As a Filipino, we have esteemed places you have to see. In fact, we should be traveling in the Philippines more often before going abroad. And one can’t tick off the Philippines without the pristine waters of El Nido.
Dubbed as one of the best islands in the world, you will marvel in its turquoise waters, powdery white beaches, and marine life that can rival almost any island in the world.
If you go here, your standards of what is “beautiful” will go up several notches higher. You will never be the same again.
But how do you take advantage of El Nido? It’s hard to find what is worth doing or not. If you don’t want the headache in planning, here is a 6-day itinerary trip for your El Nido adventure.
Word of Caution: El Nido is Expensive compared to other Philippine destinations. But I tell you, the price is worth it. I just hope they don’t inflate the costs too much.
Day 1 – City Tour and KaLui Seafood Restaurant
In this guide, I will assume that you will arrive in Puerto Princesa. The flights directly to El Nido are expensive. And Puerto Princesa has sites you would want to visit anyway. So the stop in Puerto Princesa wouldn’t be a waste.
If you will arrive early, you can take a city tour for Puerto’s Gigantic Crocodiles, Savor the sweets in Baker’s Hill, and Chill overlooking Puerto’s islands in Mitra’s Ranch. To save some money, I suggest just hire a tricycle driver to tour you around the city.
You can end the day with a feast in the KaLui Seafood restaurant. But make sure to have your hotel reserve you a slot because you need reservations to eat there. It will be worth it.
12:00 NN – 5:00 PM City Tour (Baker’s Hill, Crocodile Farm, Mitra’s Ranch)
7:00 PM – 9:00 PM Eat at KaLui
150 PHP Transportation Expenses
500 PHP City Tour
1500 PHP Dinner in KaLui for 2 (Can Be Lower)
2150 PHP Total or roughly $50
Day 2 – Underground River and Mangrove Paddle Boat Tour
For your second day, you can book a tour of the mysterious and awe-inducing underground river. It’s heralded as one of the new wonders of the world. It’s a UNESCO heritage site.
And it has all the right to be one. The unique ecosystem inside the cavernous pathway and the intricate beauty of the rock formations inside will make you reflect your life back.
If that’s too dramatic for you, they now include a narration device alongside to explain the wonders of the underground river. National Geographic style. It’s even available in Mandarin and French!
Take note though, the queue to the island is painstakingly long. You have the option to take a side tour while in the queue. I suggest getting the optional mangrove paddleboat tour. In this session, you will be traversing a mangrove river. Get to know the animals in there like lizards, snakes, and mudskipper fishes! The guides are really good and will get you engaged while relaxing as you wade past the forest. It’s worth it.
8:00 AM – 3:00 PM Underground River with optional Mangrove Paddle Boat Tour
6:00 PM – 11:00 PM Van Ride to El Nido
3480 PHP Underground River Tour from Klook for two
600 PHP Dinner for two (Can be lower)
400 PHP Mangrove Paddle Boat Tour
4480 Total or roughly $90 USD
Day 3 – El Nido Tour A + Lio Beach
El Nido Tour A and C is the highlight of your Island stay. You will be amazed by the scenery. There are combination tours but I suggest that you book the separate ones so that it wouldn’t feel rushed.
Also, I suggest staying in Lio beach after the tours because it’s actually cheaper there. El Nido is really expensive (80 PHP for coke in can anyone?). Considering that Lio beach is an Ayala developed property, it’s still cheaper than the 300-400 PHP per meal in El Nido.
9:00 AM – 3:00 PM El Nido Tour A
5:00 PM – 8:00 PM Lio Beach
Day 4 – El Nido Tour C + Lio Beach
9:00 AM – 3:00 PM Tour C
5:00 PM – 8:00 PM Lio Beach
The budget for Day 3 and 4:
1800 PHP El Nido Tour A from Klook for two
2500 PHP El Nido Tour C from Klook for two
1000 PHP Dinner For Two
5300 Total or roughly $106
Day 5 – Mt Taraw + Nacpan Beach
In my opinion, it is worth it to visit Nacpan beach when you’re in El Nido. The sand is so fine. Even better than the ones in Lio. And the panoramic view when you just chill under the sun. Arguably, the best beach in the Philippines for me. The overpriced ride to it wouldn’t be so overpriced after all.
Try to haggle with the tricycle drivers because I got my ride at 800 PHP. (I’m really bad in haggling). My friends just got it for 400 PHP back-and-forth.
I also included Mt Taraw. Mt. Taraw is the highest peak of El Nido where they get the expensive Bird’s nest in that famous soup. Fun fact, El Nido actually means “the nest” because of this.
I believe everyone should see it at least once. You don’t get to climb the highest point. The only open space for the public is the canopy walk where you get to see an aerial view of El Nido’s skyline.
It’s just a few meters away from the town proper. Anyone can go up the mountain trail. You even have a safety harness and metal bracers to protect you. The view from the top is amazing!
9:00 AM – 11:00 AM Nacpan Beach
1:00 PM – 3:00 PM Mt Taraw
6:00 PM – 11:00 PM Van Ride to Puerto Princesa
1200 PHP Van Transfers to Puerto Princesa
1000 PHP Lunch and Dinner for two (Can be lower)
800 PHP Climb to Mt. Taraw for two
800 PHP Tricycle Ride to Nacpan Beach
2600 PHP Total or roughly $52
Day 6 – Puerto Princesa
I suggest spending your last day in so that you won’t be stressed on your flight. Today is a free day so you can do anything you want.
But I highly suggest that you drop by Badjao Seafood Restaurant for lunch. It’s a seafood restaurant on the edge of a mangrove forest. Relax while you dine in this area. A fitting end for your Palawan trip
1000 PHP Lunch at Badjao Restaurant for two
200 PHP Transportation Expenses
1100 PHP Total or roughly $55
2150 PHP Day 1 – City Tour and Kahlui Seafood Restaurant
4480 PHP Day 2 – Underground River and Mangrove Paddle Boat Tour
5300 PHP Day 3 and Day 4 – Tour A & C + Lio Beach
2600 PHP Day 5 – Mt Taraw + Nacpan Beach
1100 PHP Day 6 – Puerto Princesa
14630 PHP Total Budget for two
This doesn’t include your airfare and accommodations. I suggest that you get accommodations with free breakfast so that you can save a couple of bucks in food expenses. With that, I hope you have fun on your Palawan trip!