Palawan Island is the crown jewel of the Philippines, a labyrinth of giant cliffs, unbelievable lagoons, pristine sands and crystal-clear seas. If you’re ready to explore the otherworldly landscapes of this beautiful archipelago, the town of El Nido – located at the northern tip – is your gateway. Popular on the backpacker street, El Nido is a budget spot with beach restaurants, reggae bars, and plenty of activities, but the real beauty of the town is its accessibility. near areas of unspoiled beauty. Is Heaven on your bucket list? Here are our top five things to do in El Nido, Palawan.
El Nido tour operators offer day trips to the surrounding lagoons, caves and beaches. There are big lagoons, small lagoons, hidden beaches, secret beaches…you get the idea. It doesn’t matter which day tour you choose, they all take you to locations surrounded by towering cliffs that look almost CGI-made, like a stunning alien landscape almost plugged into your brain. Filled with colorful corals, fish and sometimes turtles, the underwater scenery looks just as eerie as the ones above. Day trips include lunch, snorkeling and kayaking, and will have you back in town just in time for sunset. Not a bad way to spend the day, right?
MULTI-DAY ISLAND TRAVEL
Do you love open spaces? Can you fall asleep to the sound of the ocean? Go without a phone signal for a few days? Island-hopping is the quintessential backpacking adventure in the Philippines. If you’re just hanging around El Nido, you can take day trips, but if you’re traveling longer, consider joining a boat expedition for the full Philippines experience. Multi-day island trips involve sailing in traditional Filipino boats, stopping at stunning locations, and camping in perfect locations known only to the locals. The days you’ll be snorkeling, sunbathing, jumping into the sea from the deck, and relaxing on board with a coconut (or beer) in hand. You’ll spend nights in traditional beach huts under a starry sky, enjoying Filipino BBQ and wondering where the rest of the world has disappeared. Our brand new Philippines small group tour including a 3-day boat expedition from Coron to El Nido will immerse you in all the world-class landscapes you can imagine. Learn more about the 13-day trip and inclusions here!
EXPLORE DUAL BEACH
Nacpan Beach and Calitang Beach make us this famous pair of beaches about an hour north of El Nido. Nacpan is the most popular beach in the area, but this 4-kilometer stretch of golden sand can easily draw crowds (not many!) Coconut rows, laid-back restaurants and beach bars line its Clear blue coast, so you can snack and drink your way through the day. Swimming is only allowed in certain areas due to strong currents and waves, so pay attention to signs. Just a short walk past the viewpoint connecting the two beaches is Calitang, a quieter place to enjoy the calming vibes. Shuttles make trips from El Nido town to Nacpan several times a day, or you can rent a private tricycle or jeepney. On INTRO’s Explore the Philippines Island tour, take a full day Jeepney tour of the best spots of El Nido, taking you to Nacpan and other hidden local gems off the beaten track.
SUPPLY ON THE ROOF
For something different in El Nido, search. While the jagged limestone cliffs are dangerous to contend with on their own, an eco-friendly adventure business operates the official ‘Canopy Walk’ experience as a safe way to climb the bay. Anyone with moderate fitness can complete the smooth guided climbs and cross the 75-meter suspension bridge to the observatory for epic photos.
WATCH THE SUN WITH A DRINK IN YOUR HAND
After all these discoveries, treat yourself to an expensive drink by the sea. Nothing screams ‘I’m on vacation!’ like watching the sun set over the water, drinking in hand, relaxing rhythms playing in the background. The good news is that there are plenty of places in El Nido to watch the sky change color with a cold glass of San Miguel or a thick mango smoothie. Try the lively sunset bar scene at Las Cabanas beach (every tricycle driver will eagerly take you here for P-150 each way), or walk to quiet Corong Corong beach from main town. Type only ‘El Nido Sunset’ Go to Google images to see what you have to expect!