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3 Day El Nido Itinerary: What Not to Miss
June 25, 2020 | Guest post by: Katie Lamb
El Nido is a bustling town on Palawan island, not to be missed when visiting the Philippines. With its blossoming bar and restaurant scene, stunning limestone cliffs, and plentiful stunning beaches nearby, three days in beautiful El Nido will whizz by.
El Nido has its own airport, so you can literally fly right into Lio Beach and get sunbathing straight away! From there, it’s about a 15-minute tricycle drive to El Nido town. If your flight goes into Puerto Princesa, the other islands airport, you’ll have to take a minivan or coach ride which takes about 6-7 hours. These connections also mean it will be easy to pursue your trip further and find out how to get from El Nido to Coron, for example.
Where to Stay in El Nido
There is accommodation to suit all budgets in and around El Nido. Staying in El Nido town is a great idea to have easy access to a large range of restaurants, shops, and bars. You will also be centrally located to take all the tours and visit beaches nearby. But, if you like a bit more relaxation, you can find multiple Inns, hostels, and hotels at nearby beaches like Coron Coron, Las Cabanas beach, Caalan beach, Lio beach, Nacpan beach, and nearby islands.
Best Time of Year to Visit El Nido
The Philippines has two weather seasons – summer and rainy season. Summer season runs from March to mid-May. Expect prices to be a little higher during this time and for more tourists to be around.
The rainy season in El Nido can still be a good time to visit. Showers tend to be intense and then the sun comes out again. El Nido is also mostly protected from typhoons that do hit other areas of the Philippines during rainy season. The only thing you may notice is a little more wind and rainfall when a typhoon is in another area of the Philippines.
Day #1 El Nido
Your first day in El Nido, you may be feeling a little tired from the journey. This means a bit of beach chilling is a must! If you’re confident enough, hire a scooter for 500-700PHP or jump in a local tricycle and head to Lio beach. It should take about 10-15 minutes and you will be rewarded with a long stretch of powdery white sand, clear water and a handful of cool beachside eateries.
After lunch, another 30 minutes North along the coast you can get to Nacpan beach. It’s been named by Trip Advisor as one of the top ten beaches in the world and it really lives up to its name. It hasn’t been overrun by development yet, the beach is long and powdery and the water is crystal clear. The only thing you’ll find as you walk up the beach is a young Filipino boy asking if you want a coconut and maybe a few boats bobbing about.
If you have enough time, head back through El Nido town and to Las Cabanas beach. This is another stunning stretch of sand with a bit more of a lively beachside vibe. Known for its legendary zip line, deep blue water and stunning sunsets, it’s a popular spot when the sun goes down.
Day #2 El Nido
After you’re rejuvenated from a beach lounging day, you can book onto one of the four awesome island hopping tours from El Nido. Prices range from 1200PHP to 1800PHP depending on whether you take tour A, B, C or D. Popular opinion seems to be that tour A and C are the best.
Tour A costs 1200PHP (24USD) and you will get to see;
- Big Lagoon. This beauty spot is filled with cool azure blue water and surrounded by lush limestone cliffs. Take a swim or rent a kayak here.
- Secret Lagoon. This can get quite busy at certain times so not much of a secret! But the tiny cove, white sand and towering cliffs that surround it are a sight to behold.
- Shimizu Island. Here you can kick back on the white beach surrounded by stunning views or go snorkeling amongst beautiful corals and marine life. You might even get to meet a turtle here!
- 7 Commandos Beach. Only accessible by boat or kayak, this hidden gem is a stunning last stop on the tour. You’ll even be rewarded with one tiny shack bar offering delicious sunset cocktails.
After jumping off the boat from your tour, it’s time for extra refreshments. For drinks and sunset views, pop into Marber’s Bar. After watching the sun go down, head to Odessa Mama Café and Boodmo Brewery, where you can taste their delicious home brewed draught beer from the onsite microbrewery.
Day #3 El Nido
Adventure lovers, it’s time to get on your hiking boots or at least a sturdy pair of trainers to hike Taraw Peak. Don’t worry, it’s only a 30-minute climb to the top but it will be incredibly humid with quite steep, jagged rocks. For the best views, get a guide to take you up there for sunrise where you’ll be rewarded with epic views across El Nido town and the bay.
After all that effort, reward yourself with a hearty breakfast at Maa’s Grill. They do super cheap western and local breakfasts on a street just behind the beach.
For something a little different on your last day, try out the Philippine experience. Here you will be transported to villages in the North of the island to learn about Filipino life. Expect activities like walking through villages, meeting locals, learning about banana herbs, climbing a coconut tree, and cooking a traditional dish for lunch. Filipino dancing, games, and fishing could also be on the day’s menu!
Katie Lamb is a freelance writer, affiliate marketer and digital nomad currently travelling in the Philippines. She helps other aspiring entrepreneurs make money online by building passive income and learning digital skills. Find her on https://earthcruisin.com/
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