Ultimate El Nido Travel Guide

jenny chu in front of drift wood secret beach hidden beach matinloc shrine star beach helicopter island el nido philippines

After spending 3 days in Coron, it was time for us to move onto our next destination to El Nido. Hopefully you’ve read my Ultimate Coron Island Travel Guide. I’ve planned it strategically due to scheduling and the limited amount of flights flying out of El Nido. Here you’ll find my Ultimate El Nido Travel Guide.

Compared to Coron, El Nido is more developed town in terms of paved streets and cleanliness.

How To Get To El Nido From Coron

  1. First option is to take a shared van back to (USU) Busuanga airport and fly to (ENI) El Nido which is expensive
  2. Second option is take a shared van back to (USU) Busuanga airport and fly into  (PPS) Puerto Princessa. Although cheaper, you would have to arrange for a shared van to get to El Nido with a travel time of around 6+ hours and the cost is 600 – 700 php ($12 – $14 USD)
  3. Third options is to take a tuk tuk to the Coron Port (20 php) per person and then take a 4+ hour ferry for about $35 USD.
Ferry Ultimate El Nido Travel Guide

In conclusion, choosing the ferry option was easier and convenient. Consequently, if the seas are a bit choppy, you may experience getting seasick. With this in mind, if you more susceptible to seasickness, have a strategy plan to avoid motion sickness.

  • Montenegro Fast Boat departs at 12:00 pm – $35 USD
  • Phimal departs at 8:20 am – $35 USD. I chosse this earlier departure time to make it to the zipline in El Nido for sunset.

***Schedule subject to change depending on season***

What To Expect On Your Ferry Ride
Phimal Ferry
  • Print your boarding ticket
  • A tuk tuk ride from the hotel to the port was about 20 php per person
  • A 20 php (cash only) exit fee must be paid when checking in
  • All bags will be searched for illegal contraband buy a trained dog.
  • Snacks and refreshments (no hard alcohol) are served on the ferry
Hotel In El Nido

Mansion Buenavista 

Given that a nice hot breakfast is included everyday for a rate of $90 USD/night + taxes makes it a steal! All rooms had air-conditioning, a balcony and large beds.

How To Get From The Port To The Hotel

After arriving at the port in El Nido, a surplus of tuk tuk drivers will be waiting. A tuk tuk fits 2 comfortably, however,  3 would be a tight squeeze. As mentioned before, please negotiate a price before allowing them take your bags. The cost from the port to the hotel costs 50 php per tuk tuk.

What To Do

Boat Tours

Although Coron had an office down at the pier, unfortunately no similar main office exists in El Nido. The basic tours of El Nido are Tours A, B, C or D. Certainly I did thorough research and after reviewing 13 different tour companies, I decided to go with HelloElNido because of its positive reviews.

Gani, a kind representative, helped set everything up. Tours A & C were the most popular and HelloElNido offered hidden gems that weren’t on the usual mass tours. To avoid mass crowds, it was advised to start at a later departure time at 10am.

Included are entrance fees, food and kayak rentals. It’s advised to notify them should you have a person in your group with dietary restrictions. In brief, they do understand the difference between vegetarian and vegan meals. In essence, the only thing suggested for this tour is to bring your own alcohol and tip for the captain and crew.


Average $55 USD per person for BOTH tours. Paypal 50% deposit + 5% PayPal fee and then the other half before arriving.

Contact: gricarte@helloelnido.com, helloelnido@gmail.com

Zipline to Depeldet Island (9am – 5:30pm)
  •  500 php ($9.74 USD) for one way sitting in the “regular” position and then you walk down and back to Las Cabanas beach by walking across the sandbar
  •  700 php ($13.70 USD) if you want to ride “Superman” style
  •  900 php ($17 USD) for round trip

How wondrous does this sound? Ziplining to another island while watching the sunset. I recommend getting there around 4:30 pm. Ask your tuk tuk driver to take you to the zipline at Las Cabanas Beach past the McDonalds (about 150 php – $3 USD per tuk tuk.) After seeing the sign for zip lining, you’ll have to trek up a steep hill and then a set of stairs (about 10 minutes) to the very top.

As soon as you arrive, check in with the staff and let them know which you decide –  to sit “regular” or “Superman.” Cash payments only. The staff will help get you geared up. Wear shoes that won’t fly off and if you have a backpack, you can wear it as you ride. There are no lockers so you therefore you must take everything with you. I suggest doing the one way so you can walk across the sandbar to experience this magical sunset.

MassagesThe Organic Spa El Nido – This spa surpasses any of the massage places I went to and is the cleanest one. It’s pretty popular so drop in beforehand to make reservations or call +63 917 377 8608.
Philippine Traditional Massage was the best one (600 php – $12 USD)

Where To Eat

ArtCafe – cool hip restaurant with live music on designated days but rather expensive in my opinion

Angel Wish – in my view, the best restaurant in El Nido with a lengthy menu of choices

Happiness Beach Bar – cool bar with swing seats and vegetarian friendly food options

Stix & Cones – “Love on a Stick” popsicles. Ube flavor was my favorite

Transportation To The Airport

The flights are quite limited out of (ENI) El Nido Airport. Air Swift is the airline company you want to look at when booking and it doesn’t show up on Google Flights so you’ll have to go direct to the website.

Flight from (ENI) El Nido –> (MNL) Manila on AirSwift $111 USD including a 20kg check-in bag
You can also fly out of PPS (Puerto Princessa) for cheaper but add the extra 6+ hours of traveling there by a shared van. In my opinion, it’s worth the extra $ to fly out of ENI.
air swift

You have 2 options to get to the airport

  1. A really uncomfortable tuk tuk ride with your luggage about 300 php (half of the roads to the airport were unpaved)
  2. Or a 20 minute ride in an air-conditioned van for 1000 php ($20 USD.) Your hotel will arrange this for you.

Traveling with a good group of friends is the best epic experience and can help bring the price down for shared rooms and tours. Palawan is very safe, even for solo female travelers. There are many hostel options to choose from if you’re looking for something that is more budget friendly. I love the culture, the people and the food. Philippines, I shall return and do a different adventure on another island.
friend group photo el nido

If you enjoyed this Ultimate El Nido Travel Guide, please check out my latest travel blogs.

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