My friends and I traveled to El Nido last July and we really enjoyed swimming (mostly they did) and beach-bumming (mostly me) and discovering why El Nido is a traveler’s paradise. If you’re thinking of seeing the islands of El Nido (around 47 islands, I think), here are a few tips that might make your trip a little better.
1. Take a morning flight to Puerto Princesa
It takes an average of 6 hours to get from Puerto Princesa to the El Nido proper and taking a morning flight means you can get to the town proper early enough to walk around town, check out the restaurants or souvenir shops, and maybe snap a sunset photo. Getting to the town late just means you’re paying to sleep for the night.
2. Explore the town
You might get insanely excited by all those islands and all those tours that you might miss the fact that the town is a treasure in its own right. There are interesting souvenir shops, hole-in-the-wall diners, and both local and foreign tourists. Plus, it pays to know where to go in case you need to buy something so make a mental note of pharmacies and stores and whatnot.
3. Tours A and C are the most popular for a reason
Considering the number of islands in El Nido, I know you’d want to maximize you’re staying by checking out the best spots. Tours A and C offer the best combination of fun and chill and will take you to the most interesting spots and most gorgeous beaches.
4. Go diving
El Nido is a diver’s haven and that’s the main reason why it attracts so many foreign tourists. Plenty of local businesses cater to divers whether it be equipment rental or transport services.
5. Sample the seafood
Palawan prides itself on the abundance and variety of seafood available to their many islands. Some tours that include lunch in the package would usually include seafood in the menu and boy, do they know how to handle their seafood. There are also a lot of restaurants in the town proper that serve local seafood so make sure to try.
6. Eat out
We found a Mexican cantina-style restaurant and a rustic Italian resto during our stay in El Nido and the food was pretty good. Heaven knows what else we would have found if we had stayed any longer. This isn’t common for a Philippine provincial town and what’s really interesting is that these restaurants are unassuming, almost inconspicuous. No waiting lists. No parking. No fancy waiters. Just food. How cool is that!
7. Save Puerto Princesa for another day
Since you’ll be passing by Puerto Princesa in order to get to El Nido, you might get tempted to take a tour or something like that but believe me, Puerto Princesa is best left for another trip. Maximize your stay in El Nido and explore it as much as you can. Puerto Princesa is a tourist destination in its own right and you’ll want to save a few vacation days to see what it has to offer.