Cities & Towns

El Nido Visitors Guide

Written by Patrick

This quick guide to El Nido will let you know how to get there, what to do, eat, and drink, where to stay, and must-see spots.

ABOUT SEE & DO EAT & DRINK STAY BUDGET ADVICE

Travel Insurance

ABOUT

When we hear El Nido, Palawan, what often comes to mind is the image of limestone formations surrounded by lush greenery over the inviting bluish green water.  Indeed, this little beach town has so much to offer when it comes to natural and picturesque attractions such as beaches, lagoons, and even cliffs. El Nido also boasts interesting marine life which makes it all the more attractive for tourists who are into snorkeling and diving.

Getting there can be a challenge though because of the amount of travel needed however everything will be worth it in the end because you will be rewarded with a stay in paradise and the experience you will never forget for the rest of your life.

Location

El Nido Location Map

Best Time to Visit

It’s best to visit the Philippines during the dry season. Dry season in the Philippines spans from November through April. These are the summer months in this country.

Be aware that temperatures and humidity levels are particularly high in April and May.

The best time to be a beach bum and explore the islands is from March to May.

TIP:  Booking for summer trips should be done as early as possible, at least a month before your travel dates, since resorts get fully booked early.

The period from June to October is the rainy (wet) season and is best avoided due to the high possibility of typhoons. The typhoons can not only be destructive, but most tours and activities are cancelled under such circumstances.  Transportation via plane and boat is also seriously impacted as well.  This happens frequently so beware!

This guide recommends traveling to El Nido in April-May or in November-December, just before and just after the rainy season. This will likely bring fewer crowds, yet pleasant weather, and is also a great time to score a travel deal.

Fast Facts

Destination Name:
El Nido
Local Time:
PST (UTC+8)
Best Time of Year to Visit:
December – May
Population:
Approximately 50,500
Language(s):
Cuyonon, Bicolano, Hiligaynon, Tagalog, English
Currency:
Philippine Peso (PHP)
Exchange Rate:
Approximately 1 USD = 50 PHP click for exact exchange rate
Location:
Luzon (MIMAROPA)
Geographic Coordinates:
11°11′44″N 119°24′27″E
Area:
923.26 km² (356.472679 sq mi)
Neighboring Cities:
None
Neighboring Islands:
Maytiguid Island, Batas Island, Binulbulan Island
Climate:
Tropical
Clothing:
Lightweight casuals
Religion:
Roman Catholic, Baptist, INC, Seventh-day Adventist
Best Known For:
White-sand beaches, coral reefs, limestone cliffs, and Bacuit Archipelago
Major Industries:
Fishing, agriculture, and tourism
Electricity:
Standard voltage is 220V
Plug commonly used is Type A but Types B and C are used as well. Bring A to B adapter(s).
International Phone Code:
+63-048-XXX-XXXX
Seaport(s):
El Nido Seaport
Bus Terminal(s):
El Nido Transport Terminal

Getting Here

There are many ways to get to El Nido depending on your starting point. We have provided the major ports of entry for this destination below.

AIRPORT

Airport

El Nido Airport

BUS TERMINAL

Bus Terminal

El Nido Transport Terminal

SEAPORT

Seaport

El Nido Seaport

By Air

From Manila
AirSWIFT, located in Terminal 4 of Ninoy Aquino International Airport (IATA: MNL), is the only airline that flies directly from Manila to El Nido.  With multiple flights per day, this 50-seater aircraft generally charges around P12,000 ($240 USD) round trip during the high season.  Travel time is approximately one hour and 30 minutes.  AirSWIFT also flies from other airports including Puerto Princesa Airport (IATA:PPS), Cebu-Mactan International Airport (IATA: CEB), Francisco B. Reyes Airport (IATA: USU), and Godofredo P. Ramos Airport (IATA: MPH)

Lio Airport, also known as El Nido Airport, is just about four kilometers away from town proper.  At the airport, you will find tricycles or vans that can take you to El Nido town proper.  One way trip is about P550 ($11 USD).  Some hotels have free airport transfer so better coordinate with them upon booking.  Travel time is about 20 minutes.

Alternatively, you can also fly to Puerto Princesa City and travel by bus or van to El Nido.

Find Flights to El Nido Airport

By Sea

From Manila
There is no way you can go directly from Manila to El Nido by boat.  The best option is to take a boat from Manila to Puerto Princesa through 2Go Travel.  Currently, there are two trips every week.  A boat leaves Manila for Puerto Princesa every Tuesday at 9:00 AM and every Friday at 7:00 PM.  Travel time is about 33 hours and the fare ranges from P1,180 ($23.6) to P1,920 ($38.4 USD) depending on the type of accommodation.

From Puerto Princesa, you can travel by bus or van to El Nido.

From Coron
From Coron, you can take a ferry to get to El Nido.  There are four shipping companies with boats sailing directly from Coron to El Nido.

Bunso Transport recently resumed their Coron-El Nido trip.  A ferry departs Coron to El Nido every other Wednesday at 7:00 AM and departs El Nido the next day.  Travel time is around six and a half hours and the fare is P2,250 ($45 USD).

Montenegro has four trips from Coron to El Nido every week and vice versa.  The boat departs to El Nido at 6:00 AM every Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday while the trip back to Coron is at 12:00 NN on the same days.  Travel time is about four hours and the regular fare is about P2,816 ($56.32 USD).

Atienza Interisland, on the other hand, has six trips every week.  A boat leaves Coron at 7:00 AM every Monday to Saturday and leaves El Nido at 12:30 PM on the same days.  Travel time is about five hours and the fare is P2,816 ($56.32 USD) one way.

From the port, a tricycle can take you to your hotel or other destinations in town proper.  Minimum fare is P15 ($0.3 USD).

By Land

From Puerto Princesa
There are three van companies plying the Puerto Princesa – El Nido route.  A van of Fortwally Transport leaves San Jose Terminal in Puerto Princesa at 5:00 AM, 8:00 AM, 11:00 AM, 1:30 PM, and 5:00 PM everyday.  The fare is about P700 ($14 USD) per person. 

With Eulen Joy Express, the schedule is 7:30 AM, 9:30 AM, 10:30 AM, 1:00 PM, 3:30 PM, and 5:30 PM everyday.  The fare is P700 ($14 USD) per person.  Another company, Day Tripper, leaves Puerto Princesa at 9:00 AM everyday.  The rate per person is P875 but you can also book the entire trip for P7,700 ($140 USD)good for 10 persons.  Travel time with van ranges from five to six hours depending on the depending on road traffic and other unavoidable circumstances.

Note: Pre-booking is highly recommended to guarantee seats.  You can also book via Klook.

For passengers who prefer to take the bus, Cherry Bus Terminal leaves Irawan bus terminal for EL Nido at 6:45 AM (economy), 9:00 AM (standard), and 9:00 PM (VIP) everyday.  The fare for economy bus is P587 ($11.74 USD), standard fare is P756 ($15.12 USD), while P872 ($17.44 USD) for VIP.  Travel time is about six to seven hours

From Sabang
As of March 2023, there is no shared transfer available for trips from Sabang to EL Nido.  The only transportation available is private transfer via Lexxus Shuttle or Fortwally.  A van that can accommodate a maximum of nine persons costs P7,500 ($150 USD) one way.  Travel time is about six hours. 

From Port Barton
The fastest way to get to EL Nido from Port Barton is through a van.  Recaro Transport has two trips everyday – 8:00 AM and 1:00 PM.  Travel time is about five hours and the fare is P750 ($15 USD) per person in a 14-seater van.  Lexxus Shuttle, on the other hand, has one trip everyday.  The 9-seater van leaves at 9:00 AM and arrives in El Nido at about 2:00 PM.  The fare is P900 ($18 USD) per person but you can also charter the van for P7,000 ($140 USD).

Getting Around

The following are the modes of transportation available in El Nido

Bicycles

Bicycles

Bus

Bus

Car Rental

Car Rental

Jeepneys

Jeepneys

Motorcycles

Motorcycles

Motorized Outrigger

Motorized Outrigger

Shuttle

Shuttle

Tricycles

Tricycles

Bicycle

The town of El Nido can be explored by bicycle. Mountain bike rental starts at P700 ($14 USD) per day.

Bus

Bus is commonly used to get to El Nido from Puerto Princesa but rarely to get around the town.

Car Rental

It’s never impossible to find a car for rent to get you around El Nido. Daily rent starts at P1,800 ($36 USD) and can go higher depending on the type/model of the car. Gas is shouldered by the customer. A photocopy of ID and/or passport may be required.

Jeepney

There are also jeepneys but limited to a few units only and are commonly used for transport outside the town proper and other neighboring towns.

Motorcycle

You can also rent a scooter, motorcycle or tricycle to get you around the town. Motorcycle rental starts at P500 ($10 USD)daily.

Motorized Outrigger

Locally called bangka or pump boat, this is the transportation used in island hopping. Island hopping group tours cost starts at P1,500 (27USD) per person.

Shuttle

Most shuttles are offered by resorts and hotels to transport their guests.

Tricycle

Tricycles are the most common mode of transportation in El Nido. The fixed rate fare within town proper is P15 ($0.3 USD).

Rome to Rio

A stunning scenery in El Nido, Palawan.

Caption: A stunning scenery in El Nido, Palawan.

SEE & DO

The following is your guide to places to see and activities to enjoy while in El Nido.

1 | Secret Lagoon

It’s called Secret Lagoon for a reason.  Hidden behind giant rocks is a lagoon with clear water and white sand.  It can only be accessed by swimming or wading through a small hole in the rocks that is only visible to the surface during low tide.  It may be a small area and gets crowded during peak season but it is definitely worth visiting.  Just make sure to time your visit as getting through the narrow opening can be really hard when it’s high tide and the water may not be as clear when the tide is too low.

2 | Big Lagoon

Want a picture of you taken on a boat with two big rock formations and blue-green seawater as your background?  Then better include Big Lagoon to your itinerary.  Actually, you better not leave El Nido without enjoying the serenity of this beauty.  During high tide, the lagoon is accessible by a boat however during low tide, you will need to kayak or swim to get to the lagoon.

3 | Secret Beach

This beach is another El Nido secret you have to discover.  Only the brave can get to enjoy this because it is enclosed in limestone cliffs and getting to the shore entails swimming through a small hole in one of the cliffs.  Even the best swimmers need to be very careful not to hit the rocks while swimming through.  Aside from the pristine sand and clear water, you can also feast your eyes on colorful fishes, corals, and other marine life in Secret Beach.

4 | Snake Island

Locals call it Vigan Island but it’s actually more of a sandbar with a curved shape resembling a snake, hence the nickname “Snake Island”.  Aside from the blue-green water on both sides of the sandbar, the area also boasts of a view deck which offers a 360-degree view of the ocean and the neighboring islands.

5 | Simizu Island

The underwater life of Simizu Island (also spelled Shimizu) is teeming with colorful fishes, corals, shells, and other marine life.  The island is a popular lunch stop among tourists and boatmen.

6 | Taraw Cliff

Want to see El Nido and Bacuit Bay from the highest peak in town?  Then you shouldn’t skip Taraw Cliff.  This giant limestone karst rises 230 MASL and it’s a bit of a challenge to trek because of all the boulders and limestone rock to conquer.  The trek, no matter how difficult, is definitely worth it because of the magnificent view waiting at the summit. Getting there and back takes around 2 hours.

7 | Las Cabanas Beach

Las Cabanas is a great spot to swim and relax especially after a tiring day doing all those island hopping tours.  No boat rides necessary to get to this beach!  It’s either you take a short tricycle ride or walk to the beach entrance.  There are also some bars, restaurants, and resorts so it’s no big deal if you want to stay longer.

8 | Helicopter Island

Originally called “Dilumacad Island”, this island with long and dazzling beach with sand so fine looks like a helicopter, hence the nickname “Helicopter Island”.  It is ideal for beach bumming and also has an interesting marine life too.

9 | Twin Beaches

These Twin Beaches of Nacpan and Calitang are located in mainland El Nido hence it can be easily accessed by jeepney, tricycle or chartered van.  Nacpan Beach is a four-kilometer stretch of beach lined with coconut trees.  It has creamy white sand that seems to appear whiter on a good sunny day.  On its southern tip, it meets with the smaller Calitang Beach forming a sandbar with a low-rise hill adjacent to it.

10 | Makinit Hot Springs

It may sound like a good idea to take a dip in the hot spring after exploring the mainland but Makinit Hot Spring is for your eyes only.  Swimming is impossible as there are no concrete pools and the water is too hot for dipping.

NOTE: The Kulambo Festival occurs annually in El Nido every March 15 to 18.

Enjoy El Nido with a guide
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A table for two at one of the beach restaurants in El Nido.

Caption: A table for two at one of the beach restaurants in El Nido

EAT & DRINK

The following is your guide to the flavorful foods to enjoy and restaurants to try while in El Nido.

1 | Altrove

Trattoria Altrove is a must-place to visit when in El Nido.  Many people are always lining up to get a taste of their firewood brick oven pizza which is often listed as one of the most favorite foods among tourists.  It may take a little while for customers to get seated because of the number of people wanting to dine but it will be worth it.  Just make sure that you are not pressed for time so you will be able to enjoy your meal.

2 | Angel Wish

Angel Wish is a popular seafood restaurant that offers great value for money.  Like many other seafood restaurants in town, you get to choose your seafood and they will do the cooking for you, at a lesser price.  Angel Wish is a beach front restaurant so you will be dining with the sand on your feet and waves crashing nearby.

3 | Art Cafe

Art Cafe has an extensive menu which includes pizza, pasta, and salad, in addition to seafood.  They also have home-made cakes and other Western favorites.  Don’t be surprised if almost everyone you see in Art Cafe seems to be so busy with their phones, the resto has one of the best WiFi spots in town.

4 | Happiness Beach Bar

Happiness with every bite – that’s how most customers feel when in Happiness Beach Bar.  They serve good food be it for breakfast, lunch or dinner and they use only the freshest ingredients produced locally.  Their hummus and pita bread combo makes a great companion as you wait for the sunset and while you watch the waves crash into the shore.

5 | Mezzanine

Craving for fresh bread and sandwiches?  Head over to Mezzanine located in the center of El Nido.  Aside from the food, the restaurant has a relaxed yet a bit fancy ambiance which makes it ideal for those who want to chill and enjoy the open-air deck beach view.

KNOWN FOR: Pan de Coco (Coconut Bread)

A view from one of the resorts in El Nido.

Caption: A view from one of the resorts in El Nido.

WHERE TO STAY

There are many different types of accommodations available in this destination ranging from hostels to luxurious resorts. The following is your guide to our top choices for each range in El Nido.

1 | Amakan Bed Bunk Breakfast (Budget)

2 | Ipil Suites (Mid-Range)

3 | Lagen Island Resort (Luxury | Resort)

When doing research online of where to stay for specific destination, we use the following sites to conduct our research:

Book your room with these trusted online booking sites.  Booking online in the Philippines almost always guarantees the best price and a room when you arrive.  We use these sites frequently to get the best prices and enjoy convenient bookings. Click each of the buttons to find the best place for you at the lowest rates or use the form below:

TIP: Ipil Suites is the best property to experience this destination

Motorized outrigger boat or bangka in El Nido, Palawan.

Caption: Motorized outrigger boat or bangka in El Nido, Palawan.

BUDGET

Suggested Budget

This chart is your guide to get an idea of how much to budget daily in El Nido.   Actual amounts will depend on YOUR travel style. Keep in mind these are daily averages … some days you’ll spend more, some days you’ll spend less.  Prices are in USD.

ACCOMMODATION
FOOD
TRANSPORTATION
ATTRACTIONS
AVERAGE DAILY COST
Budget
Accommodation: $12
Food: $8
Transportation: $5
Attractions: $25
Average Daily Cost: $50
Mid-Range
Accommodation: $35
Food: $15
Transportation: $10
Attractions: $30
Average Daily Cost: $90
Luxury
Accommodation: $145
Food: $35
Transportation: $20
Attractions: $40
Average Daily Cost: $240

Travel Costs

Accommodation

A bed in a hostel dorm costs from 500 PHP ($9 USD), but smaller dorms can cost from 700 PHP ($13 USD).  For a private double, prices start around 1100 PHP ($20 USD).

Most budget hotels begin at 1200 PHP ($22 USD) per night for a double room and usually include free wifi and breakfast. For a three-star hotel, prices begin around 1,700 PHP ($31 USD) per night. AirBnB is also widespread throughout the country, with private rooms starting from as little as 1300 PHP ($23 USD) per night.  For entire apartments, expect to pay at least 1,400 PHP ($28 USD) per night.

Resorts and luxury accommodations vary greatly from 1,400 PHP ($28 USD) to 5,000+ PHP ($100+ USD). However, there are some really nice resorts and luxury accommodations which are surprisingly affordable.

We use and recommend booking online to save money using HostelWorldAgoda, and Expedia

Food

Local food is extremely cheap, with street food costing under 50 PHP ($1USD).  For an inexpensive meal at a local restaurant, prices start around 100 PHP ($2 USD).  For a meal at a mid-range restaurant with drinks and table service, expect to pay from 300 PHP ($5 USD).  Knowing that their target customers are primarily tourists, Western food venues can be pricey compared to Filipino food.  Also, some of the ingredients need to be imported, which contributes to the higher cost. Western food (burgers, pizza, pasta, etc.) is much more expensive but is still relatively affordable at around 250 PHP ($4 USD) for a meal and drink.

Fast food like McDonalds will cost around 200 PHP ($4 USD).  A beer at the bar will cost around 50-100 PHP ($1–2 USD).

A week’s worth of groceries will cost between 300-600 PHP ($6-12 USD) per person.  However, food in this country is so inexpensive, and kitchens & refrigerators are hard to come by, I don’t recommend cooking your meals here since there is plenty of delicious street food to eat at very cheap prices. You won’t make it as good as they do and the food is too delicious to miss!

Transportation

There are many modes of transportation available in the Philippines and each varies greatly. 

Public Transportation is cheap.  Bus services on the islands are inexpensive.  Local buses (called jeepneys) are the most common type of transportation in towns and cities. The fare is usually between 15-25 PHP ($.25–.50 USD).

On islands without a bus system, a taxi or tricycle is the only form of transport with fares starting at 50-500 PHP ($1-$10) USD for short trips. 

Taxis are everywhere, and they’re very cheap.  Most fares shouldn’t cost you more than 500 PHP ($10 USD) around town.  

To get between islands, you’ll need to take a boat or to fly.  There are ferries that connect the island together since they aren’t too far apart but, generally speaking, flights are the most realistic option. 

Flights between islands usually cost about 2,000-3500 PHP ($40-70 USD).  However, this isn’t the cheapest way to travel.  It’s only recommended if you have limited time. 

We recommend booking online to save money using: WayAway, Kiwi or Expedia.

Attractions & Activities

Most attractions and activities in the Philippines are pretty cheap. Most attractions throughout the area are FREE to enter, though some of the more well known and popular ones cost 5-100 PHP ($.10-$2 USD) to enter. 

Depending on the activity, most day tours only cost around 1,000-1,500 PHP ($20-30 USD), oftentimes less.  You have more bargaining power if you go with a group. If you are expecting to do some climbing, remember to pack some warm layers. It gets cold at the top!  

Other activities such as Island Hopping, scuba diving, helmet diving, swimming with whale sharks, jungle trekking, canyoning, ATVs, jet skis, wakeboarding, cruises, parasailing, horseback riding, cultural experiences, and tours can cost as much as 1,250-5,000+ PHP ($25-100+ USD).

The Philippines is one of the least expensive places to learn how to scuba dive. Learning to scuba dive usually costs about 15,000-20,000 PHP ($300-400 USD), but often includes FREE accommodation for the duration of the course, which lasts three or four days.

You can book your tours and activities when you arrive.  Stick to travel agents who are selling on the ground. If a travel agent won’t negotiate with you, move on to the next until you find one that will.  You can book online to save time and effort although it costs a little more. You can check Klook to plan your vacation or get a travel guide.

Typical Costs in El Nido in 2023:

  • Hostel Dorm Bed: 500-1000 PHP ($9–18 USD) night
  • Budget Hotel:  1100 PHP ($20 USD) night
  • Mid-Range Hotel:  1500 PHP ($31 USD) night
  • Street Food: 50-150 PHP ($1–3 USD) meal
  • Restaurant Meals: 200-300 PHP ($4–6 USD) meal
  • Local Beer: 50-100 PHP ($1–2 USD) bottle
  • 1.5L Bottle of Water: 38 PHP ($.75 USD) bottle
  • Tricycle Ride:  20-100 PHP ($.5-2 USD) ride
  • Public Ferry Ride: 200-300 PHP ($4–6 USD) ride
  • Domestic Flight: 2,500-3,500 PHP ($45–65 USD) flight
  • Island-Hopping: starts at 1,500 PHP ($27 USD) per person
 

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Landscape in El Nido, Palawan

Caption: Landscape in El Nido, Palawan

ADVICE

The following is some of our best advice on traveling to this destination.  This is your guide on what you need to know BEFORE you go to El Nido!

Tips & Hacks

The following are this guide’s Top 10 Tips when visiting El Nido:

  • Be aware that a tourist VISA is only 30 days. You can extend it upon arrival, or within the first 30 days, for an additional 30 days for a fee of approximately 3,000 pesos.
  • Don’t buy into the fear factor. The Philippines has an unjustified reputation of being a dangerous place. It’s true there are security guards everywhere, but that is to deter theft.
  • Manila is NOT the Philippines. Get outside of the cities to see the real Philippines.
  • Don’t over plan. Boats, buses, and even airplane schedules are notoriously unreliable. Be flexible.
  • Check the weather. The weather varies greatly throughout the Philippines daily.
  • Typhoons can have a huge impact on your plans. Account for this when planning your trip.
  • It’s not cool to raise your voice or show outward frustration in public.
  • Be polite at all times. Realize that your country’s sense of humor may be different from Filipino humor and take this into account when interacting with Filipinos and while in public places.
  • Things move at a slower pace. Accept it … don’t get frustrated … but do account for it.
  • Don’t drink the tap water… but stay hydrated! Save money by buying large bottles (6-10 liters) of water and using it to fill your water bottle or hydration bladder in your backpack.

For a complete list of our travel tips & hacks, check out the following guide and be sure to download a FREE copy for yourself.

VIEW & DOWNLOAD: The Ultimate Travel Tips & Hacks Guide for the Philippines

Money Matters

The Philippines has its own currency called the Philippine Peso. Banks, ATMs, and money-changers can be found in El Nido. If you are exploring the neighboring islands or provinces, make sure to bring enough cash that will last until the next time you get to an ATM or bank since most tours, transportation, and budget accommodations only accept cash.

READ MORE: Money in the Philippines: Everything You Need to Know

Health & Safety

Crime

While overall the Philippines is a safe country to visit, as is El Nido, you need to use common sense just as you would in any country, especially when traveling, and in a city, town, or area you are unfamiliar with.

Consult your hotel or resort front desk as they are more likely to give you reliable information than a random stranger on the street. Be careful when approaching strangers and selective about who you approach. Always pay attention to your gut feeling and follow it.

READ MORE: How to Avoid Scams & Thieves in the Philippines

Safety

There are many things to consider when traveling in order to stay safe … things that we may not be accustomed to during our normal everyday lives. The following are articles about tips on how to stay safe while traveling in the Philippines:

TIP: The best way to avoid problems and stay safe is to travel with a local resident.

Health

Staying fit & healthy can be challenging when traveling in the Philippines. 

The tropical Philippines climate requires you to prepare for illnesses that you may not normally be accustomed to. 

The following are our Top 10 Tips for Staying Healthy while Traveling in the Philippines:

  • Maintain a Balanced Diet
  • Stay Hydrated but Only Drink Bottled Water
  • Get Plenty of Rest
  • Allow Your Body Time to Adjust 
  • Keep Active
  • Sanitize Often 
  • Be Aware of Food Safety Concerns
  • Take Your Vitamins
  • Practice Safe Sex
  • Be Prepared Should You Get Sick

READ MORE:  Stay Healthy in the Philippines: How to Avoid Getting Sick

Staying Connected

You need to have a local-based SIM card in order to stay connected when in the Philippines. Network giants such as Globe and Smart have SIM cards you can use to make calls, send text messages, and also to connect to the Internet. A SIM card costs around 50 PHP ($1 USD) and usually comes with a FREE load worth 50 PHP ($1 USD). You can buy a card containing a code you can enter on your phone to replenish your load or buy an electronic load that is available almost anywhere in the city.

While you may not have problems with signal strength when in the city, it is not always the case when on islands or in remote areas of a province.  So when arranging for transportation pick up, say when renting a boat to take you to and pick you up from the island, it would be best that you make it clear what time you need to be picked up before the boatman leaves.

Recommended Travel Apps

Apps for smartphones and tablets can be useful both before you leave and while you’re traveling.  Most are available for iPhones and Android phones.

The following are our Top 10 most useful travel apps on our smartphones when traveling in the Philippines:

  1. Grab (taxis/ride shares)
  2. Get Your Guide (tours & tickets)
  3. WhatsApp (phone calls)
  4. WayAway (flights)
  5. 12Go (transportation)
  6. Agoda (accommodations)
  7. Expedia (accommodations & Flights)
  8. Hostelworld (accommodations)
  9. Kiwi (flights)
  10. Klook (attractions & activities )

Be certain to download and set up apps BEFORE leaving on your trip to make certain each is installed and working properly.

For our complete list of travel apps that we use and recommend while traveling in the Philippines, checkout our checklist below. 

READ MORE: The Ultimate List of Travel Apps for the Philippines

Itinerary

Trying to decide what to do when traveling to a destination for the first time can be a bit overwhelming given your lack of familiarity with the place along with all of the available options. 

We’ve created the following itinerary to help simplify the process and ensure that you get the most out of your trip.  Although we provide a 7 day itinerary for this destination, it can always be adjusted to fit the length of your trip.

VIEW: El-Nido 7-Day Travel Itinerary

Packing Checklist

The secret to a successful and stress-free trip is to start by using a packing list.  This will reduce anxiety from the start and ensure that nothing important is forgotten when packing.   To make this process easy for you, we’ve created a detailed packing list.  Click the link below to download it for FREE now. 

Carrying your checklist with you during your travels can be useful when repacking, by helping to ensure that you do not leave anything behind.

VIEW & DOWNLOAD: Our Ultimate Packing Guide & Checklist

Things to Remember

This guide recommends to take note of the following while traveling in El Nido or in the Philippines in general.

Smoking

There is a nationwide ban which prohibits smoking in public places including indoors, the streets, on sidewalks, in restaurants , and on public transportation, requiring smokers to use designated smoking areas.  Selling tobacco to and purchasing from or for minors is also prohibited. Violators are subject to fines (up to 5,000 PHP | $100 USD) and even 4 months in prison.

Alcohol

The minimum legal drinking age is 18.  Alcohol such as beer and hard drinks can easily be bought in grocery and convenience stores.  The most common alcoholic beverage is beer, generally served cold.  Local alcoholic drinks include tuba (coconut wine which is usually very strong) and potent moonshine-like clear liquors made from sugar or fruit.  Imported beer, wine, and name brand hard alcohol are available but expensive.

Drugs

Drugs are illegal in the Philippines.  Don’t use, buy, or sell any non-prescription drugs while in the Philippines … not even marijuana.  It is considered an especially heinous crime to buy from, for, or sell drugs to children.  The penalties are severe … up to and including death.

Nudity

Public nudity is illegal in the Philippines and is not tolerated.  Most locals consider it offensive.  There are laws which prohibit provocative and erotic clothing and swimwear, therefore carefully consider your clothings and swimwear choices to make certain they are not too revealing.

Foreigners & Expats

If you are not a Filipino citizen, remember that you are a guest when visiting this country … be certain to act accordingly.  Respect the people, their customs, and the environment and wlidlife. You can be deported and banned … so behave … but have fun and enjoy all that this wonderful destination has to offer.

READ MORE: Practical Information about the Philippines

RECOMMENDED PRODUCTS

CamelPack

I always carry a Camelbak Hydration Pack with me when traveling. Not only does it allow me to pack all my daily gear and snacks, but it also has a 3-liter water bladder which holds enough water to get me through the entire day.

Bluetooth Speaker

Compact yet mighty, a bluetooth speaker setup is a breeze, and the sound quality it delivers for its size is nothing short of impressive. Beyond its audio prowess, it boasts exceptional durability, making it an ideal companion for outdoor adventures.

UV Shirt

UV Shirt is an essential when travelling in a tropical country. Providing reliable protection during long hours in the water, not only comfortable but also ensures a secure shield against the elements.

Snorkel Gear

For my island-hopping escapades, a snorkel gear set has become indispensable. Designed to enhance the joy of snorkeling and free diving, each piece ensures comfort and functionality. Together, they create an immersive and enjoyable underwater experience.

Adventure Camera

As a long-time enthusiast of GoPro cameras, I can attest to their user-friendly nature, excellent image stabilization, and impressive footage quality. Waterproof and rugged, the GoPro is my reliable companion for capturing adventures in any environment.

Aqua Shoes

When it comes to beach footwear, aqua shoes offer exceptional support, breathability, and overall comfort. Well-crafted and sturdy, it provides effective protection against rocky terrain, quick drying for added convenience, and easy maintenance. A must-have for any outdoor enthusiast.

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About the Author

Patrick

Patrick is an entrepreneur, digital nomad, explorer, and photographer. Patrick is always in search of fun and adventure. He is well travelled throughout the world, and although location independent, his home base is Phoenix, Arizona in the USA. Patrick loves island lifestyle which is no wonder why he is so interested in spending time in the Philippines with it’s over 7,000 islands. Patrick created this site to share his knowledge of and experiences in the Philippines with Filipinos as well as other foreigners.

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