El Nido was voted as one of the three Philippines beaches which was able to be in the CNN’s top 100 beaches in the world. It is the number 14th on this list. This news adds to my excitement in visiting this part of Palawan. Luckily, I was able to get a promo fare from Zest Air last May 2013 which cost me only P2,225 for a round trip fare for two persons already to Puerto Princesa. That is P1,112.50 only for a round trip fare with Terminal fee included already! With this promo, I booked immediately for travel on the last week of May 2013.
El Nido is a small first class municipality in the Northeast of Puerto Princesa, Palawan. It is situated in Bacuit Bay which houses 45 islands and islets, each has their own unique geological formations. Everywheremag even nicknamed El Nido as “Heaven on Earth”.
How to go to El Nido, Palawan
We got an early morning Zest Air flight to Puerto Princesa which is suitable when traveling to El Nido. The plane arrived on time around 9:30 AM which enables us to catch the 11AM air-conditioned bus. We paid P100 for the tricycle from airport to the terminal of RORO Bus at San Jose Terminal, near the public market. We chose to travel bus to El Nido since we think that it is more comfortable to travel than bus. Also, the bus leaves on time unlike the vans which picks up several passengers all over Puerto Princesa before leaving. It took us 6 hours to reach El Nido.
Guides on travelling to El Nido:
The easiest and fastest way to El Nido is via ITI – ISLAND TRANSVOYAGER, INC. which lands directly to El Nido Airport. They have 3 flights daily (Morning, Midday, and Afternoon) which takes a maximum of 90 minutes. Fare is around P6000-7000 one way.
If you are on budget, you can reach El Nido via Puerto Princesa. Most airlines in the Philippines flies to Puerto Princesa daily like Cebu Pacific, PAL Express, Zest Air, Air Asia, and Tiger Airways. You can score cheap fares for as low as P600 one way.
From Puerto Princesa
Travel via Van
There are air-conditioned vans travelling from Puerto Princesa daily at 7AM and 11AM. Fare is around P600 one way. If you want a more comfortable and bigger leg room, you can travel via Daytripper executive van/coach which charges around P800-900. Travel time is around 5-6 hours.
Travel via Bus
There are also busses that are travelling directly to El Nido from Puerto Princesa. RORO Bus is travelling to El Nido almost every hour and you have choices of air-conditioned or ordinary bus. Bus fare for airconditioned bus is P428 one way. Travel time with bus is around 6 hours. The bus stops over at Roxas and Taytay.
Bus leaves San Jose Terminal starting 4:00 AM. There is a bus leaving every hour with air-conditioned buses leaves at 6:00 AM, 10:00 AM, 2:00 PM, 6:00 PM, and 10:00 PM. For booking and reservations, you can contact Globe: 0917 597 1198; Smart : 0908 920 2568; Sun 0922 890 1044.
Bus from El Nido to Puerto Princesa
In going back to Puerto Princesa from El Nido, bus leaves El Nido Terminal starting 4:00 AM. The terminal is located at the public market. There is a bus leaving every hour with air-conditioned buses leaves at 6:00 AM, 10:00 AM, 2:00 PM, 6:00 PM, and 10:00 PM. For booking and reservations, you can contact 0998 184 6761.
I saw several agencies offering sea travel to Coron while we were at El Nido. So I am assuming there are boats also from Coron to El Nido. The fare from El Nido to Coron is P1800. Fare should be the same on the way back.
Where to stay in El Nido
There are a lot of accommodation in El Nido that would suit your preference. Since it is my first time in El Nido, I trusted the reviews from TripAdvisor. I then chose Entalula. It is ranked 8 in El Nido for B&B and Inns category. I then reserved a standard room for P2,000 per night. It is an air-conditioned room but no TV. The bathroom is very small particularly its shower area. Also, what irritates me is that sounds can be easily heard even inside the room. This will probably wake you up in the morning and even in the middle of the night. Nonetheless, the resort has a very accommodating and helpful staff, very nice breakfast, good wifi signal, and great view on its veranda! I just think that the rate is not worth the stay. For booking, you may contact them at +63 920 906 6550, +63 908 475 7654, +63 921 625 2908. You may also email them at [email protected] Emilia assisted me on my online booking and paid via Paypal.
There are other resorts that I considered like Ipil Travelodge and Marina Garden Beach Resort. Both has good reviews from other travelers. For Marina, contact number : +63 (0) 917 624 7722 / +63 (0) 908 884 3711, email at [email protected]
For list of other accommodations, you can visit http://www.elnidopalawan.com/sleep.html.
Where to Eat in El Nido
There are a lot of good restaurants in El Nido. Top two should be Sea Slugs and Pukka Bar. Every night, there are live bands playing in these bars. Food rate is at least P200 for a meal. You must try the avocado shake from Sea Slugs.
There are several other good bars and restaurants in the area. Just stroll at night especially in the beachfront and you will find good places to eat and chill at night. We ate for dinner at a barbeque area near the church. They serve various meat from pork up to squid barbeque. They offer unlimited rice. Price of a chicken barbeque is around P120 with unlimited rice already. Each barbeque stick costs P10. If you like grilled food, try to eat here.
Tips When Visiting El Nido
- There is only electricity at 2:00 PM to 6:00 AM.
- There is an environmental fee when visiting El Nido which is P100 for Filipino and P120 for foreigners. This is valid for 10 days already.
- There are only few resorts and bar/restaurant that accepts credit card. So be sure to have cash when visiting El Nido.
- There are different island hopping tours being offered in El Nido. You can follow my post here.
Visiting El Nido is not expensive as it perceived. You can explore this great place in a budget!