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A Complete Travel Guide to El Nido Palawan - go!
Travel & Food

A Complete Travel Guide to El Nido Palawan

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Named after the Spanish words for “the nest” due to the number of swiftlets in the area, the municipality of El Nido in Palawan is one of the top travel destinations in the Philippines. It’s the gateway to the Bacuit Archipelago, where you can explore around 45 islands and numerous diving spots.

Each island has its stretch of beaches, cliff formations, or lagoons, giving tourists different breathtaking views and many ways to have fun. If you want to visit this beautiful town for your next adventure, here’s a complete travel guide to help you out!

How to Go to El Nido

The easiest way to get to El Nido from Manila, Cebu, and Boracay is by booking a direct flight through AirSwift Airlines. Another way is to book a flight to Puerto Princesa then take a van to El Nido. Depending on your group size, you can hire a private van or cut costs with a shared ride.

You can also take a ferry from Coron and Manila, though inclement weather can lead to cancellations. Remember to pay the Eco-Tourism Development Fee (ETDF) of ₱200 at the Tourism Office or travel agency you booked with.

El Nido Travel Requirements

When traveling to El Nido, here are the requirements you need to bring.

1. Vaccination certificate

If you’re fully vaccinated or received your last dose two weeks before traveling, you must present your vaccination certificate in digital form from or the physical card.

2. RT-PCR test results for unvaccinated and partially vaccinated travelers

If you’re unvaccinated or only had the first dose administered, you must present a negative RT-PCR test within 48 hours before arriving in El Nido. But, if you came from around Palawan, you only need to submit a negative antigen test. Children aged 11 and below follow the exact requirements of their parents or guardians.

3. Confirmed accommodation booking

Tourists from outside Palawan must show their roundtrip tickets and confirmed bookings from their accommodations. Keep in mind that you can only stay at DOT-accredited hotels or resorts.

4.  S-Pass Travel Permit

As of writing, El Nido has an unrestricted travel policy, meaning they may not check if you have an S-Pass Travel Permit. However, it’s still good to have in case the policy changes during your travel. You can apply for a permit via the S-Pass website.

Where to Stay in El Nido, Palawan

Depending on your budget, here are some DOT-accredited resorts and hotels within El Nido you can consider.

1. Cauayan Island Resort

Cauyana Island Resort in El Nido, Palawan

This private island resort with 29 villas is one of the most luxurious accommodations in El Nido. Cauayan Island Resort offers different views of the island and activities such as island hopping, diving, and trekking. You can get a villa for as low as ₱20,000 per night.

2. Lime Resort El Nido

 Lime Resort in Corong Corong, El Nido, Palawan

Found in Sitio Lugadia, Corong Corong, Lime Resort has several types of rooms for different travelers. It has an outdoor pool and accessibility to nearby beaches and lagoons. The cheapest room starts at around ₱13,000 a night.

3. Panorama Beach Club Resort

Panorama Beach Club Resort in El Nido, Palawan

Panorama in Lugadia, Corong Corong, offers eight beachfront guest rooms, an outdoor pool, and a garden for guests to enjoy. A stay can come with full breakfasts, Wi-Fi, and parking. Price starts at around ₱11,000 a night, depending on availability, taxes, and other charges.

4. Nacpan Beach Glamping

Nacpan Beach Glamping in El Nido, Palawan

Try Nacpan Beach Glamping for a different kind of accommodation. The Nacpan Beach has 16 tents styled like yurts and as large as a standard double room. Booking a tent starts around ₱8,000 a night, depending on taxes, fees, and how far out you book.

5. Outpost Beach Hostel

Outpost Beach Hostel in El Nido, Palawan

Also in Lugadia is Outpost Beach Hostel. It’s a good place for backpackers or those who want more affordable accommodations. The hostel has hot shower stalls on each floor and a bar and offers tours around El Nido. Its dormitories and private rooms start at ₱1,400 and ₱3,300 a night, respectively.

6. El Nido beachfront rooms in El Nido, Palawan

If you don’t mind just the bare necessities and staying on the beachfront, check out along Corong Corong beach. Each room has a bathroom with free towels and linens to use. Room rates start at around ₱1,200 a night, not including taxes and fees.

Boat Tours in El Nido

El Nido’s agencies offer boat tour packages allowing you to discover the municipality’s numerous attractions, each lasting 6-8 hours. These four tours have distinct itineraries that will take you to specific parts of the stunning islands around El Nido, each with its own unique charm and beauty.

1. Tour A

  • Big Lagoon
  • Small Lagoon
  • Secret Lagoon
  • Shimizu Island
  • Seven Commandos Beach

El Nido’s most famous attraction is the Big Lagoon and its limestone cliffs. On Miniloc Island, you must either swim or climb through a small crevice in the rocks to access the Secret Lagoon. Shimizu Island is the stopover for those who love to snorkel, as it boasts various corals and marine life.

2. Tour B

  • Snake Island
  • Entaluala Island
  • Codungon Cave
  • Pangulasian Island
  • Cathedral Cave

Snake Island is notable for its S-shaped sandbar that you can walk across during low tide. Cudugnon Cave is home to bats and swiftlets, with locals believing it used to be a burial site due to the discovery of several bones and artifacts inside. Finally, for some relaxation and snorkeling, there’s Pangulasian Island

3. Tour C

  • Matinloc Shrine
  • Hidden Beach
  • Secret Beach
  • Helicopter Island
  • Star Beach

Matinloc Island houses the Matinloc Shrine, Hidden Beach, and Secret Beach. Though locals have long abandoned the shrine, many still visit it for its stunning views. In addition, the several beaches offer many opportunities to relax and snorkel.

4. Tour D

  • Paradise Beach
  • Nat Nat Beach
  • Cadlao Lagoon
  • Pasandigan Cove
  • Small Lagoon

Aside from the Small Lagoon, you can find these locations on Cadlao Island. Nat Nat Beach is notably not commercialized, so you and your tour group have it to yourselves when you arrive. The other beaches are also great for swimming, relaxing, and snorkeling.

Regardless of where or from whom you book, all tours and transportation prices are the same. The differences in pricing depend on if you’re booking a private tour or with a group. Some attractions or tours may also charge additional fees on arrival at specific locations. There are also agencies that include dining in certain packages.

A Nest to Relax On

El Nido is a beautiful destination to visit and explore with its breathtaking beaches, lagoons, sunrises, and sunsets.

If you’re planning your next adventure to El Nido, don't forget to include smooth connectivity on your travel must-haves. If you’re from the Philippines, you can get a reliable postpaid plan or a prepaid 5G SIM with data for all sites, so you can post your Instagram feed-worthy selfies and trip highlights, while international tourists can look into Globe’s Traveler SIM.

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