8 Best Things to Do in El Nido, Palawan
Planning a visit to El Nido, Palawan? The best way to explore El Nido is to get around Bacuit Bay. Take the island hopping tours to visit the tropical beaches, breathtaking islands, and hidden lagoons.
Find out this travel guide on how to get there, where to stay, and the best things to do in El Nido, Palawan.
- 8 Best Things to Do in El Nido, Palawan
- Where is El Nido
- Best time to Visit El Nido, Palawan
- How to Get to El Nido, Palawan
- How to Get Around El Nido
- 1. Go on an El Nido Island Hopping Tour
- 2. Kayaking in El Nido, Palawan
- 3. Walk along Corong Corong beach
- 4. Spend a few hours at Nacpan Beach
- 5. Hike Taraw Cliff
- 6. Zipline between islands
- 7. Watch the sunset at Las Cabanas beach
- 8. Visit El Nido’s public market
- Where to Eat in El Nido
- Where to Stay in El Nido, Palawan
- How Many Days Should I Stay in El Nido
- Travel to Coron
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Where is El Nido
El Nido is located at the northern end of Palawan island in the Philippines.
El Nido is famous for its limestone cliff formations, turquoise waters, and island hopping around Bacuit Bay.
Best time to Visit El Nido, Palawan
Palawan has two seasons: a dry season from November to May and a rainy season from June to October.
The best time to visit El Nido is from December to March as the scenery is beautiful and the weather is comfortably warm.
Recommended Post → Palawan Itinerary for 10 Days
How to Get to El Nido, Palawan
You can get to El Nido in several ways, such as by direct flight, fast ferry, minivan, or bus.
El Nido by plane
The easiest and most expensive way is to fly direct to El Nido Lio Airport from Manila or Coron.
From Manila to El Nido, the flight takes about 1.5 hours, from Coron to El Nido 45 minutes.
Airswift is the only airline that offers flights from Manila or Coron to El Nido. You can check timetables and prices on Skyscanner.com.
From Coron to El Nido by ferry
Take a quick ferry from Coron to El Nido. The fast ferry takes just 3.5-4.5 hours (depending on the sea or weather conditions) and is one of the best ways to travel to El Nido.
As the ferries only run twice a day, tickets may sell out days in advance, so it is highly recommended to buy in advance online or at the harbor of Coron.
We took Montenegro fast ferry from Coron to El Nido, which cost 1850 PHP/35 USD per person.
See also → The Ultimate Travel Guide to Coron, Palawan
El Nido by bus
Buses to El Nido depart from the San Jose bus terminal, a 10-minute drive from the Puerto Princesa airport.
The bus ticket cost between 600 PHP and 900 PHP, depending on the bus type. The public buses usually run every 2 hours, and the bus journey takes between 6-9 hours.
From Puerto Princesa to El Nido by minivan
Most travelers from Puerto Princesa take a minivan to El Nido. Many companies operate the shuttle service between the two cities, and the minivan costs around 600-700 PHP.
These shuttle vans don’t have a schedule, as most companies will wait until the seats are filled and then depart, which may take a long time!
The minivans usually take 5-6 hours to arrive at the Corong-Corong bus station, which is only a few minutes from El Nido town.
How to Get Around El Nido
The best and cheapest way to explore El Nido is to rent a scooter. The motorbikes are cheap to rent and provide a lot of freedom and flexibility to reach the attractions and beaches. But you can get around El Nido by tricycle (tuk tuk) or shuttle services.
You can rent a scooter for around 300-500 PHP/day at the hotels or in town.
Internet is not available in many areas of the Philippines, and wifi connection is also not very stable, so we recommend using an offline map!
Recommended Post → How to Spend 3 Days in Coron
1. Go on an El Nido Island Hopping Tour
Bacuit Bay is home to 45 paradise islands. So if you’re in El Nido, Palawan, take at least one island hopping tour to visit the surrounding islands, the tropical beaches, the stunning limestone formations, and some hidden lagoons.
The island hopping tours are the best thing to do in El Nido, and there are 4-different tours to choose from, all of which are amazing.
Previously, the most popular El Nido tours were “A” and “C”.
Read the full Post → El Nido Island Hopping Tours
Formerly Small Lagoon and Big Lagoon were part of the “A” tour. But the new rule prohibits visiting both lagoons on the same day. Therefore we recommend the “A” or “D” El Nido Island Hopping Tour.
The tours are approximately 7 hours long, starting in the morning around 8:30-9:30 AM and finishing between 4-5 PM. The price usually includes lunch, drinking water, a life jacket, and a snorkel mask.
Recommended Post → How to Spend 3 Days in Coron
El Nido, Palawan Island Hopping Tours
- El Nido Tour A: Big Lagoon, Secret Lagoon, Shimizu Island, Seven Commandos Beach, Miniloc Island. The group tour A prices start from 1260 PHP.
- El Nido Tour B: Snake Island, Pinagbuyutan Island, Entalula Beach, Snorkeling Site, Cudugnon, and Cathedral Cave.
The group tour B prices start from 1365 PHP.
- El Nido Tour C: Helicopter Island, Tapiutan Island, Matinloc Shrine, Secret Beach, Hidden Beach.
The group tour C prices start from 1470 PHP.
- El Nido Tour D: Ipil Beach, Cadlao Lagoon, Paradise Beach, Pasandigan Beach, Natnat Beach, Bukal Beach, Small Lagoon.
The group tour D prices start from 1260 PHP.
Usually, the price of the tours includes the environmental fee of 200 PHP, but check the booking details.
2. Kayaking in El Nido, Palawan
On the island hopping tour, you can rent a kayak for 250 PHP and kayaking around the Small Lagoon, which is a fantastic experience in El Nido. The entrance fee to the Small Lagoon is 200 PHP.
Kayak through the lagoons, see the famous limestone cliff formations and enjoy snorkeling or swimming in the crystal clear turquoise waters.
You can also rent a kayak in the town of El Nido for 300 PHP for half a day or 500 PHP for a day.
Another hidden gem in Palawan → Port Barton
3. Walk along Corong Corong beach
One of the best things to do in El Nido is to explore the tropical beaches. When you visit Corong Corong beach, you can easily combine it with Las Cabanas beach, a 10-minute drive away.
The Corong-Corong beach is a beautiful place for a romantic walk and watching the sunset.
As the El Nido market is located near Corong Corong beach, buy some snacks before you start exploring El Nido, Palawan.
4. Spend a few hours at Nacpan Beach
Nacpan Beach is one of the best beaches in El Nido, Palawan, a beautiful 4 km long white sandy beach with crystal clear waters.
Nacpan Beach is located about a 45-minute drive from the town, and there are regular shuttle services to Nacpan beach.
You can also get there by tricycle or scooter, and the parking is free. The road to Nacpan Beach is relatively well maintained, but a small part will be muddy and bumpy.
The entrance fee to Nacpan beach is 50 PHP.
El Nido’s beautiful beaches are perfect for snorkeling, swimming, kayaking, and hanging out on the beach. Then take a short visit to Duli Beach, which is only a 30-minute drive from Nacpan Beach.
Spend a few hours on the beaches, then have lunch at a nearby restaurant and continue exploring the sights of El Nido.
5. Hike Taraw Cliff
The Taraw Cliff is the highest peak of El Nido and offers incredible panoramic views. This hike is difficult and dangerous due to the sharp and unstable rocks.
We recommend climbing to the top only at your own risk! Wear suitable shoes and clothing, bring enough water, and rent a local guide to help you get over the rocks!
An alternative option is to take a safe canopy walk.
The Taraw Cliff Canopy Walk fee is 400 PHP, which includes a helmet, harness, and tour guide. Opening hours are from 8 AM to 5 PM.
See also → Ultimate Guide: El Nido Island Hopping Tours
For those who are afraid of heights or don’t have enough time to hike, take some beautiful drone shots of El Nido.
6. Zipline between islands
The most exciting activity in El Nido is to zipline between the islands. Take a ziplining trip around sunset for the best view, and take with yourself a GoPro to catch the fantastic experience.
The zipline at Las Cabanas beach is open from 9 AM to 5:30 PM.
You can do a sitting or superman position or a combination of both. The zipline costs between 500 and 1100 PHP in El Nido, Palawan.
7. Watch the sunset at Las Cabanas beach
Las Cabanas Beach is one of the most popular places to visit in El Nido, Palawan.
It is easily accessible and located about 15 minutes from the center of El Nido.
It is usually crowded, as Las Cabanas Beach is the best place to watch the sunset in El Nido.
You can get here by tricycle, which costs 150 PHP for two people, or by renting a scooter.
Arrive before sunset, try the local food, and have a few cold beers at one of the beach bars.
8. Visit El Nido’s public market
In the Philippines, we loved visiting local markets. For budget travelers, prices are lower than in supermarkets or shops, and you can support local businesses.
The El Nido local market is the perfect place to buy fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, or fish and get some suggestions from Filipinos on where to go.
Where to Eat in El Nido
El Nido has many restaurants and beach bars where you can eat vegan food or try some local dishes.
Best restaurants in El Nido
- Trattoria Altrove
- Taste El Nido (Vegan)
- Boutique & Artcafe
- Happiness Beach Bar
- Bella Vita El Nido
- Happy Home Restaurant
Where to Stay in El Nido, Palawan
Looking for the best hotels in El Nido, Palawan? There are many types of accommodation in El Nido, from dorm beds to mid-range hotels and luxury resorts.
Use booking.com to find the best hotel at a budget-friendly price for you.
- Luxury: Seda Lio is a 5-star resort located directly on the seafront, close to Lio beach in El Nido. It offers spectacular views and has a private outdoor pool, making it the perfect place to spend your holiday.
- Mid-range: The El Nido Coco Resort is ideal for couples and is just a 10-minute drive to Las Cabanas beach, the best sunset spot in El Nido. Book a night in one of the charming bungalows and enjoy your time in El Nido by the pool.
- Budget: The Elternative Hostel is the best place for budget travelers and a good base for exploring the sights of El Nido. We stayed in this hostel, rented a scooter for a day, and booked the “A” island hopping tour.
Read our → Palawan Itinerary
Accommodation in downtown El Nido is usually expensive if you’re not staying in a hostel.
If your hotel is not close to the center of El Nido, just rent a scooter and don’t worry about distances.
How Many Days Should I Stay in El Nido
El Nido is one of the most beautiful places in Palawan, Philippines. So we suggest a 3-day itinerary for first-time visitors to El Nido.
Spend a full day on the most beautiful beaches of El Nido, take a popular island hopping tour, climb Taraw Cliff and explore the town.
If you want to do at least two island hopping tours and explore the waterfalls in the area, we recommend spending 4-5 days in El Nido, Palawan.
Recommended Post → Best Island Hopping Tour in El Nido
Travel to Coron
Coron is one of the most famous destinations in the Philippines, with its picturesque beaches, beautiful rock formations, crystal clear waters, and World War II shipwreck scuba diving spots.
Our 3-day Coron itinerary makes it easy to plan your visit to Coron and enjoy this breathtaking place.
Read the full post → How to Spend 3 Days in Coron
El Nido to Coron by ferry
The fast ferry takes just 3.5-4.5 hours and is one of the best ways to travel to Coron. As the ferries only run twice a day, tickets may sell out quickly, so it is highly recommended to buy in advance online or at the port of El Nido!
Ferry tickets from El Nido to Coron one-way cost 1850 PHP/35 USD per person. Ferries operated by Montenegro depart from the port of El Nido to Coron at 6 AM and noon.
Recommended Post → Travel Guide to Coron
El Nido to Coron by plane
The flight departs from El Nido Lio Airport and lands at Coron Francisco B. Reyes Airport.
Flight time is about 40 minutes. In the high season, one-way flight tickets will cost between 50-100 USD per person.
These services run only once a week or a few times in peak season.
We hope this post will inspire you to visit El Nido, Palawan, in the Philippines.
If you have any questions or thoughts, let us know in the comments below.