Top 10 Things To Do In El Nido Philippines: El Nido, Philippines, is a remarkable destination with captivating beauty and endless possibilities for exploration. From its pristine beaches and turquoise waters to its towering limestone cliffs and vibrant marine life, this tropical paradise offers a wide array of activities that will enchant any traveler. Whether it’s island hopping, snorkeling in hidden lagoons, or simply basking in the sun on one of the many secluded beaches, El Nido promises an unforgettable experience. In this article, we will highlight the top 10 things to do in El Nido, showcasing what this extraordinary destination has to offer.
Top 10 Things To Do In El Nido Philippines
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1. Explore the Island-Hopping Tours
El Nido, located in Palawan, Philippines, offers many island-hopping tours that allow visitors to explore the area’s stunning natural beauty. Each tour offers a unique experience, showcasing different islands, lagoons, beaches, and caves. The island-hopping tours are categorized into four main options: Tour A, Tour B, Tour C, and Tour D.
Tour A: Combination of Lagoons and Beaches
Tour A is a perfect introduction to the breathtaking beauty of El Nido. This tour includes visits to popular spots such as Small Lagoon, Big Lagoon, Secret Lagoon, and Shimizu Island. Visitors can swim, snorkel, or kayak in the crystal-clear waters of the lagoons and admire the magnificence of the limestone cliffs surrounding them. The tour also allows relaxing and enjoying the islands’ stunning beaches.
Check out El Nido Tour A here.
Tour B: Caves and Islands
For those seeking adventure and exploration, Tour B is an ideal choice. This tour takes visitors to enchanting caves and islands, including Cudugnon Cave, Snake Island, Pinagbuyutan Island, and Entalula Island. The highlight of this tour is the visit to Cudugnon Cave, where visitors can witness fascinating rock formations and learn about the cave’s historical significance.
Check out El Nido Tour B here.
Tour C: Secret Beaches and Hidden Lagoons
Tour C is designed for travelers who wish to escape the crowds and discover hidden gems. This tour includes stops at Secret Beach, Matinloc Shrine, Hidden Beach, and Helicopter Island. Hidden Beach is particularly secluded, accessible only through a small opening in the limestone cliffs. Visitors can bask in the serenity of these hidden spots and appreciate the untouched beauty of El Nido.
Check out El Nido Tour C here.
Top 10 Things To Do In El Nido Philippines: El Nido Tour A and C Review
Tour D: Cadlao Island and Pasandigan Beach
Tour D offers a glimpse into the beauty of Cadlao Island and the pristine Pasandigan Beach. Visitors can explore Cadlao Lagoon, famous for its emerald waters and limestone cliffs, before heading to Pasandigan Beach for a relaxing day under the sun. The beach is perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and picnicking, allowing visitors to unwind in a tranquil setting.
2. Marine Life and Diving Sites
El Nido is renowned for its vibrant marine life and offers exceptional diving opportunities for enthusiasts. The following diving sites are a testament to the diverse marine ecosystem found in the area:
Also known as Helicopter Island, Dilumacad Island is a stunning destination above the water and boasts remarkable underwater treasures. Divers can explore vibrant coral reefs teeming with colorful fish and encounter sea turtles, giant clams, and various marine species. The clear waters and great visibility make Dilumacad Island a favorite diving spot in El Nido.
South Miniloc is another popular diving site in El Nido, offering an underwater playground for divers of all levels. This site features towering limestone formations and a thriving coral reef ecosystem. Divers can spot various marine life, including reef sharks, stingrays, groupers, and tropical fish. The diverse underwater landscapes and the chance to encounter larger marine species make South Miniloc a must-visit for diving enthusiasts.
Located further away from the main islands of El Nido, North Rock is a submerged pinnacle that attracts experienced divers seeking an adrenaline rush. The strong currents at this challenging dive site make it suitable for advanced divers. North Rock is a haven for pelagic species, and lucky divers may witness sightings of manta rays, eagle rays, and schools of barracudas.
Tapiutan Strait offers a combination of thrilling drift dives and breathtaking seascapes. This diving site is known for its strong currents, making it suitable for experienced divers. The underwater terrain consists of massive coral formations, walls, and caves, providing a habitat for numerous marine species. Divers exploring Tapiutan Strait may encounter reef sharks, turtles, and a variety of colorful tropical fish.
3. Visit Nacpan Beach
Nacpan Beach is a picturesque and peaceful paradise approximately 17 kilometers from El Nido town. This pristine white sand stretches for four kilometers and is lined with swaying palm trees, offering a serene escape from the bustling town. Visitors can indulge in various activities while soaking up the sun and enjoying the tranquil atmosphere.
A visit to Nacpan Beach is included in this tour.
Activities on the Beach
Nacpan Beach is a haven for sunbathers and beach enthusiasts. Visitors can relax on the soft sand, take leisurely walks along the shoreline, or lounge under the shade of the palm trees. The beach’s calm waters are perfect for swimming, and the absence of crowds ensures a peaceful experience. Adventurous souls can also try their hand at beach volleyball or build sandcastles with their loved ones.
Local Food and Drinks
Nacpan Beach is not only a feast for the eyes but also for the taste buds. Various local food stalls and beachfront restaurants offer an array of delicious dishes, allowing visitors to savor authentic Filipino cuisine. From fresh seafood dishes to traditional Filipino delicacies such as adobo and lechon, there is something to please every palate. Those seeking refreshment can enjoy tropical fruit shakes or sip on a chilled coconut, a perfect way to beat the heat.
Enjoy the Sunset View
Nacpan Beach is famed for its stunning sunset views, attracting visitors from near and far. As the golden sun dips below the horizon, the sky transforms into a breathtaking palette of pastel hues. Couples can enjoy a romantic stroll along the beach, hand in hand, while nature lovers can capture the magnificent sunset in all its glory. Watching the sunset at Nacpan Beach is an unforgettable experience, creating lasting memories for all who witness it.
4. Outdoor Adventures
El Nido is a destination for beach lovers, offering a wide range of outdoor adventures for thrill-seekers and nature enthusiasts.
Rent a Kayak
One of the best ways to explore El Nido’s stunning coastline is by renting a kayak. Kayaking allows visitors to navigate through the clear waters, weaving in and out of hidden coves and limestone formations. Paddling along the shores, adventurers can discover secluded beaches, hidden lagoons, and mesmerizing caves inaccessible by other means. Renting a kayak also provides the freedom to set your own pace and fully immerse yourself in the natural beauty of El Nido.
Trekking to Bulalacao Waterfalls
For those who crave adventure and nature, a trek to Bulalacao Waterfalls is necessary. This hidden gem is located in the lush rainforest, approximately five kilometers from El Nido town. The trek requires a moderate level of fitness and rewards hikers with captivating views of cascading waterfalls and idyllic pools. After the trek, a refreshing dip in the cool waters is a delightful way to unwind and connect with nature.
A trek up to the Bulalacao Waterfalls is included in this tour.
El Nido’s rugged terrain and scenic landscapes make it an ideal destination for mountain biking enthusiasts. Renting a mountain bike allows visitors to explore off-the-beaten-path trails, cycling through lush forests, rice paddies, and rural villages. The adrenaline-pumping experience of biking along narrow paths and conquering challenging terrains is enhanced by the breathtaking vistas surrounding every twist and turn. Mountain biking in El Nido promises unforgettable adventures and unparalleled opportunities to appreciate the area’s natural beauty.
5. Visit Local Villages
Immersing oneself in the local culture and traditions is integral to the El Nido experience. Exploring the local villages offers a unique opportunity to interact with the friendly locals, gain insights into their way of life, and support the local economy.
Interact with the Locals and Learn Their Culture
Visiting local villages allows travelers to connect with the residents known for their warmth and hospitality. Interacting with the locals provides a deeper understanding of their customs, traditions, and way of life. Visitors can engage in conversations, learn about the histories and stories of the communities, and even participate in traditional activities such as weaving or fishing. Sharing experiences with the locals fosters cultural exchange and creates unforgettable memories.
Try Local Foods and Drinks
A visit to the local villages is incomplete without sampling the culinary delights that El Nido has to offer. Travelers can indulge in traditional Filipino dishes such as adobo, sinigang, and kinilaw, skillfully prepared by the locals. Exploring the local markets and food stalls allows visitors to taste regional specialties made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Savoring the flavors of the local cuisine not only satisfies the taste buds but also provides a deeper appreciation for the culinary traditions passed down through generations.
Buy Souvenirs and Local Crafts
Supporting the local communities through responsible tourism includes visiting the local markets and shops. El Nido is known for its handicrafts, and visitors can find unique souvenirs that reflect the area’s rich culture and natural beauty. From intricately woven textiles to hand-carved wooden sculptures, the local crafts showcase the artistry and talent of the community. Purchasing these souvenirs not only serves as a memento of the trip but also contributes to the livelihoods of the local artisans.
6. Dine in Beachfront Restaurants
El Nido offers a variety of beachfront restaurants where visitors can feast on delicious food while enjoying breathtaking views of the sea. The following establishments are renowned for their culinary offerings and idyllic settings:
El Nido Boutique Art Café
Located along the beachfront, Art Café is a favorite among locals and tourists. The restaurant offers a diverse menu that caters to various dietary preferences, including vegetarian and vegan options. Diners can savor international dishes with a Filipino twist, accompanied by refreshing cocktails or locally brewed beers. The open-air terrace provides uninterrupted beach views, creating a relaxed and inviting ambiance.
For those craving authentic Italian cuisine, Trattoria Altrove is a top choice. This cozy beachfront restaurant serves classic Italian dishes, including delectable handmade pasta and wood-fired pizzas. Diners can enjoy their meals at candlelit tables on the sandy beach, immersed in the romantic setting created by the warm glow of lanterns. Trattoria Altrove offers a truly memorable dining experience that combines Italian flavors with the tropical beauty of El Nido.
Happiness Beach Bar
Happiness Beach Bar is the epitome of a tropical beachside bar, offering a relaxed atmosphere and refreshing drinks. Visitors can kick back on bean bag loungers and enjoy a variety of cocktails, smoothies, and fresh fruit shakes made from locally sourced ingredients. The bar’s friendly staff ensures prompt service, and the laid-back vibe makes it an ideal spot to unwind, watch the waves, and revel in the beauty of El Nido.
7. Relax on Secret Lagoon
El Nido is home to numerous hidden gems, and one of the most enchanting is the Secret Lagoon. This natural wonder is tucked away behind towering limestone cliffs and is accessible through a small crevice. Once inside, visitors are greeted by the tranquility of the lagoon and the captivating beauty of its clear blue waters.
The El Nido Secret Lagoon is included in this tour.
Enjoy the Clear Blue Waters
The Secret Lagoon offers a serene setting where visitors can relax and soak up the beauty of their surroundings. The crystal-clear waters beckon swimmers, who can revel in the calmness and coolness of the lagoon. The absence of crowds and the peaceful ambiance make the Secret Lagoon an ideal retreat to escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life and find solace in nature’s embrace.
Snorkel in the Lagoon
Snorkeling in the Secret Lagoon is an opportunity to discover the vibrant marine world beneath the surface. The lagoon is home to abundant, colorful fish, coral reefs, and other fascinating marine life. Snorkelers can spend hours exploring the underwater wonders, observing the intricate movements of the marine ecosystem in this hidden paradise.
Capture Beautiful Pictures
The Secret Lagoon’s picturesque scenery provides ample opportunities for photographers to capture stunning images. The towering limestone cliffs, turquoise waters, and lush greenery create a surreal backdrop that begs to be immortalized in photographs. Whether capturing the tranquility of the lagoon, the dramatic rock formations, or the interplay of light and shadows, photographers will find endless inspiration in the beauty of the Secret Lagoon.
8. Witness Majestic Views from Taraw Cliff
For those seeking panoramic views of El Nido’s stunning landscape, visiting Taraw Cliff is a must. Standing tall at 230 meters, Taraw Cliff offers a challenging yet rewarding hike that culminates in breathtaking vistas.
Hiking to the Cliff
The hike to Taraw Cliff is not for the faint of heart and requires physical endurance and a sense of adventure. The steep and rocky terrain demands caution and proper footwear. The climb can be strenuous, but hikers are rewarded with awe-inspiring views. Experienced guides are available to ensure the safety of climbers and provide insightful information about the area’s geology and wildlife.
Capture Panoramic Views of El Nido
At the summit of Taraw Cliff, hikers are treated to a mesmerizing panoramic view of El Nido. The vast expanse of turquoise waters, pristine beaches, and towering limestone cliffs form a breathtaking tapestry that stretches as far as the eye can see. Watching the sunset or sunrise from the top of Taraw Cliff is an awe-inspiring experience, allowing visitors to truly appreciate the natural beauty of El Nido from a different perspective.
Safety Precautions while Climbing
Safety is of utmost importance when embarking on the Taraw Cliff hike. It is advisable to hire an experienced guide who can navigate the challenging terrain and ensure the well-being of climbers. Adequate footwear with good traction is essential to avoid slips and falls. Climbers should also bring sufficient water, sunscreen, and insect repellent, as the hike can be physically demanding and expose them to the elements.
9. Explore the Underwater Caves
El Nido is known for its intricate network of underwater caves, each with its own unique allure. Exploring these caves provides a sense of wonder and adventure, showcasing the hidden treasures beneath the surface.
A visit to the El Nido Cathedral Cave is included in this tour.
Visit the Cathedral Cave
The Cathedral Cave is one of the most renowned underwater caves in El Nido. Accessible only by boat, this awe-inspiring cave features an expansive chamber adorned with limestone formations that resemble a cathedral’s interior. The cave is bathed in a mystical glow as sunlight streams through natural openings in the ceiling, creating a truly magical experience. Visitors can explore the Cathedral Cave by kayak or by swimming, accompanied by experienced guides.
Take a Dive in Cudugnon Cave
Cudugnon Cave is another notable cave that boasts both historical and natural significance. The cave requires visitors to swim through a small entrance, leading them into a hidden chamber with stunning rock formations. Snorkelers can admire the vibrant marine life that thrives within the cave’s confines, while divers can explore deeper sections of the cave. Cudugnon Cave offers a remarkable opportunity to witness the spectacular beauty of the underwater world.
10. Experience Nightlife in El Nido
The adventures in El Nido do not end with the setting sun. The town comes alive after dark, offering a vibrant nightlife scene that showcases local culture and entertainment.
Visit the Local Bars and Pubs
El Nido has a lively array of local bars and pubs that cater to diverse tastes. Visitors can enjoy live music performances, ranging from traditional Filipino bands to talented local artists. The vibrant and friendly atmosphere encourages interaction with locals and fellow travelers, creating a sense of camaraderie and excitement.
Enjoy the Live Music Performances and Cultural Shows
Many establishments in El Nido feature live music performances that showcase the talent and diversity of the local music scene. Whether it be traditional Filipino tunes or contemporary hits, the live music adds to the vibrant ambiance and offers an opportunity to immerse oneself in the local culture. Some venues also host cultural shows featuring traditional dances and performances that highlight the rich heritage of the Philippines.
Stroll in the Local Night Market
The local night market is a bustling activity hub, offering various food stalls, souvenir vendors, and street performers. Visitors can sample local street food, such as grilled seafood, rice dishes, and tropical fruits. Browsing through the stalls, travelers can find unique souvenirs, handcrafted jewelry, and clothing items. The night market provides a vibrant and colorful experience, allowing visitors to engage with the local community while enjoying the sights, sounds, and flavors of El Nido.
In conclusion, El Nido, Philippines, offers many experiences for travelers seeking a memorable vacation. From the enchanting island-hopping tours and vibrant marine life to the blissful relaxation on beautiful beaches, outdoor adventures, cultural immersions, and thrilling nightlife, El Nido has something to offer every traveler. By embracing the area’s natural beauty, interacting with the locals, and immersing oneself in the vibrant atmosphere, visitors can create unforgettable memories of their time in this tropical paradise.