10 Best Things To Do in El Nido, Palawan


Table of Contents

Hey there, adventurous souls! 🌴 If you’re dreaming of a destination that’s a true slice of paradise, then let’s talk about El Nido, Palawan. Picture this: hidden lagoons that whisper tales of ancient secrets, towering limestone formations standing guard like age-old sentinels, sandbanks that stretch into the horizon, and islands so stunning they seem plucked straight from a dream. Not to mention the pristine white beaches kissed by crystal-clear azure waters. It’s no wonder that El Nido is heralded as one of the most breathtaking spots not just in the Philippines, but on the planet!

But hey, don’t just take my word for it. El Nido is a gem nestled among the 7,641 islands that make the Philippines a bucket-list worthy destination for travelers from every corner of the globe. Whether it’s the allure of the famous El Nido island hopping tours that has you hooked, or the promise of exploring beyond the beaten path, there’s something here for everyone.

El Nido’s charm isn’t just in its natural wonders but also in the warmth of its people and the rich tapestry of Filipino culture waiting to be discovered. So, whether you’re a seasoned traveler or setting foot on international soil for the first time, El Nido, Palawan, invites you to immerse yourself in an experience that promises to be nothing short of extraordinary. Ready to dive into your next adventure? Let’s explore all the amazing things to do in El Nido together in this complete travel guide. 🌊✈️

Things to do in El Nido, Palawan

From island-hopping extravaganzas to serene beach escapades, El Nido is your canvas for creating memories that last a lifetime. Here are the top things to do in this slice of paradise:

1. El Nido Island Hopping Tour: A Journey Through Bacuit Bay

Imagine setting sail through Bacuit Bay, a sanctuary home to 45 islands that are nothing short of heavenly. Recognized globally for its surreal beauty, this area offers four distinct tours (A, B, C, & D), each leading to its unique set of islands, lagoons, and wildlife wonders. Opting for an island-hopping tour here isn’t just recommended; it’s a rite of passage for anyone visiting the Philippines. From the enchanting lagoons that seem to have sprung from a movie scene to the vibrant wildlife that calls these islands home, every moment here is a discovery. Tip: Book your tour in advance to ensure you don’t miss out on this quintessential El Nido experience.

2. Kayak to Secret Beaches: An Intimate Encounter with Nature

For those who prefer to chart their own course, renting a kayak offers a unique opportunity to explore the hidden beaches around Cadlao Island. Glide across the water at your own pace, and you might just find yourself sharing the beach with the local wildlife, from playful monkeys to majestic hornbills. For an even more immersive experience, consider renting a clear kayak to watch the underwater world glide by beneath you. Remember, El Nido is a place of natural beauty that we’re privileged to enjoy, so let’s keep it pristine by avoiding plastic bottles during our excursions.

3. Duli Beach: A Secluded Paradise

Duli Beach is a hidden gem in the northern reaches of El Nido, boasting 2 kilometers of pristine white sand that feels worlds away from the bustle of daily life. This secluded beach charges a modest entrance fee (50 PHP, roughly 1 USD) but offers a serene escape with gentle waves perfect for beginner surfers. While the allure of beachside snacks is tempting, it’s wise to pack your own food to avoid any unwelcome surprises. For the adventurous souls, renting a motorbike to reach Duli Beach promises a scenic journey through El Nido’s lush landscapes.

4. Sail from El Nido to Coron: An Epic Sea Odyssey

The journey between El Nido and Coron is a voyage through the unspoiled beauty of the Philippines, offering a unique perspective on this archipelago’s magic. Embarking on a 4-day expedition with operators like Big Dream Boatman lets you explore crystal-clear waters, secret lagoons, and vibrant marine life up close. This journey isn’t just about travel; it’s an invitation to become part of the fabric of this place, weaving your own stories into its vast tapestry. Be sure to book in advance, as this popular route offers a blend of adventure and tranquility that’s hard to find anywhere else.

5. Zipline Between Islands: An Adrenaline-Fueled Flight

For a dash of adrenaline, the 750-meter zip line from Las Cabañas Beach offers a breathtaking way to experience El Nido’s natural beauty from above. This isn’t just any zip line; it’s a flight between islands, offering unparalleled views and an exhilarating rush. Prices range from 500 to 1100 PHP (~10 to ~21 USD), making it an accessible adventure for those looking to add a bit of excitement to their trip. For the best experience, time your flight around sunset, when the sky’s fiery hues make the perfect backdrop for your aerial adventure.

El Nido, with its blend of serene beauty and heart-pounding adventures, offers something for every traveler. Whether you’re here to explore the depths of its crystal-clear waters or to soar above its islands, remember to travel responsibly, respecting the natural environment and the local communities that make this place so special. After all, it’s not just about the destinations we visit, but the footprints we leave behind.

6. Hike Taraw Cliff

For those who seek thrills and breathtaking views, hiking Taraw Cliff is a must. This challenging 2-hour ascent demands a bit of preparation—proper footwear and a local guide are non-negotiable due to the sharp limestone rocks. However, the effort pays off magnificently once you reach the summit. The panoramic view over El Nido is unparalleled, offering a bird’s eye perspective of the town, the coastline, and the vast ocean stretching into the horizon. Remember, this adventure isn’t just about reaching the top; it’s about embracing the journey and the stunning vistas along the way.

7. Nacpan Beach Experience

Nacpan Beach is a slice of paradise that stretches over 4 kilometers, lined with coconut trees and soft, powdery sand. A scenic 45-minute motorbike ride from El Nido town brings you to this tranquil haven. The beach’s vastness means it never feels overcrowded, providing a serene escape. Don’t miss the unique sight where Nacpan Beach merges with Calitang Beach, creating a picturesque twin beach scenario. Local shacks offer refreshing coconuts and delicious seafood, making for a perfect beach day. Though sunsets here are magical, riding back in complete darkness isn’t recommended. For those looking to explore further, consider a jeepney tour to include Nacpan Beach and other local gems like Bulalacao Waterfalls.

8. Corong-Corong Beach Sunset Stroll

Among personal favorites, the sunset stroll along Corong-Corong Beach is a peaceful experience. This beach remains one of El Nido’s best-kept secrets, offering quiet moments as you walk along its coastline. From Corong-Corong Bay down to the lively Boodle Fight Cafe, the journey is as beautiful as the destination, where you can indulge in a Filipino feast under the glow of the setting sun. This simple yet profound activity connects you deeply with the serene beauty of El Nido’s natural landscape.

9. Sunset at Las Cabanas

Las Cabanas Beach is a hub of activity in El Nido, known for its vibrant atmosphere and stunning sunset views. Whether you’re looking to relax on the sand, swim in the clear waters, or enjoy a cocktail at one of the many beach bars, Las Cabanas does not disappoint. The beach becomes especially enchanting as the sun begins to set, painting the sky in hues of orange and pink. For a more adventurous way to explore, consider renting a motorbike, giving you the freedom to discover the beauty of El Nido at your own pace.

10. Early Morning at the Public Market

For an authentic local experience, a visit to the public market is a must. Opening at the crack of dawn, the market is a bustling hub where locals and visitors alike can purchase fresh fruits, vegetables, fish, and meat. Picking up some fresh fruits before heading out on a day trip, like to Nacpan Beach, offers a healthy snack option and a taste of the local lifestyle. Situated near Corong-Corong Beach, the market provides an opportunity to engage with the community and perhaps even pick up a few cooking tips from the friendly vendors.

Each of these activities in El Nido, Palawan, is not just about the places you visit but the stories you gather and the connections you make. Whether it’s the adrenaline rush of a hike, the calm of a beach stroll, or the warmth of the local community, El Nido offers a diverse palette of experiences that cater to every type of traveler. Remember, while exploring this beautiful corner of the world, staying informed about travel advisories, respecting local customs, and being mindful of environmental conservation efforts will ensure your adventure contributes positively to the paradise that is El Nido.

El Nido Travel Tips

While El Nido is evolving rapidly, with a burgeoning array of dining options and a reputation for safety, there are a few travel tips every explorer should know to ensure a smooth and enjoyable visit.

Cash is King

First things first, liquidity is crucial in El Nido. While the town boasts a large ATM at the BPI Bank in the center, smaller ATMs tend to run out of cash quickly. To avoid any financial hiccups, it’s wise to carry enough cash for your needs. This preparation ensures that you’re always ready for any adventure, meal, or unexpected expense that comes your way.

Explore on Two Wheels

To truly immerse yourself in the beauty of El Nido, consider renting a motorbike. Not only does this mode of transportation offer the freedom to explore at your own pace, but it’s also incredibly cost-effective compared to the often overpriced tricycle fares. With rental rates ranging from 350 – 500 PHP (approximately 6-9 USD) per day, navigating the picturesque roads of El Nido becomes an adventure in itself. Local rental shops like Bella’s come highly recommended for their reliable service and quality bikes.

Stay Connected

Sharing the beauty of El Nido with the world can be a challenge, as reliable WiFi can be hard to come by. While some cafes and hotels offer decent internet connectivity, securing a local SIM card for your mobile device is a more reliable solution. This way, you can post those stunning Instagram stories without a hitch, keeping friends and followers up to date with your tropical escapades.

Environmental Consciousness

El Nido is at the forefront of environmental preservation, implementing strict regulations to minimize its ecological footprint. Smoking is prohibited on the streets and during island hopping tours, and the town has taken a firm stance against single-use plastics. As a visitor, embracing these regulations and practicing responsible tourism plays a crucial role in preserving El Nido’s natural beauty for generations to come.

Water Wisdom

A crucial tip for travelers is to be mindful of water consumption. El Nido faces challenges with its freshwater supply, which can affect food preparation and, subsequently, visitors’ health. To sidestep any potential issues, always opt for bottled water and be selective about where you eat. Checking recent reviews on platforms like TripAdvisor can steer you away from places where tap water might be used in food preparation, helping you avoid any unwelcome stomach troubles.

By keeping these travel tips in mind, your El Nido adventure promises to be as smooth as the serene waters that make this destination so enchanting. From practical advice on cash and transportation to staying connected and environmentally aware, you’re now equipped to dive into all that El Nido has to offer with confidence and ease.

Nomad-Friendly Cafés, Restaurants and Bars

Let’s explore some of the top nomad-friendly cafes, restaurants, and bars that make El Nido a gastronomic delight.

Nomad-Friendly Cafés

El Nido Boutique Artcafe: A haven for digital nomads, this café offers a comfortable setting with plenty of tables, a charming balcony overlooking the bustling streets, and a decent internet connection. Its central location makes it a perfect spot for work and relaxation.

Lime Resort El Nido: Though primarily a hotel, Lime Resort offers spacious areas conducive to opening up your laptop and getting some work done amidst a lively atmosphere. It’s on the pricier side but worth it for those looking for a bit of luxury while they work.

Suites by Eco Hotel: Imagine working with the serene beach as your backdrop. That’s what Suites by Eco Hotel offers, with tables spread out for guests to work from and excellent WiFi. The hotel even accommodates requests for in-room tables for uninterrupted work sessions.

Restaurants and Bars

Scape Skydeck El Nido: For those seeking a touch of sophistication, Scape Skydeck offers an upscale dining experience with breathtaking views. The food is exceptional, matching the elegance of its surroundings.

Kopi Bake: A cozy cafe recommended for its lovely vegetarian dishes and expertly roasted coffee. It’s a small space, so arriving early or securing a reservation is advised.

Happiness Beach Bar: This spot brings a taste of Israel to El Nido, serving authentic dishes like hummus and burekas that keep patrons coming back. The friendly vibe and delicious food make it a must-visit.

Bella vita el nido: A favorite among Italian food lovers, Bella Vita impresses with its straightforward, fresh, and delectable offerings. The bruschettas, loaded with fresh tomatoes, are particularly noteworthy.

Maremegmeg Beach Bar: Not just a place for dining, Maremegmeg Beach Bar is renowned for its location. It’s the go-to spot for drinks and dinner, especially at sunset, offering a vibrant atmosphere alongside the stunning coastal view.

The Beach Shack El Nido: Situated close to Maremegmeg, The Beach Shack offers another excellent option for dining on Cabanas Beach. The food here is a cut above, making it a beloved choice for many.

No MAMES!: Embracing a youthful and vibrant vibe, this Mexican restaurant offers a unique charm despite its tacos not being the absolute best. The name itself hints at the cheeky energy of the place, making it a fun spot for a casual meal.

These cafes, restaurants, and bars in El Nido not only cater to the taste buds but also offer spaces where travelers can work, unwind, and enjoy the local culture. Whether you’re seeking a quiet corner to focus on your projects or a lively spot to savor the flavors of El Nido and meet fellow travelers, these establishments promise a memorable experience. Amidst the breathtaking beauty of El Nido, these culinary gems provide comfort, convenience, and a taste of the local and international gastronomic scene.

How to Get to El Nido

Reaching the stunning paradise of El Nido, Palawan, is an adventure in itself, offering various routes and modes of transportation to suit every traveler’s preference. For those seeking the quickest way, direct flights to El Nido’s Lio Airport are available, providing a seamless journey straight to the heart of paradise. If you’re coming from other parts of Palawan or enjoy scenic routes, taking a boat offers a unique perspective of the Philippine archipelago’s beauty. Alternatively, minivans offer a practical and cost-effective means of travel, connecting major points in Palawan to El Nido. Regardless of your choice, it’s essential to stay updated with the latest travel advisories and guidelines from local and Philippine government authorities, ensuring a smooth and enjoyable trip to this breathtaking destination.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit El Nido, Palawan, is during the dry season, from November to May, when the weather is most favorable for exploring its stunning landscapes and enjoying outdoor activities. This period avoids the heavier rains and typhoons that can occur from June to October. Traveling during these months ensures you can fully experience the beauty of El Nido’s beaches, lagoons, and island hopping tours under clear, sunny skies. Before planning your trip, it’s wise to check travel advisories and local government guidelines, especially regarding international travel and health protocols, to ensure a smooth and enjoyable visit to this breathtaking Philippine paradise.

Welcome to Nomadstwogo
A blog for digital nomad travelers. We're Roza and Yarden, an Israeli couple who chase our dreams and live all around the world while working online!
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