Guide to El Nido, Palawan, Philippines

Camping on this Hidden Beach on a remote island in Bacuit Bay was an incredible experience.  Two monkeys and a monitor lizard kept me company while I photographed the stars after this beautiful sunset.

07 Oct Guide to El Nido, Palawan, Philippines

El Nido is a coastal settlement and major tourist destination on the Philippines island of Palawan. El Nido comprises 45 islands and islets; limestone cliffs are also found here, which form a Karst backdrop. El Nido is a popular destination for locals but, until recently, has been relatively unknown to foreign tourists. Beaches, clear waters (away from the main town), jungle, steep limestone cliffs and stunning inlets make for beautiful seascapes.

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Nowadays tourism has become the municipality’s main source of revenue. The beachfront area has exploded in popularity over the years and is now largely a party area with overpriced food and drinks. El Nido is also known for water sports such as diving, snorkeling and kayaking.

=Get there =

By Air

The popular way is taking a flight from Manila or Cebu to Puerto Princesa City, then take the 5 to 6-hour ride to El Nido via bus or shuttle van.

Puerto Princesa International Airport is Palawan’s premier gateway. Airlines like Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific are linked to Puerto Princesa from Air fly from Manila, Davao, Busuanga, Cebu and Clark. Trips to Puerto Princesa International Airport cost around 5500 – 7500 PHP.

You can catch a bus, private or public van from Puerto Princesa to El Nido on arrival. Upon your arrival to Puerto Princesa airport, there are several shuttle vans and busses waiting around outside where you just can hop-in. Fare costs from Php 600 to Php 850 since it’s straight from the Airport to El Nido but convenient.

Here are some companies that we recommend:

Buses

Eulen Joy Liner

eulenjoyexpress@yahoo.com

+63919-716-2210

Price (Non air-conditioned): Php 350.00

Travel time 7 to 8 hours

Schedule: 5AM, 8AM, and 10AM

Terminal: Puerto Princesa Airport and El Nido Terminal

 

RoRo Bus

http://www.phbus.com/roro-bus/

+63908-920-2560

Price for Aircon: Php 483.00

Non-aircon: Php 250.00

Schedule: 6AM, 8AM, 10AM, 2PM, 6PM, 10PM

Terminal: San Jose Terminal, Puerto Princesa and El Nido Terminal (Proper town’s market)

Shuttle Van

Fort Wally

https://www.facebook.com/Fortwally-travel-and-tour-115530031929796/

+63917-276-28-75

Price: PHP 450

Schedule: 5AM, 7AM, 9AM, 1PM, 2PM

Terminal: Puerto Princesa Airport and El Nido Terminal

Daytripper

http://www.daytripperpalawan.com

+63 48 7230533

Price: 850 PHP

Terminal: San Jose Terminal, Puerto Princesa and El Nido Terminal (Proper town’s market)

 

=Getting Around=

“Habal-habal” is a popular means of transport in El Nido. It is basically a motorcycle transporting about two people (plus the driver) at a time. The price range varies round 100 PHP, depending on the distance and any negotiations made prior to the trip.

Dependable tricycles can also be found in the area. Short distances will cost you about PHP 20, provided you pick up your ride in the proper terminals.

Motorbikes for rent are also a popular choice.

You can rent them here at 500 PHP per day:

http://www.elnidoparadise.com/rentals/

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=Things to Do=

For the Adventurous

Rock climbing & walking.

The western side of El Nido township lies in the shadow of an impressive sheer cliff face which is just the visible portion of an even more impressive headland. There are guided climbing tours (P350) to the top of the “taraw” offering a breathtaking view. The hike is rather adventurous though as you have to climb over sharp rocks. Good footwear is a must.

The Climb takes about 3 hours in total. It’s advisable to start your climb before 7am or after 2pm as it can be very hot on top.

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DCIM112GOPRO

Discover El Nido

Calle Amboy | El Nido Zone 1, El Nido, Palawan Island 5313, Philippines

+63 910 202 049

‪http://discoverelnido.com/#_=_

For Everyone

El Nido Boutique ArtCafe

Sirena St., Buena Suerte

El Nido, 5313 Palawan

Philippines

E-Mail:

elnidoboutique@yahoo.com

info@elnidoboutiqueandartcafe.com

flights@elnidoboutiqueandartcafe.com

Office hours: 7:00-19:00h

El Nido Boutique ArtCafe is located right beside the ferry terminal. It is also a central spot for all kinds of activities including sea sports, tours, and land activities.

 Clear Kayaks

Rental Price:

Per Day:  PHP 1000

Half Day: PHP 650

Per hour: PHP 250

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Standup Paddleboards

Rental Price:

Per Day: P900

Half Day: P600

Per hour: P250

Diving

For Licensed Open water Divers

3 Dives: PHP 3800

For First Timers

2 Dives: PHP 4000

Philippines, Palawan, une tortue verte (Chelonia mydas), un remora et un plongeur // Philippines, Palawan, a green turtle (Chelonia mydas), a remora and a diver

Windsurfing

Rentals of Windsurfer: PHP 1000 per hour.

Beginner’s Basic Lesson (2 hrs.): P2500 per person.

You may find more information about El Nido Boutique ArtCafe here: http://www.elnidoboutiqueandartcafe.com/Activities.html

 

Island Hopping and Snorkeling

The most popular activity is island hopping costing from P1200 a day including BBQ lunch and snorkel gear. There are 4 basic day trips to choose from named Tour A to D and can be booked from all over town. The quality of the boat, guides & tour depends on who you book it through. Tour A and Tour C are the most popular tours.

Getting in touch with tour companies will give you more information on their pickup points and timing details. Recommended tour companies:

  • Caera Tours, Hama St. Buena Suerte,

    (caeratraveltourelnido@yahoo.com)

  • Sting Ray Travel & Tours, Serena. Buena Suerte, 09212176254

(amfesolayao7@gmail.com)

  • Islanen Tours, Masagana, 09999644369

The following are the inclusions for all of the tours:

  • Licensed big boat
  • Licensed tour guide
  • Hotel pick-up
  • Buffet lunch with water
  • Mask & snorkel
  • Life vest & water safety equipment

Go to their website if you want to learn more about other island hopping tours that isn’t included here. Besides, they also offer many other activities that you wouldn’t want to miss out on.

Tour A (Beaches and Snorkeling):

Rate: 1,200 PHP per person

Small Lagoon

You will swim through a narrow gap leading to lagoon with beautiful rock formation surroundings. Be sure to swim all the way to the other side where there is a small cave to explore. This area is the most ideal place to go snorkeling.

Shimizu Island

This is where you will have your buffet lunch on a small, shaded beach. There were crabs, shrimp, fish, chicken, pork, rice, fruit, and tomato and egg salad served. You’ll have a breeze having your lunch here.

Secret Lagoon
7 Commando Beach

This is great place where you will lounge around with laid back atmosphere. There would be beach huts and a volleyball net.

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Tour B: Caves and Coves

Rate: 1000PHP

Pangalusian Island

It has one of the widest stretches of powdery white beaches in El Nido, which is very ideal for sun bathing, sunset viewing, and other beach activities. The waters fronting the beach are clusters of coral reefs that make this area a good snorkeling and diving site.

Pinagbuyutan Island

has soft powdery white sand comparable to the world’s best beaches. The water is shallow for about a couple of meters from the shore and then a few meters away you will see a snorkeling area full of fishes. Get captivated by the emerald green color of the water and the phenomenal seascape fronting this island.

Vigan and Snake Island

Located near Pangulasian Island, it is also referred to as, “Snake Island,” because of the fine natural sandspit (s-shaped sandbar) that “snakes” off it shores. The sandspit is clearly visible only when the tide is low. On both sides of the sandspit are shallow swimming areas. Climbing the hill of the nearby island provide a glimpse of an awe inspiring seascape and a bird’s eye view of Bacuit Bay while the boat crew prepare a sumptuous meal.

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Cadugnon Point and Cave

It is an important anthropological site, where jewelry and pottery were yielded. The anthropologists believe that the cave dwellers were from Borneo. A small opening hidden among the rocks near the beach reveals a cathedral like cave inhabited by sea sparrows. Inside you’ll see rock formations and a way to climb a small limestone hill.

 

Tour C: Beaches and Shrines

Rate: PHP 1400

One thing you should know about this tour is that if you’re the kind person who would be easily fascinated by the marine life, then this is the tour for you.

Helicopter Island

The name says it all. The island is shaped like a helicopter if you look at it from a distance in the air.  You would want to say how blue the waters were in this area, but it’s not blue when you’re in the water. It’s more than clear like a pool. Feel free to snorkel or just lie on the beach.

Hidden Beach

Well, it was somewhat hidden, but be prepared to hold up your jaw as they will drop hard when you see stunning limestone, white sand, and warm water in beautiful emerald tones.

Matinloc Shrine

This is the buffet lunch stop and be sure to expect no difference in this buffet from the previous tour. They’d offer the exactly same thing for all tours’ lunch.

You will get to explore an abandoned monastery, a gazebo, and climb a set of stairs to see a great view of the shore and sea. Matinloc is the local term for beautiful and the island is indeed beautiful!

Tour D: Island Beaches

Rate: PHP 1200

Cadlao Island 

Of all the islands in El Nido, Cadlao has the highest peak at 609 meters above sea level. It is the largest island, with a land area of 1,006 hectares. Cadlao Island is known for its white sand beaches, hidden lagoons, and its lush forest cover. Cadlao Island is one of the best places to snorkel. If you are lucky you may even sea a sea turtle!

Nat Nat Beach & Bucal Beach

With its many attractions, it is possible to spend the entire day at the island beaches of Bacuit Bay. The long stretch of white sand beach is perfect for sunbathing and offers the best view of the sunset. In the waters fronting the beach are clusters of coral reefs that make Pangulasian a good snorkeling and diving site.

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Paradise Beach

with its fine white sand beach lined by coconut trees, is a perfect example of a tropical island. Paradise beach is a favorite place for picnics. Right off the beach is a good swimming site, especially for beginners. Dive sites are located in the west and south sides of the island.

For the Luxurious

Private tours

A private tour in El Nido’s islands means freedom. Because you are free to go where you want, when you want, with whom you want. That’s simple as that!

When you book a private tour, you will be the only ones on the boat. Whether you’re a couple, a family, or a bunch of friends. If you want to start the tour a bit earlier or a bit latter to avoid arriving on the islands at the same as all the other boats, it’s possible.

You can decide in which order you would like to go on each islands and how long you want to stay on one or the other. You can also stop on some islands that are not included in the main El Nido tours.

El Nido Paradise

PHP 5000 per person

http://www.elnidoparadise.com/island-hopping/private-tour/

El Nido Boutique & Artcafe

PHP 5000, minimum 4 people

http://www.elnidoboutiqueandartcafe.com/island.html

= What to Buy=

  • El Nido Boutique & Artcafe

Address: Serena Street (Buena Suerte)

Opening Hours: 7.00-21.30.

El Nido T-shirts, Souvenirs, Handicrafts, Postcards, Books, Photo supplies and Cameras, Snorkel Gear, Swimming clothes and beach wear, Sarongs, Dresses, Jewelry, Wine and Liquors, Bags and Backpacks, Hammocks and many more

= What To Eat =

 [Lounge] Happiness Beach Bar

Moroccan Bar, Mediterranean, Middle Easter food

‪Sitio Lugadia Corong Corong El Nido Palawan

Opening hours: 9am – 9pm

Directions from El Nido Ferry Terminal: Drive south through TayTay – El Nido Highway. After Doublegem Beach Resort, turn left at Happiness Beach Bar.

$

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[Lounge and restaurant] Habibi restaurant & Shisha Café

International, Asian cuisine

‪Hama Street | Brgy Masagana, El Nido, Palawan Island 5313, Philippines

Opening hours: 07:00 – 10:00, 15:00 – 00:00

Directions from El Nido Ferry Terminal: Walk along Serena Street. Turn right and walk along Calle Hama. After 5 minutes, Habibi Restaurant & Shisha Café will be on your left.

$$

[Lounge/Bar] Beach Shack

American Cuisine

‪Corong Corong, Bacuit Bay, El Nido, Palawan Island

Opening hours: NA

Directions from El Nido Ferry Terminal: Head South on Serena St. Continue onto Real st. Turn right into Taytay – El Nido National Highway and turn right into Corong Corong Beach. Beach Shack is located within Corong Coroong beach.

$$

[Lounge/Bar] Republica Sunset Bar

Mediterranean, Spanish Cuisine

Lugadia, Corong-corong El Nido 5313

Opening hours: 24 hours

Directions from El Nido Ferry Terminal: Head South on Serena St. Continue onto Real st. Turn right into Taytay – El Nido National Highway and turn right into Corong Corong Beach. Beach Shack is located within Corong Coroong beach.

$

[Lounge/Bar]La Plage Beach Bar

American Cuisine

‪Corong-Corong, El Nido, Palawan Island 5313, Philippines

Opening hours: NA

Directions from El Nido Ferry Terminal: Head South on Serena St. Continue onto Real st. Turn right into Taytay – El Nido National Highway and turn right into Corong Corong Beach. Beach Shack is located within Corong Coroong beach.

$

[Restaurant, local fare] Artcafe

International Cuisine

‪Serena Street | Buena Suerte, El Nido, Palawan Island 5313, Philippines

Opening hours: 7am – 11pm

Directions from El Nido Ferry Terminal: Walk along Serena Street. Artcafe is a 3min walk on the right.

$$

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[Restaurant] Mezzanine El Nido

Italian and Mediterranean Cuisine

‪Serena Street | Bry Buena Suerte, El Nido, Palawan Island

Opening hours: 7am – 11pm

Directions from El Nido Ferry Terminal: Walk along Serena Street. Mezzanine El Nido is a 5min walk on the right.

$$

= Where to Stay = 

[Island Resort] El Nido Resorts Lagen Island

Lagen Island, El Nido, Palawan, Philippines

$$$

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[Cottages] El Nido Viewdeck Cottages

Zone 1, Barangay Maligaya, El Nido, Palawan, Philippines 5313

$

[Hotel] The Resort Bayview Hotel

Sitio Marimegmeg, El Nido, Palawan, Philippines

$$

[Island Resort] Cadlao Resort and Restaurant

Caalan, Barangay Masagana, El Nido, Palawan, Philippines

$$$

[Inn] Swiftlets Inn

Balinsasayaw Road, Maligaya,, El Nido, Palawan, Philippines 5313

$$$

 

 

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