El Nido is an island untouched by civilization and impressive cliffs rising above the azure sea surface. Salangan swifts live in their crevices, whose nests (nido in Spanish) are considered a culinary delicacy in many Asian countries. And it is also snow-white wild beaches, fringing the cleanest lagoons with fishing boats rocking on them, and a relatively small number of tourists.
The fact is that the road here is long and difficult, and the north of Palawan remains a place with underdeveloped infrastructure: electricity is supplied intermittently, the Internet is very slow, and there are no ATMs. In addition, El Nido can hardly be called a budget resort – most wealthy travelers settle in luxurious hotel complexes, often occupying entire islands.
How to get to El Nido
According to wholevehicles, El Nido has its own airport, but there are no direct flights from Moscow, you will have to fly through Manila. Air Swift flies from Manila Airport to El Nido, the ticket costs 7200 PHP, the journey takes 1 hour 05 minutes. El Nido Airport is located 4 km from the city. The tricycle ride takes 15 minutes and costs 250 PHP.
Some get to Puerto Princesa first. Arriving at Palawan ‘s main air harbor, you need to take a tricycle for 65 PHP to the San Jose bus station. From there, Roro buses leave for El Nido every 2 hours (with air conditioning 370 PHP, without – 280 PHP, travel time 6-8 hours).
Tricycles run along El Nido itself, acting as a taxi here. Within the town the fare is 10 PHP per person. Independent travelers can rent a scooter for a few days. A day costs from 500 PHP. Fuel will pull another 100-150 PHP per day.
El Nido Hotels
There are a lot of hotels in El Nido, everyone will choose the option that suits the location and price. The simplest ones will cost 500 PHP (double room in a small guesthouse) or 440 PHP for a bed in a hostel up to 10,000 PHP and more for a stylish room with a balcony and a sea view.
Most accommodation options are located parallel to the coastal highway, a few dozen meters from the sea. The most expensive are located on the islands, at the disposal of tourists is a small, but practically uninhabited piece of land. For example, Lagen Island Resort and Miniloc Island Resort operate on Lagen and Miniloc, respectively.
There are no ATMs in El Nido, so it is better to come with cash (exchange or withdraw from a card in Manila or Puerto Princesa). You can unofficially cash out at gas stations and travel agencies.
There are over 10 beaches in El Nido. All of them are sandy and very shallow, which is why they are not very suitable for swimming. Almost everyone rents kayaks (700-800 PHP per day), and you can borrow a sun lounger for free, or take an inexpensive (100-150 PHP) cocktail at the bar. One of the most popular is Caalan Beach located to the west of El Nido Town (GPS coordinates: 11.188686, 119.394965). It is also shallow and with a rocky bottom. There is a promenade along the beach, where you can move on foot or by scooter.
The beach of Barangay-Korong-Korong, about 2 km long, is also shallow. But for children, the depth is more than enough. During the first 50-100 m, stones and algae are observed in the sea, it is better to wear special shoes. The beach is popular because it is located 200 meters from the bus station, so the main part of its visitors are locals who, in addition to swimming, also fish here.
Korong Korong Beach is one of the best places to watch sunsets.
The coastline of Seven Commando Beach (2 km from Corong Corong) allows you to enjoy swimming even at low tide. There are sun loungers (free with the purchase of a drink), gazebos, bars. At the northern end there is a hotel with a good restaurant. A little further south are Marimegmeg and Las Cabanas (GPS coordinates: 11.147792, 119.397151). Marimegmeg is considered one of the best beaches in the resort. There is a restaurant with affordable prices, and kayak rentals. Las Cabanas is actually a wild coast – for romantics and lovers of a relaxing holiday.
From El Nido to Corong Corong Beach you can drive for 10-20 PHP, to Las Cabanas – for 120-150 PHP.
Cuisine and restaurants
Cafes in El Nido are very similar to each other: almost all of them are located on the beach, with tables on the terrace or right on the sand. There are also several European restaurants, the most popular of which is El Nido Boutique & Artcafe. A typical meal is baked fish with vegetables or meat with garlic and vinegar. Shrimp pasta is also in trend. The most popular dessert, as elsewhere in Palawan, is halo halo, a traditional sweet made from crushed ice mixed with fruit and condensed milk.
The cost of dinner for two is 400-500 PHP with alcohol. In El Nido, there are also enough simple fast food eateries with pancakes with Nutella and bananas for 90-100 PHP.
Things to do
In addition to the beaches, El Nido attracts tourists with breathtaking scenery. The main attractions are lagoons with clear water and beautiful coral reefs, “unloaded” beaches. And, of course, the islands of Bacuit and El Nido bays. They are best explored with a hired boat. During the day, a vessel that can accommodate 8-15 people visits 4-5 islands.
In general, the resort and its surroundings can be explored by driving along one of 4 routes: A, B, C, D. Each trip costs 1400-1600 PHP, this amount includes lunch, transfers and snorkeling equipment. The tour can be booked in advance online on the websites of travel agencies or bought on the spot: at the tourist offices or right at the pier, asking the boaters if there are empty seats.
- Tour A: Small Lagoon, Large Lagoon, Secret Lagoon, Shimizu Island, Seven Commandos Beach.
- Tour B: Snake Island, Pinagbuyutan Island, Entanula Beach, Kudunyon Cave.
- Tour C: Helicopter Island, Matinloc Shrine, Secret Beach, Star Beach, Hidden Beach.
- Tour D: Ipil Beach, Cadlao Lagoon, Paradise Beach, Pasandigan Beach, Natnat Beach, Bukal Beach.