A Tropical Guide to El Nido, Philippines

El Nido isn’t one of the most popular destinations in Philippines for no reason. Blue lagoons, magnificent limestone formations, fiery sunsets, delicious food and lit nightlife – El Nido has it all! Here is your ultimate guide to make the most out of your next trip to this tropical paradise –
How to Reach El Nido?
Coming from Manila/Cebu?

Option 1: Fly directly to Puerto Princessa, then catch a 5-hour car transfer to El Nido. Transfers from the airport to El Nido can be arranged with your hotel or can be booked through Klook. Flights are quite frequent and affordable ranging between 2500-5000 PHP one way and can be easily booked, either through SkyScanner or Cebu Pacific Air.

Option 2: If you want to save time and budget isn’t an issue for you, fly directly to El Nido through AirSwift. The cons for this option are fewer flights that book out fast and the price is almost twice or sometimes even four times the cost of a flight to Puerto Princessa.

Coming from Coron?
Cheapest and quickest way to get to El Nido from Coron is by the 4-hour fast ferry for 1700 PHP.

How to get around once you are there?
Easiest way to get around is catching tricycles. If you are staying out of town, a tricycle ride costs between 50PHP – 100PHP to get into town. Rent a motorbike for only 500 PHP per day and explore the island for yourself.

Where to Stay?

Luxury – Lagun Hotel
Mid-Range – Sei Nazioni Cottages
Budget – Happiness Hostel

Where to Eat?

Trattoria Altrove – There is a reason you would always find a queue outside this place – they serve the best wood oven pizzas in the town! 
Republica Sunset Bar – Perfect little place to watch sunset with some good food and music. 
Happiness Beach Bar – This happening place is vegan-friendly and is a must-visit for all the falafel lovers! 
The Nestling Table – Located in the middle of a forest, this place offers gorgeous views from the deck with equally beautiful interiors. Not to mention, the food is amazing too!
Gusto Gelato – A great place to satiate your sweet tooth with some gelatos, waffles and crepes.

What to do?

Here is a list of hand-picked things you can do on your next visit to El Nido –

Go for Island Hopping Tours

This is what brings people from all around the world to El Nido. There are 4 available tours – A, B, C and D, each similar in terms of duration and inclusions but covers a different set of islands and lagoons. We chose A that included kayaking in the very famous big lagoon, exploring the secret lagoon where you duck into a small entrance to reveal a secluded pool of crystal-clear water surrounded by rocks, relaxing on white sand beaches of Shimizu Island, and playing volley ball with the locals on the 7 Commando Beach. I’m sure that all the tour packages in El Nido are absolutely amazing but I would recommend taking the most popular ones i.e. A & C.

Catch a Sunset on Las Cabanas Beach

Just 10-mins ride away from the town is the Las Cabanas Beach, which is most commonly known for its incredible sunsets and is a must visit location when travelling to El Nido. With bars and restaurants perched along the strip, this beach is a perfect place to spend a relaxed evening. Grab some beers, pick a spot and just watch the sun melting into the sea.

Take a Day-Trip to Nacpan

Nacapan beach is 45-min drive away from the El Nido town. Rent a scooter and make your way to this isolated piece of paradise. It has a huge 4km stretch of clean shoreline with the backdrop of beautiful forest of coconut trees. We headed directly to Mad Monkey, which has an outdoor seating with bean bags, where you can relax, grab a bite to eat, have some drinks and take a dip when life gets a little too hot. All in all, the place has a real good vibe so, it’s definitely worth going that extra mile out of El Nido town for a day!

Climb Taraw Cliff

Taraw Cliff is the highest peak in El Nido and offers birds-eye view of the El Nido Bay. The climb is quite easy and take just 15 mins to reach the top where you are welcomed by a view of cliffs and boats sprinkled over miles of blues.

Entrance – 400 PHP per person (includes helmet, harness and a guide)
Timing – 8am to 5pm daily

Tips

– Carry enough cash as there are only a couple of ATMs in El Nido and can ditch you anytime.
– Book your island hopping tours and/or ferry to/from Coron at least a day in advance.
– If you’re there in a group, you can book your own private boat – this will help you dodge the crowd and give you some flexibility with the amount of time you would want to spend at a particular location.

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