This is a new YouTube Travel Video about about our stay in El Nido on the island Palawan in the Philippines during our 3-month travel through South East Asia.
Actually El Nido is the name of the whole northern region from Palawan, but most people only know the small fisher town on the west coast. From El Nido you can directly access the beautiful Bacuit Archipelago which lies in front of the small town. This is why all tourists are going to El Nido and why the small town is booming since a few years and constantly growing.
How to get to El Nido
You will probably fly into Puerto Princess, the main town of Palawan. From there it is very easy to buy a ticket for a minivan which drives to El Nido. We did not drive directly to El Nido. First we drove to Port Barton and from there we arranged our seats in a minivan with the help of the hotel staff. The minivan picked us up directly at the coast guard office in Port Barton and drove about 4 hours. The route from Puerto Princesa directly to El Nido will take about 7 hours.
Where to sleep in El Nido
There are tons of hotels, hostels, guesthouses and beach resorts in El Nido Town. We wanted to book the hotel one week ahead and thought it will be easy, but because it was January, almost all hotels have been booked out! It was a struggle. Fortunately the hotel staff in Puerto Princess could find a hotel room for us at Lolo Oyong Pension, a hotel where mostly Pinoy Tourists are going. When we arrived there, the hotel made a very nice impression. Unfortunately our room was directly on Rizal Stress, the main road of the town with constant traffic. The noise was unbearable. That is why we were looking for a different hotel and that night and we have been very lucky! A security guard must have noticed that we were looking for a room and that we were asking around and he asked us if we were looking for a room, because his boss has some available rooms in his guesthouse. This is how we found Villa de los Reyes. The owners, Romeo and his wife, are lovely and nice people. The guesthouse was somehow our base in El Nido for two weeks. It lies directly on the beach but not too close to all the parties and clubs and the rooms are very clean.
Where to eat in El Nido
El Nido has a lot of restaurants, but our Top 3 are the following:
Giovanz Beef Stew and Grill is a unimpressive street food style restaurant and it was right in front of our “Villa”. The Beef Stew is the signature meal and delicious! But also the breakfast was great and only half the price of other, more hip, restaurants.
If you walk down the street in front of the beach you will come by another unimpressive little Falafel booth. There you will find the best Falafel we have ever had! You probably have to wait in line, but it is worth the wait.
If you walk further on this street, almost till the end where you have to go right or left, on the right side to the beach, you can find Odessa Mama Street Cafe and let me tell you, you don’t want to miss this place. It sells Ukrainian Street Food and it is fu** delicious! We had to go there twice it was so good! The price is quite high but all the dishes are handmade and made with love.
What to do in El Nido
Island Hopping in the Bacuit Archipelago
I guess if you want to go to El Nido, it is because of the Bacuit Archipelago and because of the island hopping. You can find plenty of information about the different tours and there are tons of shops which will sell tickets for island hopping. We did Tour A and C. The Archipelago is crazy beautiful and it was both times an amazing day on the boat with lots of snorkeling and the served lunch was always great. But because of the big amount of boats and tourists, it is not as great as it seems on all the videos you can watch on Youtube. They will not show you the Tourist with their life vests and fins flopping in the water and destroying all the corals underneath them. That was really awful. The hotspots in the Archipelago like Big and Small Lagoon or Hidden and Secret Beach are not worth the hype and all the corals around these spots are dead because of the boats anchoring there. If you are lucky your tour guide knows some secret spots with good corals and the other tourists on the boat agree to stop there for 30 minutes or so.
We have been very lucky to be followed by dolphins and whales! It was one of the best moments in my entire life when a huge whale jumped out of the water maybe 30 meters away from out small boat.
Diving in the Bacuit Archipelago
We have been scuba diving with Deep Blue Safari which we can really recommend. The boat and the crew was amazing. You can see some scenes from the diving in the video. Unfortunately the view was not the best, but the dive spots around Helicopter Island and Miniloc Island have been great.
Exploring the El Nido Province and Beaches
We rented two scooters in El Nido and drove to our favorite place in Palawan: Nacpan Beach. We had a beach cottage for two nights and returned to El Nido town for one night. Then we made a 3 day scooter road trip around El Nido Province. I will write about this on my next blog post, when I will post the next Vlog with more footage of Nacpan Beach and of our Scooter “road trip”. But I suggest you to explore the surroundings of El Nido because El Nido itself isn’t really a beauty and you can’t really do a beach day there. You can either rent your own scooter or take a tricycle to reach the surrounding beaches, but it is definitely cheaper to rent your own scooter. Because we rented the scooters for 5 days it was cheaper and we paid about 40 Pesos per day per scooter.