Attractions El Nido
The El Nido tour guides association has a number of interesting hiking tours in their portfolio. An easy day tour will let you explore the tropical rainforest of Cadlao Island. On the way you will pass an inland lagoon and the tour ends at small cove, good for a refreshing swim. Awesome views are the reward for a challenging half day climbing tour on El Nido’s limestone cliffs. Bring good shoes, plenty of water and enough courage. Another ½ day tour brings you to the Makinit Hot springs and Nagkalit-kalit Waterfall. The Hot Springs are a bit of a disappointing sight and located an hour drive north of El Nido. Facilities here are non-existent and it’s not a good place for a swim. After the Hot Springs 30 minutes back to El Nido town is the starting point for an easy one hour trek to the Falls. The cascading falls are ending in a swimmable pool. During the dry seasons, the fall noticeable dwindles in strength and loses much of its attractiveness.
Explore the stunning inland of El Nido and rent a motorbike or mountain bike. This is also a good idea if you are staying in a resort located a bit out of town. Several operators in town are offering rentals. Rentals go for PhP 500 per day for a mountain bike and double that for motorbikes.
A visit to El Nido is not complete without an island-hopping trip. There are a four tours available which each visit a number of the island that are located near each other. There is one ½ day tour available that brings you to the nearby islands of Cadlao and Dilumcad. The other three tours (named A, B,C) take the whole day. Tour A is the most popular and brings you to the picture perfect Big and Small lagoon of Miniloc, Entatula, Shimizu and 7 Commandos beach with a lunch on the Secret Lagoon Beach. Snorkeling equipment can be rented additionally and is highly recommended. Tour B visits the islands a bit further away from El Nido and Tour C takes you all the way to the islands located near the South Chinese Sea and is only undertaken during good weather conditions. Expect to pay 1200 PHP per person for a full day tour including lunch.
The protected waters of El Nido are home to some of the finest dive sites in the country. Despite the protected status of the marine park, dynamite fishing still has not completely stopped and some parts of the reef suffer noticeably from this once common practice. There are over 20 sites ranging from easy shallow sites for beginners to deep drift dives for experienced divers. Twin rocks and Tres Marias are two shallow spots good for both divers and snorkelers. Probably the best dive site is South Miniloc, which is home to large schools of barracudas and snappers and has large coral formations. In 2006 locals created an artificial coral reef in Tres Marias and you can expect to see the start of some coral formations as well as plenty macro life and with a bit of luck turtles and Manta Rays. Visibility ranges from 5 meter up to 30 meters depending on the time of the year and tidal conditions. Visibility is best during the end of the dry season from the end of March to May.El Nido is also a good place to learn diving; The usual range of PADI and SSI dive courses are both offered. The price for a beginners (open water) course is around 20.000 Php.
This sport is slowly taking off and various shops are renting out windsurf equipment for Php 1500 per day. Private windsurf lessons can be arranged for Php 500 per hour.
Kakaying is the perfect way to explore the warm waters and isolated islands of Bacuit Bay. You can rent a kayak including life vests for Php 800 per day or Php 500 per half day. It is also possible to combine Island Tour A with kayaking, which is a good option for exploring the more remote islands on your own. Currents are mostly mild, so you want have to worry about getting back to the boat or shore.