MY FIRST EL NIDO VACATION : A TRAVEL OVERVIEW
El Nido, Palawan can be reached through big buses like RORO bus or by van. Van is a lot faster than the bus so I highly recommend for you to take the van. I also recommend the Lexus Van because I found their drivers more approachable and their vans have more legroom. The fare from Puerto Princesa to El Nido is only PHP 500. However, if you take the vans parking outside the airport, they would charge you PHP 700. But these vans would spare you the time and the energy of riding the tricycle going to the bus terminal which would cost you around PHP 50.
The trip would take an average of 5 hours with 2 stop overs for around 10 to 15 minutes. During these stops, you can have your quick meal, go the comfort room, or just stretch your legs.
The Lexus Van at El Nido Terminal
Since the trip is quite long, better to arm yourselves with some entertainments like reading materials, headphones for your music, you may also watch some movies from your iPhones. For the ladies, you might as well refrain from taking too much of liquids, though comfort rooms are always available during stopovers.
While it’s not the season for cashew nuts which Palawan is famous for, still these nuts are priced lower than in any place in the country. So in my case, I got some packs of these in each of our stop over and eat while traveling.
Along the way, I have noticed a lot of “boho”, a certain kind of bamboo, growing everywhere in Palawan. These “boho” were used by most houses and resorts as fences, walls and even for roofing and some souvenir stuff like chimes. The artist in me leaped upon seeing the abundance of these materials and it saddened me realizing that people in the community did not develop this natural material into anything “high end ” which can be exported. Moreover, these “boho” are highly sustainable and they grow easily. I thought, aside from tourism, maybe Palawan can think of something about how to manipulate this “boho” as the main component in any handicraft or even furniture to create more employment for the people.
Roads to El Nido are well paved, but curves and turns are a bit terrible. So if you have motion sickness, take some medicines an hour before the trip.
Upon arrival at the terminal in El Nido, you will take a tricycle again to bring you to your hotel. Recently, vans are no longer allowed to enter the beach area because they cause traffic.
Inns and cottages at El Nido are all over. Most houses converted their structure into lodge or inn and started to receive guests. So even if you have not booked for a place to stay, you need not worry because you will surely find to stay. But of course, during peak season it would be great to book a place ahead of time, just to be sure. Most newly opened cottages at El Nido are not listed and reviewed by some blogs I have read before. There very few high-end resorts and cottages at El Nido. These high-end cottages also have relatively high room rates.
In my case being a backpacker, I am not really looking for a spectacular place to stay, especially that at El Nido, you will only be staying in your hotel to sleep. So I simply look for modest yet, air-conditioned room with private bath. Rooms which are not air conditioned are cheaper of course, but I also wanted to sleep well during night time.
Here’s a list of various hotels and resorts to stay at El Nido.
Gemini Travel Lodge not so pretty room, but this is air-conditioned and has a private bathroom
On my recent trip, I stayed at Gemini Travel Lodge, which is not really at the beachfront but just a few steps away. You may contact Gemini Travel Lodge at 0928-650-318 or email them at email@example.com .
The room that they gave me cost PHP 900/day, it’s air-conditioned, with private bath and most importantly it’s clean. The room that they gave us can accommodate actually 5 persons. However, they will charge PHP 350/person if the people who will stay would be more than two — Still not bad. Gemini Travel Lodge does not offer any food, but it’s alright, after all, you would surely want to go around and find a place where you wanted to eat depending on your budget. The staff from Gemini are friendly and they were the one who booked for our Island Tour and reserved the van for us when we went back to Puerto Princesa.
There’s no ATM machine at El Nido. Most of the cottages, resorts, and restaurants, especially smaller ones do not accept credit cards too. So better be ready with enough cash upon leaving Puerto Princesa.
Convenience stores are all over El Nido. So, you need not worry where to buy some food or some junk food if you are a fun of it.
Don’t forget to bring the following when visiting El Nido:
- Sun block
- Camera, better bring an underwater camera if you have , because sea life is really fantastic.
- Rash guard or swimwear
- Your medicines, if you have some maintenance
- Aqua sock or rubber sandals
- Snorkel ,but these are available for rent in the Island at Php 100
- Plastic casing for your phone (so that your gadget is protected during the Island hopping)
- Sunglasses, better bring a plastic one
There are many flights from Manila, Iloilo, Cebu to Puerto Princesa, Palawan . The easiest way to reach El Nido is by land travel from Puerto Princesa. From Puerto Princesa, you still have to travel about 220 kilometers of the highway to get to El Nido so it better to get a flight which will arrive Puerto Princesa morning to so that you still have the daytime when reaching El Nido.
MORE PHOTOS OF MY FIRST EL NIDO VACATION