How to get to El Nido, Palawan
In recent years El Nido has been gaining a rep as one of the most beautiful places in not just the Philippines, but the whole world. It’s deep lagoons, limestone towers, beautiful beaches and isolated islands set this hippy vibe town above the rest, earning itself a well deserved spot on your Philippines itinerary. So now you’ve decided you want to visit to El Nido, how exactly do you get there. Here are the three main ways to get to El Nido, Palawan from other main Philippines tourist destinations so you can easily choose the one that’s right for you.
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Option 1: Fly direct with AirSwift
Yes El Nido does actually have its own very tiny airport! And you can fly there direct with AirSwift. This small boutique airline is the only company to fly here and has flights departing daily from Manila, Cebu, Boracay, Bohol Coron and more. The flight only takes around 1 hour from most destinations and once you arrive it’s just a further 20 minute trike ride into the centre of El Nido. Don’t worry trikes will be waiting for you after you get off the plane!
It goes without saying this is the quickest and easiest way to get to El Nido, Palawan. The only drawback of flying with AirSwift is that tickets are more expensive than flying to the Palawan’s main city, Puerto Princesa (more on that later). Though they do have certain tickets at promotional prices, so it’s worth booking in advance if you can. We managed to get a promo priced ticket which cost us PHP 4,500 (£70, $80) each.
Option 2: Fly to Puerto Princesa then get the bus
This is the more popular and cheaper way to get to El Nido, Palawan. Catch a flight to Puerto Princesa in the centre of Palawan and from there take the bus the rest of the way. You’ll be able to book a direct flight to Puerto Princesa from most major airports in the Philippines. Ticket prices are around PHP 2000 (£30, $40) and the journey takes around an hour.
After that you’ll need to get a trike from the airport to the San Jose Bus Terminal. This is where the fun with the bus starts. There are a couple of different companies that run the route but for comfort and safety I would recommend getting the Cherry Bus. Tickets cost between PHP 550 – 800 depending on if it’s direct or makes stops along the way and if it’s their new Lazyboy deluxe bus or not. The journey takes 5 – 6 hours and drops you off at the bus station north of El Nido town centre.
Option 3: Get the boat from Coron
We didn’t actually try out this route, but it is possible to get a ferry from the popular island of Coron that lies around 200km north of El Nido. There are 3 ferries that leave Coron daily with two being fast ferries and the other being a slow one. The fast ferries leave at 8am and 12 noon, take around 4 – 5 hours and cost PHP 2000 (£30, £38). Whilst the slow ferry leaves at 8am each day, takes around 7 hours and costs PHP 1,200 (£18, $23).
Firstly it’s worth saying that although Option 2 seems like the cheapest option to get to El Nido, Palawan. By the time you add up taxi fares and bus ticket on top of your flight, you might not be saving as much as you think, especially if you purchase one of AirSwift’s promo tickets.
That being said, if you’re on a budget and have time to spare Option 2 is still your best option. If you’re on a shorter holiday or have more cash to spare then go with option 1 all the way!
Finally, although we didn’t try Option 3, it is definitely the cheapest way to get from Coron to El Nido in comparison to flying with AirSwift. So again, if you have the time and on a budget then this is your best bet.
Hopefully this guide has told you everything you need to know about how to get to El Nido, Palawan. But if you have any other tips or recommendations feel free to share them in the comments!