Experience paradise, experience El Nido!

North of the mainland Palawan is El Nido, a paradise considered by many as one of their dream destinations. With 45 islands and islets that harbor some of the country’s best white sand beaches, hidden lagoons, picturesque cliffs and rich marine life underneath its Earth, El Nido is indeed a piece of paradise. The town is a managed and resource protected area of Palawan, 238 kilometers from Puerto Princesa. Contrary to common notion that El Nido is an expensive destination, the place is in fact, can be explored on a budget. With plenty of budget accommodations lined up on the streets of the town and lots of tour groups offering cheap packages, El Nido is another backpacker’s haven. Get a tan on numerous white sand islands of Bacuit Bay; climb a cliff; dive to its diverse underwater life; snorkel and feed the tame fishes; sit and relax along the beach; watch the sun set; satisfy your cravings on its array of restaurants… El Nido is for everyone. Perhaps it is now time to fulfill your dream, or revisit and rekindle the good times in paradise. El Nido is a promise of a perfect getaway. Experience paradise, experience El Nido! HOW TO GET IN EL NIDO? From Manila, Caticlan, Cebu and Clark By Air. Air Swift has regular flights from Caticlan, Cebu, Clark and Manila to El Nido, and vice versa. From Manila By Sea.

There are also cargo ship operators that also ferry passengers from Manila to El Nido. Contact the shipping lines for schedule and fare information. Please note that these are smaller cargo ships/hauls that cater specially to cargo but also allow passengers. From Puerto Princesa by Van, From Puerto Princesa to El Nido, air-conditioned vans depart from as early as 7AM to as late as 9PM. Vans depart from Puerto Princesa Airport and from San Jose Terminal. Travel time is approximately 5 to 6 hours and one-way fare is 500 pesos. From Puerto Pricesa to El Nido by Bus, Cherry and RoRo Buses regularly ply the Puerto Princesa-El Nido route and vice versa. Buses leave San Jose Terminal to El Nido with stop over in Roxas and Taytay from 4AM to 9PM. Fare is 380 pesos for the aircon bus and 350 pesos for the non-aircon. From Coron to El Nido by Boat, There are boats to El Nido from Coron daily. Fare is 2200 pesos for foreigners and 1500 pesos for Filipinos. Travel time: approximately 8 hours. WHERE TO STAY IN EL NIDO? Accommodation in El Nido ranges from very basic for as low as 400 pesos per room to high-end resorts that go by the thousands. I have tried staying in Lualhati Cottages for a twin fan room at 400 pesos per night. My stay with them was pleasant. It is located along the main road, five to ten minutes walk to Bacuit Bay. If you prefer beach front accommodation, Og’s Inn, located along the Bacuit Bay, is a good choice for budget travelers. They have rooms fan rooms for as low as 500 pesos and aircon rooms at higher rates. Og’as Inn is on the second floor of Og’s Restorbar, the place is equipped with free wi-fi. Marina Garden Beach Resort, also along the beach, have good reviews too. They have rooms for as low as 955 pesos. Another accommodation with good review is The Alternative, a family-run inn with restaurant and bar with a good view of Bacuit Bay. Room is as low as 900 pesos. If you prefer more adventure, just pitch a tent or a a hammock in one of the islands in Bacuit Bay. WHAT TO DO IN EL NIDO? Island Hopping: Island Hopping in Bacuit Bay is a must and touring these islands are quite easy because the packaged tours are organized into common itineraries known to all organizers. The rates are standard as set by the local government but if you are good in haggling, you can lower it down.

Tour A. Destination are Small and Big Lagoons of Miniloc Island, Payong-Payong Beach, Shimizu Island and Seven Commandos. Price is 1,200 pesos per person. Tour B. Destination are Pangulasian Island, Snake Island, Codugnon Cave, Cathedral Cave and Pinagbuyutan Island. Price is 1,300 pesos per person. Tour C. Destination are Hidden Beach, Secret Beach, Star Beach, Matinloc Shrine and Helicopter Island. Price is 1,400 pesos per person. Tour D. Destination are Cadlao Lagoon, Pasandigan Beach, Bukal Beach, Paradise Beach and Natnat Beach. Price is 1,200 pesos per person. Tour E (Inland Tour) Destination are Nacpan and Calitang Beaches, Makinit Hotspring, Nagkalit-kalit Waterfalls. Price is 1,200 pesos per person. Scuba Diving: The average cost for a three-dive package is 3,600 pesos per person inclusive of gear and equipments, lunch, DM, boat and marine conservation fee. Here are some of the dive shops in El Nido. Free diving, Snorkeling, Cliff Climbing, Kayaking/Kayak Island Trip, Wind Surfing, Beach Bumming/Camping. Watch the beautiful sunset in Bacuit Bay or Corong Corong Bay. Biking/motorbike tour to Makinit Hot Spring and other villages nearby. Hike to Nagkalit-kalit Falls. Explore the historical Ille Cave. See the beautiful twin beaches of Nacpan and Calitang. Visit Taytay, Roxas, Coron and Puerto Princesa. TRAVEL TIPS, Electricity runs from 2PM to 6AM only. Bring cash, there is an ATM in town but is usually runs out of cash. Unlike Coron that charges entrance fees to almost every spot, El Nido implemented a single payment of “Eco-Tourism Development Fee” for only 200 pesos per person for each visit of up to ten (10) days. This gives access to almost all public tourist sites in El Nido and Bacuit Bay. If your entry and exit point to El Nido is Puerto Princesa, it is advised to reserve your seat in advance. Go to Bacuit Bay before sun down for the best view of sunset.

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