We hadn’t planned on staying in El Nido for longer than few days. Because El Nido is just a small, crowded town and you have to actually take a boat or an island hopping tour to go to some of the nicest islands and beaches in the area, we thought few days would be enough. But just after we got there, we decided to extend our stay by four nights. That was contributed by:
- plenty of restaurants, shops and bars in the town to keep us busy.
- a comfortable room in a nice guesthouse that wasn’t right at the noisy city center but close enough, with a balcony where you could people-watch and chat while enjoying your Filipino rum & cola.
- beautiful sunset view from a beach that was just 10 minutes walk from the guesthouse.
- enough activities to enjoy.
- El Nido isn’t easy to get to, and we didn’t want to be constantly on move.
So here are the fun things we did each day in El Nido during our 7 nights and 8 days of stay Each activity usually took us whole day and we spent the evening watching sunset and afterwards going to El Nido town for dinner.
1. Island hopping tour C
I have written all about that here. In short, I was stunned by the beauty of islands surrounding El Nido and decided to do more of the island hopping tours (there are four of them: A, B, C & D) while in El Nido.
2. Marimegmeg Beach
Stasiek got badly sunburned on the first day of island hopping, so we decided to spend our second day lazing at one of the mainland beaches called Marimegmeg. It’s also called Las Cabanas beach and is just 10-15 minutes of trike (tricycle) ride from El Nido town. It is one of the most popular places for watching sunsets in El Nido. There’s also a short zip line that takes you to a small island across the beach. There are plenty of bars and restaurants on the beach where you can also rent out kayaks and paddle boards.
I have to say that I had low expectations from a mainland beach like Marimegmeg, but I was pleasantly surprised to discover how pretty it looked for practically being a city beach. The beach is big, and you can walk all the way from one side (entrance where the trikes drop you) towards Las Cabanas resort at the other end of the beach.
We spent whole day on the beach relaxing, reading, swimming and just enjoying the surroundings. The sunset at the end of the day was a treat too! We watched it over cold tropical smoothies – ah it was a sight.
3. Kayaking to nearby islands
Third day in El Nido was cloudy and it was actually a relief for Stasiek. We ruled out island hopping for that day because we wanted to go when the weather was sunny. We decided to rather go out kayaking to nearby islands. We went to El Nido main beach at around 11 and hired a kayak for whole day (until 4 in the afternoon..) 😉
The island that the kayak rental guy recommended us to paddle to looked near from El Nido beach but it took us about 30 minutes to get to by kayak! I was amazed how blue the water looked near shores even on a completely overcast day. We went to two almost empty beaches, snorkeled, swam and of course enjoyed kayaking.
I could have spent whole day at those beaches.. they brought the “Cast Away” island vibes to me even though I could actually see the mainland from there!
4. Island Hopping Tour D
Each island hopping tour in El Nido deserves a separate blog post, so I will post about tour D soon 🙂 This tour was all about breathtaking lagoons like these:
It was unbelievably gorgeous but we were bitten by territorial fish when swimming to the lagoon! Stay tuned to find out more. 🙂
5. Scuba diving
We tried scuba diving for the first time ever in the Philippines. I am so excited to publish a post on the incredible experience here on the blog soon! 🙂 I just need to edit some underwater photography before I do that.
Palawan has some of the top dive sites in the world and anybody can take advantage of the diving opportunities there through numerous dive operators found in El Nido town. We did a Discover Scuba course, which means that we could enjoy diving without any diving license under the guidance of a dive instructor! The best word I have to sum up the experience? Magical.
6. Island Hopping Tour B
Ahhh this one was probably my favorite island hopping tour in El Nido because of one location in particular called ‘Snake Island’. Just take a look at this heavenly sight:
We docked on this paradise for few hours, with very few other boats (unusual at island hopping stops). A separate blog post on the entire tour is coming up soon! 😀 Island hopping tours are a must in El Nido, and if you don’t like sharing the boat with other tourists, there are always customized options available to your own liking. So many islands to choose from! 😀
7. Day trip to Nacpan beach
Nacpan beach is one of the most popular mainland beaches near El Nido. Despite being popular however, we didn’t think it was crowded. It is about 40 minutes of ride from El Nido town through lush green countryside. On our last day in El Nido, we rented a scooter and went on our way to Nacpan beach.
The scooter ride was beautiful as the countryside was so fresh and gorgeous. Nacpan beach was just so picturesque! The tides were too strong for swimming but the beach was wide and lovely, making it idle for sunbathing and clicking photos. Next to Nacpan is a less crowded Calitang beach, which is said to be the twin of Nacpan beach.
In the late afternoon, we rode a bit further on the opposite side of the town, and ended our last day in El Nido enjoying the sunset at Las Cabanas beach one more time.