The perfect El Nido itinerary for 3 days

El Nido is the most popular district in the island of Palawan in The Philippines. With its pristine white sandy beaches, remote and untouched islands, clear water lagoons, limestone cliffs jutting out into the sea, hidden caves and rich corals, El Nido is a tropical paradise which is every nature-lovers dream come true. If you're planning a visit to El Nido, I suggest keeping at least 3 days (if not more) in hand to explore the best this place has to offer. Here are my suggestions for the perfect El Nido itinerary for 3 days.


El Nido Itinerary

Getting to El Nido

From Manila, Boracay & Cebu

Air Swift has several flights during the day from Manila as well as Boracay (Caticlan Airport) and Cebu.  Several resorts have a tie-up with Air Swift and provide a van pick-up for their guests while others have a fleet of tricycles lined up outside to take them to their hotels.

From Puerto Princessa

Unfortunately, there are no flights from Puerto Princessa so the road is the best way to traverse between the two provinces. Several companies run mini-buses & vans through the day, starting from as early as 6.00 am from Puerto Princessa to El Nido, and the journey takes about 6-7 hours. Alternatively, you might want to rent a car and drive yourself (although this is not recommended as driving in The Philippines isn't as much a pleasure as you'd want it to be).

What to do in El Nido
El Nido

From Coron

There is a fast ferry (Montenegro Lines) that departs from Coron at 12 pm every day and takes about 3.5 - 4 hours for the journey. Apart from this, there are several slower ferries that take about 7-8 hours and can be booked when you're on the island.

In El Nido, you can consider renting a motorbike to travel around or use the most common mode of transportation- the tricycles, which are quite inexpensive.


Where to stay in El Nido

Water villas of Miniloc Island (El Nido Resorts)

An experience that I'd always imagined was exclusive only to the Maldives and some other very expensive destinations, El Nido Resorts located on Miniloc Island give you the option to stay in a water villa! Built on stilts right over the crystal clear green waters of this remote island, which is about 20-minutes away from the mainland, this is a luxurious and romantic experience, recommended for those looking to spend some quiet time amidst extreme beauty and tranquillity.

What to do in El Nido
El Nido Resorts Water Cottages - Image from booking.com

Las Cabanas Beach Resort

A more reasonably priced option which is also on the mainland in El Nido, with one of the best beaches in the area offering spectacular sunsets is Las Cabanas Beach Resort. Located only 3 kms away from the town, Las Cabanas Beach Resort is on a beach that has several other bars and restaurants, allowing for enough options outside the resort if you wish to explore. The resort itself is quite small, offering only 9 rooms, with a huge botanical garden, beach cottages, an island that you can walk to, right across from the resort and superb service.

Budget beach hotelEl Nido Four Seasons Resort


Day 1:

Zip lining at Las Cabanas Beach

As you are likely to arrive late during the day, you can spend some time relaxing at the long stretch of the public beach near Las Cabanas Resort on day 1 of your El Nido itinerary.  The beach is lined with several restaurants and bars, playing good music, offering a great concoction of cocktails and superb food. You can go for a swim here, as the water is very clear and beautiful. This is probably the only beach in El Nido that has lively, has beach-side dining options and is perfect for swimming.

El Nido itinerary

For the adventurous, there's a zip line that goes from the coast to the island across and it's a brilliant experience because of the breathtaking views along the way. You need to climb a steep path behind the beach to the platform which is placed on a cliff (you need good shoes, water, sunscreen because the path is extremely steep and right under the sun, without any shade). A 15-min climb to the top will bring you to the platform where you'll be made to wear the harness and you can choose between going the 'normal' way or 'Superman' style. Make sure you carry all your things with you unless you want to take the zip line back to the starting place.

El Nido Itinerary

Once you're on the other side, be prepared to climb down a rickety mud-and-stone path down to the beach, full of pebbles. On a rainy day, this can be very slippery so you'll have to be very vigilant while getting down. There is no proper path, just a small rope to hold on to while you figure your way out. The experience, nevertheless, is worth it.

The zip line is open from 7 am until 5.30 pm every day so make sure you get there before sunset!

Sunset at Las Cabanas

Any El Nido itinerary is incomplete without including this spectacle of nature. The sunset at Las Cabanas beach is famous and probably one of the best I've ever seen in my life! Due to low tide, the water in the sea recedes, and the island across can almost be walked to. The burning yellow sky with the silhouette of the hills in the background makes for a stunning sight. To get the best views, walk all the way to Las Cabanas Beach Resort's beachside restaurant.

El Nido Itinerary

What to do in El Nido
Sunset at Las Cabanas Beach


Day 2:

Scuba Diving

You cannot visit Palawan and not experience scuba diving! Rich marine life, kaleidoscopic corals and reefs and shoals of tiny, colorful, harmless fish in some of the clearest waters you'll ever see, are reasons enough to want one to explore the mystical underwater world. When I visited The Philippines, I had never gone scuba diving and I wasn't even PADI certified. Yet, I knew I wanted to go.

Most diving companies in El Nido will offer two types of dives - Discovery Dive & Fun Dive. The Discovery Dive is targetted towards non-divers, it involves some theory and in-water training with experienced and professional instructors before going for a real dive. If you're not certified and trained, you're likely to be taken only to the shallow reefs (not deeper than 12m below sea level). If you would rather go in a group with a professional company (which I highly recommend for first-time divers), Palawan Divers are one of the best companies you can do this tour through.

El Nido itinerary

We stumbled upon another company in El Nido called Plankton Divers in Corong Corong. A family-run business, we were initially very apprehensive to go for a dive with them. There aren't many reviews of them on the internet and they have a small shop but we went ahead anyway and the experience was amazing because it was personalized. We were the only two divers on the boat but we each got one instructor and complete attention. I would highly recommend taking a trip with them if you're not too keen on going with a group and are not worried about getting a highly professional training before the experience.

El Nido itinerary

El Nido itinerary

We went for 2 dives in areas which were not very crowded and saw some beautiful fish! The experience was so amazing that it made me want to get PADI certified in the future. Scuba diving is a key inclusion in any El Nido itinerary!

Sunset at Nacpan Beach

This is a remote beach, located about 45 min away from the city center. Nacpan beach is yet another beautiful beach for swimming (there are very few of those in El Nido, unless you plan to take a ferry and explore the neighbouring islands), and although it is not as lively as Las Cabanas Beach and a lot less crowded, there are a few restaurants and bars located here where you can grab a bit and sip a cocktail. The ride to this beach is bumpy, you'll not see a lot of people along the way and it'll make you wonder where you're headed! Before approaching the beach, there is no proper road, just a rough path with lots of pebbles along the way and it seems slightly daunting to be going towards such an isolated place. But once you arrive, you're greeted by a beautiful white sandy beach, strewn with coconut palms and clear blue waters. Thatched-roof huts provide ample shade and fresh coconut water will keep you refreshed and hydrated during the day.

This is yet another beach to catch a brilliant sunset in the evening. However, most restaurants and bars here shut early so ensure that you make your way out before it begins to get too dark and isolated. Not that it is unsafe, but it is the sensible thing to do!

What to do in El Nido
Sunset at Nacpan Beach


Day 3:

Island Hopping Tour

Before traveling to El Nido, I researched the 4 types of Island Hopping Tours available thoroughly. As you will read anywhere else, the tours in El Nido are fixed (the stops do not vary from one company to another and the cost doesn't either) so it does not really matter who you purchase it from. All tours (A, B, C, D) depart at about 9 am and return at about 5.30 pm.

If you have only 2 days, your El Nido itinerary must definitely include at least one Island Hopping Tour.

Here are my two cents on selecting the Island Hopping Tours in El Nido:

  • Tour A and Tour C are the two most popular tours in El Nido. Tour A takes you to the lagoons (mostly) whereas Tour C takes you to some hidden/ secret beaches (technically, everyone goes there so they're not really hidden or secret anymore)
  • All tours include lunch on board and you can ask for vegetarian food before you board the boat. They will be happy to carry some fruits, salads and vegetarian dishes along (apart from, of course, fresh seafood)
  • You will be provided with life jackets and snorkeling gear on board. However, you're recommended to carry a pair of water shoes with you (which are available for rent at the pier before boarding the ferry)
  • If you're choosing Tour A, be prepared to get out of the boat and into the water (either swim or in a kayak) as there are hardly any stops which will offer you white sandy beaches to sit and relax on
  • A combination tour is also available (you can combine Tour A and Tour C if you like) but the total time of the tour remains the same which means, you will get only limited time at each of the stops on the tour. In my opinion, it is better to choose one of the tours so that you get enough time in each of the stops
  • If you're more of a beach bum, you should choose Tour C or Tour D.

Island Hopping Tour A

We chose the Island Hopping Tour A. This tour was the highlight of my El Nido itinerary. We visited some of the prettiest lagoons I have ever seen, kayaked in the clearest green waters that exist, surrounded by massive brown cliffs. This tour left me in total awe of nature and its wonders.

Kayaks are available for rent at a minimal price at each of the stops. You get about 30 - 45 minutes in most places and if you're an under-confident kayak rider, then don't be shy about asking your tour guide/ boatman to help you out!

Small Lagoon

You can only explore this lagoon by kayaking, so hop on one (available on the spot for a minimal charge). It is located at Miniloc Island and is usually the first stop on Tour A. The rocks and corals can be sharp (if you plan to get off the kayak) so make sure to wear your water shoes. Also, you might get bitten by some territorial fish (not poisonous, but still), so stay in your kayak if you're not willing to risk that!

El Nido itinerary

El Nido itinerary
Kayaking in the small lagoon, El Nido

Big Lagoon

This is the place which has been captured on several drone videos recently. When you say El Nido, you picture massive limestone rocks in the middle of emerald green waters and Big Lagoon is exactly like that! These calm waters are perfect for kayaking and if you're adventurous, you will discover some hidden caves too. Just remember to be back to your boat in time! Also, the lagoon has a lot of sea urchins, so be very careful, should you choose to go snorkeling or swimming. My advice? Stay in your kayak!

El Nido itinerary

El Nido itinerary

Secret Lagoon

Located in one corner of Miniloc Island, the secret lagoon is accessible only via a small crevice in the limestone rocks and you need to crawl through (prepare to be flexible!) to get to the other side, where the hidden lagoon is. Once you're inside, you're surrounded by very tall cliffs and a small lagoon located in the middle of it. Luckily the place was not very crowded when our boat arrived so we managed to get quality time. There is a beach next to the secret lagoon that you can swim too. It's not very big though and there really isn't much to do here. The boat did not stop for more than 30 min. You do not need to rent a kayak here, you can simply swim to the lagoon and the beach.

El Nido itinerary

Lunch at Shimizu Island

The boat didn't exactly stop at the island for lunch which meant we ate on board. The lunch was quite decent - they had options for vegetarians as well. Just let them know in advance if you don't eat meat/ seafood and they will ensure to carry salads, fruits, and even dishes for vegetarians. The boat docked in the middle of the sea for about an hour, giving people enough time not only to enjoy a meal but also go for a swim, if they liked. There was no kayak rental available here but you could borrow the one kayak from your boat if you want.

7 Commando Beach

Each boat doing Tour A in El Nido covers the same places. However, the order may differ. We started from 7 Commando Beach on our tour. As per the story told to us by our boatmen, there was once a ship that was stranded on the island and the name of the island was derived from the name of that ship. Another white sandy beach with coconut palms lining the stretch, 7 Commando beach is not very far from El Nido town. Free to use thatched roof cottages, shops selling fresh coconut juice and snacks, and a beach swing are the highlights of this stop.

El Nido itinerary

Sunset (and stroll) at El Nido Town

I almost didn't include this in my perfect El Nido itinerary for 3 days but we happened to get really late on one of our tours on the last day and reached the pier when the sun was going down. El Nido's sunsets did not disappoint me and having the opportunity to catch a new one every evening, each one better than the last, was something I really appreciated. A few restaurants located right on the beach (although the beach is not that great) serving mouthwatering Filipino delicacies is a nice place to sit and watch this spectacular scene.

Boracay or Palawan
Sunset in El Nido, Palawan

You may also want to explore the town, buy some souvenirs here. Colorful beachwear clothes, waterproof bags, sunglasses, water shoes, GoPro accessories and local handicrafts are easy to find here. This is the perfect end to your 3-day El Nido itinerary.

112 thoughts on “The perfect El Nido itinerary for 3 days”

  1. El Nido is so awesome! I was happy to see that you stayed at Minilok island! We were really hoping to stay there but it didn’t work out. We had such a riot spending 3 days there with our kids.

  2. All the photos are awesome but the sunsets are the best! I understand El Nido is one of the most expensive islands in Philippines so I plan to go all the way and spend a night or two at those houses over the water. Very beautiful!

  3. The Philippines are definitely on my travel wish list. So I was interested in reading about the El Nido area. Staying in over-water bungalows are definitely on my travel wish list. The beaches look like the perfect place to relax. At least until I head underwater to scuba dive. That is one of the big reasons we would want to visit. What a fun place for you to do a first scuba dive. The sunsets you captured all look awesome! Thanks for writing about the different island hopping options.

  4. This place looks breathtaking! I think the highlight for me would be either the zipline (I’ve done various ziplines, but never in a place so beautiful) or the island hopping tour. Looks like I’ll have to make another trip to the Philippines soon!

    1. The zip line is more about the visual appeal of the setting here than the adrenaline rush or sense of adventure. It’s a lovely experience nevertheless 🙂

  5. I must admit that those were three days well spent at El Nido. There are so many things to do and see and the beaches are just so beautiful. The over the water villas are amazing and I also thought you could only experience them in the Maldives. I would definitely love to try zip lining at Las Cabanas Beach.

    1. I could’ve spent more days if I had an option! I found the zip line experience to be a lot of fun as well 🙂

  6. I love golden hour for it offers great opportunities to click stunning colors of nature. I can spend hours cherishing that sun set at Cabanas Beach and Nacpan Beach. Would love to explore El Nido and Island hopping tour would be my first priority.

  7. Wow! These are beautiful paradise islands and sunsets are amazing! I would want to go just to get these beautiful photos of the sunsets! The water is so clear, it reminds me of French Polynesia. Looks like I need to go on vacation to the Philippines in the future.

    1. Some of the best sunsets and clearest waters I saw were in The Philippines. So if you like those two things – there’s no reason to not go!

  8. Your sunsets shots are amazing and have raised my excitement at upcoming diving trip to Philippines in Sept even more. I would love to explore El Nido and the neighbouring islands someday, do kayaking, diving and lazying on the beach.

  9. The pictures are all fantastic! I visited Palawan six years ago but now – it seems all different esp the activities! Thanks for sharing your itinerary because we are booked there on October without anything yet!

  10. I’ve read a lot about El Nido recently, and your photos certainly do it justice! The sunset photo from Nacpan beach is absolutely stunning. Your 3-day itinerary sounds like a great mix of activities and relaxation.

  11. Truly a slice of heaven on earth. El Nido has been on my radar ever since I visited the Philippines about two years ago. I heard so many wonderful things about the island. It’s great to see the picture of El Nido resort on water. Wow! The big lagoon looks simply spectacular. Amazing photos and love the list of things to do in the area.

  12. El Nido is definitely somewhere coming up on my radar more often recently, and your post on a suggested itinerary is helpful to get a feel for the practical side. I love the look of the Water Villas at Miniloc. Ziplining at Las Cabanas sounds fun! I’d also love to do an island hopping tour.

  13. Oh come on! Reading this and checking out these photos wants me to book an airline ticket and get to El Nido as soon as possible. I really do love your photography on your blog posts and they really do stand out.

  14. I need one of those water cottages in my life! We recently stayed on a private island with similar ( in Indonesia) but the water was anything but crystal clear. These look amazing. As you say, Maldives-ish.

  15. My friend is going to Palawan this summer to scuba dive! I’m going to send her this article.

    I didn’t know there were water villas in the Philippines! Are they decently priced unlike my dream destination of Bora Bora? XD

    That zipline sounds so cool! Flying over the water to an island. The climb up and down sounds terrible though LOL

    1. They’re cheaper than the water villas in Bora Bora for sure. That’s my dream destination too, by the way 😉 The zip line was a good experience, something a bit different 🙂

  16. I have been looking for some over water bungalows for my 40th birthday that weren’t in the Maldives. These look like they just might fit the bill. I’ve been wanting to go to the Philippines for a couple of years now.

  17. Palawan has been on my radar for years and we are hoping to visit in 2019 so this was a great time to find your article. We loved the idea of El Nido and now we are certain! I know it isn’t traditionally why people visit but that zip line looks SO much fun, that will be definitely be on our agenda.

  18. It does take awhile to get there. I spent about a week in Palawan but stayed around Puerto Princessa and explored the island down there. I would love to return and go to El Nido. Thanks for the detailed info.

    1. Both El Nido and Coron will be great places to explore, should you plan to visit Palawan again some day 🙂

  19. Looks like it is worth the journey to get there. I would definitely want to stay in the over water bungalows. The island hopping and lagoons look amazing.

    1. The over-water bungalows are a bit far from the city centre though but if you’re looking for peace and quiet, they’re perfect!

  20. Colorful sunsets like those are inspiring enough, but the add-on of spectacular rock formations, blue-green transparent waters and kayaking makes it El Nido irresistible. Was there anything that you missed doing?

  21. What a great and thorough piece! Love it. It is so informative, for sure I will use it when I visit El Nido. My top choice will be to see the Las Cabanas Beach. It seems like a place where you can do a lot of things and still relax at the same time. Besides… you had me at sunset… I am total sucker for a good spot to see a sunset 🙂

  22. This is a perfect post on how to get there and where to stay and what to do. The waters here are just so beautiful. So clear and gorgeous. The diving would have been just amazing. And it has kayaking too….another of my favorite activities.

  23. Such a beautiful place El Nido is. I would definitely love to try the zip-lining at Las Cabanas Beach inspite of the sun! The lagoons also look so pretty. I am thinking of a tropical vacation right now after reading about El Nido. But then I guess I have to learn how to swim before I venture there, or else I might be miss out on the fun.

  24. I have already heard so much of good things about El Nido. The resorts are so beautiful. The mere setting of the resort makes me want to go there. I am not much of a fan of sunsets but I know a friend of mine who is crazy about sun sets. She would love El Nido for only that. I am a diving enthusiast though. And this is the reason why I want to visit El Nido.

  25. Oh, that sounds like a perfect place to visit. I think I’d love to stay in one of the rooms over the water. I should save me nickels so I can. Do you know if you snorkel from the beaches if you can see things? I mean swim out some and explore. I think I would love the secret beach and the sunsets are wonderful!

  26. Places like this are why I would absolutely love to visit the Philippines. I haven’t been to El Nido, but I’m dying to get there. The Secret Lagoon is definitely on my list. Really, I just want to spend all the time in those beautiful, blue waters! So amazing!

  27. I’ve been wanting to visit the Philippines, but I wasn’t sure what areas just yet. I haven’t done much research, but I’ll definitely save this as a resource for when I do plan a trip, because I can’t miss El Nido! It’s beautiful! I’m an outdoor enthusiast too, so this is right up my alley. Kayaking around the lagoon sounds like a lot of fun!

    1. You should also consider Cebu. I haven’t been but that’s going to be on my list for the next time I go 🙂

  28. El Nido looks like such a perfect holiday in the Philipines! I love that Air Swift have several flights from Manila, making it a bit more easier access. Your sunset at Nacpan Beach looks absolutely incredible. And I am loving the idea of island hopping – tour C would totally be my pick because I love the idea of exploring hidden secret beaches.

  29. What exotic places you visit!!! El nido is so gorgeous, definitely a must visit for a beach person. Scuba diving and island hopping is something I would like to do. Thanks for sharing the detailed itinerary.

  30. I really think that The Philippines is over looked as a stunning beach destination. El Nido is a clear example of that.

    One of those over water villas at Manioc Island has my name on them! I could quite easily escape there for a long long time.

    Not sure about the zip lining though, looks pretty scary but wow that view!

  31. Such a beautiful place! I love that turquoise water of Philippines I always see in photos. Hopefully someday I get to explore the country. This seems to be a perfect itinerary. We definitely like the same activities.

  32. El Nido seems unbelievably beautiful. I’d love to visit these pristine beaches but driving for 6-7 hours after a flight to Puerto Princesa doesn’t sound too appealing. If I were to go, I’d probably stop in Puerto Princesa for a few days. Is there anything special to visit there?

  33. I am from the Philippines and I haven’t been to El Nido. It is a plane ride away from Manila but I think I should go soon! It looks beautiful and very pristine!

  34. This is probably one of the most detailed and exceptional itineraries for Wl Nido, Medha. I will definitely use your itinerary when planning my trip there. Are three days enough to see all the highlights there?

    1. Lydia I would suggest to spend 5 days, if possible. As mentioned, there are several other tours such as Tour B, C & D which involve exploring secret islands and beaches, caves, etc. Given a chance, you should do those as well!

  35. I love itinerary type articles – such great ideas! I particularly like that you included sunset spots. And if I go to El Nido I’ll have to stay at the overwater villas!

    1. There aren’t too many overwater villas in the Philippines. El Nido has a few and this one is probably the best option 🙂

  36. Wow! This is such a beautiful place. I have never been to the Philippines but this looks like worth the trip. I would love to go scuba diving and kayaking.

  37. El Nido has been on my bucket list thus, we’re spending my husband’s birthday there in December. Your post just made us more excited about our upcoming trip.

  38. Beautiful indeed. I’d love the kayaking tour around the islands and lagoons, especially the (not so) Secret Lagoon. I do wonder how the closure of Boracay affects El Nido.

    1. Boracay and El Nido are very different actually. El Nido has more of diving sites, lagoons and beaches far away from the mainland, meant for people looking for adventure and exploring nature. Boracay on the other hand (was) more of a party destination, with a gorgeous white beach right on the mainland itself, lined with bars, cafes, massage beds, tattoo artists and what not.

  39. Such stunning pics Medha .. this turquoise blue water is so soothing .. excellent choice of accomodation.. so glad u enjoyed diving so much that u plan to get padi certified.. u will love the underwater world

  40. I’ve read so much about the Philippines recently, and El Nido seems to be a perfect….Nido, nestled (pun intended) in the edenic part. The cabanes on the sea look just wonderful – I really hear the Philippines shouting my name loud and clear 😉

  41. El nido is such a gorgeous Island, definitely has so much to offer for a beach person. Scuba diving and island hopping sounds like a perfect option to completely explore this magical place. Thanks for sharing the detailed itinerary.

  42. Hi! I truly enjoyed reading your post and would definitely check this places in person! What is the best period of the year to go there? Is it a child-friendly area? Is it possible to book a private boat that brings you around the lagoons and the area?

    1. I won’t call it very child-friendly to be honest unless you’re the sorts who is used to taking your child to not so convenient places 🙂 Yes, it is possible to rent a private boat to take you to the lagoons but to explore inside them, you’d still have to rent a kayak because bigger boats cannot enter inside. You could also do one of the other tours (private) if you like where they take you to the hidden islands and beaches. The best time to visit The Philippines is between November – March 🙂

  43. Such dreamy and wonderful stay options at El Nido. Zip lining at Las Cabanas Beach seems like a must experience there. Seeing your pic I am really tempted to go on a drive there.

  44. I’ve been wanting to go to El Nido for ages. Overwater bungalows – yes please! And sign me up for scuba diving and those sunsets every night.

    1. They can get a little expensive though – the overwater bungalows. If I hadn’t already stayed in one in the Maldives, I would’ve shelled out a few extra bucks for this one. It does look pretty awesome!

  45. Hii Medha,
    Lately i have read many articles on El Nido and that has generated sincere interest in me to explore this part of Philippines. The blue water and white sandy beaches are too tempting. I would love to stay at Water Villas at Miniloc island which looks so pristine. And being an adventure lover, I am certain to try Zip Lining at Las Cabanas Beach followed by some golden hour shots there. I am yet to explore any Lagoons and el nido looks perfect for a Lagoon hopping spree.
    All photographs are superb.

  46. I need a tropical vacation soon! The thought of those huge limestone rocks, hidden caves and colorful coral with bungalows over the green water has me drooling! Bookmarking for future travel

  47. El Nido looks beautiful! I haven’t been to the Philippines yet but I keep hearing how amazing their beaches are. Great read though, I didn’t realize some companies let you go diving without a PADI certification. Seems like a good idea for a taster so you can see if it’s worth it to you to get certified.

    1. It was pretty cool that they did! I don’t have certification and I really wanted to experience it. So happy I could.

  48. We have not been to El Nido yet but have heard so many wonderful things about the place. The Las Cabanas Beach looks stunning with the crystal clear water and the sunset is breathtaking. We have never gone Scuba Diving too and its something we wouldn’t want to miss if we visit El Nido. Thanks for the tips!

    1. It was my first ever Scuba dive experience and I don’t think I could have picked a better place for it!

  49. The idea of a sumptuous water villa at Miniloc Island really does get me excited! It’s very tempting to think of only being 20 mins from the mainland, but still in a remote island paradise – heaven.

    1. I totally get that. I love beaches and water but even I am not the sort of person who can just sit on the beach and do nothing, for long. I loved how El Nido had so much to explore!

  50. To start with, I was also under the impression that the experience of staying in a water villa, was limited to Maldives, Bora Bora, but now that I know, that El Nino is also on the list, the place has become my top new favourite. I love kayaking, and scuba diving, and couple that with amazing sunset views, and its a winner for me. Thanks for such an amazing post, with equally appealing pictures.

  51. I was in El Nido 3 years ago and loved it!! The water is so clear. You can see so much underwater when you snorkel and scuba dive. I didn’t know there’s ziplining though!

  52. El Nido is indeed a paradise in paradise. El Nido seems to be the glittering gem of the Philippines. The resorts all look so surreal. Love the look of the water cottages. It would be great to wake up in one of those. The scuba diving experience you had also seems to be unique and personalized.

    1. The scuba dive experience was my first ever and I am glad that we got such personalised attention 🙂 El Nido really was amazing!

  53. I’ve been hearing so many good things about the Philippines lately! When I visit one day, I definitely want to stay on Miniloc Island in a water villa, that sounds so romantic. Plus, I’ll make sure to go kayaking in the small lagoon, that looks like a great adventure travel activity.

    1. Water villas can be slightly expensive and a little away from the main town, but totally worth the experience, especially if you haven’t lived in one before!

  54. You have listed perfect 3 days itinerary for El Nido. Living in water cottages must be very beautiful thing to do here. Sunset at La Cabanas beach is hypnotic and I am truly amazed stunning landscapes of these islands. A very detailed post with all necessary details.

    1. There aren’t too many water cottages in The Philippines like there are in the Maldives. However, there are a few pretty cool options and this is one of them 🙂

  55. A great destination and something which is getting a lot of attention as a tourist destination these days. Perfect beaches and a lot of activities too make a bucket list destination. Perfect sunsets at las cabanas beach with the small and big lagoon again top spots for me. Your photos bring life into the post Thanks for sharing.

  56. What a beautiful itinerary, and stunning photos too! Thanks for being honest about the secret lagoon; some places are so pretty, but if there’s nothing to do there, there’s nothing to do! Las Cabanas Beach is probably my favourite, just because of that sunset, it’s gorgeous! And I’m a big baby when it comes to heights, so don’t think I can do that zipline anytime soon! Would love to though!

    1. The zipline was quite cool actually, not scary at all, maybe you should give it a shot sometime 😉 And yeah, the sunset from Las Cabanas was really breathtaking – one of the best I’ve seen in my life.

  57. I highly suggest, if you are coming from Puerto Princessa, to stop over to Port Barton on your way to El Nido!

    Were you able to do all of the boat tours? Out of my 3 visits to El Nido, I always seem to get stuck on doing tour A and C. Just want to know your thoughts on the other two.

    I’m glad you enjoyed your time! 3 days is a perfect itinerary!

    1. Thanks for the suggestion Mick. Unfortunately, since I had only 3 days, I had to pick one out of all the four options and after thorough research, I picked A 🙂 Hopefully, I will be able to do the remaining 3 next time.

  58. When I see pictures like this I really wish I’d visited El Niño during my trip to the Philippines. I was somewhat put off by the journey from Puerto Princess but I did not realise you could take the boat from coron so that is a great tip. Thanks for sharing

    1. So where all did you manage to go on your trip to The Philippines? I know, the road trip from Puerto Princessa sounds like a pain to me as well!

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