Every year YPT go to the genuinely voted best damn island in the world, Palawan, and the not-so-untouched paradise of El Nido for a week of messing about on boats and drinking rum like pirates on the Palawan Island Hopping Tour.
How to get to El Nido
Given it’s an island, you can’t just drive here, but there are ferries from Luzon and various other places that will get you to Palawan.
Generally speaking, though, you should fly here as it is cheap and quick. The cheapest and most regular flights are to Puerto Princesa, which is still another 6 or 7 hours from El Nido. This leaves the option of shared taxis, very uncomfortable buses, or renting your own vehicle (as we do). Costs are reasonable, and vary depending on how much luxury you want.
Upon returning to PP, Manila flights can be as little as $50 each way, with there also being an airport in El Nido. The flights are much less regular, however, and up to three times as expensive.
Accommodation in El Nido
We’ve been running the island hopping trip for the last 5 years and things have changed a lot over that time. There are no big chains yet, but there are resorts from $1000 a night down to dorms and private house rentals; prices depend greatly upon how central you want to be.
For our trip we stayed outside town at the Orange Pearl Resort, which was beachside and with its own semi-private beach and zip-line. Rooms starts here from about $40 a night depending on season.
What is there to see in El Nido?
If you’re coming to El Nido the primary reason is to go island hopping, with the choices being A-B-C-D and going from $25-30 depending on which trip you take. Island hopping has become big business, so the days of getting your own private boat are almost long gone and you will generally join a group. On the YPT trip we do have a private boat.
Motorbikes are cheap to rent in El Nido, and make a great day out if you want to get out of town.
Of course, you could just drink on the beach.
What is there to eat in El Nido?
All the usual crap you’d expect from a beachside town in the Philippines, with particularly good ones being the beachside Havana Bar, the Template Restaurant just off the beach, and the weirdly located Odessa Kitchen (Ukrainian) somehow ending up beachside in El Nido. Food is great at Odessa Kitchen, but avoid the draft beer.
What is the nightlife in El Nido like?
Beach bars, hipster bars, happy hours, bad karaoke, cheap liquor stores. It might not be Ibiza, but you can have fun in El Nido.
Is it worth visiting El Nido?
El Nido is no longer the untouched backwater it once was, but the reason it has become popular is the sheer beauty of the beaches and island hopping here. I’m sure El Nido will become another hell like Boracay one day, but for now, simply make the most of El Nido and Palawan whilst you can.
Getting out of El Nido
About an hour north of El Nido is the “new” El Nido, or Nacpan, a secluded beach area that has also got a lot more developed over the years, but is still a great place to go.
Aside from that you can get boats to Port Barton and Coron from El Nido, or it’s back on the bus and back to PP!