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El Nido, Palawan: Travel Guide and Itinerary! (7000 Pesos Budget for 5 Days!)


If you are planning on an El Nido trip but have no idea how, well, here's a travel guide and itinerary that will surely help you. This guide will provide you information and instructions on how to get there, accommodations, tour packages and daily expenses. All of that within a budget of 7,000 pesos!
Big Lagoon

How to get there

El Nido is located on the northernmost part of Palawan Island. Options to get here from Manila/Cebu are via air or sea travel. There are direct flights from Manila to El Nido (via AirSWIFT) but it is expensive. Here are the options on how to get to El Nido.

From MANILA/CEBU via Puerto Princesa
  • Take a flight from NAIA/Cebu-Mactan Airport to Puerto Princesa International Airport.
  • If by BUS, ride a tricycle at the gates (fare is P8) of the airport then get off at Junction 1 then ride a multi-cab (fare P13) to San Jose Terminal .
  • Ride a bus going to El Nido either Cherry or Roro Bus (fare is P385 ordinary, P480 A/C, and discounted for students). Travel time is around 6 hours.
  • The last bus stop will be at El Nido Integraded Bus Terminal where there are tricycles that can take you to your accommodation.
  • You can also charter a tricycle going to San Jose Terminal for P100 (try to haggle).
  • First and last trip of buses from Puerto Princesa - El Nido and El Nido - Puerto Princesa is 04:00 AM and 10:00 PM.
  • If by VAN, ride a tricycle to either, San Jose Terminal, or Robinson's Place (where there is a transport terminal) then ride a van going to El Nido.
  • Travelling by van is a little faster than bus, but fare is higher P500 (P550 if they will pick you up at the airport), travel time is around 5 hours.
  • Earliest trip of Puerto Princesa to El Nido start at 5:30 AM and last trip is around 8:30 PM.
El Nido bound bus in San Jose Terminal


From CORON
  • Check ferry schedule here and book a trip from Coron to El Nido.
  • Travel time, in good weather is around 5-7 hours for ordinary passenger boat (fare P1400++) while fast craft operated by Montenegro Lines is around 3 and a half hour (P1700).
Northern Palawan


Where to Stay

El Nido have many accommodations that you can choose. From budget and backpacker friendly to luxurious resorts. In this guide, we'll focus on budget friendly accommodations. Here are some budget friendly accommodations located in the town proper.


The town of El Nido


Tour Packages

The main activity in El Nido is island hopping. Tour packages are standardized and is grouped into 5 tours, Tour A, B, C, D and E. Tours A to D are island hopping tours while Tour E is a land tour around the town. Depending on season, tour package rates vary. Tour providers usually have a standard rate for each tour, but there are some that give discounts for big groups and if you have a good haggling skills.

  • Tour A - Rate per person: P800 (off-peak) to P1200, destinations are: Big and Small Lagoon, Simizu Island, Secret Lagoon, Seven Commandos Beach
  • Tour B - Rate per person: P900 (off-peak) to P1300 destinations are: Pinagbuyutan Island, Cathedral Cave, Cudugnon Cave, Entalula Island, Snake Island
  • Tour C - Rate per person: P1000 (off-peak) to P1400 destinations are: Hidden Beach, Matinloc Shrine, Secret Beach, Helicopter Island, Star Beach
  • Tour D - Rate per person: P800 (off-peak) to P1400 destinations are: Bukal Island, Ipil Beach, Nat-Nat Beach, Cadlao Lagoon, Paradise Beach
  • Tour E (Land tour) - Rate per person: P1500 destinations are: Nacpan and Calitang (Twin) Beaches, Marimegmeg Beach, Nagkalit-Kalit Falls
Lagoon Tours

* Usually, a whole day is spent for each tour in El Nido, but, if you have limited time, you can combine tours as well. Tours B and D are usually combined as well as Tours A and C.

* For your E, you can just rent a motorbike (P350 to P500, not including gas) and ride to the destinations above.


Activities and Attractions

Aside from island hopping, here are some other activities you might want to do in El Nido.
  • Scuba Diving/Snorkeling  - Witness El Nido's rich marine life. There are over 30 diving sites to check in El Nido.
    Snorkel snorkel
  • Climb Mt. Taraw - Have an extreme activity by climbing Taraw Cliff and to see the breathtaking view of the town and Bacuit Bay. If you don't want to live dangerously, you can also try a safer way to go to the summit via the canopy walk for P500 per person.
    View from Taraw Cliff (Photo from Cess Catangal)
  • Tour the town via Motorbike - Rent a motorbike and visit the inland beaches like Nacpan, Calitang and Marimegmeg (Las Cabanas) Beach. Then take a 1-2 hour hike to Nagkalit-Kalit Falls (best to visit during wet season).
    Always wear your helmet!
  • Zip Line in Marimegmeg (Las Cabanas Beach) - Try out the 750-meter zipline from Las Cabanas Beach to Depeldet Island. A one-way ride cost P500 (sitting position), P700 (superman) and a two-ride cost P900 (sitting), P1100 (superman).
  • Enjoy the sunset in Corong-Corong Beach - Take a break and relax for a moment, having a drink after a long day in Corong-Corong Beach just nearby Las Cabanas Beach.
  • Eat out! - Try out some popular restaurants in the town like Trattoria Altrove for its pizza, Squidos for grilled dishes, Art Cafe for breakfast, Angel wish for seafood and L’Assiette Ice Cream for you've guessed it, ice cream!
    Pizza from Trattoria Altrove 

Itinerary

Make the most of your time visiting El Nido. Here's a 5-day, 4-night itinerary for your trip.
  • Day 0: ARRIVAL in PUERTO PRINCESA
    • 06:00 PM: ETA Puerto Princesa Airport
    • 06:15 PM: ETD Puerto Princesa to El Nido
    • 12:00 AM: ETA El Nido/Check-in/Sleep

  • Day 1: TOUR B & D: Caves and Islands!
    • 07:00 AM: Breakfast
    • 08:00 AM: Start of Tour B and D
    • 04:00 PM: End of Tour
    • 05:00 PM: Back to Town
  • Day 2: TOUR A: Lagoons and Beaches!
    • 07:00 AM: Breakfast
    • 08:00 AM: Start of Tour A
    • 04:00 PM: End of Tour
    • 05:00 PM: Back to Town
  • Day 3: TOUR C: Beach Bum Haven!
    • 07:00 AM: Breakfast
    • 08:00 AM: Start of Tour C
    • 04:00 PM: End of Tour
    • 05:00 PM: Back to Town

  • Day 4: TOUR E: DIY Land Tour!
    • 06:00 AM: Breakfast
    • 06:30 AM: ETA Taraw Cliff
    • 07:00 AM: Climb Taraw Cliff
    • 09:00 AM: ETA Summit of Taraw Cliff/Descent
    • 12:-- PM: End of Descent/Lunch
    • 01:00 PM: Hire Motorbike/Start tour
    • 01:45 PM: Nacpan and Calitang (Twin) Beaches
    • 03:00 PM: Nagkalit-Kalit Falls
    • 04:00 PM: Marimegmeg Beach (Sunset)
    • 06:00 PM: ETD El Nido Town
    • 07:00 PM: Dinner/Back to Hotel
  • Day 4: (OPTIONAL Early Fly Out)
    • 08:00 PM: Checkout/Travel back to Puerto Princesa
    • 01:00 AM: (Day 5): Check-in to Lodge/B&B 
    •  --:--  AM: Catch earliest available flight 
  • Day 5: GOING HOME
    • 07:00 AM: Breakfast
    • 08:00 AM: Checkout/ETD El Nido
    • 02:00 PM: ETA Puerto Princesa
Sand bar in Snake Island


Expenses

Here's a breakdown of what it'll cost per day on a 5-day El Nido trip. This only includes expenses that are necessary like fares (except airfare), food, tour guides, entrance fees and accommodation. Tips and other expenses like "pasalubongs" are not included. The other expenses are shared by a minimum of 2 pax.

  • Day 0: Puerto Princesa - El Nido Traveel
    • Fare - Trike Airport to Junction: PhP 8.00
    • Fare - Multicab in Junction to San Jose Terminal: PhP 12.00
    • Food Dinner: Karinderia in Bus Terminal: PhP 50.00
    • Fare - A/C Bus to El Nido: PhP 480.00
    • Fare - Trike from El Nido Bus Terminal to Accommodation: PhP 25.00
    • Food Water - 12 Liters: PhP 190.00
    • Total: PhP 765.00

  • Day 1: El Nido Check-in/First Tour
    • Accommodation - Mam Olson Pensionne  House: PhP 800.00 / 2 (pax) = PhP 400.00
    • Food Breakfast - Free Coffee + Pandesal: PhP 10.00
    • Tour - Tours B & D (with lunch) from Lagoon Tours (+63 926 304 9680): PhP 1,000.00
    • Food Dinner - Eatery in town proper: PhP 100.00
    • Total: PhP 1,510.00

  • Day 2: El Nido Island Tour
    • Accommodation - Mam Olson Pensionne  House: PhP 800.00 / 2  (pax)  = PhP 400.00
    • Food Breakfast - Free Coffee + Cup Noodles: PhP 20.00
    • Tour - Tour A (with lunch) from Lagoon Tours (+63 926 304 9680): PhP 800.00
    • Others (optional) - Kayak in Small Lagoon: PhP 300.00 / 2 = PhP 150.00
    • Food Dinner - Eatery in town proper: PhP 100.00
    • Total: PhP 1,470.00

  • Day 3: El Nido Island Tour
    • Accommodation - Mam Olson Pensionne  House: PhP 800.00 / 2  (pax) = PhP 400.00
    • Food Breakfast - Free Coffee + Bread and Spread: PhP 25.00
    • Tour - Tours C (with lunch) from Lagoon Tours (+63 926 304 9680): PhP 1000.00
    • Food Dinner - Eatery in town proper: PhP 100.00
    • Total: PhP 1,525.00

  • Day 4: El Nido Land Tour
    • Accommodation - Mam Olson Pensionne  House: PhP 800.00 / 2  (pax) = PhP 400.00
    • Food Breakfast - Tapsilogan in town proper : PhP 80.00
    • Tour Guide - Taraw Cliff: PhP 300.00 / 2 (pax) = PhP 150.00
    • Food Lunch - Eatery in town: PhP 100.00
    • Transport - Motorbike Rental + Gas: PhP 350.00 + 150.00 = 500 / 2 (pax)  = PhP 250.00
    • Food Dinner - Eatery in town proper: PhP 100.00
    • Total: PhP 1,080
  • Day 5: El Nido to Puerto Princesa
    • Food Breakfast - Eatery in town proper : PhP 70.00
    • Fare - Trike from Accommodation to El Nido Bus Terminal : PhP 25.00
    • Fare - Bus from El Nido to Puerto Princesa: PhP 480.00
    • Food Lunch - Eatery in Puerto Princesa : PhP 60.00
    • Fare - Trike + Multicab from Bus Terminal to Airport: PhP 20.00
    • Total: PhP 685.00
  • Total Expense: PhP 7,005
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Hey there, thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed reading my article and helped you out with some travel tips and ideas. Please do leave a comment if you have some comments or suggestions and I'll gladly answer it. Cheers!

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