Best beaches in El Nido, Palawan

El Nido, Palawan is a place with some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Many of them are located in El Nido region, however the beach by the town is not the best place for recreational activities. Of course many people don’t mind to chill and swim there, but there are many other beaches with much clearer water outside the town.

We’ve put together top 10 places with the most beautiful beaches in El Nido. Let’s check them out!

1. Nacpan Beach and Calitang Beach

Yes, we say that about many beaches, but this one really is a true paradise on earth. And many travel bloggers and vloggers agree with us that this might be the most beautiful beach in El Nido. It is wide and long, and the water there is amazing. And not crowded at all!

The best way to get there is by scooter (rental cost is around p500 plus fuel), as it gives more freedom to stop by at any time and any place you want to, and it is way cheaper than going by tricycle (p1000-1200).

At the end of the Nacpan beach lies another beautiful little bay, called Calitang beach. That’s why this place is called Twin beach.

When going to Nacpan beach, you can stop by the beautiful Nagkalit-Kalit waterfall.

2. Beaches on Cadlao Island

Cadlao island and its beaches can be reached by island hopping tour D or with kayak. The second option is harder, but it’s much more fun plus you can get there first and be the only one for a while if you start kayaking early. Tandem kayak rental price is only p500 per whole day.

Kayaking at Paradise beach with clear kayak

Kayaking at Paradise beach with clear kayak

Mostly people choose to kayak only to the nearest beach on Cadlao island – the Paradise beach. But if you have enough strength and determination, we definitely recommend to kayak also to Cadlao lagoon, which is located 7km from El Nido central beach. The lagoon is absolutely amazing and the long way is totally worth it.

Cadlao lagoon on Cadlao island - El Nido, Palawan

Cadlao lagoon on Cadlao island – El Nido, Palawan

3. Marimegmeg beach aka Las Cabanas beach

This is one of the most popular beaches in the whole El Nido area, which can easily be reached from El Nido town by tricycle for p150 one way. The beach has white sand and a clear greenish-blue water, and it offers the best sunsets in El Nido.

Sunset at Las Cabanas aka Marimegmeg beach

Sunset at Las Cabanas aka Marimegmeg beach

It also offers a range of different activities – kayaks, SUPs, bars and restaurants. If you prefer a more quiet place to stay, there are few nice hotels and resorts like Las Cabanas Beach Resort.

4. Dolarog beach

This is the most remote beach in El Nido that can be reached by walking. It is located southwards of Las Cabanas beach and it offers an amazing view to the sea and Pinagbuyutan island. A perfect place for nature and silence lovers.

View to Dolarog beach and Pinagbuyutan island

View to Dolarog beach and Pinagbuyutan island

Travel tip: rent a kayak and go to Pinagbuyutan island!

5. Simizu island aka Shimizu Island

A very small island with sandy beaches and a clear blue water, perfect for swimming and snorkeling. You can get there with an island hopping tour A.

6. Duli beach

A very remote beach, perfect for relaxing and surfing. It has a little snack and beer bar and a surfboard rental. Getting there may be a little challenging, but it’s definitely worth the effort.

7. Ipil Ipil beaches, 7 Commandos beach and Papaya beach

All these beaches are near from each other and can be reached by island hopping tour A or by kayak from Corong Corong or central El Nido Beach. The water is really beautiful there, but the only downside is tourist crowds, which you can escape by kayaking early in the morning.

8. Vigan “Snake” Island

Don’t worry – no snakes there! The reason it is called Snake island is because of the long sand bar formed from the currents. The water there is super clear and it can be very calm and silent if you get there early enough with the tour B.

9. Pinagbuyutan Island

A visit to this cool island is a part from the island hopping tour B. But if you want to stay there for a longer time and just chill out on the beach, you can rent a kayak and paddle to it from Dolarog beach.

10. Corong Corong beach

This beach is a great place for sunset watching and romantic dinner. Corong Corong is much less crowded than the central beach and it is really clean considering the fact that it also has a small port. You can easily get there by tricycle in less than 10 minutes.

To sum up

All the mentioned beaches and islands are pretty easily accessible to anyone. The only question is about how much time and effort you want to spend to get there. There are also a range of private beaches accessible only to resort guests like Miniloc, Matinloc, Lagen and Entalula island.

If you have an idea which islands and beaches you would like to visit, you can choose an accommodation based on your wishlist to save your time. Read more about accommodation options in article Where to stay in El Nido.

Tao Philippines Expedition

We are pretty sure that anyone who has done this expedition would looove to repeat it again and again. Why? Well, there are so many reasons that it would take a whole lot than a blog article to explain it. Luckily for you we have put together the most important information and the main details you have to know about this adventure – what to expect and how much it costs.

TAO Philippines expedition

View from TAO Philippines expedition sailing boat – arriving to basecamp

What is a Tao expedition?

In Filipino “Tao” means “human”. It symbolizes a journey, during which you can reconnect with yourself and your thoughts, and look at things from a completely different point of view. In short, it is a five-day boat trip through the Coron Bay and Sulu Sea, which includes overnight stay on a very remote tourist-free and wifi-free islands. Tao calls it a digital detox.

TAO Philippines paraw sailing boat "Balatik"

TAO Philippines paraw sailing boat “Balatik”

First, it must be said that this expedition is not for everyone. It doesn’t provide a nice bed and air conditioner and there are a number of factors that somebody may not like – rain, big waves, non-stop rooster crowing, limited privacy, sunburn, mosquito bites etc. So, if you already scrunch your nose about these things, it’s not for you.

Depending on your budget, your wishes and your time options, you can choose one of the following expeditions:

  • Sailing Tao Experience. This expedition is for independent travelers with a common goal – to escape the civilization in the most beautiful way possible with like-minded people. This five-day/four-night adventure is intended for a group up to 23 people. Price per person – 600 USD.
  • Open Group Tao Experience. This five-day/four-night expedition is also for independent traveler group up to 24 people. The only difference is that this expedition takes place on a simpler boat. Price per person – 545 USD.
  • Island Safari To Camp Ngey! Ngey! A new project from Tao Philippines – a three-day/two-night adventure in the abandoned resort of Manguengey on the remote Busuanga island. Price per person – 325 USD.

It is possible to book a private expedition as well, but these are the most popular ones.

What to expect?

First of all expect that for a whole five days you will be doing nothing but relaxing, eating great food, snorkeling and swimming in the clearest waters in Philippines. Not too shabby, huh?

Each day is different and filled with new exciting things to do like caving, cliff jumping, snorkeling, volleyball playing etc. But the most exciting day always is the first one when you get to know the crew members and all the adventurers.

Voleyball with TAO Philippines crew members on Daracotan island

Voleyball with TAO Philippines crew members on Daracotan island

Tao mornings start early – around 6 am. Some start the day with coffee, some with hangover and some with yoga class. Each day the boat stops at three places – secluded beaches, huge caves or breathtaking snorkeling sites. Nothing is obligatory on this expedition – if you want to, you can just stay on the boat deck and read a book or join the others for adventures.

Every night shortly before the sunset the boat stops at different location for overnight stay. And it’s always so much fun – karaoke, bonfires, drinks and talks until the sun comes up.

Accommodations

Accommodations are called basecamps, and each night it is different location – a local village or deserted island. Everyone sleeps in a private or shared bungalow while listening to gecko songs and palm rustling. Very exotic!

Tuka huts - Filipino bamboo architecture

Tuka huts - Filipino bamboo architecture

Tuka huts – Filipino bamboo architecture

Particularly interesting place is the main basecamp -Tao Headquarters, in which they grow the food that Tao adventurers are eating on the deck. Oh, and another thing – they offer to enjoy an hour long massage for free! And the second one is also almost for free – only p300, so please be generous and leave the tip, as these women work really hard.

Food & Drinks

Similarly to exploring new islands, also each meal is like a little exotic journey for taste buds, not to mention the breathtaking view – turquoise water, white sand beaches, palm trees… Can you imagine a better place for your dinner?

Tao cook is the Master of the kitchen. Adventurers are abundantly fed three times a day, not to mention the treats between the meals. Lunch is always on the boat deck, but breakfast and dinner usually are served at the basecamps.

Meals were mostly based on on freshly caught seafood and of course rice, the Filipino power. Almost all the food is grown in Tao farms – bananas, rice, coconuts, calamondins and other fruits and vegetables, and also the meat.

Each meal is like a little exotic journey for taste buds - TAO Philippines

Each meal is like a little exotic journey for taste buds – TAO Philippines

As for the drinks, water on the deck is always available, and so is two big cold boxes filled with soft drinks, beers and rum. Each night before stepping off the deck the crew serves their speciality – jungle juice. It’s a mix of water, local rum and pineapple juice. Very simple, but yummy and strong!

A bit of TAO Philippines history

It all began in 2006, when Tao was founded as a social enterprise with an aim to educate the island residents. So far they have established dozens of schools and a number of workshops where locals have mastered the English language and different types of skills allowing them use the resources available to them more efficiently.

Young men are mainly trained for the work on board, while women work in farms, create handicrafts and ecological soaps and shampoos, and also work as masseuses.

There are about 300 people working in Tao community and 150 of them are paid employees.

Who sponsors it all? You, me and everyone else who participates in Tao expeditions. This is one of the reasons why Filipinos really respect the travelers, as we are the main reason why they are able to develop remote rural areas. However, the respect should be mutual, because we are only guests at their beautiful home.

To sum it up…

This surely is an ideal adventure for those who feel really connected with nature and for those who want to completely forget their daily routine and find a cure of Facebook addiction. You arrive there as a stranger but leave as a friend, and this feeling stays in your heart and mind for a long time. Definitely the most unique way to travel around Palawan!

Travel tip!

If you plan to travel to other places in Philippines, try to book the Tao expedition at the end of your vacation, otherwise all the other places will not satisfy you after this kind of adventure.

What others have to say about the Tao? Read plenty of other great reviews in TripAdvisor and book your next adventure now!

TAO Philippines expedition

Where to stay in El Nido?

There are several different locations where to stay in El Nido – from budget hostels in the town to luxury overwater bungalows on remote islands.

For those who want to do some island hopping and just chill by the bar, the best place to stay is El Nido town. But for those who are planning to stay there for a while and enjoy the beautiful nature, the best location might be some nice resort at Las Cabanas or Corong Corong beach. If the budget is not an issue, you can choose accommodation on some of the beautiful remote islands (Miniloc, Matinloc etc.)

You can do the island hopping from almost any point you are staying at, but keep in mind that the more remote area the less likely you will go with other tourists on the boat. It means that you will have to book a private tour which is more expensive (about 4500-6000 PHP).

More about resorts and hotels…

Hotels and hostels in El Nido town

There is a pretty good choice of cheap hostels for less than 20 USD, but this time we’ll take a look at the most wanted almost-cheap hotels in El Nido. The price range in these hotels varies from 35 to 85 USD per night, so pretty much everyone can find something for their wallet size.

  • El Nido Beach Hotel. Great choice for those who are staying in El Nido for just a few days. The best parts about this place are the friendly staff, great location and the view from the rooms (ocean-view rooms). Hotel is located in a short walking distance to plenty of restaurants and the tour boats. The downside part is the beach, as it is unsuitable for swimming.
  • Garden Bay Beach Resort. This quiet and cozy resort is set in a private bay 1,500 m north of the El Nido town. You can either take a 20-minute walk or have a tricycle ride to get to the town center. Resort is surrounded by forest and has its own sandy beach, perfect for swimming and snorkeling.
  • Aqua Travel Lodge. Great location, friendly and helpful staff. Similarly to Beach Hotel, this place is great for those who are staying there for just a few nights or for those who like to party, as everything you need is located within a 2-minute walk, including the tour boats.

View hotel offers in El Nido

Hotels and Resorts in Las Cabanas Beach

Las Cabanas beach area is a place where you can find the most quiet accommodations in El Nido and the most beautiful sunsets. Accommodation cost varies from 50 to 300 USD per night. Here are some of the most popular resorts and hotels in Las Cabanas:

  • Las Cabanas Beach Resort. A perfect place for those who want to escape the world and just enjoy the nature or a good book in a bamboo hammock. Not the cheapest place there, but definitely worth a stay.
  • St. John Island View Pensionne. Located a few minute walk from the beach, this place is known for it’s super friendly and helpful staff and the cleanliness. A good budget hotel.
  • El Nido Bayview Hotel. Definitely not a typical beach resort – it’s literally a stairway to…well, not heaven, but close to that. Hotel is located a few minute walk from the beach and the views from the rooms are amazing.

View hotel offers in Las Cabanas

Hotels and Resorts in Corong Corong beach

Corong Corong is the closest, nicest beach to El Nido town center. There are plenty of nice restaurants and places to stay. Accommodation cost varies from 50 to 300 USD per night. Here are some of the most popular resorts and hotels in Corong Corong:

  • Eco Hotel El Nido. Located only 1-minute walk away from the beach, this nice and quiet place is perfect for a longer stay. Friendly and helpful staff and spacious rooms.
  • Talindak Beach Cottages. A place that offers more than just a room and bed – you can rent there a snorkel and diving equipment and have a sip of cold beer after a hot day at the on-site bar.
  • Elnido Greenviews Beach Resort. A perfect place for those who love to chill out with a drink on the balcony with a super nice view.

View hotel offers in Corong Corong

Island resorts in El Nido

Are you looking for an honest answer about the best place to stay in El Nido? Well, we don’t have it. But we sure know that the answer lies somewhere in the beautiful resorts on remote El Nido islands. Yes, these resorts are pricey, but oh so worth it! The price range varies from 300 to 500 USD per night.

The only downside on the islands is the fact that there are no shops, no markets, nothing. But of course the resorts will provide you with fancy food and alcohol, so it’s probably not the worst thing. These places are built for those who just want to escape the city bustle and relax in a serene and beautiful environment.

Usually hotels on islands offer kayak rental or private boat tours to nearest lagoons and beaches, so there are plenty options to do – snorkeling, diving, fishing or just exploring the islands.

El Nido Resorts – Miniloc Island

This place is a true treasure hidden in the Bacuit Bay. Miniloc luxury resort offers a native like coastal village with a cool, rusty design. Here you can swim with huge jack fish and explore the beautiful underwater world.

Make a reservation

Travel tip: You can rent a kayak early in the morning and go to Small lagoon and Big lagoon while there are no other tourists there!

El Nido Resorts – Lagen Island

Lagen island resort is perfect for those who love forest and eco based accommodation, as this place is called an Eco-Sanctuary. Here you not only can swim in the clear blue water, but also have a hike at the densest forest of Bacuit Bay and explore the coves and the truly beautiful flora and fauna.

Make a reservation

El Nido Resorts – Pangulasian Island

Pangulasian Island is also an Eco-Luxury resort based in Bacuit Bay, El Nido. Set between a white sand beach and a tropical forest, this resort is famous for its spectacular views at both sunrise and sunset. An ideal place for those who love to enjoy a drink on the fancy patio.

Make a reservation

El Nido Resorts – Apulit Island

The luxury Apulit resort is located in the sapphire blue Taytay Bay. This is the right place for those who are looking not only for a calm escape from the world – you definitely can get a little adrenaline dose here. The resort offers exciting activities for adventurers like cliff climbing, diving and caving.

Make a reservation

Matinloc Resort

Luxury accommodations, private boat tours, scuba diving, fancy dining and wining, luxury spa and more cool things are waiting for you at the beautiful Matinloc resort. And all of this is set on the beautiful little sapphire bay!

Make a reservation

As you can see, El Nido is a place where you can get anything! Just select the place that meets your needs and budget best and enjoy the beautiful El Nido region, because at the end of the day it doesn’t matter where you are staying – you’re in tropics baby! Enjoy. 🙂

How to get to El Nido?

Getting to El Nido might not be as cheap and easy if you want to get there fast. But if you don’t mind the long hours, there are few cost efficient ways how to get to El Nido.

The most popular way to travel around Palawan

When going to El Nido, most of the travellers usually choose to travel around the entire island of Palawan including both Coron island and Puerto Princesa city. The recreational options there are endless – either it is Underground river tour, island hopping, snorkeling or scuba diving, just name it. The route is equally popular both ways, but if you later plan to visit other places in Philippines such as Cebu, in that case the most convenient way to get there is from Puerto Princesa airport.

How to get to El Nido From Manila

There are a few options how get there from Manila – with direct flights to El Nido and with flights to Puerto Princesa or Coron. If you choose the second or third option, you can take a ferry or a bus to El Nido depending on your location. So here are all the transportation options in Palawan.

Direct flights from Manila to El Nido

This is definitely the fastest and most convenient way to get to El Nido. The flight from Manila takes about 1 hour and there are at least two flights daily – both ways. Direct flights are offered by regional airline company AirSWIFT. Just keep in mind that direct flight to El Nido can cost at least 2 times more expensive than other ways.

Many hotels offer airport transport services straight from the airport to your accommodation. No worries if you haven’t booked a hotel or airport transfer – you can get to El Nido center with a tricycle for about 200 pesos.

Flights from Manila to Coron, Busuanga airport

Decided to go to Coron? Good choice, since at least three low fare airline companies  – SkyJet, Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific – fly to this destination. An average cost of one-way ticket per person is 3500 PHP (70 US dollars).

Flights from Manila to Puerto Princesa

Similarly to Coron, there are plenty of daily flights to Puerto Princesa offered by AirAsia, Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines.  An average cost of one-way ticket per person is also 3500 PHP.

Flights from Cebu to El Nido

Of course not everyone comes to El Nido from Manila, therefore you should know that there are direct flights available from Cebu to El Nido offered by AirSwift. Yes, the cost per ticket is a bit pricey, but you’ll be there in less than two hours!

Flights from Cebu to Puerto Princesa

If you have enough time and want to save some money, the best way to start your trip around the Palawan, is by flying from Cebu to Puerto Princesa. The PP region offers some really cool activities like a tour to Underground River or a visit to Ugong Rock and zipline.

You can book the flight at Cheapflights website, but try to do it timely, as the flights get sold out very fast.

Boat from Manila to El Nido

Yes, it is possible to get from Manila to El Nido by boat, but, as you may imagine, it is a very long trip and not advisable, unless you are really afraid to fly. But if you still choose to travel by ferry, first you have to book the ticket from Manila to Coron at 2Go Travel website. The good news here – the ticket is really cheap – about 1880 PHP.

When you reach Coron, you can either stay there for a while or continue your trip to El Nido by another ferry.

Tao Philippines

This option is for those who are not in a hurry at all and want to get from Coron to El Nido (and vice versa) in the most exotic way possible. Tao Philippines offers a 5-day long boat expedition on the most remote islands in the country.

To sum up

The most popular way to get to El Nido, Palawan, is by taking a plane from Manila to Puerto Princesa, and then taking a bus (or any other vehicle) from Puerto Princesa to El Nido. Yes, it takes about one day, but at least it won’t make your wallet hurt.

Second best option is direct flight from Manila to El Nido. In such way you will spend some time, but not the money, so it all comes down to preferences and your budget options.

El Nido Travel Guide – The most wanted destination of Philippines in a nutshell

If you are here, it means you probably have at least a vague idea about the small town of El Nido and its beautiful surrounding region.

Over the past decade this part of Palawan has increasingly become super popular among tourists all over the world. And no wonder why – it offers some of the clearest water in the world and amazing white sand beaches, not to mention impressive limestone rocks and hauntingly beautiful waterfalls. All in all – a perfect tropical destination.

How to get to El Nido?

This short El Nido travel guide will show you three ways how to get there: by air, land and sea transport.

AIR. This is definitely the fastest and most convenient way to get to El Nido. The flight from Manila takes about 1 hour and there are at least two flights daily – both ways. Direct flights are offered by regional airline company AirSWIFT. Just keep in mind that direct flights are at least 2 times more expensive than other ways how to get to El Nido.

AIR-FERRY. If you are not in a hurry and want to save some money, there is a longer and way cheaper way to get there. First, you have to fly from Manila to Busuanga island with Cebu Pacific and then take a ferry from Coron to El Nido.

AIR-BUS. Another cheaper way to get there is to fly to Puerto Princesa with Cebu Pacific and take a bus (or any other vehicle) to El Nido.

Both last two options gives an opportunity to stop halfway for a while and enjoy an awesome island hopping in Coron or the amazing Underground river in Puerto Princesa.

More detailed information about transportation is provided in article: How to get to El Nido

Accommodations in El Nido

El Nido offers a wide range of accommodation options – from cheap sea cottages to fancy high-end resorts. Accommodation can be selected not only by price, but also according to other criteria:

  1. El nido town center offers an easy access to all the restaurants and markets, but it’s not quiet. There is a range of budget hostels, as well as more pricey hotels with a seaview (like El Nido Beach Hotel).
  2. If you are looking for a more quiet place, better choose Corong Corong or Las Cabanas beach area. Both areas are nice and calm but still offer some great restaurants and bars.
  3. If the budget is not an issue, you can choose accommodation on some of the islands (Miniloc island, Matinloc island etc.).

More detailed information about accommodation you can find in this article: Where to stay in El Nido

The best hotel deals and discounts can be found on HotelsCombined.com.

Las Cabanas Beach resort, El Nido, Palawan, Philippines

View from Las Cabanas beach resort in EL Nido, Palawan

Things to do in El Nido

El Nido is not just a simple town, but a whole cluster of terrestrial and island territories, so there is a LOT of entertainment and leisure activities for every age and taste. But keep in mind that almost every activity takes at least a few hours, if not a whole day. So planning is the key.

A bit about the activities:

  • Island hopping tours A, B, C and D.
  • A trip to Nacpan and Calitang beach. You can get there by tricycle (1000-1200 PHP) or by motorbike (rent 500 PHP + fuel 150 PHP).
  • Nagkalit-Kalit waterfalls. You can get here on your way to Nacpan beach, so two birds with one stone.
  • Spend a day on Las Cabanas beach – get a tan, swim, rent a kayak or SUP, ride a zipline and watch a gorgeous sunset in the Sun Bar. You can get there by tricycle (150 PHP one way).
Las Cabanas beach zipline at El Nido, Palawan

Las Cabanas beach zipline at El Nido, Palawan

  • Rent a kayak and go to the islands (Cadlao, Pinagbuyutan etc.). Tandem kayak rent costs about 500 PHP for a full day. More about the islands and how get there you can find in article about kayaking in El Nido.
  • If you plan to go to Coron, you can get there in a much more interesting way than a ferry ride – try a 5-day long Tao Philippines expedition.
A view point, high on a cliff above El Nido Town, the Philippines on Palawan island.

A view point, high on a cliff above El Nido Town, the Philippines on Palawan island.

Where to eat in El Nido

Mostly you will find a Filipino cuisine – rice with seafood or meat, but there is a pretty good choice of Western cuisine as well like burgers, pizzas, etc. A wide choice for everyone’s taste buds!

It is cheaper to eat in places further from the beach. An average cost per meal is 200-400 PHP, depending on your preferences.

If you prefer a more romantic dinner environment then Corong Corong beach is the perfect place to go (especially if you enter the beach from Last Frontier hotel side). Enjoy a great meal with good service and – the most important part – an amazing sunset.

El Nido travel tips

  • El Nido Boutique & Art Cafe – you can buy here everything from souvenirs to kayak rental and flight tickets
  • Get a dry bag before island hopping or kayaking
  • The most convenient transportation is tricycle. Prices: 100 PHP to Corong Corong beach, 200 PHP to airport, 150 PHP to Las Cabanas beach and 1000 PHP to Nacpan beach (both ways).
  • There are motorcycle taxis as well, called Habal Habal. But more convenient way is to rent a scooter which cost about 500 PHP per day
  • There is only one ATM in El Nido
  • The best foreign exchange rates are in Palawan Pawnshop
  • Try not to drink tap water and better use bottle water for teeth brushing as well.

Well, what more can we say – enjoy El Nido island hopping, snorkeling and all the other awesome things offered by this great place. El Nido, Palawan definitely offers a unique experience that will make you want to come back again and again and still explore something new.