The Ultimate Guide To El Nido Palawan Philippines

The Ultimate Guide To El Nido Palawan Philippines

Last Updated:

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

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 hutsbudget-friendly rooms, or you can even rent an entire beach front home on Airbnb.

Things to do in El Nido - Philippines - Large Lagoon - El Nido Tour A-2

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

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

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.

El Nido Guide

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)

El Nido Philippines - Day Trip A-35

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

Bottle of San Miguel on the beach in El Nido Palawan Philippines

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.

El Nido Philippines - Day Trip C-28

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

El Nido Guide

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.

GS Suitcase Divider

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.

El Nido Guide

For Additional Philippines Information Check Out Our Other Articles:

El Nido Day Trip A Featured Image El Nido Day Trip Tour A Thumb boracay on a budget feature  The Philippines in Pictures - Featured Images filipino phood feature 1

El Nido Pictures To Tempt You

El Nido Guide  El Nido Guide El Nido Guide El Nido Guide El Nido Guide

El Nido Guide

El Nido Philippines-6

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.

  • Monnette
    Posted at 01:06h, 22 March Reply

    It’s good to know you are interested in coming back. How about trying other beaches like those found in Bohol or Samal Island in Davao?

    • Hannah
      Posted at 06:55h, 27 March Reply

      We are planning next Jan/Feb for another full visa stay. We are open to new beaches, as we love exploring new places.

  • Melo of
    Posted at 05:54h, 27 March Reply

    I love reading your post, its simple yet informative…. btw as of this writing, im enjoying the sunset view from my room here in El Nido:)

    The island is waiting for both of you:)

    • Hannah
      Posted at 06:57h, 27 March Reply

      JEALOUS! Can’t believe its been already a month since we were last in El Nido. We will be back, next time we hope to meet up.

  • Shikha (whywasteannualleave)
    Posted at 14:10h, 09 April Reply

    I’ve never been to The Philippines but your pictures are so beautiful that I would love to see El Nido one day!

    • Hannah
      Posted at 20:43h, 09 April Reply

      Thank you, and you should add El Nido to your future travel plans. But add it sooner than later, I can imagine it’s going to get popular!

  • catherine
    Posted at 20:41h, 19 April Reply

    Thanks for your blog and your recommandation!
    I will go in palawan soon in july the low season,do you think it’s easy to find on the all around the island some cheap hotel?or is it better to book every hotel by internet?
    We leave actually in saigon,if you need some informations about Vietnam,you are welcome!

    • Hannah
      Posted at 16:41h, 29 June Reply

      It being low season if you get in during the day you should have no problem finding a room by just walking up. I liked the place we stayed at, mentioned above. Have fun I’m jealous!

  • Angku
    Posted at 08:21h, 08 May Reply

    May I just comment on this:
    The cost: 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.”

    The tour rates in El Nido is standardized. It used to be 700, 800, 900 for Tours A, B, and C. But the municipality issued an ordinance that was made effective in November 16, 2013 raising the standardized prices for the tours to 1200, 1300, and 1400. It came as a surprise to everyone, really. All the booking offices, travel agencies, and hotel owners were shocked at the implementation of the ordinance. Not that this ordinance was not discussed prior to being approved, it was just that the implementation was sudden.

    I own Outventure – a booking office slash travel agency based in El Nido, and I had to go through the painful process of emailing all my guests who were booked in advance to inform them of the change in the tour rates along with a scanned copy of the Municipal Ordinance.

    What I’m saying is, the people of El Nido are not “fixing” any prices, or fooling anyone with the price change. Printing a tarpaulin costs money and instead of having the entire tarpaulin reprinted, they just made do with putting a masking tape over the old price, and writing the new one. We all have to comply with the ordinance.

    As to the price change, you should have dropped by my shop while you were in town and I would’ve discussed the details of this. As it is, it is too long to write here as a comment. 😉

    But maybe I write it somewhere in my blog as well when I do find the time. I’m just commenting here because I wanted to let your readers know that we in El Nido are trying very hard to make things “work” and balance environmental protection and tourism.

    Anyway, you did say you would come back. Drop by if you do. 😉

    Cheers and all the best to your travels and your blog. Thank you for your kind words and your beautiful photos.

  • Amy
    Posted at 00:11h, 18 June Reply

    Hi there guys, really loving the blog. I’m planning a 3 week trip to the Philippines in January and it’s been really useful.

    Would love to know what your favourite beaches were in El Nido- are there any as beautiful as Malcapuya on Coron?

    Also- where would you recommend staying in El Nido? In town, or at one of the beaches nearby?

    • Hannah
      Posted at 16:44h, 29 June Reply

      I liked El Nido way more as there were beaches to go to that didnt involve a day trip out on a boat. I would split my time up between the town and the beaches. Very easy to get to the beaches for the day though to if you want to stay in the town mainly. Have fun!

  • Ivy
    Posted at 15:52h, 14 November Reply

    Hi there, my fiance and I are heading to El Nido in early December and found your blog really useful as we had no idea how much $$ to bring! Thanks for the info 🙂 I was wondering if you had any recommendations on which tours to go with?

    • Hannah
      Posted at 16:36h, 18 November Reply

      Your going to love it! We did tour A & C in El Nido , we both liked C better if you only have time to do 1 tour. Make sure you go to the pizza shop, it’s tasty! Have fun

  • Vincent
    Posted at 16:20h, 22 January Reply

    Thanks for the lovely pictures and description you made me want to go back after a long 8 years of absence 🙂

    Do you have an idea of the current prices for a hiring a private boat for one of the day tour these days?



    • Hannah
      Posted at 02:24h, 22 February Reply

      Sorry Vincent I never looked into hiring a private boat for the day, I would guess around 4500 but not 100% sure. I can’t imagine what El Nido was like 8 years ago!

  • kavi
    Posted at 09:43h, 03 February Reply


    awesome write up. I am planning to go on a solo trip to El nido Feb-Mar’16 for about 5 days. would a solo trip be good enough or will it be even better with a company? also, is 5 days enough to explore El Nido? Any suggestions to stay in Pureto and explore Pureto Princessa?


    • Karla
      Posted at 08:16h, 10 February Reply

      Hi Kavi! saw your comment and thought I’d help you out as I was just in El Nido in January 2015. I was also stuck in Puerto Princesa for a night so I thought I’d give some advice! 🙂
      – I think a solo trip in El Nido is enough. For the tours you can sign up solo and end up with a group so no problem with that 🙂
      – In Puerto Princesa, when my flight was cancelled I tried booking a room at the hotel near the airport (just immediately beside the airprt) but it was booked. they referred me to a smaller apartelle called ‘Lea Apartelle’ contact (63) 048.434 1788. It can be found in a small street beside Fersal Hotel in front of the airport. The lady was nice and I had a room of my own in a two bedroom apartment with a kitchen, strong wifi and tv. I only paid 650 pesos! The bathroom is outside your room but immediately beside it. The apartelle has 8 units and if is not fully booked you can have the two bedroom apartment to yourself! Also, I recommend it as it is near two art cafes and some cool pubs whcih can be found on the same street as the airport. Just a few minutes walk to the right side of the airport. There is also a European/Thai restaurant there where I tasted the best curry outside of Thailand. You can have fun exploring the islands in HOnda Bay for a day but if you just came from El Nido these islands would just be so so…
      – the only tips I would give you for el nido are – on the island tours, make sure you have your bags wrapped in some plastic (at least your valuables). everything will get wet!
      – also, if you want a comfy ride to el nido, book the daytripper palawan van. Really organized. The ride was so smooth I slept the whole way.

      HAVE FUN! 🙂

      • Hannah
        Posted at 02:29h, 22 February Reply

        Thanks Karla for helping her out. I second renting one of the water bags on the day trips!

    • Hannah
      Posted at 02:28h, 22 February Reply

      Thanks Kavi. You can go to El Nido solo not a problem, there will be several others on your day trips. I think 5 days is enough. We stayed at i think the EJ Pension

      Hope you have a great trip!

  • Ion Dumitrenco
    Posted at 08:39h, 20 June Reply

    Next year, in february, I’ll be în El Nido!!!! Wonderful blog….

    • Hannah
      Posted at 22:44h, 15 August Reply

      So jealous! You are going to love it, let me know how your trip goes.

  • Mark Tennant
    Posted at 11:50h, 23 June Reply

    Just to add that electricity is now 24hrs AND there’s a new local deals & promos leaflet showing the best deals & offers every month … it also explains how, despite there being no ATM, you can access your funds to enjoy the place more,,, great for tourist and those who rely on tourism to put food on their plates 🙂

    • Hannah
      Posted at 22:45h, 15 August Reply

      24 hour electricity?!?!? Not sure if that is a good thing or bad thing… Thanks for the info on the local deals!

  • Gerard ~ GQ trippin
    Posted at 02:17h, 24 July Reply

    Hey guys`! Been doing research on El Nido vs Coron for a few days now. We’re heading to P.I. and definitely doing Palawan.
    At first we were thinking Coron because it’s easier to get to and better for underwater activities. But we’re a little turned off by the fact there’s no beach in Coron town. Many people we’ve polled have suggested El Nido, but then there’s the 6 hr bus ride from Puerto Princesa. Wouldn’t normally be an issue, but we’re a little limited on time (around 5 days to spare) So many blog posts are split preferring one over the other. Gahhh. So torn. What would you do?

    • Hannah
      Posted at 22:47h, 15 August Reply

      El Nido….but if you are diving Coron is best for that. Corn has no beach but does have great day trips, and only has one good restaurant Corto del Mar (hotel rest). It’s a toss up…..let us know what you decide!

  • Cel
    Posted at 02:49h, 09 August Reply

    Hey Hannah and Adam! Amazing posts on the Philippines!!!! So much that my partner and I have recently booked 3 weeks annual leave in March to go explore this country! I was just wondering if you guys took a ferry from Coron to El Nido? I read awful posts about it and many people seem to think its extremely dangerous! What did you think of it?

    • Hannah
      Posted at 22:50h, 15 August Reply

      Amazing to hear we inspired you to travel to the Philippines! We didn’t take the ferry, we flew and that was a journey in itself….I have heard mix reviews about the ferry, and that is why we didn’t do it. What time of year are you going? Make sure to factor that in.

      I have read stories that the boat canceled for days at a time, and being overpacked with cattle etc. Didn’t sound enjoyable to us, so we fly back to Manila and then Puerto Princessa spent the night and then the 6 hour bus to El Nido.

      Let us know what you decide to do!

  • June
    Posted at 17:28h, 03 January Reply

    Next week me and my girlfriend will be in El nido and Puerto Princesa. This article really helped me figure out what to do, bring and expect! Thanks much! Good read.

    • Hannah
      Posted at 02:38h, 01 August Reply

      Glad to hear we helped you plan your trip, hope you had an amazing time!

  • Elie
    Posted at 08:59h, 19 February Reply

    Hey guys thanks for the article. Really helpful. One question though: do you guys know if it is possible to camp in el nido? Or on the other islands?

    • Hannah
      Posted at 02:40h, 01 August Reply

      I do know that some of the day trips from El Nido did have camping or accommodation on the islands, and I highly recommend doing it!

  • Barbara Wagner
    Posted at 08:13h, 22 July Reply

    Really cool! I love the islands of El Nido, Palawan. I was there a few weeks ago.

    • Hannah
      Posted at 02:39h, 01 August Reply

      El Nido is so easy to fall in love with isn’t it?!?! So jealous you were just there…we hope to get back soon.

  • R Cooper
    Posted at 17:27h, 31 July Reply

    Maybe I missed it somewhere. Are we talking March 2016′??

    Thanks MUCH for your website and info!!

    • Hannah
      Posted at 00:19h, 30 October Reply

      Article has been updated October 2016 with all update information. Let us know if have any other questions.

  • rhea locquiao
    Posted at 19:57h, 24 February Reply

    I love you travel tips. im going to el nido this april. where did you guys stayed?

    • Hannah Lukaszewicz
      Posted at 15:44h, 07 March Reply

      Great to hear our article helped plan your trip to El Nido Palawan. We stayed at this hotel and would recommend super great value for the price. Safe travels.

Post A Comment