The Ultimate El Nido Guide

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Tour C Views

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Lunch on Tour C

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Entrance to one of the lagoons on Tour A

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Helicopter Island- Tour C

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7 Commandos Beach

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Bacuit Bay- Getting out of town

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Maremegmeg Beach

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Maremegmeg Beach

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Big Lagoon

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Lagoon water

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7 Commandos Beach

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Nacpan Beach to the left

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Nacpan Twin Beaches

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The other side of Nacpan

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Nacpan Beach

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Papaya Beach- 45 minutes after kayaking in from to

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BEACHES AND ISLAND-HOPPING

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Visitors are offered standard tour packages though most people will recommend tours A and C. All the tour stops are the same regardless of who you book with. Some important questions to ask about are whether or snorkels and fins are included, if the environmental fee is included, the size of the boat and how many people will be part of the tour and what the lunch consists of. The environmental fee is usually 200 php on top of the tour fee. Also, snorkels are usually included but without fins, some companies will even give you towels, and if you need a water bag most guides will have one to use when you're hopping in and out of your boat. The food consists of bbq chicken/pork, grilled fish, crab or shrimp, fruit, salad, and water (depending on market availability).

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Marimegmeg beach 

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For sunset we recommend walking further up Maremigmeg and past the hotel Las Cabanas for the best view in town. From the main part of town in El Nido there is no direct view to the west as a large limestone cliff covers the sun setting. 

Photo of The Ultimate El Nido Guide 9/10 by Mark-Anthony Villaflor

Photo of The Ultimate El Nido Guide 10/10 by Mark-Anthony Villaflor

LOGISTICS

Getting into town

Getting there from Puerto Princesa A/C bus 360. Two companies Cherry (newer) and Roro will take you on the 6 hour journey and every hour from 7am onwards. 
Van shuttle- 400-500. 

*Vans sometimes park next to the buses and will try to get you into their transport. With the bus and van driver openly ask how much and let them bid. We ended up getting a bus for 300 one way and could have gotten the van for 350. This may only work when it isn't high season. 

Tour costs

Tour A 1200 php includes: Big Lagoon, Small Lagoon, Simizu Island, Secret Lagoon and 7 Commandos Beach

Tour B 1200 php includes: Entalula Island, Pinagbuyutan Island, Snake Island, Cudugnon Cave and Cathedral Cave

Tour C 1400 php includes: Hidden Beach, Helicopter Island, Secret Beach, Matinloc Shrine and Star Beach

Tour D 1200 includes: Bukal Island, Ipil Beach, Nat-Nat Beach, Cadlao Lagoon and Paradise Beach

Tour E Land tour includes Twin Beaches, Marimegmeg Beach and some waterfalls. Costs vary depending on the private hire of a tricycle.

*During low season you should be able to get 200 php off per tour. 

Getting Around Town

Kayak rental- 300 php 

Scooter day rental 500 php to go to Nacpan Beach

Tricycle in and around town- 10 php per person

Tricycle from town to Marimegmeg beach 100-150 php

Tricycle to Nacpan and back (full day hire) 1000-1500 php.

We got 1000 total for 4 people.  *Kuya Jojo Tricycle Driver- 09298516625  this is our recommended driver. 

Accommodation

Budget- 400-1000

Moderate- 1000-2500

Moderate/High- 2500-5000 There are also tons of ultra-luxurious island resorts on private beaches.  

Food

Budget- 50-100 street food and local restaurants (turo-turo)

Moderate- 150-300 (tourist restaurants)

Expensive- mains start at 300 and up- for restaurants in town such as Altrove and L’Arssiette.

Designated the Philippines last frontier, the island province of Palawan gives the willing explorer an opportunity to experience paradise with or without all the tourists. 6 hours north of the island’s main airport is the unspoiled Bacuit Bay, commonly known as El Nido. Surreal landscapes, crystal clear waters, world class scuba diving, hidden caves, secret beaches, waterfalls, and much more El Nido is bliss for water aficionados! That once bumpy nearly non-existent road is being flooded with investors and government projects, complete with a proposed airport, to boost the local economy through tourism. Recently Palawan island was dubbed the best island in the world by readers of Conde Nast Traveler. Of course the list of accolades is endless from CNN'S top beaches to Travel and Leisure Magazine's top islands in the world, Palawan is being exposed in mainstream media and is the cause of jealous on social media.  Step on a banca and find yourself in a mini archipelago similar to Vietnam’s Halong Bay and Thailand’s Krabi, dotted with limestone islands and islets perfect for those willing to go off the beaten path. The only difference is, it’s better. Welcome to El Nido. 
Aside from the island hopping tour you can reach other beaches by tricycle. A day trip to Nacpan Beach rewards you with a long stretch of sand for over 3 kilometers. Being about 20 kilometers out of town gives the visitor even more beach and less tourists. There are two restaurants that serve cold beer, fruit shakes, and grilled seafood. Many tourists visit to climb up the hill that overlooks a twin beach and 3 bays. 
If your looking to have a day at the beach closer to town head 3 kilometers south to Marimegmeg Beach. You will have likely missed this on your way in as it's difficult to see from the road but the steep stairs you go down reward you with a gorgeous swimming beach perfect for kayaking, paddle boarding or practicing your stroke. It's possible to stay overnight as there are currently 3 guesthouse/beach resorts. Of course given its beauty this is all bound to change and construction for a large resort is in the works and due to start early 2016.
For more beach lounging rent a kayak from any of the town beaches and kayak to 7 Commandos beach, Papaya Beach, or Ipil Beach. From town it should be less than an hour. The only place with meals is 7 Commandos. Papaya serves drinks and light snacks but it's easy to visit all three in an afternoon. 
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