The Ultimate Guide To El Nido Palawan Philippines
El Nido Palawan Guide
El Nido Palawan Philippines has some of the most beautiful scenery we have every 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 huts, budget-friendly rooms, or you can even rent an entire beach front home on Airbnb.
How To Get To El Nido
There are 3 ways to travel to El Nido: Air, boat, or land. We went by bus from Puerto Princesa to El Nido, which 137 miles and took 6 hours and cost only 480P or $15 USD. You’ll have to fly to Puerto Princesa first, which is easily reachable from most major Philippines destinations and affordable (average $40 USD) with Air Asia or Cebu Pacific. Click here for reverse directions from El Nido to Puerto Princesa.
The easiest and fastest way to El Nido is by air. There are daily direct flights to El Nido from Manila and Cebu. Air Swift is the airline that services El Nido Palawan, flights are on a 50 seater ATR. El Nido flights land at the Lio Airport, which is a 20-minute tricycle ride from El Nido Town. Flights can be booked online here. Flight schedule is as follows:
Traveling to El Nido from Manila
- Flights to El Nido from Manila: 8:00, 12:00, 16:00, 17:35 daily.
- Flights from El Nido to Manila: 6:30, 9:55, 11:00, 14:00 daily
- Prices vary based on season average price low season: 5,350P high season 7,500 P
- Flight time to El Nido: 55 minutes
Traveling to El Nido From Cebu
- Flights to El Nido from Cebu: 15:15 daily
- Flights from El Nido to Cebu: 12:55 daily
- Prices vary based on season average price low season: 4,550P high season 6,344P
- Flight time to El Nido: 90 minutes
There are boats from Coron to El Nido, but we didn’t take this nor would we recommend it. After you explored Coron Palawan you could get on a boat heading to El Nido, which on a map this journey makes the most sense. Boats from Coron to El Nido are scheduled to run 4-5 times a week and take 7-10 hours. It is very common for the boat to be canceled for days, as the trip is very dependent on the weather. Seas can be really rough and not suited for those prone to even the slightest sea sickness. Ferry price to El Nido averages around 1,800P.
Related Article: Coron Palawan Guide
El Nido Basics / FAQ:
Does El Nido have an ATM:? Yes
As of October 2015, El Nido now has an ATM so getting money in El Nido is possible. The El Nido ATM machine is located in the Municipal Hall. Prior to this El Nido didn’t have an ATM, therefore, you would have to travel to El Nido with enough money to fund your trip or travel to Puerto Princesa (6 hours away) for a working ATM. We would still suggest bringing cash with you to El Nido, ATM’s in such remote locations are known to run out of money often or even be out of service for days at a time. Trust us you don’t want to run out of money in El Nido.
Does El Nido have power all day? Yes
As of November 2014, electricity in El Nido is 24 hours a day. Prior to this electricity was only 2pm-6am. Power outages still happen but several places have a generator.
How Much Money Do I Need In El Nido?
The amount of money needed in El Nido will be based on your travel style. Here are some general figures to use. Filipinos have realized they have something special here and the prices are starting to reflect. I guess you can’t blame them, but there is a lot of price fixing where everyone raises the price together. Day trips now cost 1200P per person, I say now because all the signs around town use to say 600P, but have a piece of masking tape with sharpie written over to say the new 1200P. Prices below will change as demand is higher and tourism increases.
El Nido Airbnb
Why stay in a hotel when you can stay in an epic beachfront home on Airbnb and be steps from the ocean. Airbnb has listings for luxurious homes to rooms in a local guesthouse. Some rooms are only listed on Airbnb or available in person. Here is $40 off your Airbnb stay, I would opt for a beachfront home on my next visit.
You get so much more for your money when staying in an Airbnb vs a standard hotel. We have used Airbnb around the world and always check our Airbnb options before even looking at hotels.
El Nido Hotels
There are tons of hotels in El Nido something for everyone’s budget.Rooms are becoming more and more available to book online. Below is a general El Nido hotel price range.
- Beachside room in El Nido with AC: 2200-4000P
- El Nido over the water bungalow room: 15,000P +
- Air conditioning room in El Nido town: 1000-2000P (Private Bath, clean, simple, AC) we stayed at Marikit Pensionne which had: free wifi, free breakfast, a really nice family with a clean and simple room.
- Fan room in El Nido Town: 600-800P (Private Bath, clean, simple)
- Basic room in El Nido: 400-600P (shared bath, no shower in some cases)
Where To Eat In El Nido
- Meal at a local Filipino restaurant: 100-200P
- Meal at the average resort: 200-400 with many options at 250P
- Beer at a store: 35-55P, once you find a cheap beer store keep going back
- Beer at an El Nido bar: 35-70P Happy hour in El Nido on the beach typically has two for one beer at 70P (2 beers)
- Water: 1Liter – 35p or 6Liters -90P
- Soda: 25-30P a can, 65P for 2L bottle
Eat pizza at Altrove: There is a line for a reason, it’s some of the best food in El Nido. They do a good stone oven pizza with a nice crust for 310-400P enough for 2 if you are not too hungry, or if you are each get one, they’re good, you’ll finish them. The crust is thin but nicely puffed at the edges, with real cheese and good toppings. Some nights there is a 30 person line at Altrove, some nights no wait we went when there was no wait, and just walked by when there was.
Things To Do In El Nido
There are a bunch of things to do in El Nido that you could easily spend a week in the Palawan. There is good beaches accessible right from town, explore the underwater world diving in El Nido, enjoy the sunset on the beach, and much more.
Related Article: Things To Do In El Nido
Make a day trip to Las Cabanas beach: For about 120P (each way) a trike will take you to a nice long stretch of sand on the other side of the cliffs. Shallow, bright blue-green waters, with a beach bar or two await. It’s a nice way to spend a day when not taking a day trip, as they do get costly. Stay for sunset, this is one of the best spots for sunset without taking a boat. This beach is also a stop on El Nido tour B, most say to skip tour B and opt for A and C.
El Nido Day Tours: I would plan on doing a day trip in El Nido at least every other day because most of the best things in the Palawan is on the outer islands. There currently are 5 tours A/B/C/D/E. Prices for El Nido Day trips average 1200-1400P per person. For more details & a review of El Nido Tour C, and for El Nido Tour A.
TIP: Make sure you have a big boat for day trip tour C – A big boat is always better and more comfortable, but El Nido tour C goes into the open water outside the bay for a short bit where it gets rough in the afternoon. You will get wet in any boat, but a little boat would be worst. Art Cafe’s boat is a good size for that tour. Bring water shoes for El Nido tour C – It seems everywhere they take you on tour C you are walking on sharp rocks. El Nido Tour A is manageable without, but tour C is much better with.
We feel in love with the Palawan and can’t wait to get back to El Nido ourselves. Hopefully, our El Nido Palawan guide helped plan your trip to paradise. It really is a magical place.
For Additional Philippines Information Check Out Our Other Articles:
El Nido Pictures To Tempt You
Get there soon – Because the road is almost paved to town. Who knows what that will do, based on what we saw compared to what we read about it, it seems as if El Nido has undergone some big changes already.