El Nido Palawan: Your Ultimate Guide to Visiting One of the World’s Best Islands

A girl in el nido palawan

Setting your feet in El Nido Palawan is much like walking straight into a postcard with pristine blue waters, divine beaches, and rich marine life that are so beautiful they earned the title of one of the best islands in the world, not just once.

In this blog, we will take you to El Nido for you to witness its beauty. Trust us, after reading this blog, you’d be wanting to visit this paradise over and over again. 

Must-read: 8 Reasons Why Palawan Should Be On Your Post-Quarantine Travel Bucket List

What’s inside this blog?

Best Time to Visit El Nido Palawan

Just like traveling to other beach destinations in the Philippines or in any part of the world, your whole trip would be more fun if it’s sunny. This is because most of the activities you will be doing are outdoors like the El Nido Palawan snorkeling and El Nido island hopping.

Dry Season | December to May
So, the best time to visit the El Nido Palawan beach is during the dry and summer season starting from December to May. However, the summer season can get pretty crowded as it’s the time when most Filipinos travel because of the end of the school season.

Suggested article: 20 Instagrammable Palawan Attractions: Best Spots to Take Photos


How to Get There

There are several ways to travel from Manila to El Nido Palawan but unfortunately, direct flights are very limited. 

Manila to El Nido Palawan by direct flights
As of writing, there is only one airline that offers direct flights from Manila to El Nido and it’s AirSWIFT. Their planes are smaller than usual but bring you faster to the island. However, it’s a bit more expensive than other airlines.

From Puerto Princesa 
Book a flight going to Puerto Princesa. Upon arrival, you can either ride a van or bus going to El Nido. This option is cheaper but takes a longer travel time. If you ride the van, it will take about 5-6 hours from Puerto Princesa to El Nido Palawan beach, while 6-7 hours if by bus.

From Coron
If you’re coming from Coron, you’d have to take a fast craft. The travel time is 4 hours by boat. 

From San Vicente
Book a flight from Manila bound for San Vicente. From there, you can rent a van that will take you to El Nido. 

Top El Nido Palawan Tourist Spots

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1. Big Lagoon and Small Lagoon

Big Lagoon el nido palawan (1)

The Big and Small Lagoons are two of the most popular and must-visit attractions in El Nido. Both lagoons are surrounded by limestone cliffs and boast waters so clear that you can even see some fish and corals. To fully enjoy these places, rent a kayak and paddle along the surface. Kayaking in El Nido Palawan is the most popular activity, especially when visiting lagoons and beaches.

2. Secret Lagoon 

Secret Lagoon el nido palawan

Secret Lagoon is literally one of Miniloc Island’s best-kept secrets as it is hidden by massive karst cliffs. To get there, you’ll crawl through a small hole to get through and once you’re inside, you’ll discover the stunning Secret Lagoon’s cool, blue waters. 

3. Hidden Beach

hidden beach palawan

Contrary to its name, Hidden Beach is not so hidden anymore. Especially after Conde Nast Traveler recognized Hidden Beach as one of the world’s best beaches in 2020. This gem hides behind tall natural stone walls, with only a tiny break from which to enter and exit. 

4. Shimizu Island

Shimizu Island el nido palawan

Shimizu Island is one of the best snorkeling spots in El Nido. It is named after a late Japanese scuba diver who’s believed to have died in an underwater tunnel on this island. Through its crystal-clear waters, you can see an abundant reef inhabited by some of the world’s stunning corals and various fishes.

5. Seven Commandos Beach

Seven Commandos Beach el nido palawan

7 Commandos Beach features a long stretch of fine white sand that makes an absolute paradise for beach lovers who not only want to take a dip or snorkel, but also want to take a rest, sunbathe, and play along the shore.

6. Nacpan Beach

Nacpan Beach el nido palawan

Nacpan Beach is one of the most popular and most beautiful beaches in the Philippines. While it does not have white sand like Boracay, Nacpan Beach offers an equally amazing island experience. It features a 4-kilometer stretch of cream-colored sand, hundreds of swaying coconut trees, a fishing village, clear aqua water with small surfable waves. What’s lovable about Nacpan Beach is that it doesn’t get too crowded to the point that you can have the beach all to yourself if you’re lucky.

Must-read: Nacpan Beach: A Guide to Visiting El Nido’s Most Beautiful Beach

7. Marimegmeg Beach

Marimegmeg Beach el nido palawan

Marimegmeg Beach is a Palawan hidden gem that will definitely take your breath away. Compared to Nacpan that has a bit of a rip current making swimming quite challenging, Marimegmeg beach has calmer waters.

8. Snake Island

Snake Island el nido palawan

Photo credits to denAsuncioner via Flickr

Nope, there are no snakes at Snake Island, okay? It was named such because of its shape. Snake Island is one of the most beautiful spots you’d see when you go for an El Nido island hopping. When it’s low tide, a long sandbar appears that allows you to go from one island to another. Plus, the water and views here are magnificent!

9. Pinagbuyutan Island

Pinagbuyutan Island el nido palawan

Pinagbuyutan Island features huge towering cliffs and a stunning beach that will make you want to stay there all day. Everywhere you look is aesthetically pleasing and feed-worthy!

10. Secret Beach

If you’re feeling adventurous, consider visiting the Secret Beach. Now this one is really true to its name because it is concealed by the cliffs. For you to see the Secret Beach, you have to swim through a crevice. So when you visit this, be extra careful and bring an underwater camera.

Related article: The Paradise on Earth: Glorious Palawan Tourist Spot That Will Make You Fall In-Love With Nature


Must-Try Activities in El Nido Palawan

This part of Palawan is more than just the El Nido island hopping. With its so many stunning attractions, you will never run out of things to do. Here are the must-try activities in El Nido.

  • Island-hopping
  • Snorkeling
  • Food tripping
  • Kayaking
  • Sunbathing
  • Watching the sunset
  • Scuba diving

El Nido Tour Packages

Like in Coron, travel agencies offer El Nido tour packages using the alphabet letters to differentiate the kind of activities you’d be in for. Here are the most popular El Nido tour packages you must avail.

El Nido Tour A
This island-hopping El Nido Palawan package tour A is probably the most popular among the four. Tour A will bring you to several destinations where paradise dreams are made of. The destinations included in El Nido Tour A are:

  1. Big Lagoon 
  2. Secret Lagoon 
  3. Shimizu Island
  4. Seven Commandos Beach

El Nido Tour B
The next El Nido Palawan package tour is the Tour B where it takes you to beautiful islands and secluded caves. The destinations included in El Nido Tour B are:

  1. Snake Island
  2. Pinagbuyutan Island
  3. Cudugnon Cave
  4. Entalula Island
  5. Cathedral Cave
  6. Popolkan Island

El Nido Tour C
In need of a dose of a whole day lounging at a magnificent El Nido beach? Tour C is an island-hopping tour that will take you to stunning beaches including the one that Condé Nast Traveler (CNT) recognized as one of the 30 Best Beaches in the World.

  1. Secret Beach
  2. Hidden Beach
  3. Helicopter Island (Dilumacad Island)
  4. Matinloc Shrine
  5. Tapiutan Island/Star Beach

El Nido Tour D
If you’re not staying at El Nido Resorts Miniloc Island, Tour D will let you explore Miniloc’s scenic spots that will take your breath away. The destinations included in Tour D are:

  1. Small Lagoon
  2. Pasandigan Beach
  3. Paradise Beach
  4. Ubugon Cave
  5. Nat Nat Beach and Bukal Island

Best El Nido Palawan Hotels

Whether you’re looking for a budget El Nido beach hotel or planning to splurge at the El Nido resorts miniloc island, we’ve rounded up a list of the best El Nido resorts that suit your taste and budget.

Budget Accommodations

  • Spin Designer Hostel 
  • Outpost Beach Hostel
  • Mad Monkey Hostel Nacpan Beach 
  • Cabanas de Nacpan Camping Resort

Mid-range Accommodations

  • El Nido Garden Resort
  • El Nido Bayview Hotel
  • The Nest El Nido 
  • Nacpan Beach Glamping

Luxury Accommodations 

  • El Nido Resorts 
  • Cauayan Island Resort
  • Matinloc Resort
  • Last Frontier Beach Resort

Sample Itinerary in Palawan El Nido

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Even if El Nido is just a small island, three days won’t be enough because the moment you set your foot on its ground, you’d immediately want to extend your vacation at this paradise. But here we’ve created a sample 4-day El Nido Palawan itinerary that you can use as your guide.

Day 1: PUERTO PRINCESA TO EL NIDO
07:00 AM – ETA at Puerto Princesa Airport
07:30 AM – Van transfer to El Nido 
11:00 AM – Lunch stopover
12:30 PM –  ETA at El Nido terminal 
12:45 PM – Tricycle to El Nido Hotel
02:00 PM – Check-in
04:00 PM – Pay environmental fee at the tourism office
04:30 PM – Walk around town
05:30 PM – Sunset at the beach 
06:30 PM – Dinner
09:00 PM – Back to El Nido Hotel/Resort

Day 2: TOUR A
06:00 am – Wake up call
07:00 am – Breakfast
09:00 am – Start of TOUR A
05:00 pm – Back to hotel to rest
06:00 pm – Dinner
08:00 pm – Back to hotel

Day 3: TOUR C
06:00 am – Wake up call
07:00 am – Breakfast
09:00 am – Start of TOUR C
05:00 pm – Back to hotel to rest
06:00 pm – Dinner and Drinks
09:00 pm – Back to hotel

Day 4: BACK TO MANILA
08:00 am – Check out
09:30 am – Walk around town for pasalubong
01:00 am – Lunch
02:00 pm – Trike to Bus Terminal
03:00 pm – Van to Puerto Princesa
08:00 pm – ETA at the airport
10:00 pm – Depart for Manila

If you follow this itinerary, prepare at least PHP 10,000 – PHP 15,000 per person including the airfare.


El Nido Palawan Tourism Guidelines 2021 | Covid-19 Updates & Requirements

El Nido is currently open to Palawan-based tourists and domestic tourists coming from outside Palawan. 

Tourists coming from outside Palawan need to provide:

  1. Negative RT-PCR test taken within 72 hours prior to arrival
  2. Government-issued ID
  3. Confirmed roundtrip flight booking
  4. Confirmed booking at any accredited El Nido Palawan Hotels and El Nido Palawan Resorts
  5. Confirmed tour with DOT-accredited tour operators
  6. Tourist QR Code (QT-ID) 

To apply for a QT-ID, visit https://elnidotourism.ph/ 

You must also register with s-pass.ph.

For more information and latest updates, visit the Municipal Government of El Nido’s Facebook page.


Frequently Asked Questions About Palawan El Nido

Q: What are the best El Nido resorts and hotels?
A: Here’s a list of the budget El Nido beach hotel and luxury El Nido resorts miniloc island, and more!

Budget Accommodations

  • Spin Designer Hostel 
  • Outpost Beach Hostel
  • Mad Monkey Hostel Nacpan Beach 
  • Cabanas de Nacpan Camping Resort

Mid-range Accommodations

  • El Nido Garden Resort
  • El Nido Bayview Hotel
  • The Nest El Nido 
  • Nacpan Beach Glamping

Luxury Accommodations 

  • El Nido Resorts 
  • Cauayan Island Resort
  • Matinloc Resort
  • Last Frontier Beach Resort

Q: What are the things to do in El Nido?
A: Here’s a list of the best activities in El Nido, Palawan:

  • Island-hopping
  • Snorkeling
  • Food tripping
  • Kayaking
  • Sunbathing
  • Watching the sunset
  • Scuba diving

Q: Is 3 days enough to explore El Nido?
A: Yes and no. If you only have a limited time in El Nido, you can just ask your guide to curate a special tour package for you catering to all your needs. Honestly, El Nido is a big island and there are so many beautiful tourist attractions hard to miss so maybe 4 days will cover you.

Q: Is it expensive to travel to El Nido?
A: Not really as there are a lot of budget hotels you can book. Plus the food and tours are affordable too.

Q: What are the best El Nido tourist spots?
A: Whether you want to explore El Nido Beach or a lagoon El Nido Palawan, there’s something for every type of traveler. See below for the full list of tourist spots. 

  1. Big Lagoon 
  2. Small Lagoon
  3. Secret Lagoon 
  4. Hidden Beach
  5. Shimizu Island
  6. Seven Commandos Beach
  7. Snake Island
  8. Pinagbuyutan Island
  9. Cudugnon Cave
  10. Entalula Island
  11. Cathedral Cave
  12. Popolkan Island
  13. Secret Beach
  14. Helicopter Island (Dilumacad Island)
  15. Tapiutan Island/Star Beach
  16. Pasandigan Beach
  17. Paradise Beach
  18. Ubugon Cave
  19. Nat Nat Beach and Bukal Island
  20. El Nido Resorts Pangulasian Island

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