Why You Must Experience El Nido, Palawan At Least Once In Your Lifetime

by - Sunday, February 26, 2017

El Nido, Palawan is considered as one of the most beautiful islands in the world with its breathtaking limestone cliffs and beautiful beaches, it is definitely a dream destination you must experience at least once in your lifetime.

I was born and raised in Palawan but I have to admit that this is the first time I have been in this beautiful island. I’ve always read a lot of reviews and spectacular pictures taken in this magical island and I’m telling you, that El Nido is best experienced than read.

So to help you plan your dream El Nido tours and island hopping, here is my El Nido travel guide for 3Days 2Nights El Nido Trip and 1Day Puerto Princesa Side Trip.

How to get there

There are basically only two ways: taking an airplane directly from Manila to El Nido thru Airswift. Airswift is the only company in operation but cost around Php 13,000-15,000.00 roundtrip, 50 minutes flight or taking a flight to Puerto Princesa (Palawan's capital city) and then a 4-6 hours bus or van ride to El Nido. Here’s how to:

Via Bus
At Puerto Princesa airport, exit to the gate and flag down a P50 tricycle to the New San Jose Market Bus Terminal. There are two bus companies, Cherry and Roro, that leave the bus terminal each hour for the 6-hour ride to El Nido. You can take a regular bus (P280.00) or an air-conditioned bus (P380.00).

Via Van
There are shuttle vans that depart for El Nido at Puerto Princesa Airport. You can find them near the airport arrival area. Travel time is 4-5 hours. (Php 500-600.00).

There are also shuttle van in New San Jose Market Bus Terminal for P400.00 and save an hour on the journey. 

What to Do

When in El Nido, it is best to experienced island hopping to see white-fine sand beaches, limestone cliffs, lagoons and sand bars. I highly recommend Alexus Travel and Tours for the affordable and safe island hopping. 

Island hopping in El Nido is divided into: Tour A, Tour B, Tour C, Tour D, and Tour E (land tour). But I suggests Tour A and Tour C as the best to try.

Tour A
Big Lagoon, Small Lagoon, Simizu Island, Secret Lagoon and 7 Commandos Beach
Php 1,200.00
Tour B
Entalula Island, Pinagbuyutan Island, Snake Island, Cudugnon Cave and Cathedral Cave
Php 1,300.00
Tour C
Hidden Beach, Helicopter Island, Secret Beach, Matinloc Shrine and Star Beach
Php 1,400.00
Tour D
Bukal Island, Ipil Beach, Nat-Nat Beach, Cadlao Lagoon and Paradise Beach
Php 1,200.00
Tour E (This can be done as DIY, you can just hire a tricycle for Php 800.00-P1400 (good for 3 persons) to take you to Twin Beaches, Marimegmeg Beach and Nacpan Falls.
Land Tour includes Twin Beaches, Marimeg Beach and some waterfalls
Php 1,400.00

Island Hopping Tour schedule is from 9AM to 4PM. Tour inclusion are lunch, snorkeling gear, life vest and guides assist you.

The standard tour price is P1200-1400 plus P200 for the environmental fee (good for 10 days). Otherwise, you can also negotiate your own private banca (ranges to P2500-4000 good for 6-8 passengers/not included food). 

7 commandos Beach

There are also Kayak rentals in small and big lagoon to thoroughly experience the island (P300 good for 3 persons). You can also hire a boatman to assist you if you are scared to try kayaking, but I urged you to try it because it’s super addictive. 

You can also try the Taraw Cliff climb to see the sunrise and to get a birds-eye view of Bacuit Bay.

When Island Hopping
  • Make sure your tour guide is licensed. Licensed tour guides have been trained to minimize the damage to the environment, in first aid, in the highlights and history of El Nido.
  • Always wear a life vest. A life vest protects both you and the coral from damage. Maintain a distance of 3 meters from the reef.
  • Be careful not to step on the coral. Dangerous organisms sometimes live on the surface of the coral and it is unsafe for you to step there. Touching or stepping on corals also damages the coral polyps. Be extra careful! I’ve got a simple rash when I accidentally bump on corals. Its look like a simple rash but it’s so itchy that you cannot help but scratch it. The problem on it, the more you scratch it the longer it will heal.
  • Be aware of your waste. Use reusable containers, refrain from littering, and segregate biodegradable from non-biodegradable wastes.

Where to Stay

There are lots of hotel and inn that you can choose from. So here’s the list from Travelbook.ph

List of Luxurious Hotel

I suggest that you book your stay early because accommodation there gets fully booked.

Side Trip to Puerto Princesa City

You can side trip also around Puerto Princesa City and visit the Palawan’s natural wonder the “Underground River” which claims to be the longest underground rivers in the world. 

Contact 3B’s Tours and Travel for the trip. 

Other places to visit:
  • Crocodile Farm 
  • Botanical Garden
  • Bakers Hill
  • Rancho ni Mitra
  • Puerto Princesa Baywalk
  • Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Puerto Princesa
  • Plaza Cuartel

Where and What to Eat

-Try Kalui Restaurant
-Chaolong and Garlic Bread
-Crocodile Sisig
-Tamilok or woodworm
-Balinsasayaw or Nido Soup

Pasalubong to Have:

Travel Tips
  • Protect your camera or phone with an underwater case if you’re going on an Island Hopping Tour. You’re going to get wet and so will your camera/phone if you bring it along, so make sure you have a case on to protect it or you can buy a go pro that is a waterproof and can be used underwater.

  • Bring dry bags to protect your belongings during island hopping. I recommend 20L Water Proof Bag.
  • Have a bottle of SPF 30+ to protect your skin from the sun.
  • Almost everything is on cash basis, stack up cash as there a are few ATM in El Nido.
  • Powerbanks (One thing you need to take into consideration when going to El Nido is its recurring electricity blackout. Know the “no-electricity schedule” once you arrive. Although most establishments do have their own generator sets, some small businesses still do not have theirs.)
  • Extra money during island tours (for other extra activities, i.e kayaking, paddle board etc.)
  • If you’re sensitive with seafoods or you have gastroenteritis do not eat tahong or mussels because you might have a diarrhea. Just like what I’ve experienced.


In all honestly, this has to be one of the experiences I will never forget. It feels like you’re in some kind of place that is magical and surreal. And I must say thank you so much to our tour guides because without them we won’t be able to witness the secret beach and hidden beach because going there, you have to be brave, when I say brave, you have to swim and battle with the waves. El Nido is one of those places I’d like to keep coming back to because of its beautiful beaches, sunset like no other, fresh food haven, surreal views and spectacular lagoons. Overall, Palawan is truly “The Last Frontier” of the Philippines.

If you want to know how much budget you’ll be spending with this trip simply write your comment or message me and don’t forget to follow (just click at the side of this article).

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