How to Get to El Nido in Palawan: The Complete Guide

As one of the most popular travel destinations in the Philippines, El Nido in Palawan should be on your bucket list. There are a few things you should know before you travel there. Find out in this blog how to get to El Nido, where to stay and all you need to know about your trip to El Nido.

How to get to El Nido in Palawan?

There are many ways to get to El Nido in Palawan. Choose one of the following options that best suits your budget and schedule.

By Air:

If you are not in Palawan yet, taking a plane is the quickest way to get there. El Nido has its own airport. As it is a private airport, only the airline Air Swift offers flights there. In addition to flights from Manila to El Nido, you can also fly from Busuanga, Clark and Cebu to El Nido.
You can also fly to Puerto Princesa and take a bus or van from there. This will give you more flights to choose from and may be cheaper.

Image of Airplane

By sea:

You can also travel by ferry from Coron. The journey takes approximately 3.5 to 4.5 hours. Different ferry companies offer multiple departure times every day.

By road:

If you are already in Palawan or flying to Puerto Princesa, the best way to reach El Nido is by van or bus.

It takes about 5-6 hours by van to get from Puerto Princesa to El Nido. The price varies depending on whether you want to share a van with others or have a private driver. At around 600 PHP/pax (10-11 USD), the shared van option is significantly cheaper than the private driver option at around 6,000 PHP (100-110 USD) in total. If you’re lucky, you can bargain with a private driver and get the trip much cheaper. You can also book your shared/private van online in advance.

If you want to start directly from the airport, you only need to go to the main exit and you will find various drivers there. Here you will find the option of joining a shared van, as well as many drivers who will offer you a private ride.
If you don’t want to start from the airport because you have made a stopover in San Vicente, for example, you can also book a van to El Nido from there.

Alternatively, there is also the option of traveling to El Nido by bus. This will cost you around 400-500 PHP/pax (7-9 USD) from Puerto Princesa but can take up to 9 hours. We advise you not to do this.

Bus schedule of San Vicente Terminal

Where to stay in El Nido?

When planning your trip to El Nido, one of your most important decisions is where to stay. There are a variety of different accommodations ranging from budget hostels to luxurious resorts. The perfect accommodation can greatly enhance your El Nido experience.

The main spot is El Nido Town near Maligaya. Here you have direct access to the Beach, from where many island hopping tours depart. The small streets also offer a variety of different restaurants and shops. If you like to be out and about in a lively area in the evening, you’ve come to the right place. The nightlife is not excessive but offers many small bars and relaxed beach clubs. If you’re a backpacker looking for affordable accommodation, you’ll find it here.

Another good area is Caalan Beach. The area is much quieter than El Nido Town but still has a few good restaurants and cafes. In terms of accommodation, resorts predominate here.

If you prefer to stay away from the hustle and bustle, there is accommodation available throughout the El Nido area. In particular, there are some good hotels and accommodation close to the well-known beaches. To the south is Corong Corong, where you will find a relaxed atmosphere with good connections to El Nido. Even further south is Las Cabanas Beach, where there is also good accommodation in a relaxed atmosphere. In the north, you can find accommodation directly on the popular Nacpan Beach. This is part of Twin Beach and should be visited on your El Nido trip anyway.

When deciding where to stay, it’s essential to consider your preferences, budget, and travel priorities. But whatever you are looking for, there’s an accommodation option to suit every taste and preference.

Drone shot of Nacpan Beach

How many days should you stay in El Nido?

We recommend that you plan around four to five days here. Due to the variety of activities and tours that El Nido offers, you can of course plan to stay longer. But if you are here for the first time and want to see and experience the essentials, this length of stay should be perfectly adequate.

Best Time to visit

Palawan generally has a tropical climate, which is characterized by warm temperatures and high humidity all year round.

The dry season lasts from November to May. This is ideal for your trip to El Nido. During these months, you can expect little rainfall and high temperatures. February and March in particular are the most consistent and there is almost no rainfall. Of course, the number of tourists is also highest here.

The period from June to October is the wet season. During this time there is heavy rainfall and tropical storms. We advise against traveling to El Nido during these months.

Cash & ATMs

In El Nido, you should always make sure you have enough cash available. Although there is an ATM on every corner here, they are often empty, especially in the peak season. This is a particular problem in the city center and if an ATM still has money, queues sometimes form as everyone wants to withdraw cash. It can therefore happen that you have to visit 4-5 ATMs before you are successful.

The majority of transactions here are made in cash. We have rarely seen the option of paying by card. In addition to restaurants and cafes, tours are usually paid for in cash. So make sure you have enough money with you to save yourself unnecessary stress.

Tip: If necessary, look for ATMs in parallel streets or away from the center if you urgently need cash.

How safe is El Nido?

El Nido is generally a safe place. Whether it’s day or night, you shouldn’t have any problems in busy areas. If you have expensive items with you, it is best to keep them hidden and watch out for them, as petty theft can happen. However, violent attacks are very rare. If you are careful, you have nothing to fear in El Nido.

Of course, nature can also be a danger. Typhoons can happen, but if you stick to the recommended travel times, the risk is minimal. There is also a risk of earthquakes, but these are very rare and cannot be ruled out throughout Asia.
Just keep up to date with the current weather and other travel advice and you should be well prepared and able to enjoy your stay.

There are a few pharmacies in El Nido where you should be able to get the basics. If you need special medicines, bring them with you.

Internet & Electricity

Internet: The internet connection in El Nido is good. Many cafes, restaurants, and accommodations offer free WIFI, so you always have a fast connection. For reliable internet, you can of course also buy a local SIM card, with which you are independent of WIFI. These can be purchased at the airports as well as directly in the town.

Electricity: The electricity is reliable. There may be occasional power cuts, but these are usually fixed quickly. Your accommodation may even have an emergency generator. As long as you are not dependent on a 100% reliable power supply, you will not notice any negative effects.

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