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Top 10 Things to See and Do in El Nido, Palawan

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If you’re seeking an unforgettable tropical escape, El Nido, Palawan, should be at the top of your travel bucket list. Nestled in the Philippines, this paradise boasts a dazzling array of natural wonders and thrilling adventures. From enchanting lagoons and pristine beaches to exhilarating island hopping and underwater explorations, El Nido offers an enticing range of experiences that cater to all types of travelers. Join us as we unveil the best things to do in El Nido, Palawan, providing an inside look at the top activities in El Nido that will transform your vacation into a breathtaking odyssey.

1. Island Hopping: A Must-Do Adventure

One of El Nido’s most sought-after and enjoyable activities is island hopping, offering a glimpse of the stunning diversity of Bacuit Bay. You can choose between group tours or a private boat adventure to explore various islands, lagoons, beaches, and caves. Each tour boasts a unique itinerary and pricing, ranging from 1,200 to 1,400 pesos per person for group tours or 4,000 to 7,000 pesos for a private boat. Some tours even include lunch, snorkeling gear, and entrance fees. You can book your tour conveniently online or through your accommodation or a local travel agency. Here are some of the breathtaking places you can explore:

  • Big Lagoon: A breathtaking lagoon surrounded by towering limestone cliffs and turquoise waters, accessible by boat or kayak. The entrance fee is 200 pesos per person.
  • Hidden Beach: A secluded treasure tucked behind rock formations, requiring a swim through a narrow opening to reach its white sands and crystal-clear waters. A perfect spot for snorkeling and vibrant marine life.
  • Snake Island: A unique island connected to another by a long sandbar, resembling a slithering serpent. You can walk the sandbar during low tide and ascend a viewpoint for a stunning view.
  • Matinloc Shrine: An abandoned shrine with a sea-facing chapel, a Virgin Mary statue, and the ruins of the surrounding mansion and gardens.
Philippines El Nido Helicopter Island
Helicopter Island in El Nido

2. Kayaking: An Eco-Friendly Adventure

For those who crave freedom and adventure, kayaking is an eco-friendly way to explore El Nido’s islands and lagoons. You can rent a kayak from El Nido town or Corong Corong Beach for roughly 300 to 500 pesos per hour. Paddle through hidden lagoons and coves inaccessible by boat, or journey to popular island hopping destinations like Big Lagoon, Small Lagoon, Cadlao Lagoon, and Pinagbuyutan Island. Kayaking offers a sense of exploration and independence.

3. Cliff Climbing: A Thrilling Challenge

For a unique perspective of El Nido, dare to conquer its limestone cliffs, offering panoramic views of the islands and beaches. Safety is paramount, so hire a guide and necessary equipment from Taraw Cliff in El Nido town or Tapiutan Island. Prices vary based on difficulty and duration, but typically range from 1,000 to 2,000 pesos per person. You can even add excitement by rappelling or cliff jumping.

El Nido Cliff Climbing
Cliff Climbing for a unique perspective of El Nido

4. Waterfalls Trekking: Explore Nature's Hidden Gems

Venture into El Nido’s lush forests to discover hidden waterfalls, often tucked away in remote areas that demand hiking through jungles, river crossings, and sometimes swimming. With treks lasting from one to four hours, a local guide is essential to navigate the trails. Guides can be found in El Nido town or nearby villages, with prices ranging from 500 to 1,000 pesos per person. Some enchanting waterfalls to explore include:

  • Nagkalit-kalit Falls: A one-hour trek from Pasadeña village, this waterfall features two cascades flowing into a serene pool.
  • Bulalacao Falls: A two-hour trek from Bulalacao village, this waterfall boasts three tiers of cascades creating natural pools.
  • Ille Cave Falls: Located near the Ille Cave archaeological site, this waterfall is a one-hour trek from New Ibajay village and requires passing through a forest and cave.

5. Sunset Watching: Romantic Serenity

Savor the tranquil beauty of El Nido with a sunset experience. Numerous locations offer an ideal vantage point to witness the sky’s stunning transformation as the sun sets over the bay. Some of the top places for sunset watching include:

  • Corong Corong Beach: Away from the bustling town, Corong Corong Beach offers a peaceful escape with bars and restaurants along the shore.
  • Las Cabanas Beach: About 4 kilometers from El Nido town, it boasts a wide sandy expanse and clear waters, making for a captivating sunset setting.
  • Nacpan Beach: Located around 20 kilometers from El Nido town, this long pristine beach is complemented by turquoise waters, huts, and tents for simple accommodation and food.
El Nido Corong Corong Beach
Sunset Watching at Corong Corong Beach

6. Zipline: Soar over the Scenic Seascape

For an adrenaline rush, consider the thrilling ziplines that cross the sea, offering breathtaking views of the islands and beaches. Two ziplines await your daring spirit, connecting Las Cabanas Beach and Depeldet Island or Corong Corong Beach and Maremegmeg Beach. Both ziplines are around 750 meters long, and you can choose to go solo or tandem, seated or superman style. Prices typically range from 500 to 1,000 pesos per person, making it an exhilarating adventure.

7. Scuba Diving: Dive into the Underwater World

Explore El Nido’s rich marine life and vibrant coral reefs with scuba diving. Encounter turtles, sharks, rays, barracudas, and more at various dive sites suitable for divers of all levels. You can choose from different dive sites or participate in diving courses and dive safaris, taking you to diverse dive spots in the bay. Dive shops and centers are readily available in El Nido town and Corong Corong Beach. Prices vary depending on the site, duration, and package, but expect to pay around 1,500 to 2,500 pesos per dive. Some notable dive sites include:

  • Dilumacad Tunnel: A 35-meter-long, 8-meter-wide tunnel, adorned with stalactites, stalagmites, and marine life.
  • South Miniloc Reef: A reef sloping from 5 to 25 meters, abundant with corals, sponges, and schools of fish.
  • Helicopter Island: Named for its aerial resemblance, the island features a wall adorned with corals, gorgonians, and various marine species.
Philippines El Nido Scube Diving
Experience Scube Diving

8. Mangrove Eco Park: Embrace Nature and Culture

Gain insights into El Nido’s local culture and environment at the Mangrove Eco Park. A community-based project aimed at conserving the mangrove forest, this park is home to diverse bird species, fish, crabs, shrimps, and more. Explore the park’s beauty through boat tours or boardwalk strolls, or join workshops covering mangrove planting, weaving, cooking, and more. It’s an opportunity to appreciate the natural world while contributing to its protection and preservation.

9. Explore El Nido Town: A Cultural Experience

Don’t forget to immerse yourself in the local culture and atmosphere of El Nido town itself. Meander along the main street and peruse the shops, cafes, restaurants, bars, and art galleries that bring the town to life. Visit notable landmarks such as the El Nido Municipal Hall, the El Nido Church, and the El Nido Market. Be sure to sample local delicacies, including tamilok (woodworm), crocodile sisig (a sizzling dish), and cashew nuts. Your journey through El Nido promises unforgettable memories and cherished experiences.

Philippines El Nido Town
El Nido Town

10. Elevate Your Perspective with a Canopy Walk

To witness El Nido from a unique perspective, don’t miss the canopy walk that winds through the lush forest and leads to a suspended bridge. This thrilling experience, situated near the Taraw Cliff, costs a mere 400 pesos per person. Local guides accompany you, providing insights into the area’s flora and fauna. Along the way, you’ll catch a glimpse of the Bird’s Nest, a prized delicacy crafted from the swiftlets’ saliva harvested from the nearby caves.

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