33 THINGS TO DO AT EL NIDO, PALAWAN
One of the most beautiful Island in the country, El Nido, Palawan is a pure home for summer and vacation. El Nido offers major activities for its guests like island hopping, kayaking, snorkeling, and diving. In a nutshell, El Nido has an awesome 250 million-year-old limestone cliffs, 888 species of fish, 4 archeological sites, 45 islands and 2,645 hectares of mangrove.
El Nido is composed of 45 islands and islets, each with its own unique characteristics making the tour very interesting. Most of the islands have pockets and coves of fine clean sand beaches, perfect for sunbathing and picnic lunches. Inside some of the islands are ancient caves with fascinating limestone formations. In other islands, limestone walls open up to lagoons. Weathering and erosion created and continue to shape these interesting geological formations.
Here are Top On My List’s 33 things to do when visiting El Nido, Palawan.
1. Scuba Diving
El Nido’s beaches are rich in marine life. And all over the area, you will find various companies offering several adventure dive packages, dive courses for novices, brought forward and rescue in SSI and PADI as well as discovery dives for non-divers that would like to get into diving and try it out first. El Nido has more than 30 dive sites ranging in depth from six meters to 30 meters plus.
Some beaches are best explored using a kayak. Kayak rentals would start from P150 per hour and P800 for the whole day.
Learn this fun Sport while in El Nido! Some companies rent out different surf boards from beginner to advanced windsurfers. Usually, rentals of Equipment start from P500 per hour, P1500 for the daytime. The beginner’s Lesson is available in the place.
Just on a knee deep water, you will already find beautiful sea life on the beaches of El Nido. Most tours companies are renting out snorkeling gadgets just bring your own footwear. When snorkeling, make sure that you are not stepping on the corals so as not to destroy them.An underwater camera would be perfect for this activity.
5. Stand up Paddleboard
Explore the bay by stand up paddle surfing and stand up paddle boarding. These sports originating in Hawaii as an off-shoot of surfing is now available at El Nido Palawan.
DESTINATIONS OF TOUR A ISLAND TOUR HOPPING
6. Secret Lagoon
Part of Tour A Island Hopping Tour package at El Nido. The Secret Lagoon is located on a small island reminiscent of the movie “the Beach” surrounded by limestone cliffs. As you enter into a small hole, you will see a massive caldera that was once a cave which collapsed and now is surrounded by cast cliffs. In the center is a lagoon.
The Shimizu Island
7. Shimizu Island
Shimizu is an island with stunning limestone cliffs where Swiftlet nest and raise the much sought after bird’s nest soup, believed by Asians to have healing abilities. Often times this is where people eat their sumptuous meal when they opt for Tour A Island Hopping Package.
Opening area at the Small Lagoon
8. Small Lagoon
Also Part of Tour A Island Hopping Package itinerary is the small lagoon. Situated in the cove of Miniloc Island. As you come in, a small swim through a hole on board a kayak or swimming through, you will discover the tranquil turquoise-green waters of the Small Lagoon of its orchid-lined limestone walls, a showcase a kaleidoscope of marine life.
The amazing Big Lagoon
9. Big Lagoon
a visit to Big Lagoon is a reunion tour on board the outrigger boat, coming near the lagoon in the middle of karst limestone formations you are welcomed by water so clean and full of marine life. The Big lagoon is a breeding ground for fishes and crustaceans.
10. Seven Commandos Beach
The final destination after a long day on tour on the Tour A Island Hopping Package is the Seven Commandos Beach. Named after the 7 remaining Japanese commandos who lived along the island as stragglers after World War II, the Seven Commandos bears a long clean sandy beach lined with palm trees. This is the only destination in Tour A Island Tour Package where you will find a small bar offering various cold and fresh beverages, perfect after enjoying the other beaches and destination in Tour A package.
The 7 Commandos Beach
DESTINATIONS OF EL NIDO’S TOUR B PACKAGE
11. Pangalusian Island
Part of Tour B Island Tour Package, The Pangalusian Island has one of the most extensive stretches of powdery white beaches in El Nido, which is really ideal for sunning, sunset viewing, and other beach activities. Fronting the beach are clusters of coral reefs that make this area a good snorkeling and diving site.
12. Pinagbuyutan Island
Pinagbuyutan has soft powdery white sand comparable to the world’s best beaches. The water is shallow for approximately a couple of meters from the shore and then a few meters away you will see a snorkeling area full of fishes. Pinagbuyutan is part of Tour B Package at El Nido.
13. Vigan and Snake Island
Near Pangulasian Island, is the Vigan and Snake Island. The name “Snake Island,” was given to the place because of the fine natural S-shaped sandbar that “snakes” off its shores. The sand spit is clearly visible but when the tide is down. Along both sides of the sand-pit are shallow swimming areas. Going up the hill to the nearby island provide a glance of an awe-inspiring seascape and a bird’s eye view of Bacuit Bay. This is where tourists would have their buffet meal prepared by the crew as part of the Tour B package.
Food prepared fresh by the tour guides..notice the lovely food presentation
14. Cardigan Point and Cave
Another Itinerary in Tour B Package is an anthropological site at El Nido. At Cardigan Point jewelry and pottery dating back to the Sung Dynasty (960-1279 BC) were found. The anthropologists believe that the cave dwellers were from Borneo, and tripped across the ancient land bridge that connected Palawan from Borneo. A small opening hidden among the rocks near the beach reveals a cathedral-like cave inhabited by sea sparrows. Inside you’ll see spectacular rock formations and a way to climb a small limestone hill.
The Cathedral Cave
15. Pinasil Island and Cathedral Cave
The island has a cathedral-like cavern accessible by dinghy and kayak. Its cool interior is lit at certain times of the day by sunlight coming through an orifice at its top. This one of important sites for the “busyadors” or the birds’ nest gatherers. This destination is also a part of the Tour B Package.
DESTINATIONS OF EL NIDO’S TOUR C PACKAGE
The Helicopter Island
16. Dilumacad and Helicopter Island
The island is called Helicopter Island because its limestone cliffs resemble that of a helicopter when it is seen from a considerable distance.This island holds a beautiful clean sand beach extending to more or less 300 meters that are ideal for picnic lunches during island-hopping trips. In that location are an underwater tunnel at its northern position and a fringing reef along its southerly terminal.
17. Tapiutan Island
Further out of the bay facing the South China Sea, Tapiutan’s rich marine life provides opportunities for scuba diving and snorkeling. One of the most striking islands in El Nido because of its shape and sheer limestone walls. It is possible to have picnic lunch at the beach area on the southeastern side of the island
18. Secret Beach
One of the most exciting parts of the Tour C Island Hopping Package is the Secret Beach which is a pocket of white sand beach at the corner of a sinkhole. The beach is inaccessible by boat and surrounded by steep rock wall. To reach it, divers must swim underwater through a narrow crevice in a rock wall. At noon, the sun streams in through the opening, allowing a play of light and shadow against its limestone walls. The beach floor drops abruptly. According to local legend, this beach inspired Alex Garland’s novel The Beach, which was written while the author was in El Nido.
19. Kulasa Beach
A 100-meter beach strip of fine white sand located at one of its coves. The sea floor surrounding the beach slopes gradually and the water deepen only after about 10 meters. This location is one of the best snorkeling spots in Bacuit Bay due to the abundance of marine life in this area.
The Star Beach
20. Star Beach
Another fantastic snorkeling spot. Here your guides will prepare a sumptuous lunch by the beach while you discover the wonders and beauty of the coral reefs near this island.
21. Matinloc Shrine
Hidden among the lushly forested island is the Matinloc Shrine (also known as Shrine of Our Lady of Matinloc and Shrine of the Blessed Virgin) a sacred monument built in 1982 to honor the blessed virgin mary.
Matinloc Shrine, view from the boat
DESTINATIONS OF TOUR D ISLAND TOUR PACKAGE
22. Cadlao Lagoon
Cadlao Lagoon is one of the best lagoons in the group of islands around El Nido. You will be amazed by the sedimentary rock formation around the lagoon, which lends the impression of a natural fortress for this beautiful and serene location.
23. 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 see a sea turtle!
Apart from the Island Hopping Tour Package. There is a guided tour to explore this Island. The high diversity of flora and fauna of the Island is one attraction that one may explore. The trail on Cadlao Island passes through dense forest to an inland lagoon, along a coast with mangroves…. and ends in the cove, nice for swimming and snorkeling or just relaxing. The trip includes 2 – 3 hr. walk.You will be dropped off on the island and will pick up by boat. The fee of P1200/person includes the Lunch.
24. Pasandigan Beach
The beach in Pasandigan is an area for snorkeling, swimming, and picnic lunches during island-hopping trips.
Tour guides at El Nido were trained to prepare meals for their guest during every trips
25. Nat Nat Beach & Bucal Beach
With its many attractions, it is possible to spend the entire day at the island beaches of Bacuit Bay. The long stretch of white sand beach is perfect for sunbathing and offers the best view of the sunset. In the waters fronting the beach are clusters of coral reefs that make Pangulasian a good snorkeling and diving site.
26. Paradise Beach
With its fine white sand beach lined by coconut trees, the Paradise beach is a perfect example of a tropical island. Paradise beach is a favorite place for picnics. Right off the beach is a good swimming site, especially for beginners. Dive sites are located on the west and south sides of the island
Dining by the beach after a whole day tour is always rewarding
27 . Dining by the beach
After dark, the beach in front of El Nido town transforms from a sleepy base for boats and resorts to a dining strip facing the sea. Nighttime al fresco dining at restaurants like Sea Slugs serves up caught-just-that-day seafood in a variety of ways—from grilled squid to garlic shrimp to chili crab. If you’re in town with a loved one, you’ll relish the romance of dining together by the light of the stars and nearby tiki lamps, your toes sinking into the coral-white sand.
28. Mountain Biking
If you would like to have a break from Island hopping, you may want to explore El Nido while riding a bike. Bikes for rent are available on the Island. It is suggested to take a tour guide with you…You can bike to the Hot Springs and add a hike up to the Waterfall.Bike up to Calitang Beach, the great long Beach on the northern tip of Palawan. For the very fit, you could the 60km circle around the north of Palawan. You might want to take 2 days for it.
For shorter trips, you can bike the 6km to Villa Libertad the first village Manlag, going south toward Taytay.
If you want to explore the place easily, you can rent a Motorbike from Pitstop (Tel.0908-8865478) and take a whole day trip around the north and eastern part of El Nido. Palawan. The company can give you a map of the place.
30. Cliff Climbing
For the more adventurous bodies, cliff climbing would be perfect for you. The limestone cliffs of El Nido were naturally carved out of extensive and thick layers of coralline deposits.It is said that they formed 250 million years ago. Most well-traveled tourist would compare El Nido’s limestone cliffs similar to those in Ha Long Bay in Vietnam and Guilin in China. This is definitely a guided tour. Don’t you worry, several tour operators in the area offers almost the same packages and services.
The author enjoying the Island Tour
31. Makinit Hot Spring.
Another place which you might want to visit while at El Nido, Palawan is the Makinit Hot Spring. The place is located 20km north of El Nido, a 45-minute drive away.
32. Nagkalit-kalit Falls.
33. Ille Cave
The historical Ille Cave is a 45-minute drive away from El Nido. It has attracted the interests of various archeologists over the last few years. The artifacts recovered at Ille Cave traces the pre-historic roots of the country. These artifacts dating as far back as 14,000 years. Some of the artifacts are numerous shells, cherts (evidence of stone tools), evidence of food remains like fruits, plants, and deer. But the most notable are remains of tigers dated from 9,000 – 14,000 years old. This suggests that tigers were natural inhabitants of the island and may have come from Borneo. For the adventurous, climbing the mountain over the cave is another challenge and the panoramic view over the rice fields, karst mountains, and Sharkfin Bay in the east. Private Tour would cost P5,000.