El Nido island hopping is one of the most popular things to do in the Philippines. So here’s a breakdown of all the options and the info you need.
How To Get To El Nido
El Nido is one of the most popular destinations in the Philippines right now. Located at the top of Palawan Island in the East of the Philippines, there are only a couple of ways to get there.
The most common way to get to El Nido, is by taking a plane to Puerto Princesa, and then taking a Transfer between Puerto Princesa and El Nido.
It will take you a full day of travel, but it’s the cheapest way to go.
Another good option is to take a direct flight from Manila to El Nido.
Flights generally tend to be more expensive if you’re flying straight into El Nido, but if you want to avoid the 5 hour mini bus ride, it’s the option for you.
Getting Around El Nido:
Once you arrive in El Nido, the small town is easy enough to walk around.
To be honest, this is one place in the Philippines where you don’t see that many tourists on scooters.
This is more of a laid back, take your time kind and chill kind of spot.
If you do need to get anywhere of distance, there are tuk-tuks hanging around most corners. They’ll drop you around most places in town for less than 100 PHP.
For those short on time, or that prefer everything to be organised for them, there are some awesome tours on Get Your Guide available to book in advance.
El Nido Island Hopping Tour Prices
Prices vary from 1,200 – 1,400 PHP per person and you can book your El Nido Island Hopping Tours in advance.
As soon as you arrive in town nearly every accommodation, restaurants or pop up shop will be jumping to sell you an El Nido tour package.
The majority of them will have signs up on the wall with fixed prices and because of the high demand they’re known not to budge.
Although if there is a large group of you, as with anything in the Philippines, the price is always negotiable.
Which El Nido Island Hopping Tour To Take?
Firstly you need to know that there are four types of El Nido island hopping tours, A, B, C & D.
Each are similar in trip length and inclusions, but they visit different locations. Here’s exactly what each tour consists of:
- Small Lagoon
- Big Lagoon
- Simizu Island
- Secret Lagoon
- 7 Commando Beach
El Nido Island Hopping Tour A: Lagoons and Beaches
- Snake Island
- Cudugnon Cave
- Pinagbuyutan Island
- Cathedral Cave
- Entalula Island
El Nido Island Hopping Tour B: Cudognong Cave & More
- Matinloc Shrine
- Secret Beach
- Hidden Beach
- Star Beach
- Helicopter Island
El Nido Island Hopping Tour C: Hidden Beaches & Shrine
- Cadlao Lagoon
- Paradise Beach
- Pasandigan Beach
- Nat Nat Beach
- Bukal Beach
El Nido Island Hopping Tour D: Hidden Beaches and Lagoons
Best Time To Visit El Nido + Tips
It’s best to visit El Nido during the dry season, between November and April.
At this time the surrounding islands are fully accessible, including many of the more remote areas.
Temperatures are at a high during March and April, so it’s best to travel during the cooler months of December to February.
For your island hopping tour our recommendation is to get a group together (minimum 4 people) and negotiate a deal with one of the operators in town for your own private boat.
We ended up paying 1,700 PHP per person to do both tours A & C in one day, plus had a huge vegetarian lunch thrown in.
This way it beats sharing a boat with another 10 tourists all fighting for the same photos.
Take plenty of snacks as there’s not a lot available on the islands.
Also remember to pack plenty of water, sunscreen and your cameras.
What To Pack
Our El Nido Island Hopping Experience
We took tours A & C and were not disappointed!
We got up a little earlier than the usual departure time because we were mixing two tours into one day.
It worked out in our favour though as we arrived at all the tourists spots first before anybody laid foot on the islands.
Every place we visited was insanely beautiful and by far the highlight of our whole month in the Philippines.
We’re sure that all the El Nido island hopping tours are simply amazing, but we definitely recommend tours A & C.
Where To Stay In El Nido
Luxury – Lagùn Hotel
Lagùn Hotel features an outdoor swimming pool and a terrace. Located around 5 miles from Big Lagoon, the hotel is also 5 miles away from Small Lagoon.
Guests can enjoy a drink at the bar or a meal in the restaurant. The rooms come with a flat-screen TV with cable channels, fridge, a kettle, a shower, free toiletries and a desk.
Featuring a private bathroom, certain units at Lagùn Hotel also feature a balcony.
Breakfast is available daily, and includes continental and buffet options.
Mid-Budget – Ipil Suites
Set amidst lush greenery, Ipil Suites features a restaurant and comfortable rooms with free Wi-Fi access.
It has a common lounge area with a TV, while parking space is provided on site at no charge.
The property is conveniently located within a 15-minute drive from El Nido Airport.
Fitted with tiled flooring, rooms come with air conditioning, a personal safe, clothes rack and freshly-laundered bedding. The en suite bathroom includes hot/cold shower facility, towels and free toiletries.
Budget – Elternative Hostel
Featuring a rooftop sun terrace and views of the surrounding mountains, Elternative Hostel offers solar-powered accommodations 6 minutes’ walk from Corong Corong Beach.
The local market is just 3 minutes’ walk away, while the bus/van terminal are 4 minutes’ walk away.
Every room has a private bathroom and mini garden. Several rooms have air conditioning and an attached mini-kitchen.
During good weather, guests can relax and enjoy a barbecue on the rooftop.
For more places to stay in El Nido, you can check the latest prices on Booking.com.
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