El Nido is a remote (but lovely) town in Palawan. It got its name from Spanish El Nido, which means “nest”. Other names that El Nido live by are: The Nest of Wonders, The Nest of the Philippines, and The Nest of Pure Philippines Paradise.
After your read this Destination guide, you will conclude that El Nido is truly a heaven here on earth.
How to get there
Airline companies made it possible to travel directly from Manila, Cebu, and Caticlan to El Nido. It only takes about an hour and a half travel to reach this paradise.
If you came all the way from Puerto Princesa, your best option would be to travel by bus that will take you 4.5 hours to 6 hours of travel. It will cost you around Php 600 ($11.43) – Php 700 ($13.33) per head. After the bus ride, you need to ride a tricycle to reach the El Nido town proper, which is just 5 minutes away. Tricycle fare is Php 50 ($0.95) at a minimum.
Getting around El Nido
Getting around El Nido is easy. Tricycles, motorbikes, and jeepneys are their common means of transportation. Rates are pegged at a standard price. If you want to hire any of these transportation, you need to negotiate the prices with the driver.
Things to do in El Nido
1. Climbing the Taraw Peak
Never leave El Nido without hiking the Taraw Peak, the highest peak of El Nido. Right after an hour of hike, you would see the picturesque overview of El Nido. As for the difficultly level of the hike, it is labeled as strenuous, as it has steep drop offs. Best time to hike is of course sunrise. Before sunset can be, but it tends to get dark and hard to see.
2. Beach bum at Nacpan and Calitang Beaches
Nacpan and Calitang Beaches are known as Twin Beaches of El Nido. The twin beaches are somewhat underrated, but this is considered as El Nido’s Most Beautiful Beach. Note that the road going here can be extremely bad, most especially when it rained the night before your visit.
You’ve got 3 options how you can arrive these beautiful beaches.
- Tour E – Most travel agencies and hotels offer Tour E where it includes a visit to the Twin Beaches. This tour will cost you Php 700 ($13.31) to Php 800 ($15.21).
- Motorbike – Motorbikes can be rented and you can self-drive to the Twin Beaches. Motorbike rental costs Php 700 ($13.31) per day.
- Tricycle – Of all the options, this is the best and probably the most accessible option because you can just hail a tricycle on the road. Bargaining skills should be applied to scout for good rates. Therefore, before hailing one, you should know your price. Normal prices offered are from Php 1,000 ($19) to Php 1,500 ($28.52).
3. Get wet at Makinit Hot Springs
Let’s test how hot Makinit Hot Springs is. Locals in El Nido boil eggs in Makinit Hot Springs. Unbelievable, right? Going to the hot springs can be tricky, so make sure you’ve hired a tour guide or a driver who will take you there.
4. Sunset watching
Sunset watching is probably one of the best things to do in El Nido. They say that Merimegmeg Beach is the best place to see the sunset. While watching the sunset, you can chill around, buy a bottle of beer, and just appreciate the beauty of El Nido. La Plage Beach bar comes 2nd, but still, it will wow you.
5. Book packaged tours
There are 4 main tours in El Nido. You might hardly notice their tours because they named it as A, B, C, and D. Here are their specifications (Note: Prices may vary):
- Tour A – This tour includes Big Lagoon, Small Lagoon, Simizu Island, Secret Lagoon, and 7 Commando Beach. Appreciate and admire the colorful corals, and different species of fishes. This tour costs Php 1,200 ($22.85) per person. Is this expensive? Not at all, because this tour includes buffet lunch, snorkel equipment, and cool drinking water.
- Tour B – Tour B includes Entalula Island, Pinagbuyutan Island, Snake Island, Cadugnon Cave, and Cathedral Cove. This may come more expensive that Tour A by Php 100 ($24.75), but this tour is still worth every penny. The night before your tour, you must have enough sleep as this tour will take about 9 hours.
- Tour C – Includes: Hidden Beach, Helicopter Island, Secret Beach, Matinloc Shrine, and Star Beach. If you’re a big fan of snorkeling and kayaking, this will surely excite you!
- Tour D – Includes: Bukal Island, Ipil Beach, Nat-Nat Beach, Cadlao Lagoon, and Paradise Beach.
6. Try their Nido soup
What’s the sense of going to El Nido without even having a taste of their authentic Nido soup? Here are few of our recommendations:
- Balinsasayaw Restaurant
- Habibi Restaurant & Shisha Cafe
- Cadlao Resort & Restaurant
- Trattoria Altrove
Best time to go
Best time to go in El Nido is during summertime. You can visit El Nido during the months of November to May, but most specifically, March, April, and May. The weather may be too hot, but surely this is when waters are calm and clear, really good for snorkeling and kayaking.
ATMs & Exchange
It may come to you as a surprise, but there is no ATM in El Nido. Having said this, you should bring enough and take extra cash. This place may seem touristic, but there will never be an easy way to get cash in this town as of the moment. Where do other tourists get cash?
It may sound funny, but they get cash from Petron Gas Station near the port. Yes, you read it right. You can get a maximum of Php 5,ooo per week ($95), but for a cost of principal amount plus 8% interest. They will run your bank card as if you purchased gasoline, then hand to you the cash that you need. If you plan to do this option, you need to be early because there are people out there who also knew the technique of getting cash.
Another option in getting cash is through Western Union. You just have to use their website, transfer cash, and withdraw the cash in Western Union. Make sure that Western Union is open or online before you transfer your funds.
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May 15, 2018 2:41 am