El Nido, Palawan Itinerary - 2 days

Backpacking, Beach | El Nido, Palawan Itinerary
El Nido town, Nacpan Beach, Las Cabanas Beach.
Specs: El Nido town sightseeing, food trip, island hopping tour, water falls hike, souvenir shopping.
Duration: 2 days


This El Nido itinerary is based on a longer Palawan trip I’ve made which included a trip to Sabang beach, Underground river and Puerto Princesa City. Day 1 activities start early, so it is assumed that you’ll arrive early or has spent the night in the city.

Getting there:

  • There are direct flights to El Nido (ENI) from Manila/Cebu/Boracay-Caticlan airports via Airswift.
  • The more common, and cheaper, option is via Puerto Princesa airport (PPS).
  • From Puerto Princesa airport, you can either take a tourist van or bus to El Nido. The fare is approximately P600 (one-way) and travel time is about 6 hours.
  • From the transport terminal in El Nido, you’ll need to ride a tricycle to get around the town.

INDIE TIP: Pre-arrange your return trip (van booking or bus ticket), particularly during peak season to avoid travel delays.

Accommodation/Hotels in El Nido:

  • El Nido accommodations are not as cheap as other beaches in the Philippines. Price range is above P1000 for a single room in the town center.
  • Of course, backpacker hostels are cheaper at less than P1000, depending on its location.
  • There are no big resorts and hotel chains (yet), so you’ll have to do a little research when booking a place.
  • I checked in at Bulskamp Inn – a safe, homey place near the beach area. (review soon).

Day 1

  • An early start is important for this day to prepare for the island hopping tour. There will be lots of exposure under the sun and sea.
  • Pack your sunblock, hat, shades, swim booties and bring some snacks, drinking water, dry clothes and of course – a waterproof camera.
  • You may opt to bring your own flotation vest and snorkel gear if you wish.
  • Finish your morning rituals on land because there may be no opportunity for a toilet break mid-tour.
  • Island hopping tours in El Nido are bundled into packages (Tour A, B, C), based on the areas to be visited. Price range is P1500 up per person.
  • Each tour takes abouthentic itat 5-6 hours. A tropical buffet lunch is included (to be served in one of the beach destinations).
  • Ask your hotel receptionist to book the island hopping tour for you or you can drop by the tourist desk near the beach.
  • A joiner tour boat will have about 10-15 passengers and about 3-4 crew. You may also arrange to charter an entire boat for privacy.
  • After the tour, hire a tricycle to take you to Las Cabanas beach for some downtime. Watch the sun set then head back to the town proper.

FOOD: El Nido sees visitors from different corners of the globe, so food choices are wide. You can try authentic Italian pizza, cheap Pinoy silog meals and fresh grilled seafood in one night.

Day 2
  • Hire a tricycle for a day (or half day), about P800. Discuss your proposed itinerary before closing the deal.
  • After breakfast, head over to Taraw Cliff. It's a steep hike to the top. Entrance fee is P400.
  • On the way to Nacpan beach, you can catch a glimpse of El Nido airport.
  • Nacpan Beach is yet to be fully developed, so there's hardly any establishment in the area, save for a few snack shacks.
  • Take a short hike up a hill to see the famous twin beach view (Nacpan and Calitang).
  • For the waterfall side trip, it's a toss between Nagkalit-kalit falls or Bulalacao (Bulalakaw) falls. Our guide took us to Bulalakaw because he said the hike was shorter and the water flow was better.
  • After the hike, head back to the town for lunch and just in time to catch the trip back to the city (via Puerto Princesa).

  • Extend your stay to try out all the island hopping tours. 
  • You can take a side trip to Sabang beach and visit the famous underground river, before going back to Puerto Princesa.
  • Take a fast ferry to Coron (3.5 hours travel time).

Boarding the tour boat

Hidden lagoon, where a season of Survivor (France) was filmed

View from Matinloc Shrine, where we also had lunch

On another island

Next stop: helicopter island

Las Cabanas Beach sunset session

Twin beaches: Nacpan and Calitang

Long stretch of Nacpan beach

Bulalacao falls

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