I’ve heard so much about El Nido, and came across endless amazing photos but I thought, they can’t be that real, right? I’M SO HAPPY I WAS WRONG!! I fell in love with this gorgeous unspoiled paradise on earth.
El Nido is such a beautiful destination, it’s no wonder its popularity has been on the rise for the past 2-3 years. Price hikes and increasing number of boats are evident in this little town. So I say, better go before it gets more expensive or perhaps ‘ruined’ by overcrowding tourists in the future! (Just saying)
Learn about getting here from Singapore.
Note that the El Nido town itself doesn’t exactly have the greatest beach; the true beauty of it lies within the surrounding islands, scattered around Bacuit Bay. So you either have to stay in one of the super luxurious El Nido Resorts, or you go for island hopping! They offer standardised island hopping tours departing from El Nido port, and the most popular tours are Tour A and Tour C. I didn’t get to try Tour B and D.
Read on to see why you should make El Nido your next travel destination!
#1 Lots of island hopping action
Island hopping is probably one of the best activities to do in El Nido, especially when you want to witness the real beauty of it. Fortunately, there are countless islands for you to explore via four standardised tours offered in El Nido (Tour A, B, C and D). You get to visit varying and exciting spots such as a secret lagoon, a hidden beach, a limestone cliff lookout… It never gets boring!
#2 Breathtaking viewpoints
Part of Tour C is stopping by Matinloc Shrine, where you go for a short but slightly dangerous (be alert!!) climb up the limestone cliffs to get a panoramic view of the bay! It’s super scenic up there.
#3 Crystal clear waters
This is my favorite part! THE SUPER CLEAR WATERS OF EL NIDO! Almost every island you visit in El Nido is surrounded by crystal clear waters and its amazing colours, especially Big Lagoon (Tour A). When Maldives is too expensive for me, this is my awesome alternative. Plus, it only cost us around SGD35 (PHP1,200) for each full day tour! Win!
#4 Best restaurant in the world – the sea!
There is really no better place to have lunch than on the boat, surrounded with marvellous limestone cliffs, pristine white sand and beautiful turquoise waters. We dived for two days, and island hopped for another two. That means we spent four lunches on the waters, on different islands… Talk about scenic!! Food is usually cooked for us on the back of the boat, and we get around 6-8 different dishes. Amazing spread, especially the barbecued pork. SO YUMMY!
#5 Beauty above, even more incredible underwater
With El Nido, you get the best of both worlds. So much sightseeing and activities on land, and a whole different world under there. The blazing sun can be burdensome in Singapore, but totally welcomed in El Nido! It also means you can just jump off into the water to cool down! YASSSS!
#6 Great conditions for snorkelling
The clarity of El Nido’s waters is amazing, which makes it perfect for snorkelers to explore! You don’t have to worry about not being able to scuba dive to see exciting sea life, because it’s totally do-able with snorkelling! We saw so many beautiful corals, fishes and even a turtle swimming right below us!
#7 Even better for scuba diving
Great diving conditions during Philippines’ dry season and lots to see! Don’t get your hopes too high up for big animals here, but instead for beautiful corals and abundance of sea life. We saw quite a number of turtles here too! Read about my diving experience in El Nido.
#8 Lots of beautiful lagoons to kayak and swim around in
Part of the tours is visiting lagoons, because there are a few of them! And all of them are very different. Their names are quite ridiculous though. They have Small Lagoon, Big Lagoon, Secret Lagoon, Hidden Lagoon and so on… and the beaches are similarly named too. I was so confused!!!
#9 Marvel at the dramatic limestone cliffs on almost every island
Limestone cliffs, everywhere you go… They serve as a beautiful backdrop for your holiday photos, that’s for sure! Sometimes the limestone walls around the lagoons are so high up, it feels very surreal.
#10 Exciting secret entrances to hidden lagoons and beaches
I was very amused with some of the entrances to the lagoons! There are some beaches where you have swim and follow along the limestone cliffs to reveal a random hidden beach. There was one where you had to swim underneath (don’t worry, just a short one) to get into inside of a ‘secret’ lagoon hideout. With another, you’d have to crawl into a hole, revealing a yet another lagoon. So crazy!
#11 Gorgeous beaches
Beach bums, fret not! El Nido is not just about strenuous crazy activities and crawling into lagoons… There are plenty of beautiful beaches around the main island of El Nido, along with the *ahem* expensive private ones belonging to the group of El Nido Resorts. We’ve only visited a few, and all of them were beautiful, thanks again to the clear waters 😉
Las Cabanas Beach
Seven Commandos Beach
Seven Commandos Beach, last stop of the island hopping Tour A
#12 Adorable and hipster airport
If you are arriving by Air Swift, you will be landing in El Nido’s one and only airport WHICH IS THE CUTEST! I’ve never seen any airports so casual before… The baggage area is basically a wooden sign and a bamboo bench to put your bags! The departure and arrival ‘terminals’ are huts! Whaaaaat!!
#13 Don’t need hotel pools, you’ve got the biggest swimming pool right here
One of the most pleasant experiences was swimming around the islands, set against the backdrop of dramatic cliffs. Chances are, you will be on a boat and chances are, you will have time to swim and snorkel around.
I don’t think there are any actual swimming pools in El Nido, because their waters are probably as clear and even better than pools! Don’t need ’em!
#14 An island destination for all budgets
With El Nido, you can tailor your trip according to your budget. You’ve got loads to spend??? Or maybe just want to spoil yourself for a bit? SURE NO PROBLEM! There are a few super luxurious resorts on their own private islands, mainly the El Nido Resorts group.
Want to backpack or just on a tighter budget? There are so many cheap hostels and inns available further inland.
For mid-range, we just needed somewhere convenient, clean and a nice view as an added bonus… and that cost us SGD140 per night. The island hopping tours itself only cost us SGD35 per pax for the whole day, with lunch included.
Paradise is affordable here, guys!!!
#15 You will be immersing yourself in the ‘most beautiful island in the world’!
Recently voted the most beautiful island in the world (go on, google it!) you will definitely understand why once you set foot on Palawan! Not to mention, bragging rights, yassssss?
Hope I’ve managed to convince to visit El Nido! 🙂
Check out my other blog posts about El Nido!