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Travel Guide Budget and Itinerary for El Nido

El Nido is one of the most popular destinations in the Philippines. This comes as no surprise because of the many beautiful beaches and lagoons you can visit during your stay. I visited this part of Palawan a few times and I don't mind returning.

This budget and itinerary for El Nido may help you plan your upcoming trip.

Guide to El Nido

Since the first time I've been to El Nido, I've seen the changes that has happened throughout this once sleepy town. Electricity wasn't even 24 hours during my first visit back in 2013. I saw good and bad changes during my subsequent trips such as the presence of ATMs for visitors, more and more accommodations for all budgets, more and more tourists island hopping, and the development of areas outside the main town. It is now a top tourist destination that has both good and bad effects.

However, I still consider El Nido one of the most beautiful places in the country with its powdery, white sand beaches, cerulean and clear waters, and stunning karst formations, despite the crowds.

Things to Do in El Nido

Tour A

This tour takes you to El Nido's beautiful lagoons such as Big Lagoon and Small Lagoon. Soak in the rugged but beautiful views and jump into the clear, emerald-tinged waters. The towering rock formations will make you stop and wonder at nature's beauty. The tour also includes stops at Secret Lagoon, Shimizu Island and 7 Commando Beach. Package includes lunch.

Book here: Tour A

Tour B

Tour B is another island hopping trip you can join while in El Nido. Visit Snake Island, Cudugnon Cave and Pinagbuyutan Island. Swim in the azure waters and marvel at the beautiful views during your trip. The package includes lunch, boat transfers and guide.

Book here: Tour B

Tour C

El Nido has a lot to offer for beach and nature lovers. Tour C provides you with more of Palawan's best beaches. The itinerary includes Secret Beach, Matinloc Shrine, Helicopter Island, Hidden Beach and Tapiutan Island. Enjoy the powdery, white sand beaches and clear turquoise waters. Take photos or just marvel at the towering karst formations. The package includes lunch, boat transfers and guide.

Book here: Tour C

Tour D

If you have time to spare, why not go for another round of island hopping. Tour D covers spots such as Cadlao Lagoon, Paradise Beach, Ipil Beach and others. Laze on the powdery shore, swim in the emerald waters or just relax under the shade of a coconut tree. I had my tour customized because no tour agencies at the time offered joiner packages.

Nacpan Beach

Nacpan Beach is a beautiful destination you shouldn't miss during your trip. The white sand is powdery, the views beautiful, the atmosphere chill and the waters clear. You can hire a tricycle to take you for P1000 for two persons. There is a shuttle that can take you to the beach and back for around P600.

Las Cabanas Beach

Las Cabanas doesn't have the fine, white sand of the other beaches in El Nido, but it is just as beautiful. The stretch of golden brown sand and the rugged landscape are picturesque. Many tourists go here to hang out, get a cold drink and watch the sunset. The ideal time to visit is just round blue hour. Hire a tricycle to take you for around P150 one way.

Getting Around El Nido

Motorbike taxis and tricycles are the most common modes of public transportation around town. You save more money if you walk everywhere, but you can also rent a bicycle or motorbike for a day. A motorcycle rental costs around P500/day+++ depending on the model and how long you'll use it. Rent on the day you arrive instead of doing it online so you can negotiate the price. Check the motorcycle before taking it out and determine if you'll have to fill up the gas tank or if it is included in the price.

Where to Stay in El Nido

El Nido has a number of accommodations across the budget spectrum whether you are backpacking or want to have a luxurious stay.

How to Go to El Nido from Manila

You have options for travel between Manila and El Nido.

By Air

There are direct flights between El Nido and Manila; however, this is the most expensive option. Air Swift operates this route but will cost you a lot of money. If you don't have time and have a large budget, this is a possible option.

By Air and Land

Most travelers who want to save money fly to Puerto Princesa first then make their way to El Nido. There are regular flights operated by Philippine Airlines, Air Asia and Cebu Pacific. Once in Puerto Princes, you can take a van to town. This costs roughly P600 per way and takes around 5-6 hours. You don't have to look for the vans, the drivers and operators will find you once you leave the arrival hall. They'll immediately ask you where you want to go. Alternatively, you can take the bus from San Jose Terminal. Bus fare is approximately P300-P480+++ one way and takes about 8-9 hours.

Once in the van and bus terminal, you can take a tricycle to your accommodation for around P50.

You can check this link out for more routes to El Nido: El Nido routes

How to Go to Coron from El Nido

For those traveling for more days, they can go to Coron from El Nido.

Montenegro Shipping Lines operates this route starting at 6AM and costs roughly P1760 one way.

Phimal Fast Ferry departs at around 8:20AM from El Nido and costs around P1760 one way.

Jomalia Shipping leaves El Nido at around 12:30PM and costs around P1800 one way.

Buy your ticket/s at least a day before your chosen departure date to secure a seat.

How to Go to Puerto Princesa from El Nido

There are regular vans and buses departing for Puerto Princesa from El Nido. Van fare is around P500-P600 and bus fare is around P300-P480+++.

Link to my post here: budget and itinerary for Puerto Princesa

Budget for El Nido

This is a rough budget for 4 days and 3 nights in El Nido from Puerto Princesa.

1200 - Round trip van transfers from Puerto Princesa to El Nido
1200 - Food and drinks
1635 - 3 nights in a dorm type accommodation
1050 - Tour A
1150 - Tour C
200 - Entrance fee for the Small or Big Lagoon (Tour A)
200 - Environmental fee (valid for 10 days)                                

6635 - Total for 4 days and 3 nights excluding flights.

*Spend more or less depending on what you do, where you stay and where you eat. Prices may fluctuate depending on the season and tour agency you booked with.

Itinerary for El Nido

This is a sample itinerary for a short stay in El Nido.

Day 1

Arrive at Puerto Princesa Airport
Depart for El Nido
Check-in accommodation

Day 2

Tour A
Sunset at Las Cabanas Beach

Day 3

Tour B or C

Day 4

Depart for Puerto Princesa Airport
Depart for Manila

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