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Trip Report El Nido - an unspoiled quiet beach destination in the Philippines

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To travel to El Nido, one has to fly to the capital of Palawan, Puerto Princesa. Flights there can be taken from either Manila or Cebu. The former seems to be ideal because the transit time is 4 hours versus 7 hours, which I impatiently waited for, at Cebu. You can read my full review here:

From Puerto Princesa, the ride to El Nido is rough, especially the last two hours.The van dropped us at the main terminal which is about 15 minutes to the main El Nido beach by the motorized tricycles. A ride costs between 30 to 50 Pesos depending on your bargaining skills.

The best hotel we found was not on the main El Nido beach but at Corong Corong in Islandfront Cottages. The room came at 2,100 Pesos per night but it was well worth it! It was the only room with a big balcony facing the sea. Please note that El Nido has a complete blackout from 6:00am to 2:00pm so schedule showers and charging of your electronic devices in advance.

Islandfront Cottages provide bike rental services too. We rented a 4-speed bike for 700 Pesos a day (which was further discounted when we checked out. We got a day free). The ride to El Nido town was barely 10 minutes by bike. Definitely faster than with a tricycle which can be hard to come by at Corong Corong.

A must do at El Nido are the island tours. There are four island hoping tours available on El Nido - A, B, C, and D - regardless of where you book them. It can be at any of the many tour operators at El Nido town, at your hotel or at ArtCafe, your one-stop shop in El Nido. The two recommended tours are A and C, as any of the operators will tell you. Package A costs 700 Pesos and package B, 900. There is a compulsory environment fee of 200 Pesos. You will also need to rent your snorkeling gear at 200 Pesos. A kayak can be rented for 800 Pesos for a full day. The kayak is ferried on the boat and at certain lagoons, you can spend some time kayaking. We did that and it was great. A dry bag is highly recommended to protect your electronic devices and your camera. Camera cases can be rented at ArtCafe. You will also need protection for your feet as you will need to walk on corals and may step on sea urchins. The guides wear slippers but I would highly recommend sea shoes.

Nacpan beach was one of the highlights of our trip. It is about 2.5 hours from El Nido town by bike. Roads are terrible and it gets worse the closer you get to the beach. Nacpan was completely deserted when we reached, which was great. If you want to have a picnic or have a few drinks, you should bring those with you. It's hard to find a shop around there. They did have a little hut serving drinks about 5 minutes from Nacpan beach though.


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