Travel Guide: El Nido (Updated)

North of the mainland Palawan is a paradise considered by many as one of their dream destinations. With 45 islands and islets that harbor some of the country’s best white sand beaches, hidden lagoons, picturesque cliffs and rich marine life underneath its Earth, El Nido is indeed a piece of paradise.

The town is a managed and resource protected area of Palawan, 238 kilometers from Puerto Princesa. Contrary to common notion that El Nido is an expensive destination, the place is in fact, can be explored on a budget. With plenty of budget accommodations lined up on the streets of the town and lots of tour groups offering cheap packages, El Nido is another backpacker’s haven.

Get a tan on numerous white sand islands of Bacuit Bay; climb a cliff; dive to its diverse underwater life; snorkel and feed the tame fishes; sit and relax along the beach; watch the sun set; satisfy your cravings on its array of restaurants… El Nido is for everyone.

Perhaps it is now time to fulfill your dream, or revisit and rekindle the good times in paradise. El Nido is a promise of a perfect getaway. Experience paradise, experience El Nido.

Helicopter Beach

How to Get There

From Manila

By Air

ITI has daily flights to El Nido, for booking and reservation contact ITI at (02)8515674. Travel time: approximately 1 hour.

By Sea

There are also cargo ship operators that also ferry passengers from Manila to El Nido. Contact the shipping lines for schedule and fare information. Please note that these are smaller cargo ships/hauls that cater specially to cargo but also allow passengers.

  • Operator: San Nicholas Shipping Lines (M/B Andrea-1, M/V Catalyn-A, M/V Catalyn-C, M/V Catalyn-E, M/V Asuncion-IX, M/V Asuncion-XI)
    Route: Manila-El Nido-Liminangcong and vice versa
    Contact Info: (02)-243-4595
  • Operator: Atienza Shipping Lines (M/V Josilee-II, M/V April Rose, M/V Q-Carrelyn-III)
    Route: Manila-Coron-El Nido-Liminangcong and vice versa
    Website :
    Telephone No. : (02)-986-3118 and (02)-536-8123

From Puerto Princesa

By Air

Puerto Princesa City is accessible by air from Manila via Philippine Airlines/PAL ExpressCebu Pacific Air and Air Asia Zest and from Cebu via Cebu Pacific Air.

By Sea

By ferry, 2Go Travel services Puerto Princesa via Coron. Please check their website to get the latest schedule.

Puerto Pricesa to El Nido by Van

From Puerto Princesa to El Nido, air-conditioned vans depart at 7AM and 11AM.
Fort Wally Van: +63917-2762875
Savior Van: +63929-6225974
Travel time: approximately 5-6 hours
Fare: (Puerto to El Nido) P600/(El Nido to Puerto) P500
Return trips (El Nido to Puerto Princesa): 7AM, 7:30AM and 9AM

Public buses departs from 5AM, 7AM and 9AM.
Eulen Joy Bus: +63919-7162210/+63926-6998700
Sweety Bus: +63919-7119221
Travel time: approximately 7-8 hours
Fare: P250
Return trips (El Nido to Puerto Princesa): 5AM and 830AM

Puerto Pricesa to El Nido by Bus

RoRo Buses regulary ply Puerto Princesa-El Nido route and vice versa. Buses leave San Jose Terminal to El Nido with stop over in Roxas and Taytay on these times: 4:00 AM, 6:00 AM – aircon, 8:00 AM, 10:00 AM – aircon, 12:00 PM, 2:00 PM – aircon, 4:00 PM, 6:00 PM – aircon and 10:00 PM – aircon. Fare is P485 for the aircon bus  and P350 for the non-aircon. For booking and reservation contact +639175971186, +639228897013 or +639089202568.

From Coron to El Nido by Boat

There are boats to El Nido from Coron daily. Fare is P2200 for foreigners and P1500 for Filipinos. Travel time: approximately 8 hours.

Snorkeling in Shimizu Island with the tame sergeant fishes

Where to Stay

Accommodations in El Nido range from very basic for as low as P400 per room to the high-end resorts that go by the thousands. I have tried staying in Lualhati Cottages (+63919-3196683) for a twin fan room at P400/night. My stay with them was very pleasant. It is located along the main road, five to ten minutes walk to Bacuit Bay.

If you prefer beach front accommodation, Og’s Inn, located along the Bacuit Bay, is a good choice for budget travelers. They have rooms fan rooms for as low as P500 and aircon rooms at higher rates. Og’as Inn is on the second floor of Og’s Restorbar, the place is equipped with free wi-fi. Contact number: +639167070393 or +639204040223.

Marina Garden Beach Resort, also along the beach, have good reviews too. They have rooms for as low as P955. Contact details:  +63917 6247722/639088843711/

Another accommodation with good review is The Alternative, a family-run inn with restaurant and bar with a good view of Bacuit Bay. Room is as low as P900. For reservation and more information, check their website at

If you prefer more adventure, just pitch a tent or a a hammock in one of the islands in Bacuit Bay :)

For list of other accommodations in El Nido please visit this site:


  • Island Hopping: Island Hopping in Bacuit Bay is a must and touring these islands are quite easy because the packaged tours are organized into common itineraries known to all organizers. The rates are standard as set by the local government but if you are good in haggling, you can lower it down.
  • Tour A: Small and Big Lagoons of Miniloc Island, Payong-Payong Beach, Shimizu Island and Seven Commandos – P1,200/person
  • Tour B: Pangulasian Island, Snake Island, Codugnon Cave, Cathedral Cave and Pinagbuyutan Island – P1,300/person
  • Tour C: Hidden Beach, Secret Beach, Star Beach, Matinloc Shrine and Helicopter Island – P1,400/person
  • Tour D: Cadlao Lagoon, Pasandigan Beach, Bukal Beach, Paradise Beach and Natnat Beach – P1,200/person
  • Tour E (Inland Tour): Nacpan and Calitang Beaches, Makinit Hotspring, Nagkalit-kalit Waterfalls – P1,200/person
  • Scuba Diving: The average cost for a three-dive package is P3,600 per person inclusive of gear and equipments, lunch, DM, boat and marine conservation fee. Here are some of the dive shops in El Nido:
  • Free diving
  • Snorkeling
  • Cliff Climbing
  • Kayaking/Kayak Island Trip
  • Wind Surfing
  • Beach Bumming/Camping
  • Watch the beautiful sunset in Bacuit Bay or Corong Corong Bay
  • Biking/motorbike tour to Makinit Hot Spring and other villages nearby
  • Hike to Nagkalit-kalit Falls
  • Explore the historical Ille Cave
  • See the beautiful twin beaches of Nacpan and Calitang
  • Visit Taytay, Roxas, Coron and Puerto Princesa

Underwater Bacuit Bay, this school of small fish is mimicking a big fish as defense mechanism.


  • Electricity runs from 2PM to 6AM only
  • No ATM in town
  • Unlike Coron that charges entrance fees to almost every spot, El Nido implemented a single payment of  “Eco-Tourism Development Fee” for only P200/person for each visit of up to ten (10) days. This gives access to almost all public tourist sites in El Nido and Bacuit Bay
  • If your entry and exit point to El Nido is Puerto Princesa, it is advised to reserve your seat in advance, call the numbers above
  • I enjoyed the pizza of  El Nido Boutique and Art Cafe, you might want to give them a try
  • Go to Bacuit Grill before sun down for the best view of sunset, their Shrimp Spaghetti is good :)
  • Touring El Nido can be done on a budget. Try Lagoon Tours of Sir Harvey Templado (+639263049680), they offer cheap package tours complete with meals, and they cooked real good foods :)

Entrance to Small Lagoon

Sample Itinerary (4D/3N via Puerto Princesa)
Estimated Budget (Airfare excluded): P6000-P6500

Day 1: En Route to El Nido
0900H-1000H: Manila to Puerto Princesa
1000H-1100H: Puerto Princesa Airport to Fort Wally Terminal(San Jose Terminal)/Breakfast
1100H-1700H: Puerto Princesa to El Nido
1700H-1900H: Hotel check-in/fix stuff/rest
1900H-2100H: Dinner/Night Walk/Lights out

Day 2: Whole Day Island Hopping Tour
0700H-0800H: Call time/Breakfast
0800H-1700H: Tour A: Small and Big Lagoons of Miniloc Island, Payong-Payong Beach, Shimizu Island and Seven Commandos (Lunch included)
1700H-1900H: Back to hotel/fix up/wash up/rest
1900H-2100H: Dinner/Night Walk/Lights out

Day 3: Whole Day Island Hopping Tour
0700H-0800H: Call time/Breakfast
0800H-1700H: Tour C: Hidden Beach, Secret Beach, Star Beach, Matinloc Shrine and Helicopter Island
1700H-1900H: Back to hotel/fix up/wash up/rest
1900H-2100H: Dinner/Night Walk/Lights out

Day 4: Back to Puerto Princesa
0600H-0700H: Call time/Breakfast/Proceed to terminal
0700H-1300H: El Nido to Puerto Princesa
1300H-1500H: Lunch in KaLui
1500H-1530H: To Airport
1530H-1730H: Check-in/Assemble
1730H-1830H: Puerto Princesa to Manila

Related Posts

*First published: Apr 14, 2011; Updated: Dec 26, 2012; Updated: Feb 25, 2014

100 Comments on “Travel Guide: El Nido (Updated)

  1. We’ve only tried tours A & C due to limited time. But I really enjoyed our stay there and it’s really a great place for snorkeling. Lots of fish and corals especially in Helicopter Island. I hope we can return there and try the other tours.

    We have also saved with our tour agency Northern Hope. They arranged for our accommodation with free breakfast and we paid a very affordable price both for the accommodation and island hopping :)

  2. Pingback: Snapshot: El Nido’s Snake Island | Lakwatsero

  3. Pingback: Snapshot: Nacpan Beach | Lakwatsero

  4. Hi, thank you for your tips! Me and my partner aree planning to stay in el nidp for 4D/3N as well. Im so worried that it would cost us too much. Do you think it is better to go there without any hotel reservation? Are there aany public comfort rooms if ever we stay in a tent? And do you think, the cost of everything will drop by november? We are planning to vissit el nido this year frrom nov. 25-28. And i really need your help. Thank you!

  5. How much po tour A and tour C? May nagsabi po sa akin na mas mura kung makikipag haggle kami doon na mismo. June 7 to 10 kmi doon. San po ba the best mag stay. We are 6 in the group. okay na kaya ang fan room?

    • Tour A is 1200 & C is 1400, though some operators combine both into one tour to save you money. There is a new leaflet in town with deals and promos covering tours, sleeping and eating/drinking out that aims to thank people for visiting El Nido by rewarding them with some great deals to keep the tourists coming. the website is

  6. Thanks for sharing! We’re planning to visit Palawan this Summer, and we’re thinking if Go Hotels Palawan is a good choice or should I have some list of Hotels?

  7. hi,

    ask ko lang same rate lang po ba ng adult ang 5 years old? do you have any suggestion where to stay na may ac but hindi ganun kamahalan..
    may 12-16 po ang travel date can you help me to create an itinerary first timer kasi kaming lahat where total of 6 including the 5 years old..
    may 12 530am po dating namin sa PPs we’re planning to take the PPUR on our 1st day.. then on the same day wil take the last trip going to el nido.. so technically may 13 mag start yung el nido namin.. anong tour po ba maganda sa tour A B C D? may 15 last trip naman kukunin namin going back to pps 12nn ng may 16 flight namin pa manila..

    thanks po in advance

    • I suggest Tour A & C. The best! kung kaya ng pa time try niyo Nacpan beach, the view is amazing!

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