Every now and then, I would google and check resorts in El Nido. It has been my longtime dream to see this enchanting-jawdropping-amazing place. But because going to El Nido will cost me an arm and a leg by staying in one of those high-end resorts, I know I had to wait, especially if I want to bring the entire family with me. Little did I know, that you can now actually stay at inns or suites located in the town proper and just rent a private boat with experienced tour guides when you want to go island hopping. Hooray! El Nido is now within reach and within anyone’s tight budget! Gone are the days when only the affluent can have a jolly good time at El Nido! Woot! Woot!
We all know that El Nido is one of the most sought after vacation spots in the country by both local and international tourists. So here are my recommendations for getting the most out of your next trip to El Nido, Palawan. Let’s take a quick tour around, shall we?
Pristine waters with fine, powdery sand.
A haven for enjoyable outdoor activities like snorkeling or kayaking.
The limestone cliffs can be seen as soon as you reach the town proper. This marvelous view alone is worth the 4-hour land trip from Puerto Princesa!
Exploring El Nido
WHERE TO STAY
Ipil Suites – El Nido
This 4-storey sleek boutique hotel is the tallest in town surrounded by limestone cliffs and offers a view of the sea with reasonable rates!
Photo source: http://ipilsuites.com/elnido/
Ipil Suites – El Nido is walking distance to the beach, restaurants and street shops.
As for the hotel’s features, they have a restaurant, Wi-Fi connection and 24-Hour security.
We were fortunate enough (and pleasantly surprised) to be given a Suite during our stay!
The spacious suite can accommodate one family as it has 2 king-sized beds and an extra bed in the loft area. The place is equipped with a flat screen tv, safety deposit box and a minibar, too.
Bathroom with hot and cold shower, basic toiletries and bidet (a must!).
When you wake up, the view of the sea and majestic cliffs will greet you. Taken at 6am in my room.
And when you are checked-in, get your daily breakfast from Ipil’s restaurant.
Standard – Php 2,500.00
Superior – Php 3,000.00
Deluxe – Php 3,500.00
Family Room – Php 3,900.00
Suite (For 4 pax) – Php 4,200.00
Extra Person – Php 500.00
- Daily breakfast
- Mini bar available on selected Suite Rooms
- Room accommodation per night for single or twin sharing.
- Van transfer to El Nido (shared van) at Php 600/pax (Puerto Princesa-El Nido-Puerto Princesa)
Note: Rate subject to change without prior notice!
Real St. Buena Suerte, El Nido,
Reception Hours Operation: 6AM-10PM
Smart: +63 908 880 2868
Globe: +63 917 873 9763
Manila Reservation Line: 682-7168 / 0915-9300228
Inquiry & Reservation: [email protected]
If you are in Puerto Princesa, Ipil Suites has another branch there located along Rizal Ave., Ext. Purok Malaya, Bancao-Bancao. You may reach them at 048-4342212 / 048-4330040 / 0908-8802867 / 0917-8739831
WHAT TO DO
From El Nido town proper, we boarded our boat from Aplaya Beach at 7AM for our El Nido island hopping adventure.
But first, take note of these reminders!
- Make sure your tour guide is licensed!
- Licensed tour guides have been trained to minimize the damage to the environment, knowledgeable in first aid, and in the highlights and history of El Nido.
- Always wear a life vest.
- A life vest protects both you and the coral from damage. Maintain a distance of 3 meters from the reef.
- Be careful not to step on the coral.
- Dangerous organisms sometimes live on the surface of the coral which is unsafe for you to step on. Touching or stepping on corals also damages the coral polyps.
- Be aware of your waste.
- Help El Nido stay clean by using reusable containers, refraining from littering and segregating biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste.
1. Small Lagoon
The lagoon is best seen between 7-8AM when there is no crowd yet. While the island is still serene, you could hear the chirping of the birds. The Small Lagoon used to be a cave until it collapsed. You can also go kayaking or snorkeling.
Just don’t forget to bring water shoes to avoid getting bruised. A waterproof (or submergible) camera is a must if you want to capture the beauty underwater!
2. Big Lagoon
According to our tour guide, this lagoon is too deep for diving. But you can opt to go kayaking or sightseeing. Either way, both activities are still exciting.
3. Snake Island
No! You won’t see snakes here! The island just takes the form of a snake, hence the name. Make sure to go down the boat and enjoy the cold water.
If you want to take a nice view of the entire island, climb up the small hill nearby (might be steep for some) to get to the view deck. The view from the top is breathtaking and worth the effort of walking up!
4. Dibuluan Island
This was where we had our buffet lunch. The place is peacefully quiet and exudes a setting of exclusivity.
After lunch, you can choose to go swimming, lounge around, take pictures or engage in a variety of water activities.
5. Pinagbuyutan island
The clear waters and sand are a great place to relax. Another quiet and beautiful island!
Photo source: outoftownblog.com
6. Ipil Beach
A private beach perfect for families or groups. You can play beach volleyball or table tennis while waiting for the sunset just like some of us did while having our afternoon snacks. Relaxing.
7. The Beach Shack
Going to The Beach Shack took quite a walk from the drop-off point but it was oh so worth it!
This was where we experienced our first sunset upon arriving in El Nido…
…and our first dinner on the island.
8. Go around the town proper and explore the shops.
Along and around Aplaya Beach, you’ll see lots of restaurants. Go ihaw-ihaw or enjoy some pica-pica while enjoying the view of the beach or the sunset with your favorite drink in hand. Get a spot near the shore or inside the resto… either way, you’re guaranteed to have a wonderful time.
Since you’re already in Palawan (and if you’re feeling adventurous), “Wak-Wak” (commonly known as Sandworm) is a must try delicacy! It comes from the municipality of Cagayancillo where it is harvested. The left pic is how the Wak-Wak actually looks like, while the right pic is how it looks when the worm has been cleaned and is ready for cooking. Would you believe me if I told you that I tried eating this? YES I DID!
We were served Inadobong Wak-Wak. (Sandworm)
It tasted like squid right down to the same chewy texture. It’s actually good! It may help not to think that you’re eating worms! You may opt to eat it ceviche style while drowning yourself with a cold beer! 😉
- El Nido has 45 Islands but only 19 are frequented by tourists.
- Apart from tourist spots/beaches, El Nido has archeological sites as well.
- Oldest cremation site with tiger bones found.
- Eco-Tourism Development Fee: Php 200 for 10 days to be able to access the public tourism sites. Eco-Tourism Development Fee tickets can be purchased from the Municipal Tourism Office, selected accommodation establishments and booking offices.
- The limestones are about 250M years old from dead coral stones.
- Segregation is practiced in the town proper. Penalty for littering at any public place is Php100.
- Swimming attire is not allowed on the town streets.
- Taking shells and sand from the beach is prohibited.
- Electricity is available from 2PM-6AM.
- ATM machines are for First Consolidated Bank (FCB) depositors only. Credit cards are accepted in some tourism establishments.
- Curfew hours for minors (17 years old and below): 10PM-5AM.
Going around El Nido is an experience like no other and arguably one of the most beautiful places in our country that I have seen! A place where you will definitely have great photos to take home (and post online, too!).
The more time I spend in El Nido, the more I realize why people fall in love with this place (and keep coming back to it)
As night starts to fall… El Nido takes on a different, yet equally breathtaking, atmosphere. You can simply kick back and marvel at its picturesque beauty while the sun slowly sets.
Indeed, El Nido is a paradise like no other!
Palawan recently bagged the coveted title from Conde Nast Traveler’s Reader’s Choice Award as 2014’s World’s Best Island.
HOW TO GET THERE
AirAsia Philippines flies 3x daily from Manila to Puerto Princesa and vice-versa at pocket-friendly rates. So, visiting the “World’s Best Island” is not a problem at all!
From Puerto Princesa airport, an air-conditioned van will bring you to El Nido town proper by Lexxus Shuttle Service. The duration of the land trip will take you about 4 hours. Check out the rates here.
AirAsia Island Transfer Service is available and can easily be facilitated while on-board on all AirAsia Philippines flights between Manila and Puerto Princesa.
For updates on promos, check-out AirAsia’s website regularly. Like their official Facebook page and follow them on Twitter and Instagram: @AirAsiaPH.
Check out my 3rd Puerto Princesa visit here.
Thank you to AirAsia Philippines, USAID-Compete and Palawan Tourism Council for making this trip possible.