El Nido, Philippines – Travel Tips by Bucketlistpicks

Lovely beaches at El Nido
Lovely beaches at El Nido

What type(s) of travellers would your recommendations for El Nido, Philippines suit?

Streets of El Nido
Streets of El Nido

My recommendations for El Nido , Philippines will suit solo travellers, adventure seekers and backpackers on a budget.

How many days would you recommend for one to spend in El Nido, Philippines?

5 days 4 nights.

What are the top tips you have for travellers heading to El Nido, Philippines?

  1. Matinloc Shrine – Boat tour C
View from Matinloc Shrine

Island tours in El Nido are often divided in tour A, B, C or D. If you don’t have much time I’d recommend to at least go for Tour C, as it will take you on a journey to beautiful islands, beaches and snorkeling spots, and to an uncanny place up in the hills: Matinloc Shrine! Note: You might run out of breath climbing up to snap some awesome views but you won’t hike yourself into an asthma attack either! .

2. Island hopping – Boat tour A

Island Hopping (Boat Tour A)
Island Hopping (Boat Tour A)
Secret Black hole in the rocks
Secret Black hole in the rocks

El Nido Tour ‘A’ will lead you to several lagoons and beaches including Secret Lagoon which is a small island in the ocean surrounded by limestone cliffs. You’ll have to walk (read: crawl in an unflattering position whilst holding on tight to your bikini top during high tide) through a small hole to access the #secretlagoon which once was a cave. The first time I’ve visited the place was about 5 years back and it was secret in every meaning of the word: only accessible by foot/swim and very little amount of people. Nowadays the secret is out and you’ll find yourself alongside a few more (huge orange life saving vest wearing-) tourists but still AWESOME so go and tick it off your BUCKETLIST!

  1. All other boat tours
Boat Tours
Boat Tours

There’s no need to book your boattrips way in advance here. Just ask around or organize it at the reception desk of your stay the day before. Everything piano piano! They’ll work their magic and make some calls. You can book a (small) boat for yourselves, or can mingle with others – you’ll be max with 8 in that case.

Please refer here for a short description of the various boat trips:

–> Tour A: Island hopping tour to Small Lagoon, Big Lagoon, Secret
Lagoon and usually also Shimizu island and 7 Commando beach

–> Tour B: Island hopping tour including snorkel stops, Snake island,
Pinagbuyutan island, Entalula beach and Cudugnon cave

–> Tour C: Island hopping tour to Matinloc shrine, Secret beach, Hidden
beach and usually also Helicopter island

–> Tour D: Island hopping tour to Cadlao Lagoon, Paradise beach, Natnat
beach, bukal beach and Pasandigan beach

What are the top food places/must-eats that you would recommend?

  1. Boat tour with lunch included
Boat Tour comes with lunch!
Boat Tour comes with lunch!

Book a boat tour that includes lunch – they will bring a table and chairs and they’ll BBQ fresh fish right on a remote beach. Easily one of the best places I’ve ever sizzled a sausage!

  1. SAVA beach bar
View from SAVA Beach Bar
View from SAVA Beach Bar

Food in the Philippines has a wide range of choices but doesn’t have as much mindblowing local dishes to me like i.e  Thailand. On the other hand, fruits are avaliable everywhere and for US$3 max you’ll get a mango juice/shake or a gin tonic. A beer will cost you about US$1! Choose wisely folks!

3. Jollibee

For the fastfood fans out there they must go and try Jollibee. Very well-known throughout the Philippines and a must try if you’re used to McDonalds, even if just to see how the local fastfood industry tastes. In particular the fried chicken was delicious as it comes with a spicy powder (watch out, really spicy) and the hamburger is an absolutely royal sized
burger compared to your average fastfood chain.

Any recommendations on where to stay in  El Nido, Philippines?

El Nido Greenviews Beach Resort

When is a good time of the year to visit  El Nido, Philippines?

Anywhere from late May to November it can rain but for sure in August you’ll be singing in the rain. Temperature is always agreeable. High season in El Nido runs from December until beginning of April meaning you’ll benefit from booking your stay in advance

How should one get around in El Nido, Philippines?

You can get around on a motorbike/scooter for US$5 per day.

How should one get to Puerto Princesa International Airport to El Nido, Philippines?

Green Van to get you to El Nido from the airport!
Green Van to get you to El Nido from the airport!

The cheapest and easiest way to get to El Nido from Puerto Princesa International Airport is definitely by mini-van (7 hours journey). You can order tickets online in advance as said but make sure to note down the correct departure place as there are different places to depart from. I made the mistake of booking in advance, only to end up at the wrong departure place, and had to buy new tickets and wait for the next minivan. Do try and sit in the front as there is more legroom.

What are the acceptable payment currencies and modes in El Nido, Philippines?

There are no ATMs in El Nido, so do prepare more cash, either in PHP or USD.

Any other tips/things to be aware of in El Nido, Philippines?

El Nido generally have a Christian culture.

Power outages occurs on a frequent basis from 6AM to 2PM, although there have been big efforts towards 24/7 electricity. Prepare for some outages if you’re staying in smaller places – larger hotels have their own generators. In any case, unplug any electrical appliances before going to sleep so it doesn’t get ruined by the on and off movements in the early morning.

Do try street foods in El Nido, as it is cheap yet yummy.

How should one stay connected to the internet in El Nido, Philippines?

Get a local SIM card for easy connection if you plan on staying longer than 1 week. A SIM card providing 4GB worth of data will cost you around 10USD and lasted me 3 full weeks of Instagram uploading, Google maps-ing and the like. You can find SIM card booths at either your airport exit or entrance.

Cost of Trip

Airfare – Singapore to Puerto Princesa around 200SGD

Food – Average 5 USD per meal for budget travellers

Accommodation – Average 30USD per night for budget travellers

Transport Average US$5 per day for motorbikes

Tell us a bit about yourself

Belgian girl chasing sunsets and dreams. Here to help you make a travel bucketlist of a lifetime, including do’s and don’ts. Enjoy!

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