El Nido

This article is a complete guide to the municipality of El Nido on the island of Palawan. This article will give you general information about El Nido, so you can leave for your holiday, well prepared. In addition, there are several links found in the article, with more information about the topic. When you love tropical islands with white beaches, El Nido is the place for you!

el nido las cabanas

Content

  • A short introduction
  • Nature
  • The best time to travel
  • The map
  • Travelling
  • Transport options
  • Places
  • Points of interest
  • What to do
  • Restaurants
  • Accommodation
  • Advice and recommendations

A short introduction

Archaeologists have determined that people already lived on the land where now the municipality of El Nido is located, 2680 years before Christ. Some researchers claim that the first people lived in this area much longer before that. According to Chinese history, at the time of the Song Dynasty, trade was driven between the Chinese and the people from Palawan. It was primarily the birds’ nests which were very popular among the Chinese traders.

The first name of El Nido was Talendak. Talendak was a small village in which a Tagbanau community had established themselves. In the sixteenth century, it got busier when emigrants from the Cuyo islands perched. When in 1800 also the Spaniards discovered this place, they established a settlement and called it Bacuit. In 1954, the name was changed from Bacuit to El Nido in honor of the Swallow nests that are found in the limestone cliffs. Nido means nest in Spanish. These nests are the main ingredients of the local delicacy, Nido soup, which are priced at 3000 US Dollar per kilogram of nests.

The municipality of El Nido extends over the northern point of the island of Palawan and is located on the bay of Bacuit. The total acreage of the municipality is 465 square kilometres. The municipality is divided into 18 districts. Four of these districts together, form the town of El Nido.

El Nido is a peaceful small town situated between impressive rock formations. The picture is completed by the lush forests and a turquoise lagoon. El Nido is a popular holiday destination for both the local population of the Philippines as for international travellers. This place got charted when CNN Travel published an article in which the beaches of El Nido were included in a top 100 of beaches around the world. The Hollywood film “The Bourne Legacy” as well, has contributed to the reputation of the area. El Nido is currently still a relatively quiet holiday destination, especially if you visit outside the high season. Now El Nido is still peaceful and unique!

El Nido enjoys worldwide recognition when it comes to best beach and island destination in the Philippines. This is because of the “extraordinary natural beauty and the ecosystem’. In order to protect this delicate ecosystem El Nido is proclaimed a protected area. This protection ensures that numerous sea animals have been given a safe place in the waters around the Bacuit Bay. On the various islands of the bay nest numerous species of birds some of which are only found in this area.

The area around El Nido is beautiful and varied. Beautiful white beaches with a blue clear sea are the showpiece of El Nido. But, El Nido has more to offer. High mountains and lush forests give each island an unique character. Impressive limestone cliffs towering high above the landscape and complete the picture. El Nido has more than 50 white sandy beaches with crystal clear waters. It’s not difficult to find a secluded spot and enjoy the peace and beauty. El Nido is often described as a paradise on earth.

bacuit bay el nido

Nature

The nature in El Nido is overwhelming. As soon as you leave the civilized world and start exploring the Bacuit archipelago or the north of El Nido, you soon realize how beautiful nature is here! You’ll find no less than five different types of forests. From dense deciduous forests to the evergreen forests in the lowlands. Many dipterocarp trees have nested on the limestone rocks. Because of the many coastlines, you’ll find many mangrove forests and beach vegetation, such as palm trees. Here you’ll find a large variety of animals including:

  • 7 reptile species
  • 15 frog species
  • 55 mammal species
  • 130 bird species

Underwater there is a variety of habitats for a wide variety of marine life. You’ll find seagrass, areas with seaweed and of course the beautiful coral gardens. There are also various rivers which lead in to the sea. Both in the rivers as in the brackish water of the mouth of the river, you’ll find unique animals. The mangrove forest offers marine animals a maternity room and safe hiding place. In El Nido you’ll come across, among others:

  • 4 turtle species
  • 6 marine mammals
  • 45 types of hard coral
  • 55 types of soft corals
  • 197 fish species

Of the bird species, 16 are only found on Palawan, of which 10 are endangered, including the Palawan Hornbill and the Palawan peacock pheasant. There are also 4 endangered turtle species. These are the Hawksbill sea turtle, the Green sea turtle, the Warana (Olive Ridley sea turtle) and the Leatherback sea turtle.

nacpan ricefield

The best time to travel

The best time to travel is depending on your wishes. When you come to rest, you better avoid the months February to May. On the other hand, this is the time that the sea calmest, the visibility under water the best, less rain occurs and there is a clear blue sky every day.

  • The climate
    The climate in El Nido knows two seasons: the dry and wet season. The dry season lasts from December to May and the wet season runs from June to November. April and May belong to the driest months, while August has to do with heavy rain. When I was there in January, there was a particular strong wind on sea. Because of this, the island hopping got cancelled 2 days in a row. There was quite a lot of sunshine with the occasional clouds. There were some showers, but mainly at night.
  • The temperature
    The temperature in El Nido fluctuates between 22 and 33 degrees Celsius. January is generally the coldest month, while April and May are the warmest. I spend a week in El Nido in January, with a temperature between 26 and 30 degrees. At night, it got slightly colder, but still warm enough to wear shorts and a t-shirt.
  • Diving
    The best dive months are from April to June. The water is the warmest, the sea the calmest and the visibility the best. In January and February, the sight underwater is between 3 to 10 meters. From March to June the visibility is best and you can see between 10 to 30 meters. Then sight gets less again from July to December with only 10 to 15 meters. In January and February, the water is the coldest with a temperature of 24 to 26 degrees. After that, the temperature rises between 26 to 29 degrees, in the months March to May. In January, I made a number of dives. I didn’t experience strong currents and found the sight very good. The advantage of travelling this month, is that there is more plankton in the water which causes a lot more activity underwater. Among other things, we did see a Whale shark, feeding on plankton.
  • Holidays
    Between Christmas and New Years and during the Chinese New Year the island is a lot busier. The high season runs from the end of February until the middle of May. In this period, it’s always busy. The school holidays in the Philippines start in April, allowing more local tourists to come to Palawan.
  • Festival
    The Kulambo festival runs from the 15th to 18th of March and is held every year in El Nido. Kulambo means mosquito net. Because Palawan has a tropical climate, mosquitos thrive well here. Mosquitoes can spread diseases including malaria, this is why the festival is dedicated to preventing the spread of disease by mosquitoes. On the day of the festival a colourful parade leaves at 9 a.m. a from the Municipal House. The younger participants are dressed cheerfully, while the older participants dress up in mosquito nets. This festival offers travellers an ideal opportunity to interfere with the local population.
  • Best time to travel
    The best time to travel depends on several factors. When you don’t rely on the school holidays you can choose to visit outside the high season. The high season on Palawan is from March to May. For most Filipino’s these months are holidays as well, so expect more tourists. The holidays in December as well, bring more tourists to the island. If you visit shortly after the rainy season, the nature is fresh and green and there is less humidity. For divers, the visibility under water in the months between March and May are, as well as the sea, calmest.

The map

The trip to El Nido

The fastest way to travel to El Nido is a direct flight between Manila and El Nido. Below I’ll describe the different options.

The plane

On the airport of Manila you can take a direct flight to El Nido. The flight takes about one hour and takes you to the airport Lio. This airport is approximately a 20-minute drive from the town El Nido. The flights are carried out by the Island Trans Voyager Inc. (ITI). This company flies three times daily between Manila and El Nido. The departure times from Manila are: 07:00am, 11:00am and 15:00pm. The departure times from El Nido are: 09:00am, 13:00pm and 17:00pm. The price for a single flight is around 6750 pesos. On these particular flights, you may take 10kg of luggage. Each additional kg will cost you 200 pesos.

Another option is to first fly to Busuanga (USU) or Puerto Princesa (PPS) airport. This is a good option when you have more time. For Puerto Princesa you have the choice of several airlines including Cebu Pacific, AirAsia and Philippines Airlines. The last is the cheapest option. For about 50 euro you can book a single trip. As well as there’s more luggage allowed. Disadvantage is, after arrival you need to travel by bus for 6 hours to get to El Nido. A flight to Busuanga is on average 20 euros more expensive. Prices for a single flight start at 70 euro. Here too, you can bring more luggage. From the airport of Busuanga you can travel to Coron. From Coron there are different types of boats leaving for El Nido. These two options take a significantly longer time to travel. Please note, that it would take 12 hours of traveling time, when you want to do this in one go. Most travellers therefore, choose to first explore Busuanga/Coron or Puerto Princesa/Sabang/Port Barton before heading towards El Nido.

The boat

There is no direct ferry connection between Manila and El Nido, but it’s possible to travel to El Nido without having to fly. You can take a boat from Manila to Coron. This sailing trip takes approximately 15 hours and prices start at 1800 pesos. From Coron, you can take a boat to El Nido. Here you get the choice of three different boats that can take you to El Nido. The fastest takes 3.5 hours, for nearly 1800 pesos.

bacuit cadlao

Transport options

Below I describe the transport possibilities from Puerto Princesa to El Nido. I would always opt for a bus. They pick you up and take you to your destination. This saves time and is not that much more expensive. Especially when you realize that a fee must be paid in order to get to the bus stop and from the bus stop to your final destination.

  • Car
    You can rent a car in Puerto Princesa. Prices are between 2000 and 3500 pesos per day. The big advantage is that you can decide what time you leave and when you take a pit stop. It will take you about 5 hours to drive the 230km. The road isn’t always build that well, there are sharp bends and there may be animals crossing the road. I would not recommend driving this route in the dark.
  • Bus
    From Roro and Cherry buses run between the bus stop of San Jose (Puerto Princesa) and Corong Karsies (El Nido). This trip is a bit cheaper (380 pesos for a single journey) but also lasts longer, up to 8-9 hours. Another disadvantage is that you have to take a tricycle to your final destination, when the distance is too far to walk. This easily cost you another 100 pesos (to and from the bus stop). This bus does not have air conditioning and stops on the go for other passengers!
  • Minibus
    The most popular way to travel from Puerto Princesa to El Nido is by means of a minibus. The best choice is Daytrippers. This company takes you in 5-6 hours to your destination. The advantage is that the bus doesn’t stop for other people, the bus abides by the maximum speed and the bus is not overcrowded. The disadvantage: the price (850 pesos) is somewhat high. There are plenty of other businesses that take you there for 600-700 pesos.
  • Motorcycle
    In Puerto Princesa you can rent a motorcycle and ride up to El Nido yourself. The longer you rent the motor for, the cheaper the price per day. You have the choice of different types. A popular one, is the Honda XR. This costs between the 500 and the 700 pesos per day.
  • Touring Car
    You can also take a more luxurious bus. This has air conditioning and costs 480 pesos for a single journey. If you decide to take the bus, opt for the more luxurious one, as it’s only 100 pesos more. The journey takes approximately 7 hours.

From Coron you have 4 options to travel to El Nido. I wouldn’t recommend the option to go by Bangka, certainly not when the sea is rough. Therefore the Bangka doesn’t appear in the list below.

  • Montenegro fast craft
    This is the fastest boat connection between El Nido and Coron. For 1760 pesos this fast craft takes you to El Nido in 3.5 hours. A good choice!
  • Expedition
    When you have time, this is the best way to make the trip. On this trip, you explore the Calamian Archipelago in 5 days before you get to your destination! The price is a lot higher, travel time a lot longer but the experience is unforgettable! I chose this journey of 5 days (by TAO) and it was worth every euro! One of my highlights!
  • Ferry
    This is a large Bangka with an indoor stay. The price is 1400 pesos and the traveling time takes between 5-6 hours.

Once you’ve arrived in El Nido, you have the choice of the following means of transport:

  • Bangka
    When you explore the Bacuit archipelago you can’t get around the Bangkas. The Bangka is a wooden boat with engines, with on both sides floats of bamboo that take care of the stability. The Bangka is the main form of transport on water
  • Scooter
    Rent a scooter and explore the surroundings of El Nido. A nice trip you could take with your scooter is to ride to Nacpan. Scooter rentals costs between 500 and 650 pesos. With a full tank, you can ride a full day. I hired a scooter, filled up the tank and went to the beach of Nacpan. When I hand the scooter in, the tank was still half full. A full tank is 150 pesos.
  • Tricycle
    The tricycle is the main form of transport for short distances on land. The price is usually fixed, but make sure that you know what it approximately should be. They may try and haggle for you to pay more. For rides within the centre, it would cost between 20-50 pesos. From the airport to the centre, 200 pesos.

Places

The municipality El Nido is big. When you book accommodation in El Nido you can easily be an hour’s drive away from the centre. In order to make a good choice, it’s important to know the different places, what you want to visit and where you want to stay overnight.

bacuit bay islands

  • Bacuit archipelago
    El Nido is located on the bay of Bacuit. The Bacuit Bay consists of approximately 45 islands. Most islands are available to visit. The Bacuit archipelago is ideally suited to go island hopping. The Bacuit archipelago offers travellers a wide range of activities including kayaking, surfing, snorkelling, diving, swimming and of course relaxing on one of the more than 50 sandy beaches. This is the attraction! It is possible to stay overnight in one of the resorts or you can camp on an island.
  • Caalan
    Caalan is about a 15-minute walk from the centre. It’s quiet and not as developed. There’s a beach but that consists mainly of a combination of sand, coral and stones. A good place if you’re looking for peace and ease. I did stay here for one week (Caalan beach resort). A good experience! Disadvantage are that there’s no sandy beach and that the tricycles bring and pick up from the centre only till 22:00pm.
  • Corong Corong
    Corong Corong is also about a 15-minute walk from the centre. Great eateries and close to the place from which the island hop tours depart. The beach is not very special. It’s busier than Caalan.
  • Dolarog, Las Cabanas and Marimegmeg beach
    When you want to be able to walk from your accommodation to the beach and you still want to be close to the centre, then I would recommend finding a spot here. Here you come across more young people and it’s somewhat busier. When you’re looking for sun, sea, beach and other people, this is a good choice!
  • Duli beach, Nacpan beach and Verde Safari
    These are the beautiful beaches! When you are looking for tranquillity, nature and beautiful beaches, this would be a good choice. It’s far from the hustle and bustle of the city centre. This also means that there are less facilities (restaurants, luxury accommodations, activities). When you don’t find these things as important, you get some beautiful beaches instead!
  • El Nido City
    El Nido city is a starting point for most travellers. From here you can take part in various tours, including the popular island hop tours. In addition, El Nido city offers accommodation for an affordable price and entertainment. In the city, you can relax with a drink, enjoy live music and maybe even hit the dance floor.
  • San Fernando
    In the north, you’ll find the small hamlet of San Fernando. You can opt for a simple cottage or QI resort. This place is far away from the centre and associated facilities.
  • Sibaltan
    A popular eco destination, situated on the east coast of El Nido. Here you’ll find Ursula Beach Club and Tapik Beach Park. Nice and quiet, few facilities, but perfect to enjoy the nature!

big lagoon

Points of Interest

  • Big Lagoon
    The Big lagoon is one of the highlights during your visit in El Nido. This impressive lagoon is located on the island Miniloc and is part of tour A. The boat takes you to the entrance of the lagoon. From here you can stroll to the inner part of the lagoon (until the water is too deep and you are unable to continue your walk). You can also rent a kayak or go swimming. My advice would be to rent a kayak, to quietly explore the lagoon. It would be ideal to visit the lagoon with few other tourists to be able to enjoy the beauty of the nature. Unfortunately, this isn’t always possible. With a kayak, you can you choose to go to a place in the lagoon that’s less crowded. Photos taken in this place are stunning!
  • Hidden Beach
    The beach of Hidden beach is hidden behind a rock wall and you can only get there through a hole in one of the rocks. This unique beach is located on Matinloc island and is part of tour C. In 2017, this place was part of the film set for the Survivor, so it was closed for tourists. This beach is certainly worth a visit!
  • Nacpan
    The beach of Nacpan is known as one of the most beautiful beaches of Palawan and be prepared for that expectation to come true! Rent a scooter in El Nido and ride in approximately 40 minutes to the beach! Napcan beach hasn’t yet developed, so don’t expect trendy beach houses or luxury resorts. Here, everything is basic which adds to the great charm of this amazing beach. When you are visiting El Nido, a visit to Nacpan can’t be lacked.
  • Secret Lagoon
    The Secret Lagoon is, likewise the Big and the Small lagoon located on Miniloc and is part of tour A. In my opinion, you either love it or hate it. This has everything to do with the number of visitors. The Secret lagoon is not as large as the other two lagoons on the island. The lagoon is completely walled by high limestone cliffs. Through an opening in the rock wall, you’ll be able to reach the lagoon. When you visit the lagoon during rush hour, like I did, there’s a queue of people within and on the outside of the lagoon. This, for me, takes away the charm of a secret lagoon. When you go here while there are very few tourists, this is an absolutely beautiful place, which you definitely shouldn’t miss! Don’t forget to bring your water shoes!
  • Small Lagoon
    Another highlight is Small lagoon, also located on Miniloc. This lagoon as well, is one of the natural attractions of island hopping tour A. Through a hole in the rocks you reach the inner part of the small lagoon. A stunning place. The contrast of the blue air, the green vegetation and the emerald coloured water make this place very special. Good to know that, here as well, it can be crowded. This means that you can’t park your boat and need to swim towards or rent a kayak. I choosed to go swimming, which I soon regretted, due to the many people on the water paddling their kayaks. There were a lot of sharp objects under water and I even got bitten by a fish, several times! Therefore, I would take a kayak next time. The lagoon certainly is worth the effort and is together with the Big lagoon the highlight of tour A. Not to be missed!
  • Snake Island
    Snake island, also known as Vigan Island, are two islands which are connected by a thin strip of sand. This sand bank comes up above water during tide and when you look from above, has the shape of a snake. Hence the name Snake Island. A nice place to go for a picnic and to walk from one to the other island.

What to do in El Nido

In El Nido you have the choice of a large number of activities. Below I describe three of the most popular ones, which are island hopping, diving excursions and beach holidays.

nacpan beach el nido

Island Hopping

What can’t be missed during your stay in El Nido is Island Hopping. There’s the choice of four tours. Before you go, think of what islands, beaches and lagoons you want to visit and from there, pick a suitable tour. Also remember that the most popular tour is tour A and that when you go for tour D, there will be less tourists. You can also choose to rent a boat, so you are free to explore the Bacuit archipelago. The following tours are offered:

  • Tour A: 1200 pesos
    If this is your winner, you’ll visit and explore several lagoons around Miniloc, including the Big lagoon, the Small lagoon and the Secret lagoon. You’ll visit the Seven Command beach and there lunch will be serve on Shimizu island. This tour will be dedicated to kayaking, snorkelling and the visits to the lagoons
  • Tour B: 1300 pesos
    If you opt for tour B you’ll visit two caves, the Cudugnon and the Cathedral Cave. Next to that, the tour goes along Lagen island and Vigan and Pinasil island will be visited. Lunch will be served and there are plenty of opportunities to go snorkelling.
  • Tour C: 1400 pesos
    This tour will take you to some stunningly beautiful beaches including Secret and Hidden beach. They come across Matinloc, Tapiutan and Dilumacad Island, one by one beautiful islands. This tour is dedicated to adventure on and in the water
  • Package D: 1200 pesos
    This tour is particularly dominated by Cadlao island. On this island are several beautiful beaches including Wet-wet and Paradise Beach. In addition, the tour goes to the small Bukal island and Cadlao has a fantastic lagoon. This tour is focussed on water activities and the beach.

diving el nido pufferfish

Diving excursion

In addition to the magnificent nature above water, El Nido offers an underwater paradise. Around El Nido there are more than 30 dive sites of different levels. This means: plenty to explore for every diver. Especially the months March to May are ideal for diving because in this period the sea is calmest and the visibility under water is more than thirty meters. Below you’ll find my top three, although I found the diving at Cadlao (Nat-Nat) and helicopter island (Dilumacad) very impresive too. Especially because of the big chance on encountering turtles!

  • South Miniloc Reef
    This is a known dive site because Jacques Cousteau has dived here. Here you can admire some impressive Cabbage coral gardens. As well as a school of Snappers.
  • North rock
    This was an amazing dive site, according to my experience. There was a large school of Jacks, a nice passage between two rocks and many other animals. It’s said that this place offers the greatest chance on encountering larger fish including Manta Rays, Rif sharks and Whale sharks. The period between November and December would best suited for this.
  • Twin rock
    This dive site owes its name to the two rocks which protrude from the sea. Twin rocks is located near the Small lagoon and is known for the great chance to come across stingrays. The riff here as well, is in very good condition.

Beach Holiday

El Nido is of course very suitable for having a beach holiday. Although, you kind of have to know where to go, as the beach at El Nido town isn’t particularly great. Below three options:

  • Beaches in the Bacuit Bay
    Looking for beautiful beaches: the Bacuit bay is the place to be. Many of the 45 islands are blessed with one or several beautiful beaches with soft white sand, imposing mountains, palm trees and a clear blue sea. Some of the best sellers are: Papaya beach, seven Commando beach, Paradise beach, Dilumacad beach, Star beach, Hidden beach and Entalula beach. These are best visited with day trips. If you want to spend the night, that’s possible. You have the choice of either luxury resorts or camping. On some of the beaches of Cadlao, (on Ipil beach and Papaya beach) you can camp. Keep in mind, because you’re located on an island, your facilities are limited.
  • Beaches on the south side of El Nido
    When you want to make use of the facilities in town, looking for accommodation close to the beach and want a bit of luxury, then Marimegmeg, Las Cabanas and Dolarong are for you. Here you can relax a full day on the beach and go in town for one of the various dining options at night.
  • Beaches on the north side of El Nido
    The north of El Nido has a number of beautiful beaches. The most famous (and most beautiful) is Nacpan, but also Duli and Verde safari are wonderful. On the east coast at Tapic and Ursula you can have a great time. When you choose one of these beaches, it means that you’re very far from El Nido, which then means, the facilities here are limited. Here you have splendid beaches which, especially in the morning or in the evening, only you can enjoy if you stay here!

Restaurants

The advantage of your stay close to the centre of El Nido is the choice of many restaurants. Most of the restaurants are located at Calle Hama and Serena Street. In El Nido you have a big choice in restaurants, most of them with an Italian cuisine, including pizza and pasta. The best pizza you’ll find is at Altrove. This restaurant is so popular that you shouldn’t be surprised when there’s a half-hour (or longer) wait. The pizzas and pastas are very tasty! Definitely worth the wait! For tasty pastas, you can also go to Mezzanine. This as well is a popular place to eat. When you decide to have dinner here, I’d recommend you to book in advance, because it’s usually fully booked. The Art Café serves next to pizzas and pastas many other dishes.

Besides Italian, El Nido is a great place to find dishes from the French cuisine. Recommended: La Plage in Corong Corong, a trendy beach restaurant with delicious food. In addition to the food, you also get a beautiful sunset. L’Assiette and La Salangane as well serve amazing food. Another great place goes under the name Republica Sunset Bar. Which, as the name suggests, provides you with a spectacular sunset. Order some deliciousness from the Spanish cuisine such as tapas or Paellas, go for a sublime cocktail and enjoy a beautiful sunset. The best meal I’d eaten was at the Happiness bar. The serve amazing falafel, made from fresh ingredients and the hummus here as well, is highly recommended.

Furthermore, you’ll find many fish restaurants that prepare freshly caught fish. When you’re staying in El Nido for a few days, try to go to Corong Corong to enjoy a meal with a beautiful sunset and a spend a night somewhere on Calle Hama or the Serena Street. My top recommendations are Altrove, Happiness bar and La Plage.

Accommodation

Facilities
When you’re in El Nido only for a short stay and you intend to make a few tours in the Bacuit archipelago, then I would suggest for you to find accommodation near the centre. Here you have a large choice of restaurants, tours and dive shops. When you think a hot water shower and Wi-Fi is important, you need to specifically search for this. I have spoken to travellers that after a few days, wouldn’t mind a good signal or a warm shower. On the other hand, it can be very nice to not be online for a while. One of my recommendations would be Calaan beach resort: hot shower and high-speed internet access. When you opt for a luxury resort, there are of course more facilities.

Location
Bacuit archipelago
A luxury stay on an island resort with a lot of facilities? No problem! In the Bacuit archipelago there are several island resorts in which you are immersed in luxury. When your budget allows it, I would definitely go to one of the El Nido resorts. Here, you’re staying in the middle of the Bacuit archipelago allowing you to enjoy the nature intensely without having to take care of anything yourself!
Calaan
When you are looking for peace and quietness, Caalan is an excellent choice. For dining you do need to go to the city centre. This walk will take approximately 10 to 15-minutes. For the beach, I wouldn’t stay here.
Corong Corong
Nice location with lovely eateries. When the centre is too busy and Calaan too quiet, this is a good choice. Many tours depart from Corong Corong.
Dolarog, Las Cabanas and Marimegmeg
This is the choice if you want a beach holiday close to the city centre. There is a great beach on which you can relax perfectly. It’s usually somewhat busier with other tourists. At night, you can make your way towards the city with a tricycle for a bite to eat.
El Nido Center
When you are looking for cheap accommodation and night life than the centre is your place to be. All facilities are nearby. It doesn’t really have a beach and it could be noisy in the evening and during the night
North of El Nido
The north-west side is known for its beautiful beaches. The most beautiful is Nacpan, but also Duli and Verde Safari stand out! There’s no luxury accommodation, nor great facilities. Also, the center of El Nido is too far away for dinner. What you do find here though are simple cottages, beautiful beaches and stunning nature. The north-east of El Nido is an eco-destination. Getting away from it all and enjoying the nature: this is the place for you! Here applies: the centre is far away and the facilities are scarce.

Beach
When you are looking for accommodation on the beach, you have a few options:

Option one: a luxury resort on an island in the Bacuit archipelago.
When your budget lets you, you can stay here on a beautiful beach. Excellent choice for the luxury traveller.

Option two: Camping on an island in the Bacuit archipelago.
For a little less money as well, you can spend the night on one of the islands in the archipelago. Camping on a unique spot!

Option three: stay in the north of El Nido.
Top beaches, few facilities. The north-west coast of El Nido has the best beaches. The south-west coast eco and luxury with QI!

Option four: to stay on the beach of Dolarog, Las Cabanas or Marimegmeg.
When you are looking for a beach holiday with many other people, this could be something for you! Cozy Beach, not spectecular.

Top 5 (Alphabetical)

Luxury

  • Cadlao resort
  • Lagen resort
  • Miniloc resort
  • Pangulasian resort
  • Qi resort

Price/quality

  • Caalan beach resort or Angel Nido resort (Calaan)
  • Duli beach resort, Ursula beach Club, Tapik beach park and Santeria (north of El Nido)
  • El Nido overlooking or Mahogany beach resort (Corong Corong)
  • Sea Cocoon or Spin designer hostel (centre)
  • The Birdhouse (Las Cabanas)

Advice and recommendation

If you’re planning on a holiday to El Nido, there are a few things you need to consider to prevent yourself from discomfort during your stay.

  • Take mosquito spray/deet with you or an anti-mosquito spray. Also available in El Nido.
  • Do not drink tap water. Order filtered water (in a sealed bottle). Even think about iced drinks, make sure that ice cubes are made from filtered water as well.
  • Be aware of toxic underwater animals. Some poisonous animals are: jellyfish, coral, sea snakes, stone fish, scorpionfish, lionfish and sea cucumber.
  • Protect your feet against toxic animals, sharp stones and coral when you’re walking or going in the water. A step in a sea urchin is very painful.
  • Protect your skin against harmful UV radiation. Even though it’s cloudy. The sun can be very bright.
  • Take the weather into account. When it’s raining or windy, sometimes, tours can’t depart or continue. Plan for those days a day at the waterfalls.
  • There are quite a few cloudy days in El Nido in december/januari. Ideal in addition to the (sunbathing)heat, less ideal for photographing a white island with a blue sky.
  • You can get cash out in the town of El Nido, but please note, that there’s a maximum amount. When you don’t succeed, it’s often not the ATM itself, but the (too high) amount that you’re trying to get out. With my creditcard i could get 20.000 pesos out of the ATM, with my debit card only 5000 pesos was possible. There are a few banks in El Nido and credit cards are only accepted in a few places, so bringing cash is recommended. There are some exchange offices but only change foreign money and travellers checks at a higher rate than most other places.
  • I heard many people complain about poor Wi-Fi. If this is important to you, keep this in mind. Caalan Beach offers the best wifi in town.
  • You must pay 200 pesos environmental load (EDTF). This is valid for 10 days.