What to do in El Nido: all the tours in a row!
What to do in EL Nido? That’s what we wondered when we visited this beach resort on the island of Palawan with our daughter. We soon found out that on El Nido you can mostly do a lot of tours to see the area. We were in El Nido for four days and did several tours to different sights in the area. In this blog, we’ll tell you more about this.
Table of contents
The village of El Nido
We really liked the village of El Nido. In fact, it is totally geared to tourists and you can tell by the many restaurants, stores and tour agencies. Tastes differ in this, of course, since it doesn’t have very many authentic spots, but easy it is. They really have a lot of nice restaurants and to book a tour you don’t really have to make any effort because it is offered on every street.
In terms of transportation, most tourists use tricycle motorcycles or rent their own scooters. The village itself is great for walking, as it consists of only a few streets. We found El Nido to be a much nicer village than, for example, the town of Coron which is across the water.
Day Tours El Nido
Actually, almost all agencies in the El Nido area offer four different tours labeled A, B, C and D. Of course, each tour has different highlights. These tours are on traditional boats and you are often on a boat with a fair number of people.
Another drawback is that most boats go to the same places, so it can be very crowded at the various spots. What is an advantage of these tours is the price: it is not exactly very high. You will visit the following places with the tours:
Tour A: Big Lagoon, Secret Lagoon, Shimizu Island & 7 Commando Beach
Tour B: Snake Island, Entalula Beach, Pinagbuyutan Beach, Cudugnon Cave + a snorkeling spot
Tour C: Hidden Beach, Secret Beach, Matinloc Shrine, Helicopter Island & Talisay Beach
Tour D: Ipil Beach, Natnat Beach, Pasandigan Beach, Cadlao Lagoon, Paradise Beach, Bukal Beach
The most popular tours among tourists are tours A and C. You can also do a combination of the islands, but then you have to rent a private motorboat, which is quite pricey. If there are several of you, you can share the cost of that and then this can definitely be a good option. For this option, we would recommend walking into several agencies, though, as we found that the prices were quite different.
Combination of the different tours
Besides renting a motorboat, there is another option that we have used ourselves and that is Kraken’s tours. This is the only organization that also combines the two tours. In fact, they have a combination tour of A and B and a combination tour of C and D. We had read about this online, but when we went online to search for Kraken’s website, we got no further than a Facebook page and a very unclear website.
In the village of El Nido they have a small office near the beach (you can find this on Google), but they are not always here themselves. The first two days we were in El Nido, the little office was not open. They also do not advertise lavishly, so you walk right past them. You can book it on Tripadvisor we had heard, but those people had paid much more than us.
You do pay a lot more per tour here than on the other tours, but we thought this was worth the money. We spent two days at sea with them and did see most of the highlights of the A, B, C and D tours. They have a boat of 30 people, with a maximum of 18 going on it, making it very relaxing. In addition, you have food and drinks with it all day, making it a truly relaxing day out. Even though you are on the boat it is still relaxing.
Rental of kayaks, water shoes and snorkels are also all already included in the price. In addition, they make an effort to be the only boat in most places. For example, when it was quite crowded with boats at 7 Commando Beach, we went snorkeling first and then went back to the beach, ending up with only the people from our boat on this beach. That still gives just a slightly better experience than having hundreds of tourists walking around.
The surroundings of El Nido
Our daughter was stung by a wasp during a tour in the Coron area during the trip, so she had quite an allergic reaction in her face and we were unable to do much for the first two days. As a result, we also did not spend a day exploring the area, which was initially planned. In fact, there are some really beautiful beaches in the vicinity of El Nido. We list them below:
- Nacpan Beach: this is one of the most beautiful beaches around Palawan and is about a 45-minute drive from the village of El Nido. You can go here by scooter or tricycle. There are enough facilities here to enjoy yourself for a day at this beach.
- Kayaking to Cadlao: we also saw this tip online, but we spoke to a Dutch couple who had done this and they said it was very tough and they were badly burned on the legs. Especially when the waves are a bit higher, it is quite strenuous to get there and a lot of water hits your legs (and then it goes fast in the sun). So be sure to check the weather beforehand. If you are there you do have secluded beaches at your disposal. For families with kids, perhaps a slightly less suitable tip.
Where to stay in El Nido?
We were at the El Nido Coco Resort during our stay in El Nido and it was a great place to stay, but there is a big difference in the rooms. The villas you can rent here are a lot better than the bungalows. We had breakfast included and this was very good. You can choose from different menus from the menu and there are also some individual things like fruit that you can eat. The pool is also very nice to take a dip in at the end of the day.
This hotel is slightly outside the village which is a disadvantage, but with a tricycle you can get to the center for little money. However, there is the cool restaurant Bella Vita around the corner, which is a really nice waterfront restaurant where you can eat well. This restaurant is also mentioned everywhere online and of course it is very nice that after your tour you can freshen up at the room and then eat right around the corner. For more information on the El Nido Coco Resort, take a look here.