El Nido is now a very well-known and popular travel destination on the Philippine island of Palawan, especially among backpackers and individual travelers. But now the place is attracting more and more package tourists. No wonder, because the area around El Nido with its many islands, limestone cliffs and hidden lagoons in the Bacuit Archipelago is definitely one of the most beautiful in the Philippines. In this El Nido Guide we will tell you everything about El Nido you need to know.
There are several options to get to El Nido. The plane would be an option, but you can only fly to Puerto Princesa, which is in the center of the island of Palawan. Here you can travel e.g. from Manila or Cebu. El Nido itself also has a small airport, but there are hardly any flights to it. You can find more information and prices on Skyscanner or Momondo.
Minivans and buses run regularly to El Nido from Puerto Princesa. These take between 5 and 7 hours on the 200-kilometer route, with the minivans being a bit faster, but usually also more dangerous. The trip costs around € 10. You can find tickets and times at 12go.asia.
Another variant to get to El Nido would be the ferry from Manila, for example, which takes a good 30 hours. For example, if you are on vacation in Coron or Linapacan, there are also boats to El Nido, as these islands are north of Palawan.
El Nido has developed a lot in recent years and the choice of accommodation in all price categories is growing. During our trip we decided to stay in Corong Corong, a place that is just a few minutes south of El Nido Town and is a bit quieter. There you can also watch wonderful sunsets every evening.
We can recommend the Suites by Eco Hotel El Nido, which is located directly on the beach. The rooms are clean and modern, you can make yourself really comfortable in the hanging chairs. We definitely recommend a room with a sea view.
There are plenty of hotels in El Nido. Hotels in every price range can be found, so that there is guaranteed to be something for every requirement. Attached you will find a top selection of hotels in El Nido that are currently also on offer.
El Nido is mainly visited because of the many beautiful beaches. With the islands together you have a gigantic choice. One beach is more beautiful than the other. We have attached the most beautiful beaches in El Nido, which you shouldn't miss.
Twin Beaches: Nacpan and Calitang
The so-called Twin Beaches, called Nacpan Beach and Calitang Beach, are about 18 kilometers north of El Nido Town and the drive there usually takes about 1 hour. when the dirt roads are flooded.
But it's worth it! Due to its length, Nacpan Beach offers several lonely spots where there is no one far and wide. A few tourists can only be found on the main section of the beach (because bathing is only allowed there due to strong waves and currents).
There is also a small viewpoint at the lower end of the beach, where you have a fantastic view of the Nacpan and the adjacent Calitang Beach (according to reports, this is apparently no longer accessible).
By the way, on the way to Nacpan Beach you can make a detour to the Nagkalit-Kalit waterfall. However, you still have to hike about 40 minutes to get to the waterfall. Just right for adventure and nature lovers, even if the waterfall and the adjacent lake are quite small. It is always a nice cool down.
Incidentally, the Nagkalit-Kalit (also like the Twin Beaches) is part of the inland tour E. You can theoretically explore it on your own, but you shouldn't go without a guide. You can also book this on site, i.e. shortly before you go through the wilderness to the waterfall.
Marimegmeg Beach, a dream beach with fine sand and large palm groves, is about 10-15 minutes south of El Nido Town by motorbike or tricycle. You can also bathe and swim wonderfully here.
If, like us, you don't have your accommodation directly in El Nido Town, but at Corong Corong Bay, you can also reach it on foot from there by simply walking south along the beach. However, there are some rocky sections that have to be overcome.
Otherwise, if you don't like it too adventurous, you can just take a tricycle for about 50 pesos. Or you ride a motorbike, because there are a few nice viewpoints on the road. However, renting a scooter in El Nido is relatively expensive. At the tricycle terminal on the main road (just before the hairpin bend, which leads back a short distance to the north) a small sandy path then goes down to the beach.
In our opinion, the Marimegmeg is absolutely recommendable and a little insider tip. There are also a couple of cool beach bars and restaurants where you can treat yourself to a nice cool SMB (San Miguel Beer) or SML (San Miguel Light). Beach vendors run around there every now and then, but they are by no means annoying and leave you alone if you show no interest.
Have you seen enough of the beach and sun? Would you rather do something different? No problem either, as there are plenty of activities and tours in El Nido, where there is definitely something for everyone. Please find attached the most beautiful and best tours in El Nido. Don´t miss an Island hopping Tour in El Nido, that's one of the best tours you can make.
Island hopping El Nido
Probably the number 1 activity in El Nido. If you come to El Nido and don't do a tour, you are definitely missing out. You get wonderful paradisiacal islands and lagoons. By the way, it is said that the author of “The Beach” lived in El Nido for a long time and got the inspiration for his novel here.
4 tours are always offered: Tour A, B, C and D. In addition, there is also an inland tour E.
Tour A: Small Lagoon, Big Lagoon, Simizu Beach, Secret Lagoon, 7 Commandos BeachTour B: Pangulasian Island, Snake Island, Cudognon Cave, Cathedral Cave, Pinagbuyutan IslandTour C: Helicopter Island, Hidden Beach, Matinloc Shrine, Star Beach, Secret BeachTour D: Cadlao Lagoon, Pasandigan Beach, Paradise Beach, Natnat Beach, Bukal Beach
The prices are currently 1200-1400 Pesos per person (a delicious grilled lunch is included, but snorkel masks are sometimes extra). Tours A and C are recommended almost everywhere.
But we didn't want to do a mainstream program and decided on Tour D. We definitely didn't regret it and also had the advantage of having the boat to ourselves, as no one else booked Tour D that day.
Zipline El Nido
At Marimegmeg Beach there is also a zip line that you can use to slide from a platform on a hill to the offshore island of Dependet. The ride down is over 800 meters and costs between 500 and 1100 pesos - depending on the position (sitting or superman) and whether you choose one-way or two-way.
Unfortunately, due to time and weather reasons, we weren't able to try it out, but we will definitely make up for it next time. It definitely seems to be exciting, as you can see in the video below.
Apart from the islands and beaches, there are relatively few attractions in El Nido. However, there are a few things that shouldn't be missed. We have attached the best one.
El Nido Town and El Nido Beach
El Nido Town itself is not very spectacular and does not have so much to offer in terms of activities. The highlight is clearly the beach of El Nido with its many restaurants and beach bars, which is where the busiest is going. Of course, many hotels and hostels are also located here.
It's fun to sit in one of the bars and watch the goings on on the beach. In addition, you simply have a beautiful view of the bay and the rugged limestone cliffs. However, it can sometimes get quite crowded on the beach, especially at “rush hour” when the island hopping boats come back from the tours and the tourists all get off.
Happy hour drinks
One thing in advance: the Philippines are definitely the best country in Southeast Asia if you want to have a good and cheap drink! And speaking of beach bars: On El Nido Beach (and partly in town too) there are many cool bars that offer happy hour.
If you are looking for adventure, are physically reasonably fit and want an amazing view of El Nido Town, Bacuit Bay and the islands in the archipelago, you should climb Taraw Peak - the highest point of El Nido Town.
Kayak tour El Nido
You can rent kayaks on almost every corner and explore the area on your own. Rent a kayak on El Nido Beach or in Corong Corong and take it to Seven Commandos Beach or Cadlao Island (for example to Cadlao Lagoon), which you can reach in about 30 minutes.
Sunset in Corong Corong
Corong Corong Beach is just a 5-minute tricycle ride from El Nido Town. The trip there costs only about 10-20 pesos. By the way, if you want to save some money on accommodation, you can also search for hotels here. These are usually a little cheaper than in the city.