El Nido, Palawan Island, Philippines (with Map & Photos)

El Nido is the pearl of the Philippines, one of the most beautiful places on earth. The small village of El Nido is located on the island of Palawan and is a protected area. Near El Nido is the Bacuit archipelago, famous for its beauty, consisting of 39 islands, mostly uninhabited, with beautiful white beaches, hidden coves, hidden lagoons, and magnificent marine life. As soon as I saw a couple of photos taken in the Bacuit Islands on social networks, I immediately decided that if we were going to go to the Philippines, El Nido is a must-see place, although getting here is usually not very easy.

El Nido Palawan
El Nido Palawan

How to get to El Nido, Palawan

  • Airplane

The easiest and most rarely used way is the direct flight Manila-El Nido. Why is it rarely used? The flight is operated by ITI every day on small planes with a capacity of about 20 people and costing from $ 150 per person, but you can buy these tickets only at the ITI office in Manila just 5 days before departure. In an era of highly developed airfare purchases over the Internet, this becomes a significant barrier. And if you have strictly limited time to visit El Nido, then it is better not to consider this method, but to use other popular, but longer options.

  • Bus or minivan from Puerto Princesa

Puerto Princesa is the capital of the island of Palawan. First you need to fly here from Manila or Cebu, we flew from Cebu. The flight takes approximately 1.5 hours. Then you can choose what you have to drive 5-8 hours to El Nido.

  1. The most popular way is Cherry Bus and RoRo buses. The cost is approximately 450-500 pesos per person with air conditioning. Travel time is 7-8 hours. These buses run every hour from 5 am to 9 pm from the San Jose terminal. We rode on a green RoRo bus, in principle, we arrived well. But the bus very often stopped at the usual local stops - local schoolchildren, local residents came in. The bus was driving very fast, turning sharply around the corners, so it can get sick. We had a good ride to El Nido, but in the end we were very tired from such a long journey. Cherry Buses run on the same route, in principle, these buses offer identical services at about the same prices.
  2. Small minivans for 10-14 seats that depart from Puerto Princesa approximately every hour from 5.30 to 18.00. Transportation is carried out by the following companies: Lexus Shuttle Company, Eulen Joy, Fortwally Shuttle Company. Travel time is generally 5 hours. We used this method on the way back from El Nido, we chose the Lexus Shuttle Company, indeed, the travel time was about 5 hours. The minivan makes a stop 1 time so that people can go to the toilet and have a bite to eat in a special place. Seats are, of course, less than on a regular bus, but the travel time is 2 hours less worth it. Minivan fare is 600 pesos.
  3. Private minivan. This method is suitable for you if you have a large family or a whole company and want to travel separately. The price is approximately 6000-8000 pesos per car.

All of the modes of transportation listed above will take you to the bus station in El Nido. From there you can leave for 50-100 pesos on a tricycle to your hotel. That's exactly what we did.

Interesting and useful facts about El Nido

El Nido is a natural reserve consisting of 45 islands, between which, in general, you can only move by water.

The small village of El Nido is located in the northwest, 230 km from the administrative center of the island of Palawan - the city of Puerto Princesa. The name of the city of Puerto Princesa is spelled with a single "s".

El Nido Palawan
El Nido Palawan

In El Nido, compared to other islands, there is a very small selection of hotels, and their prices are too high. Almost all hotels do not have hot water, with the exception of more expensive hotels with their own water heaters. But even in this case, the presence of hot water is not necessary, since electricity is cut off very often in El Nido. Some hotels have their own generators, but they do not last long. They like to turn off electricity for half a day or longer. We stayed at the Residencia Katrina Bed and Breakfast. We really liked her owner, he told us almost everything we needed, he was very friendly. Although of all the hotels in which we lived in the Philippines, this was the most expensive hotel and at the same time it had the least amenities. But, as I already wrote, there are very few hotels in El Nido, they are mostly small, and it is best to book in advance, since we had already barely chosen a hotel through booking 3 days before check-in, because everything was busy.

El Nido Palawan
El Nido Palawan

The most popular place in El Nido is the Art Cafe. It is always full of people, all the tables are occupied, and at rush hour you are unlikely to be seated at a free table, although the food here is very tasty. It can be such a funny situation when you walk on the street and you are invited to eat everywhere, and you see that the cafes are almost empty, at the same time you will not be able to get into the Art cafe, there are so many people here. Souvenirs are also sold here, you can buy excursions to the islands, as well as tickets for minivans to Puerto Princesa.

In El Nido, there is a problem with wi-fi, as well as with cellular networks. The Internet is very slow, social networks are practically not loaded.

There are few exchangers in El Nido, the exchange rate is usually not favorable, so it is better to exchange money in advance and come here with pesos. By the way, we also paid for the hotel in cash, so we exchanged the required amount in Bohol in advance.

El Nido Palawan
El Nido Palawan

Why go to El Nido? Tours to the islands

Why go so far to El Nido, you ask. Of course, for the natural beauties! I have already read a lot of other people's opinions and mine completely coincides with them - I have never seen such natural beauty as in El Nido!

In El Nido, basically, people go for 4-5 days to visit tours to the most picturesque islands and various hidden beaches and bays. There are 4 tours to the islands - A, B, C, D. These are full-day tours, you are picked up at 9 am and brought back at 5 pm.

El Nido Map