A 2020 Budget Travel Guide To El Nido, Palawan

Paradise. If I am to describe El Nido in one word, Paradise comes on the top of my head. No word can describe it more perfectly. If you are looking for more reasons to fall in love with the Philippines, El Nido can give you countless in the form of its beautiful islands, white sand shores, breathtaking views, captivating rock formations, turquoise waters, and its quaint town. El Nido is stunning in all forms and ways. And you deserve to experience the island of El Nido for yourself. Let it capture your heart the way it did mine. El Nido awaits you… all you have to do is say YES!





Tour rates in El Nido are all standardized. However, Colz Travel offers the cheapest yet excellent tour services! If you are planning a trip to El Nido soon, consider booking your tours with Colz Travel. Get to see all the main attractions and more in 2 full day tours for as low as PHP 2,450 per person! They also complete packages inclusive of accommodation, airport transfers, 2 full day tours, and complimentary meals starting at PHP 3,800 per person.


Pre Travel Guide

pink-airplane-mode-on-512.jpg Where to book flights?

The easiest way to reach El Nido is by flying to Puerto Princesa. From there, it takes 5-6 hours land travel to E Nido. There are direct flights to El Nido but flying to Puerto Princesa is definitely the cheaper option.

  • Philippine Airlines – PAL operates direct flights to Puerto Princesa from different parts of the Philippines including the main hubs Manila, Cebu, Clark, and Davao. They offer affordable and comfortable seats, so rest assured that you will have the best flight experience!
  • Cebu Pacific – Cebu Pacific also offers direct flights to Puerto Princesa daily. The airlines offer cheap flights that do not compromise your safety and convenience.
  • AirAsia – AirAsia flies directly to Puerto Princesa as well. They have numerous flight frequencies a day for a very affordable price.
  • AirSWIFT – This is the only airline that flies directly from Manila to El Nido. AirSWIFT operates four flights each day.

samuibus_banner_logo_red.png How to get to El Nido from PPS (and vice versa):

  • By Van: You may avail convenient airport transfers via Colz Travel for only PHP 600 / person (one-way). Travel time takes 5-6 hours.
  • By Bus: Another option is to take the bus. It’s slower than vans and there are fewer trips compared to vans. Buses depart every two hours. Go to San Jose Terminal and board a bus bound for E Nido. You may choose from RoRo Bus and Cherry Bus. It costs PHP 290 for an ordinary bus and PHP 380 for an airconditioned bus. Travel time takes around 6-7 hours.

samuibus_banner_logo_red.png How to get around?

  • Island Tours – To explore the islands of El Nido has to offer, one has to join an island hopping tour. The tours are categorized by 4 letters-A, B, C, D. Each tour is a delight on its own right, but the bestsellers are Tour A and Tour C. All tours are STANDARDIZED. ALL tour agencies offer THE SAME tours to all guests. You can’t find anyone (even private tours) that offers specialized or “off the beaten path” tours. Book the most affordable tours with COLZ TRAVEL.
  • Land tour:
    1. Tricycle: If you’re going around the town, the easiest way is to ride a tricycle. Fixed price is PHP 20.
    2. Motorbike: You may also rent a motorbike to explore the town on your own. The rental fee is PHP 500 per day.

77b94a5ca91d20947b7dbfd94955b5e0_house-outline-clipart-clipart-house-outline-free-clipart_558-595.png Where to stay?

The town is where most hotels and establishments are located. There has been a growing number of accommodations within the town from dormitory bed spaces to luxury hotel rooms, as well as pension houses and inns. Here are the top 5 most recommended accommodations in El Nido varying from budget-friendly hostels to world-class staycations and affordable homestays:

  • Spin Designer Hostel
  • Frendz Hostel
  • The Cavern Pod Hotel
  • Seda Lio
  • The Apartments at El Nido

If you book via Colz Travel, we offer a package rate of PHP 3,800 per person which already includes a 3D2N stay in an air-conditioned private accommodation. It is conveniently located to restaurants and stores so you don’t need to spend on transportation.

burger-food-logo-5B8B17C290-seeklogo_com Where to eat?

A trip is not complete without immersing yourself in a place’s food and drinks. There is an abundance of quality bars, cafes, and restaurants in El Nido. if you prefer budget-friendly options, there are also tons of carinderias out there. Here is a list of the top 5 most recommended restaurants in El Nido:

  • Art Cafe – From seafood, pizzas, pasta, and salads, this cafe got your back! Not to mention the place has got one of the most reliable WiFi in town.
  • Happiness – Craving for something unique and Meditteranean? They have the best falafels and hummus!
  • Rooftop – Chill vibes, aesthetic space, good food. Need I say more?
  • Gusto’s – If you’re looking for coffee, waffles, crepes, pancakes–this is the place to be!
  • Angel Wish – You can find the best seafood in town here at Angel Wish! It is also one of the cheapest options to eat out in El Nido.

untitled  Important Notes:

  • Water: Generally, the water in El Nido is contaminated. So to keep yourself safe while traveling, NEVER drink tap water, nor use it for cooking. Better to be safe than sorry.
  • Internet Connection: It might be a struggle for most of you to find a good internet connection. There are areas/hotels that have access to reliable internet signal but don’t expect to get any high-speed browsing most of the time. LTE and 3G connection can also be rough in majority of the areas.
  • ATM – Although there are a bunch of ATM machines in certain locations, it’s best if you have enough cash with you before arriving on the island. Remember that the majority of establishments prefer cash. Some resorts and restaurants accept credit card transactions, but it is better if you have cash with you at all times, just in case.
  • Book your tours and accommodation beforehand. Tours & Accommodations can get fully booked immediately especially during peak season. Book your tour packages through Colz Travel. They offer the most affordable and quality packages!


4D/ 3N Itinerary

For me, I think one should really allocate enough time to spend getting to know El Nido. By doing so, you should at least maximize your trip by experiencing the island hopping tours and going around town.


DAY 1:

Reaching the town of El Nido requires 5-6 hours of land travel (or else, you are willing to spend on the tall prices of the direct flights. So it’s advisable to book early flights so that you can make the most out of your trip in El NIdo.

  • Arrival in PPS
  • Breakfast 
  • Transfer PPS to El Nido (VAN) – 6 hours (via Colz Travel )
  • Arrive in El Nido Proper (Ride a tricycle to accommodation )
  • Check in accommodation
  • Tour around El Nido town
  • Chill



DAY 2: Tour A

Fall in love with the iconic islands of El Nido by availing the most popular boat tour. This tour includes the most photographed spot in El Nido–the Big Lagoon, as well as a visit to the white sand shores of Shimizu Island and Seven Commando Beach. Plus, a stop at Secret Lagoon!


  • Places to visit: Big Lagoon or Small Lagoon, Shimizu Island, Secret Lagoon, Seven Commandos
    • Inclusions: Hotel Pick Up, Boat Tour, Buffet Lunch, Licensed Tour Guide, Entrance Fees
    • Where to book: Colz Travel
    • Cost: PHP 1,050 (CHEAPEST!!)



DAY 3: Tour C

Another top-selling tour that you should not miss is Tour C. With stopovers at the Hidden Garden and Secret Beach, prepare to be captivated by crystal clear waters and fine beaches. Not to mention the popular spots of Helicopter Island, Star Beach, and Talisay Beach that boasts of unique rock formations and amazing beach shores!


  • Places to visit: Hidden Garden, Secret Beach, Star Beach, Talisay Beach, Helicopter Island
    • Inclusions: Hotel Pick Up, Boat Tour, Buffet Lunch, Licensed Tour Guide, Entrance Fees
    • Where to book: Colz Travel
    • Cost: PHP 1,450 (CHEAPEST!!)



DAY 4: Lio Beach & Leave for PPS

In case you need a breather from the island hopping tours yet you still want to spend your day by the beach, you may go check out the Lio Beach, just half an hour away from the town.



How to get to Lio Beach?

  • 1st option: FREE Shuttle beside The Apartments, El Nido (the shuttle departs every our)
  • 2nd option: Ride Tricycle: 300/ way
  • Leave for PPS
  • Arrival in Airport

You may consider other beaches to explore instead of Lio Beach:

  • Las Cabanas Beach: This particular beach is just a few minutes away from El Nido town. You can relax and enjoy the beautiful beach view or grab some drinks as well.
    • Travel Time: 10 Minute Travel Time
    • Tricycle Fee: 150 / way
    • Free Entrance
  • Nacpan Beach: Another most visited beach in El Nido is Nacpan Beach. It was hailed as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world by some of the top travel vloggers out there. The vibe is more laidback as there are no establishments in the area yet, so if you want some quiet time in a secluded beach, this is just the perfect spot for you.
    • Travel Time: 45 Minute Travel Time
    • Tricycle Fee: 500 / RT
    • Free Entrance



If you got plenty more days to spare in Ela Nido, here some other tours and activities that can make your vacation even more worthwhile:

  • Tour B : Discover more unique islands, stunning caves, and beautiful rock formations! This tour includes stopovers at Snake Island, Entalula Island, Pinagbuyutan Island, Cudognon Cave,  and Cathedral Cave. Book your tour with Colz Travel for only PHP 1,250!
  • Tour D: This may be the least popular tour among the four island hopping tours but this category has got some equally stunning attractions! Visit Nat Nat Beach, Cadlao Beach, Pasandigan Cove, Paradise Beach, and Ipil Beach. Book your tour with Colz Travel for only PHP 1,450!
  • Inland Tour: If you prefer not taking a boat ride even for just a day, you may go on a tour around the beaches within the town and about. This tour includes a visit to Nacpan Beach, Lio Beach, Las Cabanas Beach, plus a side trip to a waterfalls! Book your tour with Colz Travel for only PHP 1,250!




Total Expenses:

  • 4D3N Tour (inclusive of Tour A & C with buffet lunch, daily accommodation with free breakfast, and roundtrip van transfers between PPS and El Nido) : 5,450 PHP
  • Food: Breakfast and Lunch is free. Dinner is 150 / night if on a budget: 450 PHP
  • Other Transportation: 
    • Transpo to Lio Beach: 300 PHP / 3 PAX = 100 / PAX
    • RT Tricycle from/ to Accommodation and El Nido Van Terminal: 50 PHP / 3 PAX = 17 PHP
    • No other expenses. Accommodation is just a walk away from everything.
  • Environmental Fee: PHP 200 (valid for 7 days)
  • User Fee: PHP 200 
  • Kayak Rental: PHP 250 (good for 1-2 persons) = 125 / PAX

TOTAL: 6542 PHP 



El Nido is a paradise tucked in Palawan that you should not miss. Spend your days lying around white sand shores and go on endless island hopping explorations. Live your best life in El Nido. It will no doubt be one of the best vacations of your life. Don’t dare miss the beauty of El Nido in your lifetime. I promise you, it is worth the visit!

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