EL NIDO, PALAWAN: TRAVEL GUIDE (Budget + Itinerary) 2018

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El Nido Palawan Philippines has some of the most beautiful scenery we have ever encountered. This cluster of islands is off the tip of the Palawan Island is full of dramatic rock formations and surrounded by bright blue waters. There are a ton of things to do in El Nido so give yourself a week in El Nido if you can. The town itself has enough options for food and the basics for a week-long trip or so. Hotels range from gorgeous over the water beach hutsbudget-friendly rooms, or you can even rent an entire beachfront home on Airbnb.

HOW TO GET TO EL NIDO

Manila to Puerto Princesa to El Nido

From Manila there are daily flights to Puerto Princesa via local airlines such as  Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific.

VIA VAN

At  Puerto Princesa City, you can take a multi-cab or charter a tricycle to Robinson’s Mall.  There are shuttle vans available to take you to El Nido town. Van departs almost every hour from 5:00 AM to 6:00 PM. Travel time is approximately 5 hours.

There are also some shuttle vans that depart for El Nido at Puerto Princesa Airport.  You can find them near the airport arrival area.

Here’s a list of shuttle vans that travel between Puerto Princesa and El Nido.

VAN COMPANY FARE CONTACT NUMBER
Lexus Shuttle PHP 550 (€ 10/USD 11)  to PHP 600 (€ 10/USD 12) 0920 957 1025
Eulene Joy Van Php 550(€/10 USD 11) to Php 600 (€ 10/USD 12) 0999- 7093- 766
Day Tripper Van Php 550(€ 10/USD 11)to Php 600(€/ USD 12) 0918 – 2546 – 749

VIA BUS

At Puerto Princesa airport, exit the gate and hail a tricycle (outside of the airport).  Tell the driver to drop you  off at Junction 1. Fare is PHP 8 (€ 0. 14 /USD 0.16 ).  At Junction 1, ride  a multi-cab to San Jose Terminal, fare is PHP 13 (€ 0.23/USD 0.26).

Alternatively, you can also charter a tricycle to take you to the terminal for PHP 100 (€ 2/USD 2) – PHP 150 (€ 3/USD 3)  depending on your haggling skills.

At San Jose Terminal, there are buses (Cherry or Roro Bus) bound for El Nido, travel time is approximately 6 – 7 hours . Roro bus fare is around PHP  290(€ 5/ USD 6) for non-air-conditioned bus and PHP 380 (€ 7/ USD 8)  for air-conditioned bus. Cherry bus fare is Php 480(€ 8/USD 10) for aircon bus and ordinary bus is Php 385 (€ 7 /USD 8).   Travel time is approximately 6 hours.

The ride ends at El Nido Integrated Bus Terminal where you can hire a tricycle to take you to downtown El Nido or wherever your hotel is.

el nido island hidden beach


Here’s the bus trip schedule from Puerto Princesa to El Nido

PUERTO PRINCESA TO EL NIDO CHERRY BUS TRIP SCHEDULE

TIME CLASS FARE  
05:00 AM Ordinary PHP 380 (€ 7/ USD 8) Fix trip
07:00 AM Ordinary PHP 380 (€ 7/ USD 8) Fix trip
09:00 AM Air-conditioned PHP 480 (€8/USD 10) Fix trip
11:00 AM Air-conditioned PHP 480 (€8/USD 10) Fix trip
01:00  PM Air-conditioned PHP 480 (€8/USD 10) Fix trip
03:00 PM Ordinary PHP 380 (€ 7/ USD 8) Extra trip
05:00 PM Air-conditioned PHP 480 (€8/USD 10) Extra trip
07:00 PM Ordinary PHP 380 (€ 7/ USD 8) Extra trip
09:00 PM Air-conditioned PHP 480 (€8/USD 10) Fix trip

 

PUERTO PRINCESA TO EL NIDO RORO BUS TRIP SCHEDULE

TIME CLASS FARE  
04:00 AM Ordinary PHP 367 (€ 7/ USD 7) Fix trip
06:00 AM Air-conditioned Php 483/ USD 9.75 Fix trip
08:00 AM Ordinary PHP 367 (€ 7/ USD 7) Fix trip
10:00 AM Air-conditioned PHP 483 (€ 8/USD 10) Fix trip
12:00 PM Ordinary PHP 367 (€ 7/ USD 7) Fix trip
02:00 PM Air-conditioned PHP 483 (€ 8/USD 10) Fix trip
04:00 PM Ordinary PHP 367 (€ 7/ USD 7) Fix trip
06:00 PM Air-conditioned PHP 483 (€ 8/USD 10) Fix trip
08:00 PM Ordinary PHP 367 (€ 7/ USD 7) Fix trip
10:00 PM Air-conditioned PHP 483 (€ 8/USD 10) Fix trip

 


 

GETTING OUT OF EL NIDO

EL NIDO TO PUERTO PRINCESA

From El Nido town, you can charter a tricycle to El Nido Bus Terminal.

At El Nido Bus Terminal there are vans and buses (RoRo Bus and Cherry Bus) to Puerto Princesa City.

Here’s the contact number of shuttle vans that travel between El Nido and Puerto Princesa.

VAN COMPANY FARE CONTACT NUMBER
Lexus Shuttle Php 550 (€ 10/ USD 11) – Php 600 (€ 10/USD 12) 0917- 5859 – 612
Eula Joy Van Php 550 (€ 10/ USD 11) – Php 600 (€ 10/USD 12) 0999- 7093- 766
Day Tripper Van Php 550 (€ 10/ USD 11) – Php 600 (€ 10/USD 12) 0918 – 2546 – 749

Here’s the bus trip schedule from  El Nido to Puerto Princesa

EL NIDO TO PUERTO PRINCESA CHERRY BUS TRIP SCHEDULE

TIME CLASS FARE  
05:00 AM Ordinary PHP 380 (€ 7/ USD 8) Fix trip
07:00 AM Ordinary PHP 380 (€ 7/ USD 8) Fix trip
09:00 AM Air-conditioned PHP 480 (€ 8/USD 10) Fix trip
11:00 AM Air-conditioned PHP 480 (€ 8/USD 10) Fix trip
01:00  PM Air-conditioned PHP 480 (€ 8/USD 10) Fix trip
03:00 PM Ordinary PHP 380 (€ 7/ USD 8) Extra trip
05:00 PM Air-conditioned PHP 480 (€ 8/USD 10) Extra trip
07:00 PM Ordinary PHP 380 (€ 7/ USD 8) Extra trip
09:00 PM Air-conditioned PHP 480 (€ 8/USD 10) Fix trip

 

EL NIDO TO PUERTO PRINCESA RORO BUS SCHEDULE

TIME CLASS FARE  
04:00 AM Ordinary PHP 367 (€6/ USD 7) Fix trip
06:00 AM Air-conditioned PHP 483 (€8/USD 10) Fix trip
08:00 AM Ordinary PHP 367 (€6/ USD 7) Fix trip
10:00 AM Air-conditioned PHP 483 (€8/USD 10) Fix trip
12:00 PM Ordinary PHP 367 (€6/ USD 7) Fix trip
02:00 PM Air-conditioned PHP 483 (€8/USD 10) Fix trip
04:00 PM Ordinary PHP 367 (€/ USD 7) Fix trip
06:00 PM Air-conditioned PHP 483 (€8/USD 10) Fix trip
08:00 PM Ordinary PHP 367 (€66/ USD 7) Fix trip
10:00 PM Air-conditioned PHP 483 (€8/USD 10) Fix trip

 

EL NIDO TO CORON , PALAWAN

el nido island 6

Montenegro Lines started offering ferry service between Coron and El Nido since last year.  Travel time is about 3.5 hours and fare is about PHP 1,760 (USD 35/€31/SGD 48).

Here’s the ferry/boat/fastcraft schedule between Coron and El Nido, Palawan

FARE DEPARTURE ARRIVAL
Adult (Regular fare) – PHP 1,760 (USD 35/€31/SGD 48)

 

Student (with valid ID) – PHP 1,496 (USD 30/€26/SGD 41)

 

Senior Citizen (with SC ID) – PHP 1,257 (USD 22/€25/SGD 35)

El Nido –  6:00 AM Coron – 9:30 AM
Adult (Regular fare) – PHP 1,760 (USD 35/€31/SGD 48)

Student (with valid ID) – PHP 1,496 (USD 30/€26/SGD 41)

 

Senior Citizen (with SC ID) – PHP 1,257 (USD 22/€25/SGD 35)

Coron – 12:00 PM El Nido – 3:30 PM

 

Montenegero Lines
Phone #: (043) 740 2881 / 0917 496 2009 / 0917 650 6468/ 0998 85 1428 / 0908 571 3984
Email: operations.msli@gmail.com


 

EL NIDO TOUR PACKAGE 2018

el nido land tour


 

Island hopping in El Nido is divided into : Tour A, Tour B, Tour C, Tour D and Tour E (land tour).  If you only have a few days to spend, you can pick either Tour A or Tour C.

BOOK DISCOUNTED EL NIDO TOUR A HERE

BOOK DISCOUNTED EL NIDO TOUR B HERE

BOOK DISCOUNTED EL NIDO TOUR C HERE

 

  TOUR DESTINATIONS PRICE
TOUR A Big Lagoon, Small Lagoon, Simizu Island, Secret Lagoon and 7 Commandos Beach PHP 1,200 (€ 21 /USD 24)
TOUR B Entalula Island, Pinagbuyutan Island, Snake Island, Cudugnon Cave and Cathedral Cave PHP 1, 300 (€ 23/USD 26)
TOUR C Hidden Beach, Helicopter Island, Secret Beach, Matinloc Shrine and Star Beach PHP 1,400 (€24/USD 28)
TOUR D Bukal Island, Ipil Beach, Nat-Nat Beach, Cadlao Lagoon and Paradise Beach PHP 1,200 (€ 21 /USD 24)
TOUR E Land tour includes Twin Beaches, Marimegmeg Beach and some waterfalls PHP 1,500 (€ 26/USD 30)

 

For El Nido Tour E, you can just hire a tricycle for PHP 800 ( (€ 14/ USD 16) – PHP 1,400 ( € 24 / USD 28), good for 3 persons, to take you to Twin Beaches, Marimegmeg Beac1h and Nacpan Falls.

Island Hopping Tour Schedule: 9 AM to 4 PM

Tour inclusion:

Lunch, snorkeling gear, life vest and guides to assist you.

Does not include the PHP 200 (€ 3/USD 4)  per person Eco-Tourism Development Fee (ETDF). This is good for up to 10 days of your stay here in El Nido. (The will ask the receipt before you embark on your island hopping tours so make sure you pay the ETDF)

On every Island Hopping Tour, they serve a generous amount of the following:

Fruits and Vegetables, Grilled Chicken, Grilled Pork, Grilled Fish*,  Shrimp/Crabs/Squid*

  • * Subject to availability in the market.
  • Do advice your tour agent of your food restrictions.

Kayaks are available for  whole day rental  PHP 700 (€ 12/ USD 14) so you could easily go inside the hidden lagoons.

Underwater camera can also be rented at Northern Hope Tours for  PPHP 700 (€ 12/ USD 14) per day.

 


 

WHERE TO STAY IN EL NIDO

BUDGET

Joaquinn’s Bed and Breakfast

agoda joaquinns final

Real Street, Barangay Buena Suerte, El Nido, Palawan

Trendy but not costly!

Walking distance to the port, quiet location with a great view of El Nido Bay.

CHECK ROOM RATES HERE 

Dayunan El Nido Tourist Inn

agoda dayunan final

Sitio Cabigsing, Barangay Buena Serte, El Nido, Palawan

Located at the town center

CHECK ROOM RATES HERE

Bayog Beach Campsite

agoda bayog final

Barangay Sibaltan, El Nido, Palawan, Philippines

A short ride from the town center.

CHECK ROOM RATES HERE

MID-RANGE

Rainforest Beach Hotel

agoda rainforest final

Hama Street, Brgy. Masagana, El Nido

Conveniently located at the heart of El Nido town center.

CHECK ROOM RATES HERE

Rovic’s Tourist Hotel

agoda rovics3

Hama Street, Brgy Masagana, El Nido, Palawan

CHECK ROOM RATES  HERE

HIGH-END

 

Vellago Resort

agoda velago final
7 Commando Beach, El Nido, Palawan

Situated in an island off the coast of El Nido town.

 CHECK ROOM RATES HERE

El Nido Resorts Lagen Island

agoda lagen finalLagen Island, El Nido, Palawan

Situated in a private island off the coast of El Nido

CHECK ROOM RATES HERE

Cauayan Island Resort

agoda cuayan final

Bacuit Bay, El Nido, Palawan

Situated in a private island off the coast of El Nido

CHECK ROOM RATES HERE


 

EL NIDO ITINERARY (3 DAYS 2 NIGHTS)

DAY  1 ACTIVITIES
07:30 AM Arrival at Puerto Princesa Airport
07:45 AM Charter tricycle for Puerto Princesa City Tour(Php 600 good for 3 persons)
08:00 AM Breakfast
08:30 AM Start of City TourPuerto Princesa Provincial Capitol

Puerto Princesa Museum

Puerto Princesa Cathedral

Plaza Cuartel

Baker’s Hill

Mitra’s Ranch

Crocodile Farm

Ihawig Penal Colony

02:30 PM End of Tour
03:00 PM Travel to El Nido
09:00 PM Estiated Arrival in El Nido
09:15 PM Check in at hotel/resort
09:30 PM Dinner

 

DAY  2 ACTIVITIES
07:00 AM Breakfast
07:30 AM Register at El Nido Tourism Office and pay the Php 200 Eco-Tourism Development Fee (ETDF)
08:00 AM Start of El Nido Tour ABig Lagoon

Small Lagoon

11:00 AM Lunch at SimizuIsland
12:00 PM Continue Island Hopping TourSecret Lagoon

7 Commandos Beach

04:00 PM End of tour. Back to El Nido Town
04:15 PM Buy souvenirs
05:00 PM Return to hotel
06:30 PM Dinner

 

DAY  3 ACTIVITIES
07:00 AM Breakfast
07:30 AM Tricycle to Taraw Cliff
07:45  AM Find local guide
08:00 AM Start ascent
10:00 PM Summit Taraw Cliff
11:00 PM Descent
01:00 PM End of Climb Back to El Nido
01:30 PM Late lunch
02:00 PM Hire tricycle for land tour
02:15 PM Start of El Nido Land TourNacpan Falls

Twin Beaches

04:30 PM Back to El Nido town for Marimeg Beach
05:30 PM Watch Sunset at Marimeg Beach
06:30 PM Back to El Nido
07:00 PM Dinner

 

DAY  4 ACTIVITIES
07:00 AM Breakfast
07:30 AM Check out
08:00 AM  Travel back to Puerto Princesa
02:00 PM Estimated Arrival in Puerto Princesa

 


 

EL NIDO TRIP BUDGET

 

el nido island food

 

ACTIVITIES EXPENSES
Tricycle to San Jose Terminal (roundtrip) PHP 21 x 2 = PHP 42 (€ 0.73/ USD 0.85)
Bus fare (roundtrip) to and from El Nido PHP 480 x 2 =  PHP 960 (€ 17/ USD 19)
Eco-Tourism Development Fee PHP 200 (€ 3/ USD 4)
Hotel/Resort (per day x # of days) PHP 800 x 2 =PHP 1,600 (€ 28/USD 32)
Food Budget (per meal x # of days) Php 150 x 2 x 3 = PHP 900 (€ 16 /USD 18)
El Nido Tour A PHP 1,200 (€ 21/  USD 24)
El Nido Land Tour PHP 1,000 / (€ 17 /USD 20)
GRAND TOTAL PHP 5,902 / ( € 103 /USD 117)

 

*Airfare not included.

Top 20 Things To Do In El Nido Palawan

El Nido is more than just a place it’s a cluster of 45 small islands on the tip of the Palawan island. There are plenty of things to do in El Nido to fill a trip itinerary for more than a week exploring all that El Nido has to offer. The islands of El Nido are some of the most beautiful and enchanting in the entire world. Here is a list of the top activities in El Nido, Palawan, Philippines.

Things to do in El Nido - Philippines - Secrect Lagoon - El Nido Tour A-1

#1 – SWIM THROUGH THE HOLE TO SECRET LAGOON

This hole is what brought me all the way to the El Nido and a big reason for the trip to the Philippines. Secret Lagoon lived up to the hype. Visit Secret Lagoon on El Nido Tour A when visiting El Nido. The secret lagoon is one of the best places in the Philippines and should be on everyone’s itinerary.

#2 – STARE INTO THE TURQUOISE WATERS OF THE LARGE LAGOON

The Large Lagoon in El Nido is a magical place. The water here is a one of a kind color surrounded by tall rock formations. It’s nothing short of breathtaking. It’s paradise!

#3 – VISIT SECRET BEACH

Things to do in El Nido - Secret Beach

Secret beach is a pristine piece of sand hidden from sight by large limestone cliffs on all sides. Once inside it feels like you are the only people on the planet. Secret beach is one of the best things to see in El Nido hands down. A trip to Hidden Beach is accessible on El Nido tour C.

#4 – VISIT SNAKE ISLAND

This island is another great example of the beauty of El Nido. What makes snake island so special isn’t necessarily the island itself, but the strip of sand leading up to it. When the tides are right snake island has a thin strip of sand wiggling its way through the bay, pointing right at snake island. Snake Island is the top thing to do on the El Nido Tour B day trip.

Things to do in El Nido - Philippines- El Nido diving-1

#5 – DIVING IN EL NIDO

El Nido is home to over 30 dive sites with frequent trips to about 10 depending on the tides and conditions. The Bacuit Bay is home to a wide range of beautiful sea life and interesting structural formations.

Things to do in El Nido - Philippines - Simizu Island - El Nido Tour A-1

#6 – SIMIZU ISLAND

This island has some of the most remarkable stone structures around El Nido. Large pieces of limestone rising out of the sea forming thin curtains of black rock. Some of these rocks have small holes in them that make you wonder how they were formed. Simizu Island is a popular lunch stop on the El Nido day trip A tour.

#7 – HIKE UP TO TARAW PEAK

For the best views of  Bacuit Bay takes an average 2 hours round trip, Taraw Peak rises about 230 meters above sea level. On the top is a bird’s eye view of Bacuit Bay. Cost: 350 pesos per person for guide

Things to do in El Nido - Philippines - El Nido Sunset - Las Cabanas Beach-2

#8 – SPEND A DAY AT LAS CABANAS BEACH

Las Cabanas is one of the best beaches reachable by land from El Nido town. A long walk or a short tricycle ride to the beach entrance. Las Cabanas beach seems to go on forever and is largely empty. There are a few resorts popping up and a few restaurants to have a beer or a meal. Las Cabanas makes for a great day trip from El Nido and one of the best things you can do independently or without a boat. If you want to spend the night we suggest Las Cabanas Beach Resort.

#9 – DIVE THE DILUMACAD UNDERWATER TUNNEL

Located about a mile and a half from the shores of Dilumacad Island (Helicopter island) there is a dive site most local divers call ‘ The Tunnel’. 12 meters under the surface there is a 40-meter tunnel that you can swim through filled with fish and other sea life. Just another one of the amazing things to do in El Nido. For more info on the Dilumacad Underwater Tunnel

Things to do in El Nido - Philippines-small lagoon-1

#10 – SPLASH AROUND IN THE SMALL LAGOON

After a short ride from El Nido town is the small lagoon. This lagoon sits on the northern end of Miniloc Island. What makes this a thing to do in El Nido is the fact that it’s an open top cathedral of limestone. Vertical walls of stone from a lagoon of shallow water in nearly a perfect circle. Once inside, staring up at the imposing walls, it starts to look like a very alien landscape. The water depending on the tides isn’t really deep enough for swimming, but it’s fun run to splash around a listen to the echoes off the stone. You can reach the small lagoon on the El Nido Tour A day trip.

MORE THINGS TO DO IN EL NIDO


Things to do in El Nido - Philippines - matinloc shrine - El Nido Tour C-1

#11 – VISIT THE MATINLOC SHRINE

An abandoned shrine to the Virgin Mary that seems a bit out of place in the middle of this tropical paradise. Also, on the island with the shrine are some amazing lookouts. A quick hike up the rocks brings you to a viewpoint where you can see the entire channel running between the small islands. The viewpoint kind of reminds of Kayangan Lake in Coron, which should also be on your Philippines itinerary.

Things to do in El Nido - Hidden Beach

#12 – VISIT HIDDEN BEACH

Tucked away behind high walls of stone, a small opening reveals shallow pools of clear water and soft sands. It’s only visible to the open side by a tiny break in the natural stone walls. Visit this island by joining El Nido Tour C day trip.

#13 – NAGKALIT-KALIT WATERFALLS

A 1-2 hour hike through the lush forest area brings you to the Nagkalit-Kalit waterfalls. The falls are a 10-meter tall trough of water that slides down the rocks and shifting right and left. There are two falls and between them is a pool to take a swim.

Things to do in El Nido - Philippines - Helicopter Island - El Nido Tour C-1

#14 – HELICOPTER ISLAND

Shaped like, you guessed it, a helicopter this island looks remarkably like a giant helicopter sitting in Bacuit Bay. The island is home to a few nice beaches and is part of the El Nido Tour C day trip. There are also many dive trips that will take you to this part of the bay. The biggest draw to the island is the shape and it’s best seen from a boat. You don’t necessarily need to stop at the island unless you just want to have some beach time, but there are so many things to do in El Nido you might not have time to lie around.

#15- EAT PIZZA AT ALTROVE

Of all the amazing things to do in El Nido, it may seem strange to include pizza on the list of things to do, but it’s that good. Every night there will be a line down the street, it’s worth the wait. | Read Trip Advisor Reviews 

Things to do in El Nido - Philippines - 7 commandos beach - EL Nido Tour C-1

#16 – 7 COMMANDOS BEACH

Visit the island where 7 Japanese commandos lived for a period of time near the end of WWII. The names of the soldiers are said to be written on stones around the island, but not much else is known about these soldiers including what happened to them.

Things to do in El Nido - Philippines - San Miguel - Traditional Boats-3

#17 – ENJOY A SAN MIGUEL ON THE BEACH

Enjoy one of Southeast Asia’s best beers, while sitting on SE Asia’s best beaches in El Nido. Take a break from all the things to do in El Nido and just relax with some cold San Miguels.

#18 – DAY TRIP TO TWIN BEACHES

Nacpan and Calitang Beach are 1.5 hours from El Nido town.  To reach twin beaches you can rent a bike, or join Tour E (inland tour), or pay a tricycle driver to bring you (1500 pesos whole day fits 3 ppl).

Things to do in El Nido - Philippines Food Tocino-1

#19 – EAT FILIPINO TOCINO & GARLIC RICE FOR BREAKFAST

Get a taste of classic Filipino food. One of our favorites was the garlic rice served with Tocino for breakfast! We ate it daily at our El Nido hotel.

Things to do in El Nido - Philippines -Sunset El Nido Town-1

#20 – WATCH THE BEAUTIFUL SUNSETS OF EL NIDO

El Nido town is facing to the west so every night you are blessed with an amazing sunset to finish your action-packed day in El Nido. Grab your camera and a Filipino beer and enjoy while reflecting on all the amazing things you’ve done in El Nido.


 

EL NIDO TRAVEL TIPS

  • Bring dry bags with you during your island hopping tour and make sure it is locked securely.  My DSLR “drowned” while island hopping, so investing on a reliable dry bag would be wise.
  • Almost everything is on cash basis, stack up cash as there is only one ATM  in El Nido, only in Coron and Puerto Princesa.
  • Bring mosquito repellent especially if you are camping or staying at lodges in the island.
  • Food in restaurants in El Nido will cost you at least PHP 150 (€ 3/ USD 3) per meal. There are small eateries dappled around the town proper if you want to save, but just a reminder: you’ll get what you pay for.  A reader (Jay) commented they had diarrhea while they were there, never experienced that in any of my visit. I always eat at eateries  and restaurants by the beach.  But just to be safe, you can buy bottled water or refill from water stations instead of drinking potable water.
  • As per comment  by Eloise Davis, there is a monkey that bites and steals food and drinks somewhere in Snake Island, please be careful and avoid bringing food and drinks while climbing the hills there.
  • There are monitor lizards in some islands, avoid getting close to them as they can bite humans and it is painful and poisonous, resulting to heavy bleeding.

 


 

EXTEND YOUR TRIP

 

RELATED POST

 

PUERTO PRINCESA TRAVEL GUIDE (Budget + Itinerary)

CORON TRAVEL GUIDE

CULION TRAVEL GUIDE

THINGS TO DO IN PUERTO PRINCESA

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