El Nido Travel Guide
Beautiful remote beaches, awesome limestone rock formations and a bay dotted with picture perfect islands are the reason why tourists flock to El Nido. The area was proclaimed a Marine Reserve in 1991 and later expended to cover parts of the municipality of Taytay and today covers more than 36.000 hectares of land of 54000 hectares of marine waters.The Municipality of El Nido is composed of 18 barangays with a population of 32000 and growing. Before the tourist arrived, the area was a source for Birth Nests or translated in Spanish “El Nido”, bought by Chinese traders for use in bird’s nest soup.
The municipality is located in the north western tip of Palawan Island, 240 kilometer from Puerto Princesa and can be reached by bus in 6 hours. Small airplanes can land on the airstrip nearby El Nido, but ticket prices are high and schedules unreliable.
El Nido is home to some of the best beaches in the country and combines it with breath taking scenery, but is still not frequently visited by tourists, because of its remote location. The beach of El Nido itself is nothing to rave about. Sunset Lovers Beach a short walk north is a better option. Facilities are increasingly becoming more developed although electricity supply is still unreliable during parts of the day.
El Nido and nearby and small Corong Corong are the best places to stay. Corong Corong has a way better beach then El Nido, but lacks restaurants, supermarkets and entertainment options. Although tours to the Bacuit Archipelago are also organized from Corong Corong. There is something to do for everyone in Coron. Aside from lazing on a nearby beach you can join one of the many island-hopping tours, kayak tours or explore the marvelous underwater and go diving or snorkeling.
The weather in El Nido is tropical year round with a distinct dry and wet season. The wet season the end of May until November, in the other parts of the year rain can still fall but is less intense. Best months to go are in the beginning of the year from January to April, when temperatures are comfortable and chances of rain slim.
Malaria and Filarias are endemic in the more remote parts of Southern Palawan and the mosquito's delivering the disease are most active during the rainy season. In El Nido there have been no Malaria cases reported in recent years. If you are still worried apply DEET lotion, especially from dusk to dawn when the insects are most active.
In 2011 the first ATM was introduced in El Nido by the First Consolidated bank. Unfortunately it is not linked with the international payment networks of cirrus or Plus. There are a few moneychangers in town at not so good rates. The nearest ATM accepting international cards is in Roxas. Some resorts and operators are accepting creditcards, but you have to pay a service fee. So come prepared and bring plenty of cash.
For visa extension you have to go to the field office of the bureau of immigration in Puerto Princesa. There is a strict dress code, no shorts and sandals; dress smart casual.
The best time to visit El Nido is from January to May. Temperatures are relatively cool and humidity is low. Typhoons may hit the island during the summer months from July to September and can really disrupt normal life. Check the weather forecast if you plan to travel during this time.
Eco Development fee
An 200 Php fee is levied on tourists by local authorities. Tickets are sold by most hotels and travel agents and are valid for 10 days.