Getting to El Nido:
To reach El Nido, you'll typically fly into Puerto Princesa Airport (PPS), which is the main gateway to Palawan. From there, you have two primary options to get to El Nido.
- Van/Bus: The most common and economical choice is a van or bus transfer. The journey takes approximately 5-6 hours, winding through picturesque landscapes and small villages. Just be prepared for some speedy driving and windy roads.
- Direct Flight: Alternatively, you can opt for a direct flight to El Nido Airport (ENI). While quicker, this option tends to be pricier. However, the convenience and time saved might make it worth considering.
El Nido's History and Appeal:
El Nido's history is as rich and intriguing as its natural beauty. The town was named after swiftlet nests (el nido in Spanish) found in the region. During the Spanish colonial era, it was a favored hideout for pirates due to its maze of limestone cliffs and secret lagoons.
Today, El Nido's allure lies in its stunning landscapes, with towering limestone karsts, hidden lagoons, and coral reefs teeming with marine life. It's a haven for adventurers, snorkelers, and divers, making it a must-visit destination for those in search of pristine, unspoiled beauty.
Transportation within El Nido:
While El Nido doesn't have ride-sharing services like Grab, getting around is easy. Tricycles and jeepneys are the go-to modes of transport. Tricycles are ideal for short trips within town, while jeepneys are more suited for longer journeys to explore nearby attractions. There is a food delivery app called Deliverya which only caters to El Nido and can be used to order delivery from your favourite restaurants.
Accommodations in El Nido:
El Nido offers a diverse range of accommodations to suit every traveller's needs. Here are a few notable options:
- Frangipani El Nido: This charming property is known for its tranquil atmosphere and lush garden. It offers comfortable rooms, a beautiful pool, and it's within walking distance of El Nido's main attractions.
- Bayview Resort: As the name suggests, Bayview Resort provides breathtaking views of El Nido Bay. Its infinity pool is a highlight, especially at night when the stars light up the sky.
- The Funny Lion: The Funny Lion offers a unique experience with its private beach, Papaya Beach. This hidden paradise boasts turquoise waters, perfect for snorkeling and relaxation. The resort itself is comfortable and stylish.
- Moringa Resort: For those seeking eco-friendly accommodations, Moringa Resort is an excellent choice. Surrounded by lush vegetation, it offers a peaceful atmosphere that complements the natural beauty of El Nido.
Attractions and Activities:
- Island Hopping Tours: El Nido is famed for its island-hopping tours, and these are a must-do when you visit. Tours are categorized by letter, such as Tour A, B, C, and D, each offering unique experiences.
- Tour A: Visit iconic spots like the Big Lagoon, Small Lagoon, and Shimizu Island. The Big Lagoon, in particular, is a breathtaking emerald pool surrounded by towering limestone cliffs.
- Tour B: Explore Snake Island, Cudugnon Cave, and Pinagbuyutan Island. The sandbar at Snake Island is a remarkable natural formation that appears during low tide.
- Tour C: Take in the beauty of Matinloc Island, Tapiutan Island, and Helicopter Island. The Secret Beach on Matinloc Island is a hidden gem accessible only through a small crevice in the cliffs.
- Tour D: This tour covers Cadlao Island, Pasandigan Beach, and Bukal Island. The snorkeling at Cadlao Lagoon is a highlight, offering the chance to spot colourful coral and marine life.
- Nacpan Beach: A short drive from El Nido town, Nacpan Beach is known for its long stretch of golden sand, crystal-clear waters, and serene atmosphere. You can rent a kayak to explore nearby lagoons or simply bask in the sun.
- Las Cabanas Beach: Another beautiful beach near El Nido town, Las Cabanas offers a relaxing spot with breathtaking sunset views. The beach is also known for its zipline, providing an exhilarating ride with a bird's-eye view of the coastline.
- Hiking: For those seeking adventure on land, there are hiking opportunities in and around El Nido. The Taraw Cliff hike provides a challenging ascent with a rewarding panoramic view of the town and the bay.
- Waterfall Tours: El Nido offers tours to explore inland attractions, including waterfalls. Nacpan Falls and Nagkalit-Kalit Falls are two beautiful options, perfect for cooling off in the jungle.
- Kitesurfing and Windsurfing: The wind and water conditions in El Nido make it an excellent destination for kitesurfing and windsurfing enthusiasts. Lessons and equipment rentals are available for those looking to try these water sports.
- Bird Watching: El Nido is home to various bird species, and bird watching tours can provide an opportunity to spot some of the region's unique avian residents.
These additional activities showcase the incredible diversity of experiences you can enjoy in El Nido, from exploring hidden lagoons to thrilling water sports and serene moments on its pristine beaches. The town's natural beauty and outdoor adventures cater to a wide range of interests, making it an ideal destination for all types of travellers.
Dining in El Nido:
- Maa's Grill: Maa's Grill is a local favorite known for its mouthwatering Filipino cuisine. Fresh seafood and grilled dishes are highly recommended.
- Blend and Grind Cafe: For a delightful breakfast with a view, Blend and Grind Cafe is the place to be. It overlooks a small beach street and serves excellent coffee and freshly baked pastries.
- Shawarma House: If you're looking for a quick and satisfying meal, Shawarma House offers fantastic combo deals for shawarma and other Middle Eastern-inspired dishes.
El Nido is more than a picturesque destination; it's a sanctuary for those seeking a genuine escape to nature's beauty. Whether you're exploring hidden lagoons, relaxing on private beaches, or savoring local delicacies, El Nido offers a remarkable and unforgettable experience that will leave you yearning to return to this tropical paradise.