Home » El Nido Palawan Guide, Philippines

El Nido Palawan Guide, Philippines

El Nido on the island of Palawan is a firm fixture on most visitors’ itineraries to the Philippines. I’ve had the pleasure of visiting l Nido a few times now so I thought I’d share a detailed guide on everything to see, do and eat on El Nido, Palawan.

Check below for all the essential info you need for a successful and fun trip to El Nido!

el nido palawan guide

el nido palawan guide

El Nido Palawan Guide

How to get to El Nido

Previously, the only real way to get to El Nido was to fly to Puerta Princesca on Palawan. Then, it would be a 4-6 bus hour ride straight from the terminal door. However, Puerta Princesa has a lot to offer, so for many this is still an ideal option.

But AirSwift, a small local airline has started to offer more convenient flights right into El Nido on small aircraft. These are between Manila, Cebu and most recently (and conveniently), from Caticlan by Boracay.

Compared to my first visit in 2014, it has got definitely easier to visit El Nido!

el nido palawan guide

Where To Stay in El Nido

So depending on your budget, there’s a huge range of accommodation options in El Nido – but many are quite small.

The first time I visited, I stayed at Our Melting Pot hostel (OMP). It’s right in the centre of town, and I would highly recommend it. The dorms are clean and comfortable, with excellent lockers and storage too.

The second time I visited, I stayed at El Gordo’s Guesthouse, as we really wanted a private double room. While I would say it was slightly overpriced for its standard of accommodation (very much a basic wooden treehouse), it offered spectacular views of the bay. Gordon, the owner, is fantastic and really helpful and it’s slightly to the side of the main El Nido town, meaning a perfect opportunity to get to mingle with the locals. Loved it!

Lastly, having seen this beautiful resort in 2014, I knew we had to stay at Las Cabanas Beach Resort on my return. It did not disappoint – the room’s are beautiful and it really is located on a slice of paradise.

el nido palawan guide

What To Do in El Nido

The main attraction of El Nido is the water and everything here revolves around the sea. The most popular activities are to enjoy a boat trip around the Bacuit Bay to visit the famous lagoons and secret, tucked away beaches. These tours are labelled (unimaginatively) as Tour A, B, C, D. These are sold everywhere and at the price which is regulated by the local tourism authority. These tours are the same wherever you buy them and you can even combine them.

Other alternatives around El Nido are to visit the beautiful beaches of Las Cabanas or Nacpan.

Also, ask around to see if the locals know someone with a paddle board. We found a local guy with a few top quality boards and got to spend the most amazing days exploring hidden unknown beaches and lagoons in El Nido away from the crowds. Incredible!

For more information, check out article on my top 20 things to do in El Nido!

el nido palawan guide

Nightlife in El Nido

The nightlife scene in 2017 had grown hugely since I first visited in 2014. Back then, there were only a few tiny beach bars to pick from and everyone chilled out on the beach into the evenings.

In 2017, Full Moon party fever had spread from Thailand. While it was nowhere on the same scale as Thailand, El Nido was definitely more lively with a lot more themed parties and nights out. We managed to avoid this nicely.

el nido palawan guide

Eating Out in El Nido

El Nido has a lovely selection of restaurants, however, I would say that prices had risen significantly since my first visit.

My favourite breakfast spot is V&V Bakery – but the queue was LONG to get in each day in 2017.

For dinner, I loved Mezzannine by the beach, Bella Vita and Arts Cafe. Lots of Italian food around it seems!

El Nido Palawan Guide – Practical Information

So, it’s important to know that El Nido is actually still pretty poor. Internet (at the time of writing – April 2017) is almost non-existent. Actually, it was better in 2014 when there were far fewer tourists.

Electricity supply in El Nido has massively improved since 2014, but it does still cut out.

Water sanitation is poor. Many areas in El Nido may smell and do not drink the water. Be very careful.

Lastly, they’ve only recently had an ATM installed, but it does run out of money so bring some extra.

el nido palawan guide

I hope you’ve found my El Nido Palawan guide useful, and that maybe I’ve inspired you to visit this gorgeous area on your travels! If you’ve already been to El Nido, let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear from you 🙂

You might also find some of my other posts useful, including my 3 week itinerary here and my top tips for travelling in the Philippines here.

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29 Comments

  1. March 9, 2018 / 5:49 pm

    THis is a completely new place to me and has never once crossed my radar. I can so see why this would be a phenomenal place to visit. The only problem I would have would be leaving that clear water behind.

    • claire_stokes@msn.com
      Author
      March 19, 2018 / 1:44 pm

      Haha Cia, I know! It wasn’t easy…

  2. Niki
    March 9, 2018 / 10:45 pm

    I went on a missions trip to the Philippines about two years ago and it was one of the most beautiful places I’ve been to. This location though, is SO gorgeous and now I’m feeling like I want to head back! You look like you had so much fun.

    • claire_stokes@msn.com
      Author
      March 19, 2018 / 1:44 pm

      Hi Niki,

      Wow! That must have been so amazing! Definitely head back when you can!

  3. Sue Tanya Mchorgh
    March 10, 2018 / 12:44 pm

    Look at all these amazing shots. I would love to visit the Phillipines one day. There’s so much to do there. It is definitely on my bucketlist.

    • claire_stokes@msn.com
      Author
      March 19, 2018 / 1:43 pm

      Hi Sue,

      Good idea, it’s amazing! 🙂

  4. March 10, 2018 / 4:43 pm

    The Philippines looks absolutely beautiful! I love to paddle board! And that water looks so clear!

    • claire_stokes@msn.com
      Author
      March 19, 2018 / 1:43 pm

      It was crystal clear!! So magical 🙂

  5. March 10, 2018 / 4:48 pm

    Thanks for your suggestions and insights into El Nido. I’ve never even been anywhere close to that region of the world! It looks like an absolutely gorgeous and relaxing place to vacation. . . . especially since the internet would be spotty and a good reason to just avoid being online!

    • claire_stokes@msn.com
      Author
      March 19, 2018 / 1:42 pm

      Yup! A great place for a digital detox if you need one 🙂

  6. March 10, 2018 / 4:57 pm

    Ahh it certainly is very beautiful! This is what I imagine my dream destination to look like! Its good that the travel there has got easier and I am sure your guide will help so many – the ATM tip is great, not many people would think about it running out often.

    • claire_stokes@msn.com
      Author
      March 19, 2018 / 1:42 pm

      It really is a dream destination! It’s getting easier and easier to get about which is good but also means more tourists ruining the destination!

  7. March 10, 2018 / 5:35 pm

    This looks like a beautiful place to vacation. The water is crystal clear. Was it cold?

    • claire_stokes@msn.com
      Author
      March 19, 2018 / 1:41 pm

      Nope super warm! It’s idyllic!

  8. March 10, 2018 / 6:04 pm

    Your pictures make me want to pack up and visit the Philippines immediately! I love how you balanced the beauty of the pictures with practical information. It’s good to know what to expect!

    • claire_stokes@msn.com
      Author
      March 19, 2018 / 1:41 pm

      You’re welcome! I do try and be as informative as possible 🙂

  9. March 11, 2018 / 2:20 am

    El Nido looks amazingly beautiful! I like to travel and take groups of yogis with me. I wonder if this would be a good location? Do you have an opinion?

    • claire_stokes@msn.com
      Author
      March 19, 2018 / 1:39 pm

      Hi Cindy,

      Absolutely, I think El Nido would be totally perfect for a yogi retreat! I highly recommend!

  10. March 11, 2018 / 8:54 am

    EL Nido looks so dreamy and your photos make me want to book a flight to the Philippines straight away. The color of the water and the beautiful beaches are definitely part of a small corner of paradise.

    • claire_stokes@msn.com
      Author
      March 19, 2018 / 1:38 pm

      Hi Joanna, I know… so dreamy!!!!

  11. Elizabeth O
    March 11, 2018 / 11:15 am

    It looks like you had an amazing time. What a great guide to the Philippines the pictures are beautiful.

    • claire_stokes@msn.com
      Author
      March 19, 2018 / 1:38 pm

      Thanks Elizabeth!

  12. March 11, 2018 / 4:01 pm

    The Philippines is on my list of places I’d love to go! It looks so lovely, and lol on the ATM. Great info to bring more cash! 🙂

    • claire_stokes@msn.com
      Author
      March 19, 2018 / 1:37 pm

      Defo!!! 🙂 Hope you visit soon!

  13. Josselyn Radillo
    March 12, 2018 / 11:34 pm

    This location though, is SO gorgeous!!! And it looks like you have a lot of fun and enjoy it

    • claire_stokes@msn.com
      Author
      March 19, 2018 / 1:34 pm

      Hi Josselyn, I know – I wish I could go back today 🙂

  14. March 13, 2018 / 7:29 am

    The night sky is so beautiful and I’m wowed by how you’ve managed to capture the skyline. I haven’t been to Philippines, but I think I will love to travel there with my gf some day!

    • claire_stokes@msn.com
      Author
      March 19, 2018 / 1:33 pm

      Definitely do! 🙂

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