Sometimes overlooked as a travel destination the beautiful coastal island El Nido Palawan on Bacuit Bay is definitely a must visit, a true tropical paradise.
My time was limited so I had to cut some travel time. Getting there I flew into Manila and then boarded another flight to Puerto Princesa. I stayed overnight in Puerto Princesa and booked myself onto the early shuttle van to El Nido the next day, shuttle van cost approx. 500-600 Pesos.
The shuttle van is faster than the bus and is approx. 5hrs ride, you get a stopover for lunch in a nice town called Roxas and is an amazing trip to take in the landscapes and familiarise yourself with the locals and like minded travelers.
Checked into my hotel and then the discovery of the island started..
Here are my top things to do.
Island hopping tours – These are great tours that are an all-day boat tour with lunch included. Cost is approx. $25 USD (1,200 Pesos). If you find a good tour company you can always barter if you book more than one tour – (I am a lover of bartering)
The Tours are:
Island Hopping A (Lagoons): Small Lagoon, Big Lagoon, Secret Lagoon, Shimizu Island, and 7 Commando Beach.
Island Hopping B (Caves): Snake Island, Pinagbuyutan Island, Cudugnon Cave, and Cathedral Cave.
Island Hopping C (Beaches): Helicopter Island, Matinloc Shrine, Secret Beach, Hidden Beach
Island Hopping D (Cadlao Islands): Pasandigan Beach, Nat Nat Beach, Bucal Beach and Paradise Beach.
Hike the Taraw Peak – I was told to book this with a tour company as some tourists have slipped and fallen and the route is quite difficult and I am so glad I did, so I do suggest that you don’t do this on your own.
The hike is about 1 ½ hours there and 1 hour back.
Try the morning hike to catch the sunrise overlooking the coastal town it is amazing
Zipline from one Island to the another – a 800 meter zipline that connects El Nido to Depeldet Island. You have a choice of one way or return.
To get to the zipline it is a steep hike but all worth it..
I must admit I do have a fear of heights but this was one challenge that I was going to conquer, the zipline guys did ask me do you want to fly like “Superman” and I was like hmmmm nope I think I will sit hehehe.
Nacpan Beach and Village visits – Nacpan Beach is approx. 45 minutes from the town center.
I hired a tricycle driver for the day to take me off the beaten track areas of El Nido. You can hire motorbikes and take the trip yourself but as I’m not a motorbike driver the best was to barter a day booking which was around $20 USD (1,000 pesos)
I visited El Nido in the wet season and sometimes the roads where a bit muddy and challenging but I was awarded with amazing landscapes, rice fields and even stopping off at villages to take photos.
Nacpan beach was beautiful with its long stretch of sand and to the left you can see Calitang beach. Make sure to take your swimwear and spend your time swimming and just relaxing by the beach.
Snorkeling / Diving – most of the island tours give you the ability to snorkel while out on the islands, you have ample time to get out and explore the beautiful waters. Make sure you either have your own snorkel or you hire before you go out on the boats.
Scuba diving is offered and you can book separately with either beginners or advance diving options. Many of the tour company’s on the island offer this option.
Food glorious food – my favorite eats were:
The Art Café – a must visit when you’re in El Nido. They have a great food and drink menu so make sure you try to get a seat on the Deck so you can take in the amazing view
Skyline Inn – traditional food and a must try is the Nido Soup (birds Nest Soup)
Bars & nightlife – The beach front offers a variety of bars to choose from. My 2 favorite where Pukka Bar and Sava Beach Bar. I loved coming here and just having a few drinks while sitting on the beach front.
The Beach Shack – located on Las Cabanas Beach, great menu selection.
I did make this a day trip and spent the whole day relaxing and swimming. They do accommodate with sun chairs so you can spend the day there.