By Guest Blogger: Kristy Kellogg
El Nido, Palawan, Philippines the most beautiful place I have ever seen. I’m not the only one who thinks so. El Nido has been named as the best beach destination by several international travel publications. I’m more of an off the beaten path traveler but I just loved El Nido. I will definitely go back again to discover more of its beauty and magic.
The beauty of El Nido can be found by island hopping. El Nido has 45 islands and islets with stunning limestone cliffs. There are 4 open boat tours in El Nido – Tours A, B, C. D. Everyone we had met said the must see tours are A and C. Unfortunately, we only got to do Tour A. Tour C was cancelled by the Coast Guard each day we tried to go.
We booked Tour A with Philippines À La Carte and couldn’t have been happier. The staff in their booking office is really nice and helpful. The boat crew the best.
The first stop on the tour was Small Lagoon. Small Lagoon is located in a cove of Miniloc Island. Once anchored, you can either kayak or swim to the lagoon. If you opt to swim, it is quite a far distance. There are a lot of rock formations along the way and little fish that bite so be careful. Otherwise, you’ll end up like me with “souvenirs” on your legs. It’s probably a good idea to wear water shoes. Once you reach the small lagoon, you’ll be rewarded with tranquil, turquoise-emerald green waters and limestone walls.
Next stop – Big Lagoon. This is the best stop and the most beautiful place I have ever seen. I’ve been all over the world but there are just no words for this magical scenery. My friend and I opted to kayak this lagoon. It’s pretty big so you pretty much have the lagoon to yourself in some parts. The limestone cliffs are majestic and powerful. The water a pristine turquoise and emerald.
On to the next lagoon – Secret Lagoon. A secret because you have to crawl through a whole to get inside. Once inside, you’ll behold a massive caldera formed by a collapsed cave, surrounded by karst cliffs, with the lagoon in the middle. Unfortunately, I don’t have a photo of this one.
After Small Lagoon, we were supposed to go to Shimizu Island for our lunch break. We didn’t go because it was overcrowded. Instead our captain anchored at a snorkel spot nearby while our cook finished preparing our lunch. We were served a feast of grilled fish, grilled pork, grilled chicken, steamed mussels, rice, veggies, and fruit. This was easily my highlight meal in El Nido. It’s amazing how he prepared such delicious food using a tiny little grill.
With our bellies full and happy, we headed to our last stop for some relaxation – Seven Commandos Beach. Pulling up you’re welcomed by an oasis of swaying palm trees, white sand, and turquoise water. Here you can chill out with some fresh coconut juice or play basketball or volleyball with the locals.
The other days we were in El Nido we hit the beaches. The closest nice beach to El Nido town is Las Cabanas Beach. This is a perfect beach to lounge with some drinks and music.There are several resto-bars along the beach but it’s not crowded. At least when we went, it wasn’t crowded. If you’re looking for adventure, you can zip-line at this beach. We stayed there all day to catch the sunset here. At the far end of this beach, you will have an unobstructed view of the sunset. Sunsets in Palawan are surreal. I can’t even describe the beauty.
The must see beach in El Nido is Nacpan Beach. Getting there is a bit of an adventure. It’s about a 45 minute tricycle ride through rocky, dirt roads. Let me tell you, off-roading in a tricycle is certainly an experience. It was well worth it though. This is a gorgeous beach.
There are a lot of different restaurants in El Nido. I recommend hitting up the seafood grill restaurants on the beach. At these places, you take a look at the fresh seafood selection and pick what you want for them to grill.
Also check out the Art Cafe. I really liked the coconut fish and veggies dish there. It gets pretty busy for dinner. I recommend going there around 5pm to get a table on the waterside. We caught an amazing sunset from this spot.
How to Get to El Nido
From Manila, you have two flight options. Either option is about an hour flight. The easiest and quickest option is to catch a direct flight to El Nido Airport. The cheaper option is to catch a flight from Manila to Puerto Princesa. To get from Puerto Princesa to EL Nido, it’s a 6 hour shuttle ride. I recommend booking the shuttle with Recaro Transport. In my opinion, they are the best transport option in Palawan.
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