Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Vacation Guide: El Nido,Palawan

El Nido is situated at the northern part of Palawan, about 238 kilometers northeast of Puerto Princesa which is Palawan's capital.It is well known for it's diverse marine life, fine sand beaches, snorkelling spots, lagoons and limestone cliffs. It is usually perceived that a vacation to El Nido is a costly one but with several mid and budget accommodations sprouting in El Nido town it is actually a priceless experience with an affordable price tag.

Take your pick, you can reach El Nido by air, sea or land. 

The fastest and most expensive way to reach El Nido, is to take an hour and fifteen minutes flight from Manila to El Nido. The carriers plying this route are: Seair and ITI, which utilizes small aircrafts (Dornier 360 for Seair).Airfares will usually cost more than 10,000 Php with the exception of promos or airfare sales.

The budget way to reach El Nido is to take the public bus (cheapest way) or van shuttles from Puerto Princesa to El Nido in a butt numbing 6 hours road trip. The public bus cost about 300 Php (as of writing time) while the aircon van shuttle is about 600-700 Php.

The adventurous way to reach El Nido is to take a ferry/boat from Coron to El Nido for 6-8 hours. Cost will be around 2,000+ Php for a one way trip.

My Pick: I took the shuttle van from Fort Wally and they instructed me to head to their office near the airport for pickup instead of going all the way to San Jose Terminal. The fare goes something like this: 700 Php (PP to El Nido) + 500 Php (El Nido to PP) + 100 Php (Additional fee for return dropoff at Fort Wally's office) , total fare paid is 1,100 Php. Try to get the row behind the driver for a more comfortable ride, since it is more cramped in the other rows.
Fort Wally contact details (as of May 2011): +639172762875

Town side street - white fence is Marina Garden
The budget friendly and convenient place to stay is in El Nido town, there are several beachfront accommodation you can choose from. If you are still seeking for cheaper prices you can head to the nearby town of Corong corong. Whether you are a backpacker with a tight budget or a flashpacker who can spare a few pesos for a private toilet or perhaps you are part of humongous group of friends or family, accommodations abound in El Nido to cater to your budget and preferences.

My Pick: My personal recommendation, Marina Garden is value for money. They have the aircon rooms which has different rates depending on the room type you choose, the lowestrate is for their townside rooms which is facing the back road which cost Php 1,490 per night (includes breakfast). They also offer some non aircon cottage type room for less than Php 1,000 per night (no breakfast). They don't require any deposit, just send them an email to inquire and reserve a room and you just have to reconfirm your reservation a week before the scheduled check in.
Marina Garden El Nido website: http://www.MGelnido.com


Do not fret, El Nido has so much to offer to every type of traveller. 

For the lazy beach bum, the beach in town is just a few steps from where you are staying and you can soak and swim to your heart's content. Bring out the sarongs and sunbathe in the stretch of powdery sand. Indulge in sampling the food from the stuffed squid of Squidos to a cold cup of halohalo in the small carinderia.

For the water baby, there are numerous Island tours that can fill your whole day in El Nido. You can get the tour when you arrive in El Nido there are several tour agents that organizes the island hopping excursions. One of the well known tour organizers is El Nido Art Cafe. El Nido's island hopping tour will navigate you through the waters of Bacuit Bay as you hop from one island to another to experience white sand beaches, diverse marine life when you snorkel and natural lagoons enclosed by the limestone cliffs.

My Pick: Personal recommendation is KrisKlein tours which is the small kiosk across Marina Garden's side street gate. We had a delightful time with Ate Lani's (owner of KrisKlein tours) service from accommodating boat guide to a delicious lunch. (Note: If you are staying in Marina Garden you can request them to help you arrange the island tours).

For the thrill seekers, you can request for a drop off in nearby island for an authentic castaway/survivor experience or perhaps you can rent a motorbike or a tricycle and seek the road less travelled and be blown away by the beauty of Nacpan & Calitang beach

- Electricity runs only between 2pm to 6am
- No atm/banks in town.Make sure you have enough cash for your stay. There are some establishments who accepts credit card (like Art Cafe) but most don't have credit card payments
- If you are planning to buy some souvenirs it is still cheaper to get it at Puerto Princesa but if you are not going to the capital try to look for souvenir items in the town market
- Beachfront restaurants are more expensive than those restaurants in the town street, you do pay for the beachfront ambiance and the live music.
- Use insect repellant at all times

Enjoy and have a fun vacation at El Nido!


  1. wow, i've never been to el nido. hope to explore this someday. :)

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  3. @adventurousfeet: El Nido is truly an experience :) I've never island hop that much in my life. And experiencing the almost paradise Nacpan and Calitang is just a wow moment :)