If there will be a place that I would like to go back to, it will be El Nido Palawan. I’ve shown you some of my travels and adventures for 2016, which includes Hongkong, Boracay, Zambales, Bicol, Coron, etc…but, I never posted the first adventure I’ve made in January of 2016 which triggered my wanderlust and passion for travel and photography.
It’s also the reason behind my solo travel in Coron, Palawan which is the other side of El Nido. It made me very curious how these two beautiful places in Palawan are different and unique from each other.
Now, it’s about time to share how El Nido made me fall in love with it, and why I still want to return this year to this beautiful paradise?
On the 13th of January 2016, my friend and I arrived at Puerto Princesa International Airport early in the morning. It was suggested by our tour operator to book an earlier flight, as the travel time from Puerto Princesa to El Nido will take 5-6 hours. The van driver picked us at the airport and we proceed with the itinerary. Day 1 was actually spent for our flight and van transfer, and check in to the hotel. We had free time to relax, eat, and roam around the city proper at night.
We chose Spin Hostel because of the good ambiance, clean rooms and they have a cool hangout place for everyone. They have good reviews and they have friendly staffs. It’s a great hostel for everyone and I will definitely recommend it.
Day 2: After our breakfast at the hotel, we were picked up for the El Nido Island Hopping Tour A. We left at exactly 8:00 AM and went to the port of the town where the boats are located.
We visited the Small Lagoon, Big Lagoon, Secret Lagoon, and Seven Commando.
Tour A is the tour everyone should get as it will show you the highlights and the most beautiful lagoons you’ve never seen before. It will let you swim from a small to large nature pools with blue-green, clear water, surrounded by dark and sharp limestones. My friend enjoyed cliff jumping as there are few spots to do that. You won’t see fishes and corals from the small and big lagoons, only giant sea urchins which you have to take extra careful. I was having so much fun and jump to the water while my friend is kayaking. I was on the edge of the kayak and didn’t notice that my foot hit a sea urchin. It was bleeding already and I got scared but thankful our guide assisted me. Just be careful when swimming in the big lagoon.
We enjoyed the island hopping as it showcased the beautiful and colorful sea creatures, fishes, and coral reefs. Swimming and snorkeling will be unforgettable and any person would want to come back and stay longer just to see these wonderful islands. These are the reasons why El Nido is included in “Most Beautiful Beaches in the World. Pictures are beautiful yet it won’t give justice to its beauty especially when you experience it up close.
We had our lunch at Simizu Island which is actually the lunch area for Tour A. Simizu is a small island surrounded by mountains, crystal clear water and rock formations. We had a great seafood, rice, fruits, vegetables and grilled meat prepared by our guides. They are very friendly, helpful and very accommodating.
Note: Boat Fee; Tour Guide; Picnic Lunch; Life Vests; Boat or Staff Assistance during Tour are all included from the package tour we get.
On our Day 3, we had our Island Hopping Tour C. We visited the Hidden Beach, Matinloc Shrine, Star Beach, Secret Beach, and Helicopter Island.
Matinloc Island has so much to offer, and it has The Secret Beach which is our favorite from this tour, and we enjoyed it so much. Matinloc has Kalmung Point and Kulasa Beach which are great snorkeling areas. We also visited the Matinloc Shrine known as Shrine of Our Lady of Matinloc and Shrine of the Blessed Virgin which is a sacred monument built in 1982 to honor the blessed virgin Mary.
We had our sumptuous lunch at the Star beach. This beach has beautiful coral reefs and colorful fishes which made this unforgettable for me. While our tour guides are busy preparing our food, we are having so much fun snorkeling and exploring this fantastic snorkeling area.
Our Day 4 was actually a free time, but instead of spending it for town tour, we hired a tour guide who accompany us to some places not part of the tour packages. It will be good to talk and ask the locals for some off the beaten path spots, and we never regret our decisions. We wake up at 6 am and started climbing the Taraw Peak which is the highest point in El Nido. One should not try climbing alone as the limestones are sharp and steep and it’s a bit dangerous. There are things to consider before you climb, like proper clothes, water, shoes and local tour guides to guide you with the trail. I got so many bruises, but I enjoyed this climb. I’m so proud of myself to conquer my fear of heights by seeing the stunning summit of Taraw Peak.
Our guide took us to another spot which is Nacpan Beach. I can’t remember how long it took us to get there. We only paid the entrance when we arrived. There are cottages and restaurants that are available in this area. We treated our tour guide and our driver for lunch and some beers. We enjoyed the fruit shakes and of course the vegetables and seafood for lunch.
Nacpan beach is famous for its white powdery sands, clean and pure water, friendly and hospitable people. It has great waves that are excellent for surfing and volleyball courts. It has long shorelines and probably one of the best beaches I’ve seen in El Nido. We stayed until 3 o’clock in Nacpan, then we headed to our next destination which is Las Cabanas Beach.
If you want to relax on the beach, looking for bars and restaurants, and planning to ride a zip line to enjoy the view of El Nido, then, you must visit Las Cabanas Beach. It’s accessible via tricycle and drivers can take you there, and I also saw some tourists who are actually patient to walk from the town to this area.What I love on this beach is the good vibe for relaxation, you can just lay on the sand, do sunbathing, drink and party with your friends, cuddle with your hubby and enjoy watching the stunning sunset.
After we’re done with our activities, we rest a bit, freshen up and headed to the town to eat and dine at seafood restaurants. There are plenty of restaurants to choose from and you can pick the seafood and the kind of dish you’d like for them to prepare for you. Dinner at the beach with candlelight, great food, and good music are perfect. Also, we enjoyed the night by visiting the famous reggae bar with drinks, dance floor, and perfect reggae bands. The bands are all great and they even sounded like Bob Marley. It’s a must visit place for people who loves fun, music, and party.
For our Day 5, we had our breakfast to El Nido Boutique & Art Cafe. We actually ate there for a couple of times as they have great food, cocktail drinks, comfortable and relaxing ambiance. You can sign up for island hopping tours and van transfer there. After breakfast, we checked our emails only to find out that our flight was rescheduled the next morning. Our trip was supposed to be 5 days and 4 nights, however, due to some changes, we have to change our plans. We talked to our tour agency and thank God that they still accommodate our van transfer the next day, and we find another affordable hotel just to stay for one night.
What we did for that day is town tour, food tripping and we got massage for our tired and exhausted bodies. We rest in the afternoon, and we went to Las Cabanas Beach just to chill and unwind. My friend went for a night dive while I had my cocktail drinks at El Nido Boutique & Art Cafe while waiting for him.
We had a fabulous and amazing time in El Nido and spending 6 days and 5 nights seems short as we no longer want to go back to Manila after witnessing the paradise in Palawan.
I will be sharing our itinerary, guides, travel agency, hotel accommodation and more of El Nido in the coming weeks, so stay tuned.
If you have questions, tips, or want to share your experience in El Nido, please let me know in the comments. I would love to hear from you.