Travel Guide to El Nido, Palawan
El Nido is considered to be one the most beautiful beaches in the Philippines, so it seems fitting for JP and I to celebrate our five wonderful years of being together here. But planning a trip to El Nido was no easy feat. In fact, if you don’t have the cash to burn, the trip can be such a hassle. But that’s okay because my JP and I had fun. :)
I’ll probably share my photos and personal thoughts on my next post. In the meantime, if you’re planning to go El Nido, I hope this quick guide will help you out. Enjoy! :)
There are two ways to get to El Nido: a jet for PHP6,750/person, single trip. So that’s roughly PHP13,500 for a two-way trip. Insanely expensive, right? But the jet will land closer to the town of El Nido and will only take less than two hours flight from Manila. This mode of travel is exclusively handled by Island Transvoyager Inc. (ITI).
The cheaper way is to book a flight to Puerto Princesa, then take a shuttle van to El Nido. The land trip will take 5-6 hours, with at least two stopovers, but it will be 10x cheaper. One trip cost PHP600/person. A total of PHP1,200/person for a two-way trip.
To book a flight with ITI or a shuttle van, please refer to this page.
What To Do?
There are four boat tours in El Nido to choose from. According to our hotel, Tour A and C are their best-selling tours. Other activities are motorbiking, diving, and trekking.
Booking a boat tour is easy as counting 1-2-3, because almost every establishments offer it for the same rate. The rate includes lunch, but not snorkelling or kayak rental and tips. We booked ours through the hotel, which includes complimentary towels.
We thoroughly enjoyed Tour A, not so much with Tour C. Try to request not to take a small fisherman's boat to any of the tours.
Read: El Nido's Tour A & C
What Are The Expenses?
Bring money before you go to El Nido. I can't stress this enough because the town doesn't have any ATMs and only a few number of establishments accept credit card.
For your convenience, I made a list of our expenses during our 4-day vacation (technically, it was only a 2-day vacation because the other 2 were allowed to the land transfer):
Airfare & Hotel
Hotel (Ipil Suites) - USD299.46 / PHP12,000 Hotel includes breakfast and free wifi. Rooms are clean but there are no TV and hot water doesn’t always work. I'd love to help you book a room here, contact me if interested.
Airfare (PAL Express) - PHP2100/person I booked the flight at least six (6) months in advance.
Cost Breakdown Per Person
Shuttle (PPC-El Nido)
Eco-Tourism Development Fee
Kayak (Tour A)
Mask and Fin Rental (Tour A) [/column][column width="one-fourth"]
Mask and Fin Rental (Tour C)
Shuttle (El Nido-PPC)
Accumulated Snacks + Water
Terminal Fee (Puerto Princesa)
Total: PHP 5, 485.00
Dinner Dates for Two (2)
I couldn't include this in the cost breakdown since El Nido is cheaper than the expenses back in Manila and we are celebrating our anniversary, we didn't mind spending extra for the food.
Beachfront (Unknown Resto) - PHP 510 We were tired from island hopping and this is the first restaurant we found on the beachfront. Nothing special.
Art Cafe - PHP 1,150 Although their food were tasty, the serving was really small for one person. The side dish, like rice, is billed separately which made the whole thing expensive.
Sea Slug Resto (Beachfront) - PHP 1,000 This restaurant is quite affordable with really big serving! The Sizzling Chicken with Rice only cost PHP300 while the Beef Steak Pinoy with Fries was PHP250. If we did not order the Calamares and Choco Crepes, the total bill should’ve been PHP 680.
Total: PHP 2,660
Things To Remember
There are no ATMs in El Nido and only a few accept credit cards. If you need cash, ask someone to do a money transfer and remit them in pawnshops.
Electricity is from 2:00PM until 6:00AM. Check with your hotel if they have a generator.
There are health centers and private doctors but no hospitals.
There’s a PHP200 Eco Development Fee that you need to pay before you can do any of the boat tours; this fee is valid for 10 days.
The Internet made it very easy for me to plan and prepare the trip. Not to mention, most of their tours are guided and all you have to do is book it. But if you need more information, I highly recommend you visit the following links: