El Nido is not so much a secret as it was in the past. It seems everyone knows about it if they know of The Philippines, and for good reason. This small town is home to the best island hopping in Palawan, and I would argue it is among the best, if not the best, in all of the Philippines. If you’re in search of waterfalls, secret beaches, lagoons, and deserted islands, El Nido is the place to be.
Tell me this doesn’t scream paradise.
There are four total island tours offered to the public (5 if you know who to talk to, more on that later!)They all range right around 1300P, and you can sign up for them the day before, no need to in advance. The prices are ambiguous throughout the town, so just find a place you get a good vibe from and go with it. Most tours will start around 9am and return around 3 or 4pm. The two most recommended are Tour A and Tour C. Tours included lunch as well as snorkel and mask (Ask about borrowing fins too!)
Lunch is served!
After a couple island tours we decided to do an inland tour and go see Nagkalit-kalit Falls and Nacpan Beach (also called Twin Beach). The falls are great during rainy season, but a waste of time in the off season. Talking to our guide on this trip I learned of the Outer Island Tour. I asked him which tour was his favorite, and he replied, “My favorite tour is not on your list.” Naturally, I pressed the topic and he explained that this tour includes his favorites of all the tours, and also a couple extra stops that are only accessible by fast boat, this includes the Island where they shot Survivor season 25. This fast boat tour is a little more expensive (we paid 1800P). We were told during this trip you are able to see baby black tip sharks, sea turtles, squid, monkeys, eagle rays, and monitor lizards. We didn’t regret extending our trip for this tour. It was the best snorkeling of the whole trip. Turtles, squid, and monkeys were spotted, and the captain said he saw a baby shark jet off. If you’re interested in this the person to talk to is Blow. He can be found at La Salanquane, by the Art Cafe. He’s a great guy and tour operator. If you go through there tell him Nick and Sarah say hi.
The two main beaches are Los Cabanos (cheap ride via tuk tuk). It has a couple shops to rent gear, buy food, and stay the night. Very beautiful. Nacpan beach, however, is in a league of it’s own. If you want the beauty of Boracay, and the solitude of your back yard, Nacpan beach is your beach. By coming to this website you’ve already seen it (My banner at the top!) It’s got some of the best chicken around too! This beach is about an hour out of town. You will have to rent a tuk tuk for the day (about $20 USD) and negotiate the times you need him for. You can stop at the falls on the way too!
Things To Note
- You will be in and out of the water a lot. While sandals will work, water shoes would be better.
- In stride with the above, waterproof sunscreen is a must. I was only able to find some at the pharmacy.
- If bringing electronics, make sure you have a waterproof bag of sorts. I improvised with a plastic bag, but if your tour is full and there are 12 people off and on the boat all day things will get wet.
- Be careful! If things look dangerous, they might be! I should know, I almost died trying to get to secret beach. (post to come later)
I hope this covered any questions you have about island hopping in El Nido. If not, leave a comment and I’ll get you an answer. More pictures of this beautiful place in the photo gallery! As always, rating and sharing is much appreciated!