El Nido is where it’s at when it comes to beautiful white beaches, stunning rock formations, island hopping adventures and all those pictures of paradise at the forefront of your mind right now. Want to know how to travel to El Nido in the first place though? Here’s how!
If you want to know how to travel to El Nido fast, flying is definitely the fastest and most direct way to get to the island! Flights leaving from Manila take about 1 hour and land directly at Lio airport, situated just 4 kilometres from the middle of town. You’ll find tricycle drivers waiting there for you if you need to get a ride in (takes about 20 minutes) but there’s a good chance your hotel can organise to pick you up too. If you’ve booked ahead, pop them a call or email to see what they can offer!
Air Swift offers daily flights from Manila to El Nido. Their flights take around 55 minutes on a 50 seater ATR aircraft. Flights from Manila depart at 8:00, 12:00, 16:00 and 17:35 daily. Return flights from El Nido to Manila leave at 6:30, 9:55, 11:00 and 14:00. You can book flights with them on Skyscanner. Download the Skyscanner app for the best flight deals!
SEAIR offers direct flights from Manila to El Nido on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Sundays.
Island Transvoyager is an air taxi/air charter service that offers 2 daily direct flights from Manila to El Nido. It’s more expensive than Seair though, with a one-way ticket costing almost 7,000 PHP. Make sure to book your flight at least 5 days in advance if you want to go with them and bear in mind that there’s a 10kg weight allowance only. Here’s Island Transvoyager’s contact details: ITI Hangar No. 5-03-127, Andrews Avenue (near PAL Medical Center) Domestic Airport, Pasay City Tel. No.: +63 (2) 851 5664; +63 (2) 851 5674; +63 (2) 851 5670 Fax. No.: +63 (2) 854 1418; +63 (2) 852 8151; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Atienza Shipping Lines leave Manila at 6pm on Wednesdays and stops at Coron and El Nido before arriving at its final destination in Liminancong. It costs 940 PHP with a meal included.
There is a daily flight from and to Cebu too from Air Swift! The flight from El Nido to Cebu takes off daily at 12:55. To get back, the plane leaves El Nido for Cebu at 15.15.
Travelling by land from Puerto Princesa to El Nido is the second way to reach El Nido and the most popular. To get to Puerto Princesa, you’ll have to fly there into Central Palawan.
The trip from Puerto Princesa to El Nido usually takes 5 to 6 hours and there’s a lot of companies that leave daily from the Puerto Princesa airport. They’ll be waiting for you at the terminal.
If you have a bit of cash and want some guaranteed safety and comfort, Daytripper Vans can help you out. They leave everyday at 10:00 am and can pick you up at your hotel. You can easily book online with them too which is nifty.
Tapik Beach Park
Qi Palawan Resort
Another way to get to El Nido is by renting a car or motorbike! This is the ultimate freedom in my opinion. You can take your time, stop when you want and really get to see the northern part of Palawan this way. All around Puerto Princesa, there are shops that offer weekly or monthly rental. As with any motorbike / moped / car rental though…use your head. It’s best not to travel at night and take it easy during the day. There’s gonna be cows and potholes on the road. Don’t rush, don’t drive like a lunatic and you’ll be OK.
Don’t fancy driving yourself? Taking the bus might be for you! You’ll get to hang out with locals for sure this way and spend some time looking out the window as you drive up the coast.
There are different companies going along the route and back from Puerto Princesa to El Nido. Snagging one with air con is not a bad idea! Cherry Bus is apparently a good one to go for according to my Filipino friends, taking from 6 to 8 hours. The bus terminal is 4km away from Puerto Princesa airport, so you’re gonna have to deal with tricycle drivers to get you between the two.
You can get to El Nido from Coron and vice versa. The journey is ‘interesting’ to say the least: Slow, long and totally dependant on the weather. For all the details about this journey back and forth, check out my post on taking the ferry.