El Nido is a small town in Northern Palawan. It’s famous for its coral reef and breathtaking landscape with sandy beaches and rocky islands appearing from crystal clear water.. It’s one of those places on Earth where you can make a photo in any spot and it will always look like a postcard. You could say it’s ridiculously gorgeous.
I. THINGS TO DO:
1. Diving – due to large and well preserved reef, El Nido is a paradise for divers. Water is warm and clear and the diversity of sea creatures, you can spot there, is just amazing. Among other animals, you can see famous clown fish (the one portrait in “Finding Nemo” movie). Boat trip with 3 dives (lunch included) costs 3200-3800 PHP (depending on the company). There are a few diving centers in El Nido. My recommendation is Deep Blue (both first timers and experienced divers had very high opinion on the trip and instructors. Not related to diving, but they also have great cook on the boat. Best fish I ate in Philippines was there).
·Tour A – it’s focused on lagoons (cost 1200 PHP)
·Tour B – apart from standard snorkeling includes also caving (cost 1300 PHP)
·Tour C – goes to more remote islands (cost 1400 PHP)
·Tour D – somewhat outline of all previous 3 (cost 1200 PHP)
All tour operators offer the same tours for the same price. They may differ in what they offer during the trip. Basically all provide you with lunch, mask and snorkel. Some, apart from that, can offer also a towel or fins. So if you’re planning to go island hopping, don’t choose the first offer there is. Just stroll a little around the town and compare the offers. In El Nido everything is within walking distance and you can find tour agencies every 50m. You should also be aware that to go for island hopping, you’ll be required to pay an environmental fee (200 PHP) which is not included in the tour price. This fee however is valid for 10 days (in other words, once paid you can use it for another trips – it refers also to diving).
5. Swimming – El Nido town proper it’s not very good place for swimming. It does have a beach but a very small one, and the bay serves mostly as a docking place for boats. If you want to enjoy a day on a sandy beach you should go to Los Cabanas. A tricycle will take you there in around 10 minutes for 150 PHP. That place is clean, secluded and you won’t find crowds of tourist. There are however a few beach bars where you can buy a cold drink or fresh coconut juice. What’s more to add, it’s a paradise!
1. Grilled fish – sea food, fruits and rice are the basic ingredients of Filipino cuisine. In El Nido there are many restaurants at the beach that serve grilled fish. It’s fresh, juicy and wonderfully delicate. The cheapest one cost around 200 PHP for a fish (rice and vegetables included in the price).
2. Mango shake – mango is one of the basic fruit in Philippines. That’s why it’s widely used in their cuisine. It also makes it cheap. Mango shake it’s the cost of 70-100 PHP. Just watch out! It’s quite addictive. Once you try ,you may end up dinking it every day afterwards.
3. Halo-halo – in Tagalog means hodgepodge. It’s typical Filipino milk dessert with shaved ice and various fruit, jelly sweet bean etc. mixed together.
4. Calamanci juice – A calamanci is a ,so called, “Philippine lime”. The fruit looks like ping-pong ball size crossbreed between lime and mandarin. It’s very sour. They serve calamanci juice sweetened with sugar syrup. It makes nice, and refreshing drink (cost around 60 PHP).
Sand flies and mosquitoes – they can spread leishmaniasis and dengue fever (which are quite common in this region). Usually using mosquito repellent (with DEET) is enough to protect yourself. I used Off Deep Woods with 25% DEET and end my holidays without even one bite. Don’t forget to spray yourself in the evening (after 4 p.m. when sand flies begin to be active).
Sunburns – snorkeling however fantastic activity is also quite treacherous. While in the water you don’t feel hot and don’t realize that in the meantime your back is turning scorching red. To prevent yourself from turning into something resembling roasted chicken, use wetsuit, T-shirt, or a very good sunscreen (50 SPF) .
Welcome to Paradise!
Have a nice fun!