El Nido, Palawan, Philippines
US Citizens must have a valid U.S Passport. The passport must be valid during your whole stay. No Visa is required for stays less than 30 days. For full entry requirements and for travel warnings to specific areas in the Philippines always check HERE.
Lets Talk Money
The currency you will need in The Philippines is the Philippine Peso. Some areas in major cities take the U.S Dollar but to save you the headache, just have local currency on you. Currently 1 USD is equal to 50.3371 PHP. Always know what the peso is valued at when you travel and try to get as close to that as possible when you exchange money. DON’T do it at the airport! Remember the XE APP helps you keep track of ongoing rates.
Oh El Nido, how I love you! This location may have been my favorite of all. As soon as we arrived we felt right at home. Flying to Palawan from Cebu is about an hour long but getting to El Nido will take you an additional 4-5 hours via van or bus, as the airport is located in Puerto Princesa and El Nido is located on the northern end of this island (Avg pricing one way on Bus 380PHP; Van: 500-600PHP). Click HERE to see options to book a shared van online or here for private van pricing.
We stayed at the Marygold Beachfront Inn, the cutest little cottage style accommodations right on the beach. We were in the absolute center of everything we wanted to do and see.
When in El Nido, you absolutely must do the island hopping tours. This is where you will see the crystal turquoise waters that you find online when you search for pictures of El Nido. You can book these tours online or wait and book them at your hotel or around town, as they area advertised everywhere. We booked directly with our hotel. You can click HERE to see options to book online. For our trip, we booked Tours A and C, and we didn’t combine them which is an option. If you combine them, you spend less time at each location, and unless you are pressed for time, I don’t recommend this option. Tours A and C will take you around:
- The Small Lagoon
- Big Lagoon
- Twin Rocks
- Simizu Island
- Entalla Island
- Commando Beach
- Matinloc Shrine
- Tapiutan Island
- Star Beach
- Secret Beach
- Hidden Beach
For about $45 USD you can opt for your own private tour/boat. I recommend this option if it fits your budget as it gives you the flexibility to choose how long you want to stay at each location and they are only catering to you and your group. The lunch provided on this tour was delicious! It is so fresh and prepared right on the boat while you are sight seeing.
In addition to the Island Hopping Tours; also consider the following:
- Ziplining on Cabanas Beach
- Catching The Sunset on Cabanas Beach
- Taraw Cliffs
- Nacpan Beach – the steamed crabs here are amazing!
The food in El Nido, outside of the tours, is also delicious. We loved a particular restaurant/bar called Sava Beach Bar. Their menu was very diverse and you are sure to find something that will satisfy your appetite. In addition to Sava, we also loved Altrove Pizza– the line is worth the wait!
I also encourage that you just get out there and explore in this area, this area is very safe and there is so much to see, do, eat! We didn’t have time to do it all, so if you have additional time, share with us below what gems you came across during your trip.
If you visit between May-October it is very hot and humid so pack accordingly. We suggest packing light garments or clothing, don’t expect to wear heavy amounts of makeup, definitely take a fare share of mosquito repellant and drink lots of water! If you want more pleasant weather, the dry season in El Nido is from December to March, the weather is not too hot or too cold. April to early May are a lot more warmer.
If you are aiming to travel to several locations, as we did, pack lightly. We were gone for about 3 weeks and I fit everything I needed in a carry on. If I can do it, you can do it. I also opted for box braids so that I did not have to worry about too much styling. A protective hairstyle is not for everyone, but it does save space in your luggage from hair styling products and saves lots of time while getting ready.
Don’t Forget to tag us on your Instagram pictures if you get to visit!
Twitter & Instagram: @jerliee
Additional edits & information: Susi Garcia