El Nido is a true island gem in the Philippines; famous for its pristine white-sand beaches, world-class diving, crystal-clear waters, and majestic limestone cliffs. El Nido has something to offer travelers of every kind; whether you are visiting alone, on a honeymoon, with friends, or with family, this destination has so much to offer.
Here’s a list of 10 fun and unique things to enjoy in El Nido:
1. Learn about El Nido’s history
Aside from the breathtaking sights in and out of the water, El Nido also has a colorful history. Take a trip to Ille Cave with the help of a tour guide. Ille Cave is an important archaeological site where you’ll find archaic human burial grounds, animal bones, and artifacts that provide valuable insight on how our ancestors lived in paradise during the Neolithic to the Protohistoric period.
Visitors can enter Ille Cave but it’s pitch black and you’ll need a good flashlight to make your way through the cave, which once served as homes to ancient Filipino tribes. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also hike up the rocky formation.
2. Discover the islands and beaches that make El Nido
There are four popular tours offered by agencies in El Nido: Tours A, B, C, and D. The prices of each range from PhP 1,200 up; and are full-day activities that include snorkel rental, and a delicious home-cooked lunch right on the beach. Each of the tours cover the most popular islands throughout El Nido, and if you have the time you may want to do one of these tours each day.
Some of the islands covered include the Big and Small Lagoon, 7 Commando Beach, Shimizu Island, Entalula Island, Snake Beach, and Pinagbuyatan Island, to name a few. Combination and private tour packages are available too; just let your tour guide know where you’d prefer to spend most of your time in.
3. Get high at Taraw Peak
Taraw Peak is the highest point in El Nido, and climbing this rugged limestone cliff isn’t for the faint-hearted but highly recommended for adrenaline junkies. Reaching the summit of Taraw Cliff will reward you with a jaw-dropping bird’s eye view of the entire El Nido coastline, which you won’t be able to get anywhere else.
Make sure that you have the proper gear with you: hiking shoes, gloves for holding on to the rocks, a backpack for climbing essentials, the appropriate clothing. If you’re up for an adventure you won’t be disappointed; the trail is punctuated by jagged limestone rocks that you’ll have to cross over, muddy paths, and lush forests.
4. Visit Matinloc Shrine
It may seem a little out of place to have a religious figure in the middle of paradise, but a visit to Matinloc Shrine is well worth it. Not only is it a fantastic play to say a short prayer, but Matinloc Shrine also has some of the best views in the entire region. It’s considered far from the El Nido town proper, but once you get to see the sights you’ll know why it’s well worth the stopover.
5. Take a refreshing dip at the Nagkalit-kalit waterfalls
Situated between the El Nido town proper and Nacpan Beach, Nagkalit-kalit waterfalls is a popular stop included in several tour packages. Getting there entails a 20-minute walk through a lush jungle, but a quick dip at the two falls will be ultimate refreshing activity after your hike.
Getting to and from Nagkalit-kalit falls can take anywhere between one or two hours, depending on your speed. It’s recommended to take flip-flops on the hike with you, since you’ll be getting your feet wet in river streams along the way – all part of the fun!
6. Explore the underwater attractions by scuba diving
El Nido is a world-class dive spot and for good reason. Both novice and professional divers frequent El Nido to submerge into a colorful world showcasing the most biodiverse marine life on earth. There are fun dives, open water courses, and PADI courses to choose from.
The entire El Nido area is a marine protected area, and divers will be awed by the sheer beauty and variety of life underwater including over 440 coral species, 900 species of fish, marine turtles, crustaceans, and nudibranches.
7. Tour remote islands through a Tao Expedition
Tao Expedition has quickly gained popularity among both local and international tourists because it offers a completely unique way of exploring Palawan. Tao boasts of remote island experiences where guests stay on a liveaboard rather than in a hotel, in a majestic boat made by the most talented boatmakers in Palawan.
Guests are fed natural and healthy food grown right at the Tao farm. Tao offers different packages and in each experience you’ll get to meet fishermen, trek through off-the-beaten path destinations, meet other travelers, and soak up a truly raw, authentic island experience. Tao tours start in El Nido as well as in Coron.
8. Spend a day relaxing at Marimegmeg Beach
Marimegmeg beach is just a short tricycle ride away from the town proper, and the hippest place to be in town. It’s the only place near the city that boasts of white sand beaches, turquoise waters, and majestic islands nearby. Marimegmeg became popular just over the course of 5 years, and now the beach is dotted with rustic and cozy establishments.
Enjoy delicious food from the small restaurants, have a sundowner, pick a beach chair and spend the afternoon reading. This tiny cove has everything you need for a relaxing beach holiday, but if you’d like some vibrant nightlife just wait for the sun to go down as this is when Marimegmeg comes alive.
9. Soak up the sun at Nacpan and Calitang
The secret is out – what used to be a hush-hush destination in El Nido is now a must-visit beach. Both Nacpan and Calitang have made it to the traveler’s radar, thanks to unspoilt sugary sand beaches that invite you to disconnect from the rest of the world. The twin beaches are situated 17 kilometers north of El Nido’s town proper, and are easily accessible by public jeepney including a short walk.
However since there’s just one jeepney a day visiting this area, most visitors may need to stay overnight at one of the rustic, homely huts since there are no large hotels yet in Sitio Calitang – ideal for those who are truly looking to get away from it all.
10. Get a workout while sightseeing via paddleboard
Exploring El Nido’s beaches while on a stand up paddleboard is one of the most exciting yet relaxing activities you can do. Also known locally as an SUP, you’ll be right on the water the entire time, using a paddle to take you in and out of the different islands and beaches nearby. SUP is also an effective and fun core workout!
Enjoy a fun experience and check out other tourist spots to visit, restaurants to try and more in El Nido. Discover cheap hotel deals and cheap flights from carriers like Philippine Airlines, AirAsia, and more with Traveloka!