El Nido is a tiny village in the island of Palawan (Philippines) that have the luck to be stuck in one of the most appealing landscape of the world.
You’ll never find a sea like that, surrounded by black and high mountains so consumed by the erosion that it seems they are hung from the sea. Nor you’ll be able to appreciate how far you are from home like you can do in El Nido.
I’m strongly hoping that the mass tourism developed in the last years in that area won’t ruin this Paradise Lost. Silence sometimes has a great value.
There are so many aspects of that village that need to be lived in the way they’re now because – yes, maybe it’s a clichè – they’re simply irreplaceable.
Here my Must Dos in El Nido.
#1 – Island Hopping (tour A and B)
In El Nido you can choose among three different tours to visit the amazing lagoons and beaches nearby the village (tour A, B or C).
The best option is to book the island hopping in one of the (few) speed boats available. This can allow you to do two of the tours in the same day and enjoy the Secret Lagoon, the Big and the Small Lagoon without spending hours for the transfers.
Moreover, the tour on a speed boat is more intimate: while the regular ones are for groups of fifteen people, the others are for a minimum of four people to a maximum of six.
Not bad, indeed.
(For further info: La Salangane)
#2 – Diving
If you are afraid of sea, depth, swimming or sharks, diving is the answer to all your prays.
Philippines are the proud country that house a beautiful and colorful atoll reef, with an incredible variety of fishes and corals.
Yes, I have to admit that there are also some sharks around there, but don’t get panic: they simply don’t care about you.
Philippines are a good place to dive also because it’s extremely cheap: for the price of 20/25 EUR you will go for 2 dives in a all day trip, gears and lunch included. For the same thing in the Maldives you would pay 90/100 EUR, just to know.
I can guarantee, you’ll love that.
#3 – Aperitif in Las Cabanas
Las Cabanas is a wonderful beach 3km away from El Nido where you can enjoy one of the best view of the Philippines. At the sunset, the sky and the sea are painted with all the shades of orange, red and pink that you can imagine and the result is literally breathtaking.
With the low tide it’s also possible to walk almost to the little islet in the middle of the bay, with a beer in one hand and your camera in the other.
The best part of the day to go there it’s without doubt the at afternoon, when you can enjoy the view during the aperitif time. But don’t stop to the first fancy bar that you find: if you walk across, the youth hostel Orange Pearl offers you cold beer and good fish dishes of every kind. There you can rest and have fun without being surrounded by hundreds of tourists.
And, if you don’t have any plan, stay until the sun goes down: Las Cabanas is more beautiful when it’s silent.
#4 – Waterfalls
There’s only one, big and not always paved road that connects El Nido to the rest of Palawan. Rent a motorbike (and negotiate is the key word) and just ride the road until you find the signs that lead you to the waterfalls.
These are located in the heart of the cosy jungle forest nearby El Nido, but be wise and accept the guidance of one of the natives. To save 10 euros, we got lost for an hour and eventually we found a guide and paid him to bring us to the waterfalls.
Not the best proof of how smart we are, I know.
The waterfalls are small, but still incredibly impressive. You won’t get disappointed.
#5 – Nacpan Beach
It took two years for us to have the chance to see Nacpan Beach in a sunny day and it was absolutely worthy.
With 20 minutes of bike ride you will find yourself in a place that itself it’s a good reason to visit Philippines. White sand and blue sea will make you feel arrived to Heaven.
Go there in the morning to have all the day to enjoy the beauty of Nacpan, and if you want to spend the night there Jack’s Place offers you a good accommodation and a fancy dinner.