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.
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.
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.
The Tour Packages In El Nido:
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.
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.
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, 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.
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).
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.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
Can be found here and this is where Alex Garland novel ” The Beach” inspiration came from according to the legend.
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.
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.
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).
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.