Friendly people, amazing beaches and island life is all you need for a good vacation. The Philippines is made of more than 7000 islands, with around 2000 being inhabited. El Nido, on Palawan island, belongs to one of the most famous holiday destinations in the Philippines. Here comes a list of the top 7 things to do in El Nido.
Top 7 Things to Do in El Nido
El Nido Boat Tour
One thing you must do in El Nido is a boat tour. No matter where in El Nido you are, you will be offered boat tours non-stop, and it is totally worth going.
You will discover beautiful beaches, lagoons, and islands with a big adventure factor guaranteed. Here is everything you need to know about the boat tours.
- The most popular tour: There are 4 tours in total, being tour A, B, C, and D. Tour A and C are the most popular ones.
- No need to negotiate: The great thing about these El Nido boat tours is that you don’t really need to negotiate the price as all operators offer the tours for the same amount.
- What to bring: There is no need to bring towels or drinks as they are provided. However, if you are a very thirsty person, I recommend taking an extra bottle with you. If you bring stuff, make sure to use a dry bag and not a normal bag as it will be very wet on the boat. Most importantly, don’t forget your sun lotion as you will be exposed to the sun all day long.
During our time in El Nido, we chose Tour A and had 5 stops in total. The tour costs 1200PHP (around 21€) per person and takes around 7h. You start around 9 am and will be back around 4 pm.
It never took longer than 20-30 minutes to arrive at the next stop, and we usually got to stay around 30 min in each destination as well, except for lunchtime which was around 1h.
We stopped at 2 beaches, 2 lagoons and an island. During each stop, you will be able to snorkel, swim, walk around or just hang out. All equipment is being provided, and a nice lunch on the island is included in the price.
With Tour A you will be able to kayak (extra cost) to the big lagoon and enjoy a giant swing from a tree as well.
Sunset at Las Cabana Beach
Since sunsets in South East Asia are incredible, especially in the Philippines, make sure to visit Las Cabana beach for daily sunsets.
The sky was so pink and purple. It was simply amazing, and I don’t even have words to describe it. We went back there 2x during our 4 days stay.
For adventure lovers, there are lots of things to do in El Nido. For example, you will have the opportunity to zip line over the ocean to another island.
The zip line at Las Cabanas beach is around 750m long, and you can choose in which position you want to go. You can either do it sitting (500PHP/9€), or in the superman (700PHP/12€) position which is slightly more expensive.
Be aware, the price only counts for one direction. If you also want to go back with the zip line, you will pay more. The alternative is to just walk back as it is not too far.
The zip line is usually open from around 9 am to 5:30 pm every day. The best time to go zip-lining is in the early evening as you will be able to enjoy a nice sunset from a birds-eye perspective.
One last tip: Make sure not to wear flip flops or dresses/skirts, but rather tight shoes and comfy pants.
Birdhouse / Nesting Table Restaurant
A very beautiful place to enjoy lunch, dinner, or sunset is at the Nesting Table Restaurant in El Nido. It is an in-house restaurant of the Birdhouse accommodation and a relatively new place.
To get to the Birdhouse and Nesting Table Restaurant, just go to Las Cabanas beach, walk a few hundreds meter along the water and then turn left. Then just follow the path in front of you. You will cross over sand-filled bags and bamboo stairs. Once you are on the top, you will be greeted by the staff, and most likely the cutest dogs in the world.
In the Nesting Table Restaurant, you have the opportunity to sit inside, outside, or lay down in a hammock. They serve a mix of Filipino and Western food as well as very delicious desserts. I can definitely recommend you to go there during dinner time and enjoy the beautiful sunset.
Kayaking or SUP
For more adventurous things to do in El Nido go to Las Cabana beach, and rent a kayak or do SUP for around 3€ per hour. The water is super calm, and the scenery simply amazing. If you go during the day make sure to put lots of sun lotion. If you go later in the evening, enjoy the sunset.
Nacpan Beach in El Nido
If you stay in the city center of El Nido, you won’t find very pleasant beaches for swimming or hanging out. Therefore, rent a motorbike and head to Nacpan Beach, around 45min away from town. You will be rewarded with an amazing beach with white sand and turquoise water. You won’t regret!
The only downside is that it costs an entrance fee, but it is a very small one. Just about 1€ per person. So all good!
At Nacpan Beach you will find a few restaurants and resorts as well as sunbeds to rent.
Canopy walk to Taraw Cliff
El Nido definitely is an island where you will not get bored. Another fun thing to do in El Nido is the Canopy walk which will bring you up all the way to Taraw cliff – the highest viewpoint in El Nido.
There used to be 2 ways to get there, but due to recent accidents, the Canopy walk was introduced as a safer way. So, I recommend going with this one, then on your own.
It is not dangerous or difficult, but rather a short walk and easy climb up involving some stairways, hanging bridges, and few sharp rocks. The walk will only take around 30 minutes and costs 400PHP (around 6€), which includes a helmet, harness, and guide. However, you can get discounted admission tickets for the Canopy Walk on Klook.
I hope you enjoyed those sightseeing tips and will do some of the 7 listed things when in El Nido. Are there any other must-do things in El Nido you have done or heard of?
If you travel to Bohol island as well, check out these top 10 things you need to when in Bohol.