When asking for recommendations about visiting the Philippines, everyone told me I absolutely had to go to El Nido.
El Nido is a little town in the northern part of Palawan Island, and it’s quickly becoming a popular tourist destination in the Philippines. With beautiful islands and lagoons, as well as great beaches to lounge on and several waterfalls to explore, it’s a must-see if you’re planning a trip to Palawan.
How To Get To El Nido
There are a few ways to travel to El Nido. If you’re coming from Coron like I did, you can take a ferry or a flight to the El Nido airport. Alternatively, many people fly to Puerto Princesa then take a shuttle van up to El Nido (about 5.5 hours).
Things To Do In El Nido:
Take A Boat Tour
One of the biggest attractions in El Nido is going on a boat tour. There are four main tours to choose from: A, B, C, and D.
I went on Boat Tour A with some friends from China; there ended up being a mistake with our booking so we decided to take a private boat instead of a public tour, but it was still a fantastic day and we had a lot of fun with our tour guide.
Rent a Scooter
This was by far one of my favorite things I did in the Philippines. I’ve never rented a bike while traveling in southeast Asia so it was really exciting to have the freedom to go where I wanted! You can rent a bike for 500 pesos a day (about $10).
Visit Nacpan Beach
Nacpan Beach is about a 45 minute drive by scooter or van from El Nido. It’s a beautiful beach with fewer people . If you’re spending an evening there be sure to check out Mad Monkey Hostel for free drinks. We actually spent one day and two nights here – just be prepared that there isn’t much wifi or cell phone service.
Explore the Waterfalls
If you drive 25 minutes outside of El Nido towards Nacpan you’ll find lots of signs for the Nagkalit-kalit Waterfalls. You have to pay 250 pesos for a guide to go with you, but it’s a nice 30 minute walk to the falls. Unfortunately I went during the low season for the falls so we could only go to the smaller one, but during the summer months the big one is supposed to be very nice.
Other people told me about other waterfalls in El Nido to visit, like the Bulalacao Waterfall.
Enjoy the Restaurants and Nightlife
El Nido has a surprising variety of restaurants for being such a small town. There’s no McDonald’s or Starbucks (gasp) but lots of little local places, as well as foreign shops offering everything from American, Thai, Italian to Mediterranean and vegan options.
There are also many bars along the beach with nice ocean views – we went to Happiness Beach Bar which had fun swings you could sit it, as well as Pukka Bar for some late night Reggae music and dancing.
I also made friends with two girls who worked at V and V Bagels, a little cafe near the beach.
Catch a Sunset
Just like anywhere else in the Philippines, the sunsets are pretty amazing.
Visit El Nido
El Nido was the perfect combination of beaches and boating – if you’re looking holiday that’s both adventurous and relaxing, this is the place to be!
If you’re looking for other places to go in the Philippines, check out my trip to Coron! Have you been to El Nido and Coron? Which did you prefer?