El Nido, Palawan: Lagoons and Beaches

September 07, 2016

Even before travel magazines declared Palawan as the most beautiful island in the world. I think it has already been on everybody’s travel goals. Just imagine what El Nido has to offer, for instance, those picturesque view of stunning beaches kissed by the turquoise water and a whole lot of limestone karst in the background.

Well, I guess you need to see it for yourself to know what I’m talking about. So grab those seat sales because the following photos aren’t enough to show you how beautiful El Nido is, especially its breath-taking lagoons which made me long for another visit.

Big Lagoon

Here’s a travel guide to help you explore and check off El Nido from your bucketlist.

How to get there

  • Fly to Puerto Princesa or El Nido

There are two routes to El Nido, either take the long but cheaper route via Puerto Princesa (promo fare ranges around P 1600+) or fly directly to El Nido via Air Swift which is a bit expensive (roundtrip airfare’s around P 10,000).

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  • Take a Van or Bus to El Nido

If you’re like me who would endure the 6-hour land transfer to El Nido, then hail a tricycle going to San Jose terminal for P 50 – 100. After that take a bus or van going to El Nido for P 300 – 500.

Fortunately, roads to El Nido had been paved and cemented that’s why it’ll be a smooth ride. Upon arrival at El Nido Terminal take another tricycle to your hotel for P 50 – 150.

Note: You may also contact your hotel if they could arrange a pick up from the airport.

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Where to Stay

A budget-friendly hotel across from the beach located at El Nido town proper along Serena St. Brgy. Buena Suerte. This three-storey inn has been our home for 6 days where we woke up with a nice view of Cadlao Island and docked boats.

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Our everyday view from Ocean Vista Inn.
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Ocean Vista’s Facade

Aside from its amazing view, the five air-conditioned rooms at the first and second floor are complete with comfy beds, hot and cold shower, flat screen TV and a ceiling fan, if there’s a power outage usually around 10AM to 4PM.

While the third floor or the rooftop serves as the dining area for guests during breakfast where you’ll be mesmerized by the view of the limestone karst.

Lean Season
Peak Season
Standard Room

P 1500

P 2300

Twin Room

P 1800

P 2500

Deluxe Room

P 2000

P 2800

Lean Season: July – December
Peak Season: January – June

Best time to visit El Nido is around November to February. Most likely it will be a good weather and less crowded.

Things to do

Your trip won’t be completed if you haven’t gone to any of the five tours available. Because the next thing you’ll do after breakfast is to put your swimsuits on and explore Bacuit Bay’s limestone islands for the whole day.

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You may book your island hopping tours at Sealand Venture, the tour provider of Ocean Vista Inn owned by Mr. Philip Morales, who hosted our El Nido tours and accommodation.



Tour A

P 1200

Seven Commando, Big Lagoon, Shimizu, Secret Lagoon, Small Lagoon

Tour B

P 1300

Snake Island, Pinagbuyutan Island, Pangulasian Island, Cudognon Cave, Cathedral Cave

Tour C

P 1400

Helicopter Island, Hidden Beach, Star Beach, Secret Beach, Matinloc Shrine

Tour D

P 1200

Cadlao Lagoon, Paradise Beach, Pasadigan Beach, Bukal Beach, Nat-Nat Beach

Combination Tour

P 2500

Any Combination

Tour E (In Land)

P 800 – 1200

Twin Beach (Nacpan and Calintang Beach), Nacpan Waterfalls, Las Cabanas

Take a peek of the beautiful sceneries that await you.

READ: AdVIENtures in El Nido 2016 | Palawan

Every tour is inclusive of lunch usually with rice, grilled fish and pork, mussels, crab, eggplant salad and fruits for dessert.

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Lunch’s served at the third stop but they’ll start cooking at the first stop

Things to Bring

  • Waterproof Bag / Dry Bag – Secure your gadgets from getting soaked and expect to get wet as well as splattered with salt water as you sail to every island.
  • Aqua Shoes – While protecting your feet from sea urchins, you could also use them when crossing rivers as you hike to the falls.
  • Sunblock or Sunscreen – Coat yourself with sunscreen to protect your skin from UV rays and to avoid sun burns.
  • Cash – There are ATMs in El Nido but it’s much better to stock cash, in case they’re offline.
  • Action or Underwater Cam – Document your encounter with sea creatures and capture the beauty of the underwater environment.
  • Snorkeling gears – You could rent if you don’t have one for P 150/day and see the world where Nemo and Dory live.
  • Power bank – Save yourself from dead battery in case there’s a power outage, during the 6 hour ride or when run out of juice while snapping photos.

Where to Eat

I’m not particularly good at recommending food and restaurants as long as they serve pasta and pizza then I’m all good. So if you also like Italian dishes then these two restaurants are for your taste buds. Price ranges around P 150 – 350 per dish.

  • Trattoria Altrov’é 
  • Art Cafe

But if you’re craving for sea food, walk along the beach front where restaurants are lined up. Price ranges around P 200+, depends on the kind of dish you want with it.

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Sample Itinerary

Day 1 Going to El Nido
5:00 Check in Manila
7:15 ETA in Puerto Princesa
8:30 ETD to El Nido
14:30 ETA in El Nido (Check in hotel)
23:00 Sleep
Tour Day

If you have limited time, these are the tours I would recommend:

4D / 3N – Tour A and C
5D / 4N – Tour A, C and B or E
6D / 5N – Tour A, C, B and E
7D / 6N – Tour A, B, C, D and E

Or you may combine 2 tours for 1 day.

7:30 Wake Up
9:00 Start of Tours
16:00 End of Tours
22:00 Sleep
Last Day Going home
9:00 Prepare for Check out
10:00 ETD to El Nido
16:00 ETA in Puerto Princesa
19:45 ETD to Manila

Sample Budget

To enjoy El Nido to the fullest, you need to save more or less than P 8,000+ each for a 3-days and 2-nights accommodation with tour A for example. It could be lower than that if you score a seat sale and you’re a good haggler.

Group of 4 for 3D/2N

Airfare P 1,600+
Transportation P 1,300+
Accommodation P  1950+
Food P 1,000+
Tours and Rentals P 1,500+
Souvenirs P 500+

I hope this travel guide helps you plan your trip and to those who have been to El Nido, please share your tips and experiences below.  I’ll be sharing my experience and adventures as well in a few days.

Have fun and enjoy!

Ocean Vista and Sealand Venture

Website: OceanVistaInn.com / SealandVentureElNido.com

Facebook: Ocean Vista Inn

Contact No.: 0917-561-6080 / 0999-992-1214 / 0977-805-9993

Follow El Nido Tourism for updates about the tours allowed.

Disclosure: Our stay and tours were courtesy of Ocean Vista Inn and Sealand Venture. All opinions are objective and independent.