El Nido is not as crowded as Boracay, not as noisy as Phuket, Samui … but simple, and peaceful to please travelers.
The tourism paradise of the Philippines is becoming a popular destination for tourists, including backpackers, due to its beautiful scenery, convenient infrastructure and very well maintained marine environment.
The suitable time to travel El Nido is from December to May. According to the local people, the best time is from February to May every year because of beautiful sea and sunshine. You can “hunt” cheap airline tickets to save money.
After arriving Manila, you continue the flight to Puerto Princesa. The road from Puerto Princesa Airport to El Nido (Palawan Island, Philippines) is about 260 km long with a 4.5 hour drive. Concrete road is beautiful, straight; there are also some pass sections.
In my eyes, El Nido is a coastal village that is messy but lovely, friendly and attractive to choke. This village has some unobstructed roadways and a small beach with simple, rustic restaurants, very familiar to all visitors.
El Nido is neither crowded as Boracay nor noisy as Phuket, Samui … but simple and peaceful to please travelers. Looks like everyone in this village knows each other; they greet, laugh and the visitors are just walk little to see each other again so they see others like acquaintances.
There will be 4 basic tours in El Nido Island that are sold in anywhere. There are A, B, C and D tours. According to the experience of the majority former travellers as well as the opinion of the tour salesman, if you have only two days to go to the sea here, you should choose tour A and C that are the best because there are many beautiful beaches hidden among the rocky mountains, many lagoons are so mysterious that you are not surprised. Those who dive can go on tour B and D or you can mix as you like. I did not have much time to go all 4 tour so I chose tour A and C as directed. We have to say that the sea in the islands of El Nido is so beautiful. The water is clean and blue and there are too many beautiful beaches to be surprised.
The island tours in El Nido are also very good. Most start at 9am and end at 17pm and lunch planes. They do not cook food in the mainland but they come to the island to cook food to be hot and create a sense of appetite for visitors. All are very clean and fresh. The waste of the trip, of lunch they were all gathered and brought back to the mainland. The dishes are simply grilled fish, grilled fish, grilled eggplant with mango dessert and aromatic …
Notice when travelling in El Nido
– From Puerto Princesa go to El Nido and back by bus. Air-conditioned van is priced at 600-700 pesos / person / way (about 20 USD). Buses with no air-conditioner are cheaper but slower. The van stops for lunch and restroom. The road is quite bent so anyone who has carsick must be careful. Tickets can be purchased at the terminal to the airport or out on the tricycle for around 50 pesos (about 1 USD) to travel agent nearby to buy tickets. The van will pick you up at the travel agent. From El Nido, it is easy to get a ticket or book ticket at El Nido.
Or if you want to seek for a fast and convenient transfer service, you totally can contact GoAsiaDayTrip to book the quick service.
– Tri-cycle from bus station to hotel is 50 pesos / car.
Remember that airport charges in the Philippines are not included in the airfare, so be sure to reserve 550 pesos for airport pick up when flying from Manila.
– Accommodation in El Nido is mostly in the village, do not book on Agoda but email them directly and deposit 50% via Paypal. I was at the Bulskamp Inn, which is quiet, and clean rooms, good service but a little small toilet. Room rates are seasonal.
– There are a lot of motels and other small houses around it along the coast, in the streets … so check out the Tripadvisor review first.
– If you have more budget, let’s book the resort on the island. If you book the Treetop to sleep on the tree, it’s really interesting but this is always full because there are 2-3 rooms only.
– If you have time, let’s rent a motorbike to see the scenery. There are beaches far away that sound very nice.
– Eat at The Nice with nice seats; delicious seafood at Aplaya Restro; Pizza Altrove Trattoria; Cafe at The Art Cafe, Coco Bar or Pukka Bar; Lucky Alofa Pasta. Remember to drink mango shake because the mango in the Philippines is delicious.
– Buy 3G sim from Manila airport, there are different packages from 250 pesos but 600 pesos package is calling, unlimited use 3G for 5 days.
– Money exchange at Manila airport is higher than in El Nido, in Puerto Princesa there is a high-priced exchange of banks near Robinson mall but not open 24/24. Other places are not as good as in Manila.
– Remember to bring sunscreen, aftersun lotion, hats, sunglasses to avoid hot weather.
– Remember to bring plastic sandals with the straps because the island has many places to walk under the water where many corals are easy to hit the foot.
Suggested itinerary for you:
Day 1: Come to El Nido (including time of flight and transit)
Day 2-3: Take 2 tours A, C on the island …
Day 4: Go to Nacpan beach, zipline and suspension bridge.
Day 5: Return to Puerto Princesa. If you like, you can stay here for a day, or fly back to your home.
The total cost for a five-day El Nido trip is about 600-700 USD per person.