El Nido is a Philippine municipality on Palawan island. It’s known for white-sand beaches, coral reefs and as the gateway to the Bacuit archipelago, a group of islands with steep karst cliffs. Miniloc Island is famed for the clear waters of its Small and Big lagoons. There are a lot of instagrammable places in El Nido.
With a total of 1780 islands and islets, Palawan is indeed one of the Philippines’ natural gems; and for us, El Nido is the best place in Palawan. There are many things to do in El Nido which you will surely enjoy. The most famous one is of course, El Nido island hopping.
Read here where to sleep in El Nido!
How to get to El Nido?
If you are coming from abroad, you probably will land in Manila first. Once you are in Manila, you can have a direct flight to El Nido and that will take 1 hour and 15 minutes. There is only a limited number of direct flights to El Nido so make sure to plan your route first before going.
Alternatively, you can also take a plane going to Coron or Puerto Princesa from Manila.
If you are a local of a nearby province of Manila, it is advisable that you take the flight from your local airport or go to Manila first and take the flight to El Nido or to Puerto Princesa like we did on one of our trips to Palawan.
Make sure to click here to get the best flight deals! There are affordable prices from Manila to Puerto Princesa.
Click here to read our blog post on places to visit near Manila.
El Nido Tours
If you want to explore more of El Nido, they offer a set of tours that will take you to different set of beaches and lagoons. Included in these packaged tours are lunch buffet, drinking water, and sometimes snorkeling gears that you can use if you want to snorkel.
The usual courses of every tours are:
TOUR A – Big Lagoon, Small Lagoon, Simizu Island, Secret Lagoon and 7 Commandos Beach. This is the most popular package that the tourists are availing. Price is of only 1200 Pesos.
TOUR B – Entalula Island, Pinagbuyutan Island, Snake Island, Cudugnon Cave and Cathedral Cave. Price of this tour is 1300 Pesos.
TOUR C – Hidden Beach, Helicopter Island, Secret Beach, Matinloc Shrine and Star Beach. The price for this our is 1400 Pesos.
TOUR D – Bukal Island, Ipil Beach, Nat-Nat Beach, Cadlao Lagoon and Paradise Beach. This is the least popular tour as it is just near the town proper. The price for this tour is only 1200 Pesos.
Read here our top 10 Things to do in El Nido!
Instagrammable places in El Nido
1. Big Lagoon
Lake in Big Lagoon State Park offering fishing, crabbing, boating, swimming, birding & more. It is usually offered as an art of an island hopping experience o the tourists. If you visit as a first part of the tour you will not find so many people. As alternative we proposed to take a private tour between few people and you can visit places like Big Lagoon less crowded than with the island hopping tours. We recommend you to rent a Kayak if the boat that you are hiring isn’t going inside the Big Lagoon to have more time to explore.
2. Small Lagoon
Quaint green-water lagoon surrounded by towering cliffs & lush forests It is best explored with kayak from the big boats that tour around. As we mentioned above with the Big Lagoon, the Small Lagoon is always crowded so better if you go first thing in the morning or in a private tour. It’s not very big and you can go inside swimming with your snorkeling gear.
3. Nacpan Beach
Nacpan is a really long beach in El Nido with clear blue waters you’ll surely love! We enjoyed swimming and snorkeling here as the water is crystal clear and very clean. It may not be included in the tours but you can reach it by private boats. Travelers also love to play beach volleyball and soccer in this beautiful beach. There is an entrance fee to go to Nacpan Beach, around 30 pesos! There are always people but not so crowded as people prefer the Island hopping in El Nido.
4. Sunset in Las Cabanas
If you will spend much time in El Nido, don’t forget to spend some of it in Las Cabanas Beach! Here the views are just so breathtaking! You will also love how beautiful the sunset is in Las Cabanas. There are bars and it´s perfect for enjoying a beer. We loved it so much! Take a dip in its clear waters, too!
5. Snake Island
Snake Island is very popular for having a long sand bar. This island is included in the TOUR B. Locals have another name for it, Vigan Island, but tourists usually call it by its hissy nickname. The sandpit is made of fine white sand and connects the island to mainland Palawan. You can walk along the sand bar and take a 360 degrees video or photo. It’s a magical place!
More Instagrammable Places in El Nido
6. Cadlao Lagoon
Among the islands in El Nido, Cadlao Island has the highest peak at 609 meters above sea level. It is also the largest island in El Nido with a land area of 1,006 hectares. Touring Cadlao island is a part of Tour D, which is the least popular tours since Cadlao is just near to the town proper. Some adventurers just use kayaks to reach the island if the weather permits them to. You can swim and snorkel in this part of El Nido. Good thing Cadlao Lagoon isn’t a very crowded place to take pictures.
7. Pinagbuyutan Island
Pinagbuyutan’s beach may not be as nice as the other beaches around El Nido, but visitors come here to see what is under the surface. Just along the shore of Pinagbuyutan beach, you can see the coral gardens with hues of yellow, blue, and green, as well as the ones that is shaped like trees, brains and others. You’ll surely enjoy see the colorful corals beneath the surface of the water. It’s one of our favorite instagrammable places in El Nido!
8. Zip lining in El Nido
One activity that will bring out the adrenaline rush in you is zip lining! There are a few resorts that offers zip lining services in El Nido. You’ll feel like you are island hopping in the air with the view that you’ll see while you are in the zip line. We tried this activity this when we were in Las Cabañas, before we go swimming in Las Cabanas Beach. Perfect to do at sunset time as the view is more stunning. You will find it as an instagrammable places in El Nido view in the air.
9. Star Beach
Star beach is a small, secluded white-sand beach offering clear waters & snorkeling & swimming opportunities. Going to this beach is a part of TOUR C out of the four tours available to explore El Nido. You will spend time here since it’s usually choosen for lunch time while doing the tour!
10. Bukal Beach
Bukal Beach of Bukal Island is part of El Nido’s Tour D, but it is surely a place you’ll also love. It may be small in compare to the other beaches in El Nido, but its beautiful beach escape can make up for it. The water is very calm, making it perfect for enjoying the water while swimming or chilling at the beach. We had the beach for ourselves!
Looking for accommodations in El Nido?
You can check the accommodations in El Nido online. There are cheap hotels and luxury resorts you can opt to check in to.
You can also book accommodations in El Nido through AirBNB. If you happen to want to book there, we can give you $30 credits to your first booking!
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