Everything you need to know about El Nido, The Philippines
El Nido, Palawan is just one of the many islands in the Philippines, there’s actually over 7,000 to be more precise. It’s quite literally one of the most breathtaking places I’ve ever seen. El Nido town itself isn’t very impressive, but the thing that’s breathtaking, is its surroundings and the stunning views around it. Palawan has been voted the No.1 most beautiful island in the world, several times and it’s easy to see why. Below are some of our favourite things to do in El Nido.
Things to know before going to El Nido.
- The town is known for having several power outages during the day. If you’re out and about during the day it won’t really impact you. That being said take precautions and charge your electronics at night to avoid disappointment.
- Contrary to some posts you see online, there are actually two ATM’s in the town. However, they can run out, so bring enough money just incase. One is located beside the church and post office and the other is beside the accommodation, Ipsil suites, Abads and the hostel Austria.
- Quick or even great working WiFi isn’t a typical thing in El Nido. So if you rely on the internet for work or other purposes then prepare yourself for the worst. The Art Cafe was probably the best spot we came across.
Things to do in El Nido
Although it’s a small town there’s still a lot to do. These are our El Nido must do’s based on what we did and also some other things which were recommended but never got time to do.
- If you only have time to do one thing, then make sure you take one of the famous A, B, C or D, El Nido Island Hopping tours and explore the many beautiful islands that surround El Nido. These tours were definitely one of the biggest highlights on our trip to the Philippines, so make sure you don’t miss out.
- Read more about: El Nido Island Hopping Tours
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- Visit the white sand and clear water of Nacpan Beach. Rent a scooter or get a tricycle for the day and drive the 25 km north to reach this untapped gem.
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- Ever been zip-lining? Ever gone on a zip-line over water and to another island? Well in El Nido you can do this. At Las Cabanas Beach there’s a 750-meter long zip line that connects two islands. Read more: Zipline in El Nido
- Watch the sunset from Las Cabanas Beach.
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- Rent a Kayak and explore some of the nearby islands yourself.
- Climb up Taraw Cliff for spectacular views of El Nido and the surrounding islands. *As far as I know you can no longer climb to the very top. This was due to safety issues. Instead they’ve created a lookout point about halfway up and provide you with safety harness and helmets.
Best time to visit El Nido
According to many online sources, the best time to visit El Nido is around December to March. This is the dry season, so the weather tends to be drier and warmer and it avoids the peak of the tourist high season, which is usually in April and May. Although you’ll have better weather you’ll also have an increase in accommodation prices. That being said, we were there in July and the weather was still great, of course you just need some luck on your side.
Where to eat/drink in El Nido
We were only in El Nido for three proper nights so didn’t get to try too many places to eat, but below were the places we went to. There are lots of options in the town and I can only assume that more places have opened since we were there in 2016. Check out TripAdvisor to see what’s best or just have a wander around.
- Art Cafe. Great mix of everything and great fruit shakes too. Also had lots of gluten free dishes.
- Check out the fresh BBQ’s on the beach. There’s so many different types of fish, prawns, crab, oysters and different meats on offer.
- For the night time make sure you check out the beach Bars, Pukka bar, Coco bar, Rasta Bar and SAVA beach bar. Most run cheap happy hours so check them out after a long day island hopping.
How to get to El Nido?
There are several ways of getting to El Nido. The cheapest and most popular way is a flight from Manila or Cebu to Puerto Princesa, the capital city of Palawan. Once you land you can take either a bus or minivan up north. The journey can take anywhere from 5-7 hours to get there and prices start from 350 PhP to 500 PhP depending on what option you take. Alternatively, you can fly directly to El Nido from Manila or Cebu with Air Swift. The flight is more costly, but if money isn’t a problem or time and comfort are important concerns then I’d strongly recommend forking out the extra money for it.
Where to stay in El Nido?
El Nido is a small town, you can bike through the whole village within 10 minutes. You can either stay inside or outside the town. There are three areas as such, the town proper, Corong-Corong and Caalan. All of which are close to the beach and island activities.
There are many different types of accommodation ranging from High-end to low budget.