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Ultimate El Nido Travel Guide: Top Attractions, Activities, and Tips for an Unforgettable Philippine

This was my third time visiting this place and I was amazed at how much has changed since my last visit. The small beach town developed into a small city now, with lots of buildings but remained the same vibe. If someone would ask me, what my favorite destination in the Philippines is, I would not hesitate to say El Nido. This place has enough things to do on the island, you can do one island hopping trip after another or enjoy the town itself. Therefore, I’m excited to share all my experiences with you and look forward to hearing about your trip to El Nido.

Content:

Things to do:

If you can't miss something during your stay, then it is an island hopping tour. It's a big thing here. No wonder, then the archipelago is listed as a world heritage site by UNESCO. People say that it's the tropical version of the famous Halong Bay in Vietnam and if you compare pictures, I indeed can admit to that statement. Operators are offering different island hopping tours, and choosing the right one can be somehow challenging.


My personal favorites throughout all these years were Tour A and C. Both of those tours show the unique beauty of El Nido, but therefore, belong also to the most crowded tours you can visit. If you want to escape the crowds, you have to avoid these tours.


Anyways, to give you a greater overview of the tours, here you’ll find more detailed information about them:

Tour:

Tour A

Tour B

Tour C

Tour D

Included Destinations:

Small Lagoon, Big Lagoon, Secret Lagoon, Shimizu Island, 7 Commando Beach

Snake Island, Pinagbuyutan Island, Entalula Island, Cudugnon Cave, Cathedral Cave, Snorkeling Site

Helicopter Island, Mantinloc Shrine, Secret Beach, Talisay Beach, Hidden Beach

Ipil Beach, Cadlao Lagoon, Paradise Beach, Pasandigan Beach, Nat Nat Beach, Bukal Beach

Price:

1'400 PHP*

1'300 PHP*

1'500 PHP*

1'200 PHP*

Good for:

Exploring the beauty of the unique lagoons that are located around Miniloc Island

Exploring caves

Seeing beautiful and uninhabited beaches

Exploring beaches even on the mainland and visiting less crowded places

* Please note that the prices can differ depending on the tour company.


A massage, for instance, costs around 200$ for an hour in Switzerland and I somehow get the price. Swiss salaries are high, and to provide such services Switzerland needs certification. Therefore, having a massage in the Philippines is a must thing to do for me. I don't have any back problems, so I can't tell if the massages are good enough for it, but for my requirements, they're totally fine. I just enjoy having someone massaging my back, legs, and neck, and can relax during it the good thing is, that it costs a tenth of the price, I would pay in Switzerland. The same goes for having a pedicure or manicure.


El Nido has many beauty studios and the employees seek your visit. Just walk around, and have yourself a beauty treatment.


A 30-minute scooter ride away from El Nido, one of the most beautiful beaches I've ever seen will await you. Nacpan Beach is picture-perfect and exactly how someone imagines a tropical getaway. The beach has a four-kilometer strip that is surrounded by palm trees and small restaurants. The water is crystal clear and perfect for having a refreshing swim.


If you want to avoid crowded places you need to get active and rent a kayak. By that, you can explore hidden beaches by yourself as long as you want and by your schedule. The tricky part about doing things alone is, that you have to do it alone. So don't overestimate yourself and don't paddle too far away, because going back is way much harder than paddling out.


I did kayaking on my second visit to El Nido, and we did overestimate ourselves. It was really hard to paddle back to the main island since the wind was working against us. Luckily, we got saved by a tour boat and he brought us back.


Where to eat

El Nido offers enough international restaurants to meet the needs of the tourists in terms of eating. I do enjoy eating in local restaurants, but as I already mentioned in a previous blog post, Filipino food is not well known for a variety of vegetarian dishes, I was glad to have international restaurants that do offer vegetarian dishes as an option.


When we arrived in El Nido and walked around the town we stumbled over the Happiness Beach Bar and had enough veggie options, since it is a vegetarian restaurant with Mediterranean-inspired dishes, such as falafel, different hummus creations, and so on. We had an appetizer platter that comes with freshly baked pita bread and different kinds of Mediterranean spreads and every one of them was just delicious.


I wasn't a big fan of Thai food and did not like curries, but I'm keen on trying and my taste developed. Nowadays, I adore curries, especially Thai Red Curry and some Indian curries too. When I did my research for dine-in I found Big Bad Thai and without any expectations visited this place. On Google, lots of people said, that the Thai food wasn't authentic, but honestly, I was in Thailand and did try the food there, and don't agree with the statements. We ordered Pad Thai, Thai Red Curry, and a Papaya Salad and were amazed by the quality and the taste of the food. The curry was not too creamy. The Papaya Salad was freshly made and the Pad Thai was one of the best we had.


Usually, I was always a salty breakfast person, who enjoyed having avocado toast for breakfast. Somehow I changed and became a smoothie bowl kind of person and having a smoothie bowl for breakfast is my go-to start in the morning. Maybe I got influenced by a book, that I'd read, that said, we should all eat enough raw fruits and veggies during the day. However, since then I'm do look for the best smoothie bowl places in every town. El Nido has options, and I tried all of them. Finally, I can say that the best smoothie bowl in town was at Taste. It's not the best I've ever had, but still good.


The next place I can recommend is Mint & Garlic located right next to Happiness Beach Bar which offers valuable Vietnamese dishes. The Bahn Mi was great and the Pho was rich in flavor.


Another great spot was the Food Truck. It's a food truck where you can either have some food on the go or just enjoy a chilled vibe while dining in. They offer different kinds of stir-fried noodle dishes, inspired by Asian countries. I had the Japanese Noodles, that was surprisingly creamy and the Green Spicy Noodles, which were also on the creamy side. Both of the dishes were great.


If you're looking for a good spot to work on your computer and live the digital nomad dream, you must visit Hama Coffee. It's located at the beach and has a unique view. I was just facing the many islands right in front of me and listened to the sound of the ocean while working. The cafe offers different kinds of coffee and the internet speed was good enough for working. It won't be good enough for having calls though.


Talking about having good internet quality for calls, I can recommend the following places:

  • The Kollektive

  • Brunch

They do also offer food there, but I didn't try it. But if you're seeking a place, like I was, with a stable internet connection, you can be sure, that this place will provide you with it.


Party

After dinner, we decided to have a drink at Pangolin Bar and although the drinks were pricey, they were worth it. Here you get high-quality alcohol (not the local stuff that will give you a headache afterward) and good mixed drinks. My espresso martini was exactly how it should be and the perfect after-dinner drink. You also have to give their signature drinks a try. Afterward, head towards Amigos for having a fun night out. As the name already says, you can dance your night away while listening to Latino music. We had a great night here, and good thing is, you don't even have to pay an entry fee.




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1 comentario


Dolly Beloya
Dolly Beloya
22 dic 2022

Beautiful 💕❤️

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