El Nido has always been the beach in the Philippines that I wanted to see so that’s why we took the chance to visit Palawan during our most recent holiday in the country. It was in April, summer time so it was the best season to go to the beach, yet it was busy – as expected.
A couple of months before we flew to Manila, I arranged the trip with a travel agency so that it was less hassle. Everything had been sorted out, from the van that transported us to El Nido up to the accommodation and tours A and C. I was surprised to find that things are a bit pricey in El Nido especially the seaside pubs and resto bar. Nonetheless, we had a great time enjoying the beach and the sun. Due to the limited time that we had, we only opted for tours A and C although there are more activities to be done in the island. For a 4D3N travel package, we paid a total of 9,500 PhP (£135). That includes the following for 2 pax: 3 Nights Accommodation in Friendly Inn (breakfast included), Tours A and C, Buffet lunch in each tours, Motorized Boat with life vest (Joiners Package), FREE use Mask and Snorkel and free travel insurance. Other Tour packages involve the following:
To get to El Nido, we had to fly for 1 hour and 10 minutes from Manila to Puerto Princesa city, Palawan. Upon arriving at Puerto Princesa, we had to take a van for 6 hours to get to El Nido. Once there, we had to take a tricyle to reach the inn that accommodated us for the entire time that we were there. Let me share with you how we enjoyed our 4D3N in that beautiful paradise.
On Day 1, we arrived to El Nido town at around 2 in the afternoon. After checking in the inn, we went for a late lunch by the sea-side. The restobar offers pricey food that wasn’t that impressive. We had a walk by the beach and went back to the inn to relax. That night, we went to Happiness beach bar and SAVA beach bar for drinks. The latter is a cozy pub with a great atmosphere by the sea side that was so relaxing.
Our Day 2 started early because we were just so excited. We had an early breakfast at the inn – a (serve yourself) Kopiko coffee, pan de sal with fried eggs and banana. We were then picked up by our tour guide to take us to the agency’s site. To my surprise, we had to get there through a motorcycle so my husband and I rode separately. Unlucky as I was, the motorcycle that carried me broke down so I had to walk the last 7 minutes to get there. Once reunited with my husband, I decided to rent a pair of aqua shoes for 100 pesos (£1.50)
After waiting for the other groups for about 15 minutes, we proceeded to the boat that took us to the activities involving tour C. It had been a great experience with the crew, the guide and boat captain for they are friendly and accommodating. Because we were only 8 tourists on that day, it had been easier to wait for everyone to get back to the boat in every tour and the buffet lunch was more than enough for us so we all had a feast.
The boat has a kitchen and a mini toilet. One staff prepares the food while we do the activities.
The first thing we went to see was the Helicopter Island. When you look at the photo, you would understand why it’s called as that.
Hubby enjoys a can of beer while I feel refreshed with my coco juice.
A month before we flew to the Philippines, we bought an SJ6Legend action cam, it’s perfect for the underwater photos and not as expensive as a GoPro, so why not?
We stopped over Matinloc shrine and paid extra pesos to get there. That was my favourite part of tour, the next four photos would show you why.
That photo was taken in the Hidden beach, our last stop before we get back to town. We ended the day with drinks at an American pub. That was one great day that had just finished.
Day 3 was a bit different than the second day. We were picked up by a guy from the agency who took us to the port that arranges all boats and activities for bigger groups of tourists. If the Tour C had been spacious and was organised by the travel agency, the tour A was different. The boat we were assigned to join was crowded with about 27 tourists in one boat. Different groups, different nationalities, different kinds of human beings. At the end of tour, we all went back to the island with smiles on our faces because we just had a great well-packed tour.
The boat staff in both tours have been very helpful in taking photos and they know when is the perfect spot for a nice photo.A piece of advice, take the chance to have a photo of yourself taken at the front end of the boat without hesitation.
Another sunny day, time for another coco juice.
There are few vendors on a boat in every tours, prices are not that bad so make sure to bring some cash with you for they sell soda, coconut juice and beer.
Snorkeling in El Nido is always fun.
We had a fantastic dinner at Art Cafe. We also bought some souvenirs at the shop below the cafe.
Day 4 was the time to face the truth – that’s the last day in El Nido and later on we will be battling against the 6 hour van ride and hours of waiting in the airport. I had to chase the travel agency just to know the time the van will pick us up. The owner himself had been so unreliable but good thing his wife kept in touch with me and sorted things out. The van did not drop us off the airport. He dropped us all to a terminal where we had to ride a tricycle that took us to the airport where we paid 300 pesos – talk about the rip-off.
Once at the airport, we had to wait for 5 hours before we could board the plane. There’s a nearby cafe by the airport where we sat for about 3 hours. After that, we went inside the airport and looked for a place to eat – another rip off as they sell foods for the price of two normally. A small bottle of water costs 45 pesos when normally it’s only 10.
Our holiday to El Nido was one adventure that neither of us will forget. We will definitely come back again.