El Nido Beaches
Famed for its crystal clear waters and towering karst cliffs, El Nido in Palawan is a true beach bummers' paradise. We hope you’ve packed plenty of swim wear because if you're anything like us, you'll be spending 90% of your time out in the water.
Island hopping is most definitely the most popular activity here with tours A, B, C, D topping each visitor’s must-do list. We were only there for less than a week so we had to decide carefully and ultimately went with A. However, each of the tours has its own pros and cons and it really depends on your preferences which one to choose. Do you prefer snorkelling? Do you like secret beaches and caves? Or do you mostly love just lazing around and soaking up the sun and the sea? Whatever you go for, each of the tours is tailored to give each tourist the time of their lives.
Tour A will bring you to the postcard perfect small and big lagoons, the secret lagoon (which will have you crawling on all four to squeeze through a small opening, believe us, it's worth it! ), Shimizu Island, and 7 Commando Beach. This tour costs 1,200PHP/pax and includes lunch, mask and snorkel, as well as a bottle of water.
Tour B is all about caves, coves, and a sandbar. For 1,300PHP with the same things included, your boat will take you to stunning places like the Snake Island famous for its S-shaped sandbar, Pinagbuyutan Island, Entalula Island, Cudugnon Cave and Cathedral Cave.
Tour C is probably the most popular tour and is highly recommended by most locals. Rate is 1,400PHP and includes one of the most photographed destination in El Nido, Matinloc Shrine along with Helicopter Island, Hidden Beach, Secret and Star beaches.
Tour D is most often overlooked especially by those who has a limited time in El Nido but we say it's perfect for those who wants to take things slowly amidst turquoise coloured waters and gorgeous white sand. Priced at 1,200PHP, this tour will take you to Bukal Beach, Nat-Nat Beach, Ipil Beach, Cadlao Lagoon, and Paradise Beach.
All of these tours normally last about 7 hours from 9am to 4pm but is exclusive of PHP200 per person El Nido Eco Tourism Fee. For lunch you’ll have mostly seafood items like squid, fish, shrimps, and crabs with grilled pork or chicken, fruits and vegetables. If you're allergic to seafood, better tell your travel agency in advance. Also, these tours are strictly regulated so prices are the same no matter which operator you go with. Of course, you can always arrange for a private tour.
If you're done with all the island hopping business, there's plenty more to see. We urge you to visit the Twin Beaches: Nacpan and Calitang. It's part of tour E but we decided it's cheaper to explore the area on our own. You can hire a tricycle for about 700PHP to 1,000PHP depending on your negotiation skill and it fits at most 3 people. Located about an hour from the town, we were amazed by how peaceful and deserted the four-kilometre stretch of white beach is. Do not miss climbing the viewpoint and get your own version of the SNS famous photo of the twin beaches.
Nagkalit-Kalit Falls and Makinit Hot Spring
Nagkalit-Kalit falls and Makinit Hot Spring are both part of El Nido's inland tour. You can also DIY here if you're going to Nacpan beach. Please know that there is about 45 minute hike to the falls and you will need to pay a guide for 400PHP. Makinit Spring, not to be confused with Maquinit Spring in Coron, is too hot for a dip but it's worth seeing if you're in the area.
Other water-related activities
Other than snorkelling, kayaking, and swimming, El Nido also offers other water-based activities for the more adventurous souls. There's surfing at Duli Beach, paddle boarding is also currently gaining traction, and sailing in Bacuit Bay (check with Palawan Sailing).