Staying at El Nido is a MUST when you do a trip in the Philippines :). El Nido is located in Palawan. True it is one of the most touristic spot but it is also one of the most amazing. If you jump on a boat, you will discover some of the best beaches in the world. There are also endless options to go on island hopping from Tour A to Tour D. During the day get on a boat and travel from one island to a snorkelling spot and to a gorgeous beach. It is called Island Hopping, these boat trips are known all over the world because they pass through breathtaking landscapes.
As usual we are telling you everything about our trip on this place: how we organised our 48 hours, what was worth to do, our top 3, our favourite restaurants etc. The key spots we visited are the following: Corong Beach, Island Hopping with the Tour A and Nacpan Beach.
Unfortunately, we only spent 48 hours there. However, if you really want to take the time to discover the key spots, we suggest to spend at least 3 full days not including the transport time.
Table of Contents
Day 1 – Welcome to El Nido – Corong Beach
Early wake up to catch the first ferry from Coron to El Nido – departure at 7.30 am. They advised to be there about one hour in advance. There was a small bag check as in an airport but less drastic. For example, you are not restricted with the liquid. 30 minutes before we checked in the boat, they asked us to align our bags to do a dog inspection!
The journey to go from Coron to El Nido is about 3,5 hours. Finally we arrived about 30 minutes late. Our hotel was located on the beach and is not accessible for tricycles. Therefore, our hotel came to pick us up at a dropping point as the road is not convenient. We understood why when we discovered the way to go there! The hotel is literally along the beach!
It was easy to find something to eat as there are a lot of nice options in El Nido. We chose a vegan coffee for our first meal – The Vegan Cafe PH. They have really good bowls, very tasty even for non vegan people ;).
And then we relaxed with a great massage. If you are looking for a nice break, we recommend this place – the Blue Sea Spa Massage – as the massage was really good and cost only 600PHP / person !
We walked up to Corong beach – it is about 30 minutes from El Nido city centre.
Finally, we stopped at a restaurant called Bella Vita, had a beer while enjoying the perfect sunset and finished the evening with a great pizza :)! We definitely recommend to stop at this restaurant. If you want to discover our recommandations where to eat in El Nido – read this post.
Day 2 – Island hopping – Tour A
We woke up with a great breakfast with an amazing view on the beach. It is the exact definition of being in a paradise island. That’s why we definitely recommend to stay at our hotel – see below information about our accommodation. You can also have a look at all the hotels around – they will have the same great view on the beach.
Tour A – island hopping
We booked the Tour A which is the most popular tour, as we had only one full day at El Nido. As everyone, we wanted to see the Big Lagoon and some photos from the Seven Commando beach. This tour is a good mix of snorkelling and sightseeing, kayaking and chilling. Unfortunately we knew that it would also be the most crowded tour.
Let’s discover the different spots we visited – Big Lagoon, Secret Lagoon, Shimizu Island Lagoon, Seven Commando Beach. We also explained what to expect from a group tour vs a private boat. See our detailed post – Island hopping in El Nido – Tour A.
Note – They are numerous options for island hopping. But contrary to Coron, it seems that all the agencies have pretty much the same price and we didn’t manage to get a discount. The price of Tour A was 1200 PHP + 200 (environmental fees) PHP / person. The environmental fees are valid for 10 days.
We went back at El Nido around 4.30 pm. After an ice cream on the beach, we headed back to our hotel.
We enjoyed a last sunset on the beach just in front of our hotel.
As it was our last evening we chose a nice restaurant – La Plage. It was a mixed of Asian and French food, they had delicious fishes! We tried the mussels and the fish in a banana leaf. And it was perfect for a romantic diner.
Day 3 – Nacpan Beach and Goodbye the Philippines
Early wake up for the last day in the Philippines 🇵🇭! As yesterday, we enjoyed our breakfast with an amazing view.
We rented a scooter for a half day. You may have to try more than one scooter rental place. However, we found easily someone that agreed with renting us the scooter only for a half day for 300 PHP. Direction Nacpan beach – it is about 40 minutes from El Nido. It is a bumpy road for the last 4 kilometres before you arrive at the beach. It is more a runway with some ground and rocks. But no worry, scooters and cars can drive there.
The beach was a really nice one. We arrived before 10.00am and there was almost no one there.
It is a perfect beach to chill and relax. We stayed there for about 3 hours. Of course, we flew our drone one last time in the Philippines.
There are just a few options to eat at Nacpan beach. Hence, we chose to go back to El Nido to have lunch.
Good bye El Nido
We ate at the Happiness bar. The lunch was tasty! It is also an hostel – if you are looking for a cheap accommodation it seems to be a good option to check out.
Then we enjoyed one last time an ice cream with this the beautiful view :).
Finally, direction our hotel to pick up our luggages. The El Nido airport is so tiny – it took us only 20 minutes to go there in tricycle for 300PHP.
At the airport there is only one security lane. It literally took less than 5 minutes get our luggages scanned and 5 minutes to check in. Air Swift offered us to take an early flight.
We arrived in Manila at around 6.00pm at the terminal 4. It seems it is not always easy to go to terminal 1 with the bus. We read that there is a regular shuttle every 20/30 minutes and that it can take up to 1h for the change. In fact, we were lucky the shuttle arrived quickly and it took us only 10 minutes to go to terminal 1. And we just paid 20PHP/person.
For information, the terminal 1 is not really well organised. The check-in counters usually open 4 hours before the departure time. So if you arrived more than 4 hours, there is absolutely nothing to do and not enough seats to wait! And if you want to buy something, you need to leave the terminal to access the shops. We waited almost 2 hours next to our luggages.
As mentioned above, we suggest to spend at least one extra full day in El Nido. It would have been nice to do a less crowded tour as for example with Tour B or Tour D. We also noticed that it is possible to do a one day hiking tour – if you would like to do something else that island hopping.
Top 3 in El Nido
- Firstly, the breathless view during our breakfast. What a nice wake up with pancakes. We were so close to the paradise.
- Secondly, kayaking in the Big Lagoon. It was my first time kayaking. When we arrived we were lucky to be one of the first group to be there and we had enjoyed the lagoon with just a few kayaks.
- The picturesque small islands around El Nido.
Our Hotel – AngelNido
AngelNido resort is a very nice place to stay at El Nido. Quiet and spacious room – like a small cottage – with our own balcony. Most importantly, the view for the breakfast and/or for a drink at the sunset is amazing. The beach was literally just in front of us. In addition, the staff is very welcoming and there was a free pick up from the beginning of the beach. We recommend it without hesitation. The price was about 4500 PHP/night. True it was our most expensive hotel but it was one of the best of our trip. In short, it was a perfect location and as mentioned El Nido is a quite expensive island in the Philippines. See our dedicated post – how to budget your trip in the Philippines.
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