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Ultimate Guide to El Nido

Guide to El Nido

Where to work?

Our recommendation is:

Find a comfortable working space like Clock In El Nido which is on the ground floor of Hotel Covo. The coworking space is open 24 hrs Mon-Fri and 9am-9pm on weekends. Most co-working spaces in El Nido have free fast wifi and a cafe of some sort within their vicinity.

How about working in a cafe or restaurant; some eateries in El Nido has wifi for their paying customers like Art Cafe. Art Cafe is a boutique filled with everything you need, from souvenirs to lunch food. The on-stop-shop offers free high speed wifi for their customers so you are able work at the cafe with not only good internet, but also with a good view.

The next best thing would be making sure your accommodation has good wifi before arriving. Majority of accommodation now days provide free wifi, however, it’s a matter of how fast it is, as most would have wifi that can only handle the basic work load.

Where to stay?

If you stay in El Nido just for a night or two:

For those seeking a vibrant atmosphere, staying in El Nido Town itself is ideal. Here, travelers can easily access restaurants, bars, and shops while being close to the bustling activity of the town center. Alternatively, for a more serene experience surrounded by pristine beaches and stunning landscapes, the areas of Corong-Corong and Marimegmeg Beach are perfect. These areas offer a range of accommodations, from cozy beachfront cottages to luxurious resorts, all with breathtaking views of the sunset over Bacuit Bay. For those yearning for an off-the-grid retreat, the secluded beaches of Nacpan and Duli provide a tranquil escape from the crowds, with options for beachfront camping or eco-lodges nestled in the lush jungle. Whether you’re a solo traveler seeking adventure or a couple in search of romance, El Nido caters to every preference, promising an unforgettable stay amidst its natural beauty and charm.

Consider boutique accommodations like Coco Resort or Matinloc Resort, which offer stunning views of the Bacuit Bay and luxurious amenities for a memorable escape. Alternatively, bed-and-breakfast options such as Spin Designer Hostel or Sea Cocoon Hotel provide cozy and budget-friendly stays while still being close to the town center and attractions. Lastly, for a unique experience, book a stay in one of the charming beachfront cottages at El Nido Resorts – Lagen Island, where you can enjoy serene surroundings and access to pristine beaches.

Stay for a week or longer:

For accessibility, I recommend you stay in the town of El Nido. This is where the largest settlement is in the area where you can find the most shops and eateries. This is where you’d least expect where the budget friendly accommodations are since it will be in the middle of everything but I can assure you, if you’re staying for more than a few days, you should try finding somewhere in El Nido Town.

If you are traveling with family, Corong Corong Beach is a recommended place to stay. You can enjoy a long quite beach and plenty of activities the family will love. This is also one of the easy access areas if you decide to go island hopping which is one of the activities you can’t miss if you’re in the area.

Marinmeng beach is one of the areas I would recommend if you want to have that constant amazing view of the sunset and activity hungry. From here there are bountiful activities from paddleboarding to beach bar hopping. It is the best location to stay if you want to take up diving as there is a diving school around the area.

For an affordable week-long or longer stay in El Nido, consider budget-friendly options such as Mad Monkey Hostel, offering dormitory-style accommodations with vibrant social atmospheres. Alternatively, check out Sei Nazioni Cottages for cozy and budget-friendly cottages just a short walk from the beach, perfect for extended stays without breaking the bank. For a more immersive experience, consider staying at Casa Cecilia, a guesthouse offering affordable rooms with a local touch, located in the heart of El Nido town or Balai Adlao for a private, peaceful resort.

What to do?

Stay in town: One of the best places to observe El Nido Beach is on Taraw Peak – if you’re up for the hike that is. The hike up will take around 45mins – 1 hr depending on how fast you climb to the cliff and if you are thinking about doing this trail, I recommend waking up early to catch the sunrise at the peak.

What El Nido is really known for is its island hopping destination, the various hidden beaches and hidden lagoons you can visit (as long as the weather conditions allow it) and of course zip lining through the islands. One experience I recommend you try is kayaking from your boat to the Small Lagoon where you can get off on the shallow part of the lagoon and taking stunning pictures.

By Bus;

Puerto Princesa*: About 5.5-7hrs from El Nido Transport Terminal. Once you get to Puerto Princesa, of course there is still Island Hopping as an activity but time to try something new? One of the places I recommend visiting is the Crocodile Farm which is also a wildlife rescue and conservation center; you can stroll around viewing the crocodiles of various shapes and sizes and also some endangered animals which the center homes. If you get a chance to, they have some animals that they allow you to pet, carry and take pictures with. You can also take the Underground River tour which was formerly part of the Seven Wonders of the World. They will take you to the island where the National Park is and after a few minutes board walk you reach the turquoise river where you wait your turn to get onto a boat for your tour into the underground river where you get to see wondrous rock formations.

By Ferry:

Coron*: If the Island Hopping in EL Nido wasn’t enough, why not try Coron, one of the other popular spots in Palawan. To get there you can choose between a fast or slow boat and depending on which you choose, the duration of your journey can be between 4-8hrs and cost 2-3,500 Pesos.

Once you’re there you can start exploring the WWII shipwrecks or take a dive at Barracuda Lake which is a highly recommended activity when you’re in Coron.

Where to eat?

Of course, that highly depends on where you stay.

The Town of El Nido is where most people stay for accessibility so this is where I’m going to focus.

There aren’t any typical indoor, airconed malls per say in El Nido but they have opened their first ‘mall strip’ on Vanilla Beach that is made of local shops and restaurants to browse through. After taking a peak in their shops and filling yourself up, you can take a stroll along the white sand beach upfront.

If uniqueness is what you’re going for, a must try delicacy in Palawan that you must try when you’re in El Nido is Tamilk. Now this famous food is not for the faint hearted, more for the strong gutted as this dish is made from wood worms found in the mangrove trees of the area.

Most of the food places in El Nido, if not Filipino food, are going to be European-Asian. If you’re looking for restaurants to eat at, you’ll most likely end up in an establishment that serves either Indian, Spanish or Italian dishes.

For vegans / vegetarian diets:

If a vegan friendly place is what you’re looking for, Taste El Nido is the place to go; it is a vegan cafe that serves dishes ranging from healthy bowls to vegan lasagnes. With a friendly atmosphere and aesthetic presentation.

If you were looking for something more heavy, Big Bad Thai provides vegetarian options in their menu. They have various rice, noodle and side dishes to choose from; their price is in the mid range which is good since they have a wonderful view of the sea view.

Like a local:

Angel Wish is a local eatery on the beach that specializes in Filipino and seafood dishes. If you want to taste local El Nido Filipino dishes, this is where you should go. I must warn you though, if you’re not a fan of spicy dishes, let the servers know beforehand because they do tend to like their spices on some dishes.

For a date / with a view:

If you’re looking to end your day with a Mediterranean vibe by the El Nido sea, Bella Vita is the place to go. They serve Italian and Mediterranean dishes that can be paired with one of their stunning cocktail drinks; I highly recommend trying at least one of their pizzas as they are to die for. Not only do you get a wonderful view and tasty food but their price range is also within the budget ranging from 60-600 Pesos.

How to get to El Nido from: MANILA!

  1. Flight: The fastest way to reach El Nido from Manila is by taking a domestic flight. Several airlines operate daily flights from Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) to El Nido Airport (ENI). Flight durations are typically around 1 hour and 20 minutes. Once you arrive at El Nido Airport, you can take a tricycle or van to reach your accommodation in El Nido town. An Alternative flight route will be from NAIA to Puerto Princesa (PPS) and then taking a private transfer to El Nido which will be talked about below.

  2. Bus and Ferry: If you prefer a more scenic route, you can take a bus from Manila to the port town of Puerto Princesa, which takes approximately 18-20 hours. From Puerto Princesa, you can then take a ferry or fast craft to El Nido, which usually takes around 4-5 hours depending on sea conditions. This option is more time-consuming but can be more budget-friendly.

  3. Private Transfer: Some travel agencies and hotels offer private van transfers from Puerto Princesa to El Nido. This option provides convenience and comfort, as you’ll be transported directly to your accommodation in El Nido without having to worry about multiple modes of transportation. If you want to book this through an agency, you can search up ‘PPS to El Nido Van Transfers’ on Facebook or on Google. Generally this costs between 500-650 Pesos per person or 5,000-6,000 Pesos if you want the whole van to yourselves.

Regardless of which option you choose, it’s advisable to book your transportation in advance, especially during peak travel seasons, to ensure availability and smooth travel arrangements. Additionally, always check for any travel restrictions or requirements, such as COVID-19 protocols, before planning your trip.


How to get to El Nido from: CLARK!

  1. By Air: The most direct option is to fly from Clark International Airport (CRK) to Puerto Princesa International Airport (PPS), which is the nearest major airport to El Nido. Several airlines operate flights between Clark and Puerto Princesa, including Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific. Flight duration is approximately 1.5 to 2 hours.

  2. From Puerto Princesa to El Nido: Upon arriving at Puerto Princesa International Airport, you’ll need to travel overland to reach El Nido, as there are no direct flights from Clark to El Nido. The most common way to travel from Puerto Princesa to El Nido is by van or bus. Vans are the faster option, with a travel time of around 5 to 6 hours, while buses take longer, typically around 6 to 8 hours. You can find vans and buses at the airport or arrange for transportation through your accommodation.

  3. Alternative Routes: If you prefer not to fly, you can also consider traveling by land and sea. However, this option involves multiple transfers and takes much longer. You would need to take a bus or shuttle from Clark to Manila, then travel from Manila to Batangas Port. From Batangas Port, you can catch a ferry to Puerto Galera, where you can then take another ferry to Caticlan. Finally, from Caticlan, you can travel by van or bus to El Nido. This route is more time-consuming and complex, so it’s generally not recommended unless you’re looking for an adventure and have plenty of time to spare.

Overall, flying from Clark to Puerto Princesa and then taking a van or bus to El Nido is the most convenient and efficient way to travel between these destinations. Make sure to check flight and transportation schedules in advance to plan your journey accordingly.


How to get to El Nido from: CEBU!

  1. Flight: The fastest way to reach El Nido from Cebu is by taking a direct flight. Check for flights from Mactan-Cebu International Airport (CEB) to El Nido Airport (ENI) operated by airlines such as AirSwift. These flights typically take around 1 hour and 15 minutes.

  2. Flight via Puerto Princesa: If there are no direct flights available or if you prefer a cheaper option, you can fly from Cebu Airport to Puerto Princesa Airport (PPS), which is the nearest major airport to El Nido. From Puerto Princesa, you can then take a van or bus to El Nido. The van ride takes approximately 5 to 6 hours, while the bus may take longer.

  3. Ferry and Bus/Van: Another option is to take a ferry from Cebu to Palawan, usually docking at the port of Puerto Princesa. From there, you can proceed to take a bus or van to El Nido. However, this option is more time-consuming and may not be as convenient as flying.

How to get to El Nido from: DAVAO!

  1. Flight from Davao to Puerto Princesa: Start by booking a flight from Davao Airport (Francisco Bangoy International Airport) to Puerto Princesa Airport (Puerto Princesa International Airport). Several airlines operate flights on this route, including Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, and AirAsia. The flight duration is approximately 1.5 to 2 hours.

  2. Transfer from Puerto Princesa to El Nido: Upon arrival at Puerto Princesa Airport, you have several options to reach El Nido, which is approximately 230 kilometers away:

    • By Van: Van transfers are a popular and convenient option. Several companies operate van services from Puerto Princesa to El Nido. The journey takes around 5 to 6 hours, depending on traffic and road conditions. You can book van tickets in advance through travel agencies or at the airport.

    • By Bus: There are also public buses that ply the route between Puerto Princesa and El Nido. This option is more budget-friendly but may take longer due to multiple stops along the way. Buses depart from San Jose Terminal in Puerto Princesa and take around 6 to 8 hours to reach El Nido.

    • By Private Transfer: If you prefer a more personalized and flexible option, you can arrange for a private car or van transfer from Puerto Princesa to El Nido through various tour operators or transport companies. This option allows you to travel at your own pace and make stops at scenic spots along the way.


Once you Arrive:

  1. Hotel Transfers: Many hotels and resorts in El Nido offer airport transfers as part of their services. It’s advisable to check with your accommodation beforehand to see if they provide this option. If they do, they may arrange for a van or car to pick you up directly from the airport and take you to your hotel. Once you reach El Nido, you’ll be dropped off at the town center or your chosen accommodation, depending on your arrangement.

  2. Tricycle/Motorcycle Taxi: Tricycles and motorcycle taxis are a common mode of transportation in Siargao. Once you exit the airport terminal, you’ll find tricycles and motorcycle drivers offering rides to various destinations on the island. Negotiate a fare with the driver and inform them on the location that you want to go to. While this option is cheaper than a private transfer, it may not be as comfortable, especially if you have a lot of luggage. Tricycles are suitable for shorter distances within town, while motorcycle taxis are more convenient for reaching destinations farther away or along rough roads.

  3. Public Transportation: Public transportation options in El Nido include tricycles, multicabs (small jeepneys), and buses. Tricycles are readily available and can be hailed from the roadside. Multicabs and buses operate on specific routes and schedules, primarily serving destinations outside the town center. If you’re traveling to nearby barangays or attractions, you can inquire about the nearest terminal or pick-up point for these public vehicles.

  4. Renting a Scooter or Motorbike: For travelers who prefer independent exploration, renting a scooter or motorbike is a popular option in El Nido. Several rental shops in the town offer scooters and motorbikes for daily or weekly rates. This allows you the freedom to explore the area at your own pace and venture to more remote beaches and viewpoints.

  5. Walking: If your accommodation is within walking distance from the town center, consider walking as a convenient and eco-friendly option. El Nido town is relatively compact, and many hotels, restaurants, and attractions are within a reasonable walking distance. If you’re looking for places to eat as well, make sure to do your research because there could be a food hub just walking distance from you, which could save you the money from taking a tricycle.

Whichever mode of transportation you choose, always prioritize safety and verify the fare or rental terms before proceeding.