I found paradise – and it is just in my country’s backyard.
El Nido, Philippines is the image that pops out from that beach postcard.
It’s a 6 hour public van ride (can be 9 hours depending on the van you take) from Puerto Princesa – so it’s a long drive along the Palawan highway & rough roads. But once you get there – you’ll be greeted by this cove!
I have been to many beach towns in the Philippines and this is for me is one of the finest ones.
It’s a perfect peaceful getaway to relax and read your book and while drinking coconut juice by the beach. Who doesn’t want a life like that?
There are some quirks that I particularly enjoyed like having no electricity in the morning. Working always in front of my laptop, any tech gadgets is the last thing I would like to see on my holidays. So El Nido without electricity in the mornings for me suited up with this. Having breakfast in front of the beach with NO mobile phones, laptops, television screens was just perfect.
We went and stayed there for little less than 48 hours, and if you are doing that – here’s a few tips:
- Island Hopping? Do TOUR A. This is the cheapest one (700PHP as of press time) and the most popular tour. There are 4 tours available and for many people this is the most rewarding. A visit to the small lagoon & big lagoon is not to be missed (and luckily included in this tour)
- Look for a good tour provider – there are lots of tour providers offering the same island tour and offers the tour with the same price. What makes the difference though is the food & drinks they serve for lunch – so scout around for a better deal. We booked the tour with our hotel, which was a mistake as the tour we got didn’t offer any drinks along (not even water).
- Get coffee in Habibi – Probably one of the better options for coffee in Palawan, it is not to be missed.
- Chill at the El Nido Café – after a long day of island hopping, they offer a good place to chill out and rest. They also have a small grocery & souvenir shop.
- 48 HOURS IN EL NIDO IS NOT ENOUGH – This was our biggest mistake, after the long journey, we wished we could have stayed longer and done most of the island tours, climbed cliffs and enjoyed the peaceful ambiance. I left El Nido early – but I will definitely come back.
El Nido, despite the tourism growth, still has the small town feel – it only has 1 disco bar (not to my pleasure) and the streets are literally empty after midnight. And I want it to remain that way. It’s not as touristic than I expected. It has its crowd, but not those that sings karaoke, ride bananaboats and build huge & pretentious sand castles.
I’m actually scared for El Nido. I am afraid for it becoming the next party beach – I really hope that it won’t be but I am scared that it will someday. There are efforts from the local government to keep it as an ecotourist area – but who knows.
So visit it now before it’s too late. GO NOW!
Have you been in El Nido? What were your experiences? What did you like or didn’t like about the place? Share your experience below!