Located on the northern tip of Palawan’s main island, El Nido is considered the highlight of most Philippines vacations. Regarded as paradise, and the last frontier of the Philippines, it is one of those rare places that has maintained its natural beauty.
The secluded islands and lagoons, white beaches, fabulous resorts, and unique atmosphere all make El Nido the perfect destination for romantic vacations. Book your trip through us and we’ll provide the highest-quality services you could find for your budget, while recommending our favorite local resorts.
All packages include airfare, hotels and tours of your choice, and we recommend a stay of at least three nights. Since Coron is very close by, and you’ll most likely be passing through Puerto Princesa on your way to El Nido, why not consider adding these destinations to make a full Palawan tour package.
[diving cat=”elnido”]El Nido is one of the most popular destinations in the Philippines and has so much to offer. That’s why we’ve created a handful of packages that encompass all the essentials of a perfect El Nido vacation. Before you start to assemble single items to create your own custom package, have a look at the pre-made packages featured below. All of these packages can be modified upon request.
You can book any of these packages as standalones if you’re only planning to visit El Nido. If you wish to have a longer vacation, any of our pre-made packages can be joined with other destinations to make a full vacation package in the Philippines. Thanks to El Nido’s new airport, any destination in the Philippines would be suitable, but Coron and Puerto Princesa — the other two famous Palawan destinations — make the most sense. Combining multiple Palawan locations will save you both time and money.
Where to Stay? Our Top Rated Hotels in El Nido For 2023
El Nido town itself isn’t much to look at, but most of the cheap and affordable accommodation is there. Staying in town is also practical, because it’s close to the restaurants and bars, as well as to most attractions.
Rizal Street has many budget resorts and hostels, and there are also a few affordable options along the beach. Staying in this area is also recommended if you’re traveling by yourself or in a small group, and want to meet new people.
If you wish to match your accommodation with the beauty of El Nido, staying in one of the resorts in Bacuit Bay is better. Most of the resorts range from 3 to 4 star hotels, and are a perfect island getaways. Islands like Apulit, Lagen, Pangulasian and Miniloc are considered the best. Prices are high, but it will be an unforgettable vacation memory. This private island resorts offer full board and are hugely popular by those in search of all inclusive packages.
All the resorts in El Nido tend to be fully booked during high season, so booking in advance is strongly advised. Booking in advance is even more important in case you plan to stay in the more high-end hotels. Go through our catalog of El Nido hotels, and choose the accommodation that meets your standards. We will make sure you get the best deals. In case you’re confused and can’t make up your mind on the best hotel for you, contact us for more information and advice.
How to get there?
The fastest, most convenient way to get to El Nido is by plane. There are daily flights from Manila with AirSWIFT, and the travel duration is 1 hour. There is also at least one flight from Cebu City, which leaves daily and takes a bit longer than 1 hour.
All flights land in Lio Airport—the only airport in town. AirSWIFT recently launched an El Nido–Boracay line as well. Another addition was the direct flight from Bohol. Both of these typically run once a day at each direction, but it is better to check with us first as schedule is somewhat erratic and always subject to change.
Direct flights to El Nido are relatively expensive, making it more cost-efficient to fly into Puerto Princesa and then take a van to El Nido. Flying to Puerto Princesa is a lot cheaper since there are several airlines serving this route many times a day. The first van leaves each day at around 7:30 AM, and the last one leaves at 6:00 PM. Departure times are not precise as the van operators set off once their vans are full. Expect a traveling time of 4.5 to 6 hours
In case you prefer a private transit taking you directly to your hotel, we’ll coordinate the hotel pickup for you. Booking your van in advance is also possible, and especially recommended during high season.
3 Nights Ultimate El Nido Tour Package
Tailor made for you by our experts. Package Includes:
- 3 Nights Accommodation
- Daily Breakfast or Full Board
- Roundtrip Domestic Flights
- Private Airport Pickups
- El Nido Private Island Hopping Tour A (Day 2)
- El Nido Private Island Hopping Tour C (Day 3)
- All Fees, Permits and Taxes
Limited time offer : $680 per person
"It was worth every cent. they took care of me from the moment i stepped out from the plane."
-Jeff shulman, usa, toured with us on nov 18-27, 2017
What to do in El Nido?
El Nido offers the best island hopping in the world, pure white-sand beaches, world-class scuba diving, and luxurious beach-front resorts. What else could you want from your holiday? It’s for these reasons that El Nido is cited in various travel magazines as the best island in the world.
Read on for more information about all the activities in El Nido or to book your preferred package. Alternatively, contact one of our travel agents and we’ll assist you in planning your complete El Nido itinerary.
El Nido Island Hopping Tours
Over the years, island hopping has become very organized in El Nido, and is now offered as a choice (or combination) of four trips (A–D). These tours visit the most spectacular sites, but there are more than 50 perfect white-sand beaches in the area, meaning that a lot of them are not included in the usual itineraries.
Recently, a change to regulations has been made and it is no longer possible to visit both the Big and Small Lagoons on the same day. They are both now being regarded as standalone locations, and visitors usually choose to add one of them to the A tour. If you book a private tour through us, you can add either the big or small lagoon to any of the day tours since private tours have a more flexible itinerary.
We can easily book a private tour to take you to the islands and beaches of your choice, including the ones on the regular tours. Rates will be higher, but if your group comprises four or more people, the difference will not be that significant. In case you are staying at one of the luxury resorts on the small islands, booking a private tour is the best option. If you are traveling with children, a private tour is also highly advised because it will give you the flexibility to do things at your own pace.
All island-hopping tours leave at 8:30 AM and are returning at 4:00 PM. They are divided into tours A, B, C, and D, with tours A and C comprising the best attractions El Nido has to offer. Group island-hopping tours prices range between 1200 and 1400Php (US$24–28) per person. Local guide, boat are included, but bring sunscreen as you’ll spend all day under the sun. Environmental fees and/ or Lagoon’s fee costs Php 200/ person.
Island hopping tour A consists of the three lagoons of Miniloc Island, Shimizu Island, and Seven Commandos Beach. Miniloc Island is a small island with a private resort, but it’s most famous for the Big Lagoon, Small Lagoon, and Secret Lagoon. You can swim and snorkel in all of them.
These lagoons are surrounded by tall limestone cliffs covered in greenery, giving the appearance of a natural cathedral. The lagoons are among the best sights you will see while island hopping anywhere in the world. Shimizu Island and Seven Commandos Beach are two amazing tropical islands with white sand beaches, as well as coral reefs close to shore where you can spot fish and turtles.
Island hopping tour B goes to Snake Island Sandbar, which is entirely submerged during high tide. Pinagbuyutan Island is almost entirely made from limestone, and Entalula is also densely vegetated and naturally stunning. On both, you can swim and snorkel, as well as relax under the palm trees. Two other destinations unique to tour B are the Cudugnon Caves — an archaeological site with excavations dating to 1000 AD — and a stop in the middle of the ocean dedicated to snorkeling. This tour is for people who wish to avoid the crowds.
Island hopping tour C is the one most recommended by the locals. It visits some of the most scenic spots in El Nido. The first is Helicopter Island, named for its shape. Afterwards, you’ll sail further west to explore Matinloc Island. There are two exceptional beaches on this island. Hidden Beach, which is hidden in a tunnel between Matinloc and an islet facing its eastern coast, and Secret Beach. The latter inspired Alex Garland’s beach in his novel The Beach. It is basically a sinkhole with a pocket of white sand, the entrance being a small hole at one of its corners. The last stop is usually Star Beach — a nickname obtained because of the abundance of starfish in its shallow waters.
Island hopping tour D is mainly focused on exploring Cadlao Island — the biggest island in Bacuit Bay, and the one overlooking El Nido town. The first stop is on the mainland: Ipil Ipil beach, which is only accessible by boat. Afterwards, you’ll explore Cadlao. It is not only the biggest but one of the best islands in El Nido. You’ll sail in the island’s lagoon and visit four breathtaking beaches: Paradise, Pasandigan, Natnat, and Bukal. This tour is perfect for white-sand beaches, relaxing, and swimming.
Book more than one of the island-hopping tours to fully appreciate the beauty of El Nido. Going on several tours also significantly reduces the price for each one. If it’s hard for you to choose, visit our El Nido island hopping catalog for detailed information of all the tours available.
Scuba diving in El Nido
There are as many as 30 dive sites around El Nido. Most of these are just off the islands of Bacuit Bay—Cadlao area, Entalula Island, Miniloc, Paglugaban, and Matinloc. Among the main attractions are a wall that drops down to 40 meters, lively coral gardens, slopes, and lots of marine life.
This area is sheltered from winds by the tall limestone cliffs, which make the water calm and clear, and perfect for beginners and advanced divers alike. If you’re not certified yet, El Nido is one of the best places to take a course. It’s also a perfect opportunity to improve your diving skills as the clubs here are highly professional, with very advanced instructors and new and maintained gear.
The Miniloc area has the most popular dive sites in El Nido. South Miniloc boasts many coral gardens and schools of fish. This is because the currents between Miniloc and the facing Shimizu Island carry nutrients with them. The highlight of this dive is a big school of big-eye snappers. On the northern side of Miniloc, there is an area great for pelagic species. It faces the middle of Bacuit Bay and many big fish pass by, such as schools of barracuda, jack fish, and spade fish. If you are lucky, you might spot black-tip reef sharks, as well as eagle and manta rays.
The Cadlao area is very interesting too. Its most distinct dive site is an underwater tunnel named Dilumacad. It was discovered in the 90s and is around 40 meters long with a cavern in the middle. Although this spot is only suited to advanced divers, there are sites perfect for beginners right beside it consisting of shallow reefs and plenty of marine life.
Around 45 minutes from El Nido town, you will find the 40-meter-deep wall drop, near Entalula Island. There are two main types of dive here: a vertical drop and a drift dive. There is also a dive site near Paglugaban Island that is great for exploring rock formations and sea slugs (nudibranchs) All of these dives are great for all levels of diver.
For the serious divers, multi-day diving safaris to Coron and Tubbataha Reef leave from El Nido. This is something to take into consideration when diving here, because you’ll get a better price for a combined diving package. Book your ultimate diving package with us and we’ll fix the perfect diving trip for you, including the accommodation of your choice.
Other activities and day tours
Surfing and kiteboarding are possible within driving distance from El Nido town, and lessons with qualified instructors are available. The best surfing locations can be found on the west coast of Palawan, 45 minutes’ drive from town on Duli Beach, while kiteboarding is popular further down the east coast.
Another enjoyable activity is to rent a kayak from your resort and paddle to the nearby secluded beaches. This is great for couples seeking a romantic castaway experience, small groups of friends, and families with children who are old enough. It’s a tiring activity and should only be done when the water is calm and with no currents.
Las Cabanas Beach, located 30 minutes south of El Nido town, has a lovely resort. It’s a very beautiful and quiet beach, but the main attraction here is a 750-meter zip-line. This sets off from the main beach and takes you to Depeldet Island opposite. Afterwards, you can either ride back for an additional fee, swim back in the shallow waters, or walk during low tide. It’s a really fun thing to do, especially for families and groups.
Special El Nido Package Deal
Customized by our experts for your specific requests. packages include:
- Beachfront resort of your choice
- Private or group tours
- All transfers and logistics
- VIP service throughout your trip
Limited time offer : Rates as low as 200 USD a day!
We also recommend you explore the nature around El Nido. There are loads of small hidden beaches where you can have the whole place to yourself. This activity is mainly unguided, with the option of renting a tricycle or bike to get there. Some of the best beaches are Nacpan, the Calitang twin beaches, the 4-km white-sand Duli Beach (1 hour away), and Verde Safari/Dagmay Beach.
If you want to try some mainland attractions, you can go mountain biking or trekking to Makinit hot springs and Nagkalit-Kalit Falls. It takes around 1 hour to drive there, with another hour of hiking. Another option is to hike to Ille Cave on the way to Nacpan Beach, where you can see excavated artifacts, some of which are believed to be 14,000 years old!
Some of these day tours are easily done by yourself, so there’s no need to make reservations in advance. Others are better booked ahead of time through us. Visit our detailed tour catalog to start booking your desired day tours and activities.
How does El Nido fit into your travel plans?
If you’re about to visit the Philippines, you should make El Nido a top priority. Aside from its jaw-dropping beauty, its remote location on Palawan separates it from the country’s other tourist attractions. That being said, other destinations on Palawan can easily be added to your Palawan package, such as Coron and Puerto Princesa.
The minimum number of nights we recommend you spend it El Nido is three, but most visitors choose to stay at least a week. This destination is the perfect getaway for couples, with some of the most romantic settings imaginable. Check out our El Nido honeymoon packages, or contact us to build your custom itinerary now.