El Nido really is a magical place. From its ageless towering marble cliffs to its white sandy beaches with crystal clear water, many refer to it as paradise. There are over 50 beaches to discover, so many in fact that sometimes you feel as if you are on your own secluded private beach. You will also find enchanting lagoons with tranquil turquoise-green water, caves that can take you to hidden beaches, and a very diverse variety of wildlife.
Scuba diving is also a popular activity here with over 30 dive sites for varying levels and skills; from taking the plunge and learning to dive for the first time, to perfecting your expertise and advancing your qualifications.
Yet El Nido has so many different treasures to offer beyond the obvious. Further activities available include cliff climbing, waterfalls, kayaking, cave exploration, windsurfing, plus you can also hire a motorbike and discover the surrounding north of Palawan.
The dry season is from around November to May with temperatures above 30 degrees centigrade and rain is rare. In Easter there is a week long festival including town parades and markets.
Seafood is a local speciality, in fact many fish are exported to Manila, and on to other South East Asian countries. There are restaurants scattered around the town offering various foods to suit most palates. From seafoods to meat dishes, salads, pastas, stews there is something for everyone.
There are many eccentricities to El Nido, for example the electric power is 2pm to 6am. Also you will not find any banks here, although you can change foreign currency and travellers cheques at a couple of places albeit at an increased rate. Credit cards are accepted only in a few places. There are also no telephone lines so communication is mostly via mobile phones plus there are many internet cafe's scattered around the town.
Two airlines offer direct flights to El Nido; there are at least 2 flights every day. The road out of the town is serviced by 4 buses a day going to the capital of the Palawan, Puerto Princesa City. There are also jeepneys catering for shorter trips. One can also travel by boat direct to Manila from the Port situated in the bay. The road from Puerto Princesa to El Nido is nearly completed and the travel time of the hired vans is 6 hours, while the buses take 7 hours. Several big commercial airlines fly into Puerto throughout the day (Cebu Pacific Air, Zestair, ITI, Philippines Airlines).
Palawan is frequently referred to as "The Final Frontier". Once you have been here you realise why. Enchanting El Nido is truly breathtaking; many leave, their lives changed by this magical place.
There are many activities to do in El Nido.
Island Hopping is the main one, totally devoted to the over 50 beaches in the marine reserve of Bacuit Bay. There are a number of places to hire boats including packages that include food and tour guides.
Or do it yourself by walking down the beach and hiring a boat. Alternatively you can also hire kayaks, paddle boats or even go windsurfing! Fishing is also available here.
El Nido as a Protected Area
What needs protection?
- 5 types of forest: lowland evergreen, semi-deciduous forest, forest over limestone, beach forest and mangrove forest
- 3 major marine habitats: seagrass/seaweeds, coral reefs and estuarine
- 16 endemic and 10 threatened species of birds
- 6 species of marine mammals endemic to Palawan, plus the endangered dugong
- 4 species of endangered marine turtles: hawksbill, olive ridley, leatherback and green sea turtles
- 45 genera of hard corals
- 197 species of fish
- White sand beaches
- Limestone cliffs jutting hundreds of feet straight up to the sky, with thousands of caves cradling swifts' nests. The nests are made into the prized Chinese delicacy nido soup and worth their weight in gold