Palawan is considered as the “Last Frontier” because of its vast stretches of natural resources from pristine mountains, forests, clear blue beaches and untamed biodiversity. It houses one of the Philippines UNESCO heritage sites, the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park. For 2nd year in a row, Palawan garnered the most votes as the “Best Island in the World” according to Travel and Leisure Magazine.
Last July, we decided to visit El Nido, Palawan and see what’s the fuss about this precious gem of the Philippines.
How to get there:
Travelers from Manila have two options going to El Nido by air.
Option 1: Book a direct flight to El Nido via AirSWIFT
Option 2: Book a flight to Puerto Princesa and ride a bus/van transfer going to El Nido with approximate land travel time of 4-6hrs.
For travelers on a tight budget, the 2nd option is for you. Direct flights via AirSWIFT would cost you a minimum of P10,000 for a round trip ticket.
Place to stay:
Town Proper, Calaan and Corong Corong are the three main places in El Nido where you can book a hotel depending on your budget.
We decided to book a beach front inn located in Town Proper to minimize travel time going to El Nido Ferry Terminal which is the pick-up point for island hopping activities.
I’m satisfied with Marygold Beachfront Inn’s accommodation which includes free breakfast and a fine view. 🙂
Tour Packages Available:
There are 4 island hopping tours available in El Nido:
Tour A: Big Lagoon, Small Lagoon, Simizu Island, Secret Lagoon and 7 Commandos Beach
Tour B: Entalula Island, Pinagbuyutan Island, Snake Island, Cudugnon Cave and Cathedral Cave
Tour C: Hidden Beach, Helicopter Island, Secret Beach, Matinloc Shrine and Star Beach
Tour D: Bukal Island, Ipil Beach, Nat-Nat Beach, Cadlao Lagoon and Paradise Beach
Among the 4 tour packages, we chose Tours A and C since these were highly recommended by some travel bloggers and a couple of my friends who visited El Nido. Each tours usually lasts 7 hours (9am to 4pm) inclusive of sumptuous lunch and various activities from snorkeling to kayaking.
For the land tour, we chose Nacpan and Calitang Twin Beaches which were 45 minutes away from Town Proper via van.
We had a breathtaking view of Palawan sunrise and the long twin beaches of Nacpan and Calitang. Waking up as early as 4am was all worth it!
Cottages are available in the area if you want to spend more time for swimming or sunbathing. The sand is comparable to Boracay’s powdery white sand which is perfect for castle making.
Since we booked the earliest flight to Puerto Princesa, we decided to have a side trip first to Subterranean River National Park (popularly known as the Underground River) before heading to El Nido Town Proper.
It was my second time to visit this remarkable place. I was surprised that they now provide an audio recording of the Underground River Tour to avoid distracting the creatures that live inside the cave, especially the bats that are sensitive to sound/noise.
You may e-mail me for more information on the total expenses incurred in this trip. 🙂