passengers fron Coron to El Nido. Check there website for more information.
Puerto Prinsesa Airport to El Nido Terminal
I booked a van tranfer via Klook which made it easy. There are also Travel agents outside the airport who will over van transfers. Klook is partnered with Lexxuss Shuttle services. Below are the list of Shuttle companies:
- Lexxuss Shuttle
- Eulen Joy Express
- Fort Wally Travel & Tours
- DayTripper Palawan
The travel time is approximately 5-6 hours. The fare is between 500-600 php. DayTripper Palawan charges around 800-900 php. There are quick stops for restroom break and to eat.
RoRo Bus and Cherry Bus are the two companies traveling from Pwerto Prinsesa to El Nido. From the airport ride a tricycle going to San Jose Terminal. They both run hourly and you can choose between Ordinar( no aircon) or Aircon busses.
Cherry Bus: AIRCON – 480 php, ORDINARY – 385 php
RoRo Bus: AIRCON –380 php, ORDINARY – 290 php
Where to Stay
I searched and book my accommodation via agoda. I stayed at OMP (Our Melting Pot) which is a budget hostel. It is located in the town proper so it was very convenient. If you want to stay outside the town proper you might want to check on hotels located in Corong-Corong or in Calaan Beach. There are also high end accommodation on the private islands and beaches.
Where to Eat
There are a lot of restaurants, bars and cafe in the town proper and near the beach. Most of them are ok but all are over priced. There local eateries and street foods that offers affordable food. Art Cafe is near beach and offers some craft beers.
El Nido Island Hopping Tours
Below are the most popular tours in El Nido. I only went to Tour A and Tour C which is two of the most popular tors. You also have to pay 200 php for the environmental fee, make sure to keep the receipt. Recently the government has restricted the amount people on some sites (big & small lagoons, secret beach). The Tour operators should inform the availability in advance to their customers. In my trip I was not able to go to the Big lagoon and Secret beach. As an alternative they took as to other locations or increase the amount of time we spent on some beaches. The tours also includes lunch.
Tour A Destinations:
Small Lagoon | Big Lagoon |Secret Lagoon | Shimizu Island | 7 Commando Beach
***The government has now restricted the number of people going to the small and big lagoon. Coordinate with your tour operator for availability.
Tour B Destinations:
Snake Island | Pinagbuyutan Island |Entalula Beach | Cudugnon Cave | Snorkeling Site
Tour C Destinations:
Helicopter Island | Matinloc Shrine | Secret Beach | Star Beach | Hidden Beach
***The government has now restricted the number of people going to the Secret Beach. Coordinate with your tour operator for availability.
Tour D Destinations:
Ipil Beach | Cadlao Lagoon | Paradise Beach | Pasandigan Beach | Natnat Beach | Bukal Beach
El Nido Inland Tours:
The van shuttle service to Nacpan Beach costs 600 php (roundtrip). There are also ticycle/tuktuk that can take you to Nacpan twin beaches. Negotiate with the driver for the best deal. along the way you can visit And Nagkalit-kalit Falls and Las Cabanas beach.
The best view of El Nido can be seen at Tarw Cliff. Hiking takes about 45 min and a guide is required. at the time of my visit tours to Taraw Cliff are suspended temporarily. Another option is to take the safest and easiest route it is known as the Ferrata Nature’s Canopy Walk. The tour costs 500 php and you are accompanied by a tour guide.