Turquoise water and stunning limestone formations. The Philippines are way too much underrated when it comes to the beauty of their island and scenery.
Everyone traveler who enjoys dipping their toes in the water, sips on cocktails and loves to chill on the beach this place is a must on your bucket list.
After 3 flights out of Europe, I made it to El Nido located in the north of Palawan just a 1-hour flight away from Manila. Now I know where Jurassic Park got the inspiration from for the movie location.
White sandy beaches, limestone formations, and charming woodland. The heat got me walking out of the airplane holding an umbrella to cover myself from the sun. After a smooth arrival at the cozy airport of El Nido I was picked up by a funny looking scooter with a pumping car connected to it also called a tricycle. No windows, a loudly crusty motor, luggage wrapped up on the roof and wind blowing through my hair. A totally new and adventures experience to get around in the Philippines.
With the very limited time I had due to work a few days later in Palawan I tried to cover as much as possible sightseeing adventures in El Nido.
10 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW WHEN TRAVELING TO EL NIDO
1 CASH IS KING
With cash money, you are the king in all of the Philippines and El Nido since ATM’s are often running out of money.
No matter what the weather forecast says (which mostly is rain) if it rains the wind blows away the clouds fast and often there is sunshine all day long.
3 PRECAUTIONS FOR YOUR HEALTH
- brush your teeth with bottled water
- have a basic first-aid kit with you just in case you get an upset stomach or little wounds (paracetamol, plaster, hand sanitizer, norite)
- toiletries, hotel often has their own shampoo/body wash – I recommend to take your favorite travel sizes goodies with you
- sunblock and after sun
- if you are following a diet or are super picky about food, make sure to bring your protein bars and healthy snacks with you to the islands
- mosquito repellant spray
The Internet can be terrible and most “free WiFi” hotspots are slow. Purchase a prepaid SIM card for your unlocked phone at the international airport or in any big shopping mall to keep your family updated with your adventures.
Make sure to leave extra space when you travel to the Philippines 🙂 The Philippines are known for shopping. Check out the local markets and the with AC equipped shopping malls where you find food, clothes, goodies and all you want to shop.
Don’t pack too much. Within 24hrs or less you can have laundry done in the Philippines and it is not that expensive.
A tricycle might be the best vehicle to get around. Anyhow when you want to discover the areas or go to private beaches like Nacpan beach you can rent a scooter for a day or week which is the cheapest way to get around.
You also can negotiate with a tricycle driver a fee to show you around for a day. They often provide a free guided tour so it’s a win-win and you get to discover the area with local.
Just don’t leave plastic, trash or paper behind. The Philipinos try to keep the beaches clean and their underwater world active.
9 ISLAND HOPPING TOURS
In every corner in the city, you can book tours and ask around for combination tours from snorkeling, to diving, to hiking, swimming in lagoons bbq and more…
Tours mostly start around 9:00 am and finishing by 4:30 pm.
Either you book a private tour and be flexible with times or you are with 20 others on a boat. Pretty much all tours provide lunch and basic drinks.
10 AQUA SHOES & DRY BAG (waterproof bag)
Due to the active coral and rocky ground, it is recommended to wear aqua shoes during the island hopping tours.
Instead of buying them you can rent them for 100 pesos before you enter a boat trip. Even better when you already have your own reef shoes.
On the street and in local stores you can buy a dry bag/ aqua bag which keeps your camera and valued items dry throughout the whole trip. The bag is light in weight, comes in trendy colors and you can re-use it globally. 15L -20L should be enough to carry your items around in the water.
Time for me to cool off in the water now and prepping the next blog post about the Island Hopping Tours in El Nido. Stay tuned and shoot me a message if you are traveling to El Nido.