El Nido is more than just a place, it’s a cluster of 45 small islands on the tip of the Palawan island. There are plenty of things to do in El Nido to fill a trip itinerary for more than a week exploring all that El Nido has to offer. The islands of El Nido are some of the most beautiful and enchanting in the entire world. Here is a list of the top activities in El Nido, Palawan, Philippines.
This hole is what brought me all the way to the El Nido and a big reason for the trip to the Philippines. Secret Lagoon lived up to the hype.
The Large Lagoon in El Nido is a magical place. The water here is a one of a kind color surrounded by tall rock formations. It’s nothing short of breathtaking. It’s paradise!
Secret beach is a pristine piece of sand hidden from sight by large limestone cliffs on all sides. Once inside it feels like you are the only people on the planet. Secret beach is one of the best things to see in El Nido hands down.
This island is another great example of the beauty of El Nido. What makes snake island so special isn’t necessarily the island itself, but the strip of sand leading up to it. When the tides are right snake island has a thin strip of sand wiggling its way through the bay, pointing right at snake island. Snake island is the top thing to do on the El Nido Tour B day trip.
El Nido is home to over 30 dive sites with frequent trips to about 10 depending on the tides and conditions. The Bacuit Bay is home to a wide range of beautiful sea life and interesting structural formations.
This islands has some of the most remarkable stone structures around El Nido. Large pieces of limestone rise out of the sea forming thin curtains of black rock. Some of these rocks have small holes in them that make you wonder how they were formed. Simizu Island is a popular lunch stop on the El Nido day trip A tour.
For the best views of Bacuit Bay takes an average 2 hours round trip, Taraw Peak rises about 230 meters above sea level. On the top is a bird’s eye view of Bacuit Bay. Cost: 350 pesos pp for guide
Las Cabanas is one of the best beaches reachable by land from El Nido town. A long walk or a short tricycle ride to the beach entrance. Las Cabanas beach seems to go on forever and is largely empty. There are a few resorts popping up and a few restaurants to have a beer or a meal. Las Cabanas makes for a great day trip from El Nido and one of the best things you can do independently or without a boat. If you want to spend the night I suggest Las Cabanas Beach Resort.
Located about a mile and a half from the shores of Dilumacad Island (Helicopter island) there is a dive site most local divers call ‘ The Tunnel’. 12 meters under the surface there is a 40-meter tunnel that you can swim through filled with fish and other sea life. Just another one of the amazing things to do in El Nido. For more info on the Dilumacad Underwater Tunnel
After a short ride from El Nido town is the small lagoon. This lagoon sits on the northern end of Miniloc Island. What makes this a thing to do in El Nido is the fact that it’s an open top cathedral of limestone. Vertical walls of stone form a lagoon of shallow water in nearly a perfect circle. Once inside, staring up at the imposing walls, it starts to look like a very alien landscape. The water depending on the tides isn’t really deep enough for swimming, but it’s fun run to splash around a listen to the echos off the stone. You can reach the small lagoon on the El Nido Tour A day trip.
An abandoned shrine to the Virgin Mary that seems a bit out of place in the middle of this tropical paradise. Also, on the island with the shrine are some amazing lookouts. A quick hike up the rocks brings you to a viewpoint where you can see the entire channel running between the small islands.
Tucked away behind high walls of stone, a small opening reveals shallow pools of clear water and soft sands. It’s only visible to the open side by a tiny break in the natural stone walls. Visit this island by joining El Nido Tour C day trip.
A 1-2 hour hike through the lush forest area brings you to the Nagkalit-Kalit waterfalls. The falls are a 10-meter tall trough of water that slides down the rocks and shifting right and left. There are two falls and between them is a pool to take a swim.
Shaped like, you guessed it, a helicopter this island looks remarkably like a giant helicopter sitting in Bacuit Bay. The island is home to a few nice beaches and is part of the El Nido Tour C day trip. There are also many dive trips that will take you to this part of the bay. The biggest draw to the island is the shape and it’s best seen from a boat. You don’t necessarily need to stop at the island, unless you just want to have some beach time, but there is so many things to do in El Nido you might not have time to lie around.
Of all the amazing things to do in El Nido it may seem strange to include pizza on the list of things to do, but it’s that good. Every night there will be a line down the street, it’s worth the wait.
Visit the island where 7 Japanese commandos lived for a period of time near the end of WWII. The names of the soldiers are said to be written on stones around the island, but not much else is known about these soldiers including what happened to them.
Enjoy one of Southeast Asia’s best beers, while sitting on SE Asia’s best beaches in El Nido. Take a break from all the things to do in El Nido and just relax with some cold San Miguels.
Nacpan and Calitang Beach are 1.5 hours from El Nido town. To reach twin beaches you can rent a bike, or join Tour E (inland tour), or pay a tricycle driver to bring you (1500 pesos whole day fits 3 ppl).
El Nido town is facing to the west so every night you are blessed with an amazing sunset to finish your action-packed day in El Nido. Grab your camera and a Filipino beer and enjoy while reflecting on all the amazing things you’ve done in El Nido.
I would put this on the maybe list, or something to do in El Nido if you are in El Nido for a long time and have done everything else. You can’t really swim here – Many other posts about things to do in El Nido listed the hot springs as something to do, but seriously? You are surrounded by some of the most beautiful islands in the entire world, but you are going to go and look at a couple of muddy puddles of hot water? I would recommend doing any one of these other top things to do in El Nido over this.
Try one of these Filipino classics balot, balot doesn’t seem to be as popular in El Nido but there are kids selling them on the beach from the coolers. If you’ve never tried it, it’s a must do in El Nido!
El Nido has been one of the only places I have seen this dish on a menu. Several restaurants in El Nido make this dish with the flower of the banana tree chopped up in a curry.
The postage rates to send a postcard home from El Nido are ridiculously cheap. It’s cheaper to send a postcard from El Nido to the U.S. Than it is to send one within the U.S. (not sure how that makes any sense).