About 420 kilometers to the southeast of Manila lies the lush tropical island paradise of El Nido. Practically collecting accolades and acclaims from numerous travel magazines and publications from around the world, El Nido, in the province of Palawan, is one of the top tourist destinations in the country.
Hailed by CNN (Cable News Network) as the Philippines’ Best Beach and Island Destination; listed as one of Asia’s top Eco Resorts in Travel + Leisure Southeast Asia’s 2012 green issue; winner of Wild Asia’s Responsible Tourism Award for the “mid to small” accommodation category in 2009; and cited by the Wall Street Journal Magazine and the New York Times for its unparalleled beauty, El Nido Resorts in Northern Palawan refers to the resort complex administered by Ten Knots Development Corporation (TKDC) which goes hand-in-hand with the Philippine government in environmental conservation and eco-management.
With a high coral fish diversity index of an amazing 850 species, 400 types of corals and 500 marine vertebrae within a 200 square kilometer radius, El Nido’s reef flats, marine lakes, coral thickets, and channels offer such a wide and varied diversity of marine life in its pristine ecosystem. The El Nido Resorts Dive Crew and Environment Department is cooperating with the local and national government as well as other eco institutions and environmental groups around the world in doing all they can to preserve and protect the very rich but equally fragile ecosystem, such as replanting endangered giant clams, maintaining mooring buoys in 21 sites to keep ships away from the coral reefs, and installing artificial reefs in a dive site damaged by coral bleaching and illegal fishing.
MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION
Although El Nido has its own airport which is used by expensive charter flights, most visitors still prefer to go there via Puerto Princesa, Palawan from Manila. From the airport of Puerto Princesa, here are the options: Hop on the Roll On Roll Off (or RORO) buses going to El Nido at the terminal of Puerto Princesa San Jose terminal. Estimated travel time is almost 7 hours. Or ride in a private van which can take you to El Nido in 4 to 5 hours. You can sign up for van services directly from Puerto Princesa airport where the companies have reservation booths or at the hotels or inns in Puerto Princesa.
ATTRACTIONS AND ACTIVITIES
El NIdo Tour C:
Did you know that some scenes from the recent action-packed film “Bourne Legacy” were taken from the beautiful islands of Matinloc and Dilumacad in El Nido?
Get ready to explore these islands and its pristine beaches. Aside from these natural wonders, be in awe with El Nido’s abundant and thriving rainforests, enthralling lagoons and the colossal marble cliffs. Regarded as the country’s Last Frontier, El NIdo is a top-notch destination in Palawan. And even, globally recognized National Geographic Magazine can attest that this fascinating island is truly one of the best travel destinations in the world.
Dilumacad or Helicopter Island – The island boasts of a 300-meter stretch of enticing sandy beach and limestone cliffs which appear to be a helicopter from a certain distance. That is why the island is also referred to as Helicopter Island. Discover its underwater tunnel at the northern part of the island and an outlaying reef on the southern end.
Tapiutan Island – Have a chance to scuba dive and snorkel at the abundant marine life in this island surrounded by limestone walls. The southeastern side of the island near the beach is a perfect venue for your picnic lunch.
Matinloc Island - Aptly named, for the word means “Beautiful” in the local dialect, Matinloc Island is a long thin islet with two gorgeous snorkeling areas: Kalmung Point and Kulasa beach. This amazing slim island also has four dive spots with the deepest at 124 feet deep where one can literally immerse oneself in the abundant marine life. But perhaps the most wonderful treasure that Matinloc Island has is the Secret Beach that can only be accessed by snorkeling or swimming into a narrow crevice in a rock wall. At noon, the sunlight streams in through this opening for a spectacular display against the limestone walls. So enchanting is Secret Beach that it is said to be the inspiration for Alex Garland’s novel, The Beach, which was actually written while he was in El Nido, and later adapted onto the big screen with a young Leonardo Di Caprio in the lead.
Star Beach – Search for nemo and over a hundred of other fishes living in the coral reefs near this island.Definitely a great snorkeling site. While you are enjoying your underwater adventure, your guides will prepare your delectable lunch by the beach.
Matinloc Shrine – To venerate the Blessed Virgin Mary, a sacred monument was erected in the island in 1982 and was also called the Shrine of Our Lady of Matinloc and Shrine of the Blessed Virgin.
El Nido Tour E : Inland Beaches & Waterfalls
El Nido’s two prized-possessions namely the beaches of Nacpan and Calitang are included in the last part of the series of EL NIDO ISLAND AND BEACH TOURS. Considered the best beaches, these are found 25 kilometers north of El Nido. Also part of this tour is Makinit Hot Springs and Nagkalit-Kalit Falls.
Should your island tours (Tours A,B,C and D) get unexpectedly cancelled because of rough seas, EL NIDO Tour E can still be continued.
Nacpan and Calitang Beaches- Having the same shoreline, these undeveloped beaches offer peaceful, calming and private sojourn. Aside from the fishing village and huge rest house, there is no other structure to be seen here. So consider this place, which is only an hour away from El Nido town, a secluded piece of heaven on earth.
Nagkalit-kalit Falls – To get a glimpse of this majestic falls, guests have to travel for an hour via jeepney from the town then hike almost 45 minutes through the lush forest. The adventure of going to this natural marvel is truly appreciated by mountaineers and nature enthusiasts. This unique experience allows tourists to visit the local village then walk through rice fields and forest trails and in between, some river crossings.
Please be advised that the treks to the falls can only be scheduled from the months of June to December since summertime does not bring enough rain and the ever changing climate can also dry up the river which provides water to the falls.
El Nido Tour B : Caves & Coves
In this whole day tour, be ready to explore the astonishing caves and coves in El Nido which has been blessed with magnificent islands and glorious beaches. Included in the tour is a visit to some of the most stunning coves in Bacuit Bay.
Pangalusian Island – Sun worshippers will have a grand time enjoying beach activities in this island which has a vast stretch of sandy beach. Located near the shoreline are beautiful coral reefs just begging to be explored.
Pinagbuyutan Island- Its pristine white sand is at the level with some of the world’s best beaches. With its crystal clear waters and amazing seascape, you definitely would want to stay much longer.
Vigan or Snake Island – During low tide, a natural S-shaped sandbar can be spotted off the shores. Hence it is also known as Snake Island which is situated near Pangulasian Island. When the sandspit is visible, its surrounding areas can be shallow swimming areas. And if you are up for a short trek, head to the hill in the nearby island and be rewarded by a spectacular seascape while your guides arrange a delicious meal.
Cadugnon Point and Cave - featuring the remains of a prehistoric settlement dating roughly 12,000 years ago, Archeologist have found human and animal remains as well as jewelry and pottery dating back to the Sung Dynasty (960-1279 CE) and evidence of cremation ceremonies that date back to 8,000 years ago. Anthropologists believe that the cave dwellers were from Borneo and travelled by foot across the ancient land bridge that used to connect Borneo and Palawan.
Pinasil Island and Cathedral Cave – This island’s special treat is in its cave which is accessible via small boat and kayak. Much likened to a cathedral, this cave has a hole at its peak where enough sunlight can pass through and illuminates the nippy interior of the cave.
El Nido Tour D : Island Beaches
A definite must see and visit in El Nido is the Cadlao Island which is the largest island with 1,006 hectares and has the highest peak at 609 meters above sea level in El Nido. With its vast land area, it is not surprising that it maintains and preserves a good number of natural wonders such as an abundant rainforest and immaculate beaches which are ideal for snorkeling.
An awesome sedimentary rock formation, a beach and a snorkeling area---all tucked in one area: the Cadlao Lagoon.
Cadlao Island - Of all the islands in El Nido, Cadlao has the highest peak at 609 meters above sea level. It is the largest island, with a land area of 1,006 hectares. Cadlao Island is known for its white sand beaches, hidden lagoons, and its lush forest cover. Cadlao Island is one of the best places to snorkel. If you are lucky you may even sea a sea turtle!
Pasandigan Beach - The beach in Pasandigan is an area for snorkeling, swimming, and picnic lunches during island-hoping trips.
Nat Nat Beach &Bucal Beach – These picturesque beaches of Bacuit Bay where plenty of coral reefs abound are ideal for snorkeling and diving. Catch the captivating view of the sunset after getting a nice tan in the afternoon.
Paradise Beach – Its west and southern areas are perfect diving sites. Ideal venue for picnics, this powdery white sand beach has wide shallow waters.
El Nido Tour A : Lagoons & Beaches
This tour offers the marvelous beaches and stunning lagoons within the area of Bacuit Bay. Travelers will truly witness a piece of heaven and the splendor of El Nido.
Believed to have been caves millions of years ago before it crumbled down due to natural constant movement of the Earth, these crystal clear lagoons stand out for its remarkable limestone walls and diverse marine life.
Big Lagoon and Small Lagoon are also frequently visited for its astonishing natural rock formations.
Secret Lagoon- Unravel the beauty of this lagoon surrounded by limestone karst cliffs. If you have seen the movie “The Beach”, then you might see the resemblance in this island where the lagoon is situated.
Shimizu Island –This island highlights its limestone-covered cliffs where the popular bird’s nest is gathered by the locals to prepare as soup. Aside from its delicious flavor, the locals consider this as medicinal. While your meal is being arranged, bask in the sun or snorkel as there are coral reefs located near the shore.
Small Lagoon –Whether you pass through on board a kayak or swim through, be ready to be captivated with the Small Lagoon found on the cove of Miniloc Island. Another feature of the lagoon is in its limestone walls covered in wild orchids.
Big Lagoon –With its diverse marine life and sparkling waters, the big lagoon will surely fascinate you. Enjoy your cruise while on an outrigger boat.
Seven Commandos Beach –Named after the seven Japanese commandos who lived here after World War II, the island offers a long stretch of fine sandy beach.
El Nido Motorbike Rental
Feel the breeze and enjoy the splendid sights as you cruise around El Nido on your own in a motorbike. Don’t miss the chance to visit the beaches of CorongCorong in the northern part of town, as well as Nacpan and Calitang Beaches. Follow the off-beaten path and travel to the fishing villages in the north to enjoy a truly unique experience.