El Nido Island
El Nido Palawan Island Philippines

El Nido Palawan Is One Of The Best Island In The World

By
on
March 18, 2019

El Nido Palawan is one of the best islands in the world. It is on the northern side of Palawan and the tip of the Philippines. It is one of the 3rd city of Palawan, and the nearest town is 150 kilometers away. They often called El Nido as the “Last Frontier” of the Philippines.

This municipality is consists of many islands around it. The breathtaking views of the crystal cliff stone rocks. The crystal clear water and the white sand beaches are amazing. The best snorkeling experienced we had as a couple. The colorful fish and healthy corals are priceless.

This town is tough to get to, and not all Filipinos can afford to visit here. I find it exciting and adventurous to visit this place. Although, they have more flight schedules, vans, and buses the way it used to be. However, still, it’s not easy to reach this place. Most of the visitors who can visit this place before it’s only foreigners. Why? Because they are the only one who can afford to buy a high price plane ticket of the chartered flight from Manila.

El Nido island

This is my moment on the best island in the world

Why should you include El Nido to your bucket lists?

  • The town officials and the locals are great! You can tell how much they care about their town and love the natural resources that God bestowed them. They deserve to be part of this town.
  • El Nido is one of our pride as a Filipino and also the local citizens here without them the resources there won’t be protected and maintained.
  • If you like to unwind and get away with the busy life of the city, you can still find it here in El Nido.
  • You can book an island hopping and have the island for yourself. However, I think you don’t need to do it as it is easy to find space on an island.
  • The breathtaking views of the natural crystal cliff that surrounds you are priceless. No words can describe how amazing it is.
  • The corals are the best! It was an excellent experienced, and so far nothing beat our experienced there yet. So if you love snorkeling and diving, this is the best place to visit.
El Nido

Nate loving the island

How To Get To El Nido?

It’s easier to get to this town now compared way back then that they only have one private plane from Manila. If you like to read more about how to get here, then read my previous article about Palawan is One Of The Romantic Places In The Philippines.

What To Do In El Nido?

They have a lot of packages for their island hopping tours. You can either pick to do private tours and or group tours. We always do group tours, and it was fun meeting new other travelers from around the world. They divide their packages to Tour A, Tour, B, Tour C, and Tour D. All you have to do is study their catalog and see which one you like best, but you can choose two tours in one day. Especially if you have a limited time to spend in El Nido. You don’t have to worry about picking two trips in one day. Still, you can enjoy the island you visit and have ample time to spend in each of them. The tour combination that they offered there is A+B, A+C, or C+D.

Cadlao Island

Overlooking Cadlao Island and Helicopter Island

The Tour Packages In El Nido:

Tour A
Secret Lagoon

This lagoon stands out among the three lagoons in Miniloc Island because of the interesting limestone formation that surrounds it. Entering this lagoon is exciting, and you need to swim under the hollow cave-like pathways. Due to the size of the lagoons, it can be full of people based on my experienced. Need to pay attention to the water as it can be dangerous when you won’t pay attention to the waves. In our experienced, the waves get strong but glad the guide is knowledgeable. My husband and the two others have to swim back to the boat roughly but glad they are excellent swimmers. So be extra careful here.

Shimizu Island

I love this island it is a small island where you can enjoy soaking the crystal clear blue water. Tanning and soaking your feet in the white sand. They have new vendors here selling concessions. Which is excellent, and the quality of their fresh fruit juice is fantastic.

Big Lagoon

The Big Lagoon is fantastic to watch as the crystal cliff part ways while we’re on it. It’s best to snorkel here and or do kayaking. As we kayak around the area of Big Lagoon it’s such a wonderful feeling it feels like we’re part of the movie for a second. Lol, It is my second time here, and I can tell you that 12 years after my first visit here it doesn’t change a thing. The citizens of El Nido well maintain everything.

Small Lagoon

Small Lagoon, on the other hand, is way smaller compared to the Big one but you can still enjoy this place. We kayak around the area, and since we’re only two couple on our trip, we got to have our romantic private time.

Seven Commandos Beach

A beach bar while enjoying the crystal blue water and white sand beach. One of the best place to relax and enjoy during the trip.

Group

The other couple who is with us on Valentines Day

Summary:

This tour will take you mostly around Miniloc Island and will give you time to discover the surrounding areas of Secret Lagoon, Big and Small Lagoon through Kayaking. The group will rest at Shimizu Island to have lunch that’s is already prepared and included in the tour package. The price ranges from P 1, 200- P 2, 200 ( $23-$42).

Tour B
Pangalusian Island

Pangalusian is also one of the best islands to visit during the tour. It has white sandy beaches and turquoise water. You can also find one of the luxury resort here they named it through the island Pangalusian Island Resort.

Pinagbuyutan Island

This island doesn’t have the white powdery sand beach but it is picturesque and the undying natural views in every corner of this island.

  • This island is not for light hearted people or weak swimmers, but the effort is going to this island is worth it.
  • You can see the beautiful corals and the underneath glass-like water.
  • If you decide to include this island ask your guide to take the long route going to the shore for you to see the corals lining up the beach.
Snake Island

Snake Island is a great island to unwind and relax for a bit. You can discover the white powdery sand beach in the middle of the ocean form like a snake.

Pinasil Island

Has a cool interior that lit by the sunlight in different time of the day. This island has a cathedral-like cavern that you can reach by a dinghy or kayak.

Cathedral Cave

It is not a Cathedral, but it looks like it the breathtaking views of this place is terrific. If you like to take pictures, don’t forget to bring your waterproof camera. The current can be strong here but 10 mins of your time will be worth it to check this place.

Cudugnon Cave

Cudugnon Cave is one of the attractions that visitors don’t want to pass in visiting the area.

  • The cave is one of the historical sites of El Nido. It has a historical significance, and it is an essential anthropological site dating back to the Sung Dynasty (960- 1279 BC).
  • They believed that the dwellers traveled across the ancient land bridge that connected Borneo to Palawan.
food

Nate is excited to gobble the fresh seafood.

Summary:

This tour is an interesting and unique tour you will discover the Snake Island where the sandbar is in the middle of the sea called Snake Island. You have to follow a small path and will lead you to the top area of this island. It is overlooking and relaxing to stop for lunch and enjoy the wonderful views that surround the area. You can swim and snorkel on this tour and able to visit the caves on the island. The price ranges from P 1, 200- P 1, 600 ( $23- $31).

Tour C
Dilumacad Island

Is also known as Helicopter Island because of its shape like a chopper when you look at it from a distance. This island is famous for diving.

Tapiutan Island

It faces the open sea of the South China Sea parallel to Matinloc Island. This island is abundant with marine life; it is suitable for scuba diving and snorkeling. Smaller boats will have trouble here so be sure to rent the appropriate size if you include this in your itinerary. They called it twin beach as the other one is good for relaxing in a white crystal clear and while the other side is full of corals.

Matinloc Island

Is also called the Shrine of Matinloc or Temple of Matinloc. It is a deserted place of our Lady of Matinloc that was built in 1982. The island is tucked between the high cliffs and the beaches. They abandoned the site, but the tourists are still allowed to visit and take pictures.

Secret Beach

Can be found here and this is where Alex Garland novel ” The Beach” inspiration came from according to the legend.

Kulasa Beach

Kulasa is one of the best spots for snorkeling in the Bacuit Bay because of its abundance in marine life. The beach is only 100-meter beach with fine white sand, and the water deepens only about 10 meters.

Star Beach

The tours stop here for lunch as this is one of the perfect spots for snorkeling. The guide will cook your food while you enjoy snorkeling and looking at the corals.

grilled squid

Grilled Squid Filipino Style

fruits serve

Fruits for dessert

Summary:

Tour C is one of the tour packages you wouldn’t like to miss visiting the old Shrine of the Virgin Mary will give you a picture of how the ancestors in El Nido used to go to church. The hidden beach where the inspiration of the novel titled “The Beach” is written will entice you to pick this tour. The price ranges from P 1, 200- P 1, 800 ( $23- $33).

Tour D
Ipil Beach

Perfect for unwinding while listening to the slow breeze of the ocean wind while lying in the white sandy beach under the palm trees.

Cadlao Island

Cadlao is one of the best islands around the surrounding area of El Nido. This island is one of the biggest islands in the Bacuit Bay area. You can do tanning on the beach and snorkeling. Spending Sunset on this island will be great. NatNat Beach is on Cadlao island; it has clear water and soft white sand beach. Only a few people pick this tour as it is very near to the town. You can choose to go and spend your afternoon here and maybe if lucky can have the whole island yourself.

Bukal Beach

It has a breathtaking view of the surrounding area of the beach and is suitable for swimming and lounging on the beach. It is a smaller size island, but it’s worth to spend your time on this beach.

Entalula Island

This island is a perfect place to take pictures because of its picturesque view of the limestone formations, lush and bone foliage, white soft powdery sand the blue crystal clear water is enticing visitors to swim. Visitors can enjoy swimming in the area, tanning and have a picnic.

cucumber salad

Cucumber Salad

dip

Filipino sauce dip made of soy sauce, spicy pepper, lemon, onion, and tomatoes.

Summary:

Most of this island is very near to the town of El Nido, but it’s only accessible by boat. If the purpose of your trip is to relax and enjoy the turquoise water and white sandy beaches this will be a good tour for you. The price ranges from P 1, 200- P 1, 500 ($23-$30).

Things Need To Remember:

  • Please bring enough cash as this area is really in the remote side of Palawan even though they already have ATMs.  Better to have enough than sorry.
  • Tour packages differ in each resort or tour company; some include the snorkeling while the others you have to pay extra. If you can provide and have your own bring them. Bringing your gear will be worth it!
  • There is a lot of mosquitoes in this area so if you are allergic to mosquito bites be sure to bring lotion to protect them from getting near you. Or you need to have excellent accommodation, not just a Bahay Kubo type.
  • I don’t recommend to bring small children to El Nido as most of the fun things to do is island hopping, and the waves can be intense. If you like to bring them any way I would suggest to make sure you research your accommodation in El Nido carefully.
  • If you have enough time during your visit make sure to rent a motorbike and find your way to Nacpan Beach. Trust me you don’t want to go back to the main town of El Nido.
  • To enjoy your trip here, I suggest to do at least four days is the shortest time including your travel time going back and forth. If I want to go here again, I would like to allocate more than four days here and enjoy the place more.

Take Note:

  • Ecotourism development fee cost you P 200- $5, and it’s good for ten days.
  • The local government standardizes the tour rates, and the island hopping tour operations start at 9:00 am- 4:00 pm.
  • Bring your trash bags to avoid littering on the islands.
  • Please bring your power bank as they have a specific time where you won’t have electricity and water. Make sure you ask about it when you arrive so you won’t be disappointed and can prepare yourself ahead of time.
  • Waterproof your gadgets if you don’t like to miss all your stored memories on your phone and camera.
  • They prohibit all party boat and tours due to new environmental policy.
  • Smoking during your tours is prohibited.
  • Taking plastic bottles during your tours are not allowed.
  • Please follow the rules and regulations so we can still enjoy this place through the upcoming years.

Disclaimer: This is all my observation and my own opinion but to be sure please refer or contact directly to their tourism office.

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21 Comments
  1. Reply

    Joanne

    March 24, 2019

    El Nido is stunning! I’d love to go island hopping and snorkel to see the corals. The seafood looks delicious! Such a variety. It’s too bad more Filipinos can’t actually visit there.

    • Reply

      April

      March 25, 2019

      Yes, but it’s better now than it used to be today they added more flights from Bohol Island another great destination in the Visayas region. It means it’s easier for international and domestic tourists to go to Palawan from another major tourists hub.

  2. Reply

    Nic

    March 25, 2019

    We visited several areas in Palawan recently including El Nido and Coron. They truly are paradise and just incredible landscapes and waters its hard to believe its real!! I don’t agree though that it is hard to get here, I would say its one of the easiest islands to get to and its a short and cheap ride from Puerto Princesa to El Nido. Some of the other islands that are a lot more isolated and unspoilt are a lot harder to get to! Everything is very well planned out here too because of tourism such as the boat trips which makes it easy but maybe a little too easy!

    • Reply

      April

      March 25, 2019

      Hello Nic, I am glad to hear the update. As I wrote this article and researched all the update of how many flights now goes to the area of Puerto Princessa and Coron. It honestly made me happy because I’ve been there when it’s not that accessible. Yes, I love it for the safety of the visitors specially those who doesn’t know how to drive a boat. I fall in love of Palawan a place where I want to live if I get a chance to do it.

  3. Reply

    Sarah

    March 25, 2019

    This was pretty interesting. It’s one of those trips that you have to weigh the beauty and remoteness against the hassle of getting there. It looks worth it! Thanks for sharing.

    • Reply

      April

      March 25, 2019

      Hello Sarah, yes it takes 5-6 hrs drive setting on a van or bus but it’s not that hard now compared it used to be when we visited this place a couple times. Today the Tourism launch another new flight from Bohol Island to Palawan which is great for both domestic and international tourists who would like to visit the area.

  4. Reply

    Nitin Singhal

    March 25, 2019

    Very comprehensive guide on El Nido. It is good that you have given a detailed description of each of the three tours. It surely helps when selecting the tour. But is taking a tour mandatory? Can it not be explored on your own>

    • Reply

      April

      March 25, 2019

      Hello Nitin, you can explore but you need to hire an expert guide as the wave can be bigger sometimes. They are trained and knows the area very well makes it safer for you during your visit.

  5. Reply

    Yara

    March 27, 2019

    I have been wanting to go to El Nido for YEARS! This only inspires me more to save a little extra and just go. Thanks for sharing the cost of some of the travels, this is super helpful for planning. Lovely guide to a beautiful place.

    • Reply

      April

      March 27, 2019

      Thanks for reading Yara, I’m glad you find this helpful! If you happen to go I can’t wait to read your update soon. It will be worth it.

  6. Reply

    Yukti

    March 27, 2019

    El Nido islands is really world’s most stunning islands. View of Helicopter island with blue waters is incredible. I also love the food options and thanks for sharing all necessary information.

    • Reply

      April

      March 27, 2019

      Thanks for reading and I’m glad you find it helpful.

  7. Reply

    Brianna

    March 27, 2019

    Wow! This sounds like paradise! With so many options, I think I’d just want to do them all >_< Sounds like you guys had a blast!

    • Reply

      April

      March 27, 2019

      Yes we did. If you wanted to do it all make sure you allocate at least 7 days to give time for travel and rest in between. Thanks for reading and let me know what you finally come up during your visit.

  8. Reply

    Danik

    March 28, 2019

    El Nido, why are so beautiful and so far away. I cant wait to get here one day and check out the beautiful beaches. I probably want to spend at least over a week here just relaxing all the time. 🙂

    • Reply

      April

      March 28, 2019

      Hahaha yes! I definitely do the same next time we visit! My daughter been wanting and begging to check this place out! I’m sure you’ll enjoy it there.

  9. Reply

    Milijana

    March 28, 2019

    Your post convinced me once again that El Nido is a beach paradise. I have traveled to Southeast Asia extensively but somehow I haven’t been to the Philippines yet. I am a beach person and the Philippines might happen to be a perfect destination for me. You know the saying ‘cherry comes on the top’. The Philippines could be that cherry of my SE Asia travels.

  10. Reply

    Jas

    March 29, 2019

    El Nido was already on my bucket list and reading this just made me want to visit even more so badly! The island hopping idea sounds fun though but good to know t’s not necessary to find some uncrowded space on the beach. I can’ really swim so Shimizu Island sounds right up my alley with the tanning on the white beach. Good note about the ecotourism development fee too and I love that you are helping save the environment b encourage people to bring trash bags!

    • Reply

      April

      March 29, 2019

      Thank you Jas, I couldn’t wait to read your update about the place would be glad to hear which area is your favorite when you visit. Thank you

  11. Reply

    Susan

    April 19, 2019

    Wow!
    This looks absolutely other worldly and I am definitely adding it to my list of dream places to visit if I ever get the opportunity! Thank you for sharing so beautifully! Sounds like a wonderful place to step back, take a breath, and remind oneself what life should be like and how it should be enjoyed!

    • Reply

      April

      April 19, 2019

      Hello Susan, I’m glad to hear that you’re considering to visit our favorite spot! I’m sure you would love it there. Thank you for stopping by!

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April Key Rode
New York, USA

April Key Rode is a Bachelor graduate of Hospitality and Tourism Management. One of the researchers in Tabuelan "As An Eco-Tourism Destination." She loves to do research, writing, cross-stitching and dancing. Her favorite sports are badminton, biking, soccer, basketball, and bowling. She is a mother of two, and she loves traveling with her own family and friends.

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