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El Nido has become a well-known and popular travel destination on the Philippine island of Palawan, especially among backpackers and individual travelers. But now the town is also attracting more and more package tourists. Unsurprisingly, because the area around El Nido with its many islands, limestone cliffs and hidden lagoons in the Bacuit archipelago is definitely one of the most beautiful in the Philippines.

El Nido – Tips and things to do in amazing town on Palawan

Nevertheless, our impression was that the majority of the visitors only come to El Nido to do one of the offered island hopping tours – they only stay for a few days. The town and its surroundings have much more to offer, which many visitors may not even know.

In this article, we will show you 10 interesting and diverse things to do in El Nido.


How to get to El Nido, Palawan

Accommodation in El Nido – our hotel tip

El Nido: Tours and tickets


1. Island Hopping

Clearly the number 1 activity in El Nido. If you come to El Nido and don’t go on a tour, you’re definitely missing something. You get dreamlike paradise islands and lagoons. Incidentally, it is said that the author of The Beach lived in El Nido for a long time and got inspiration for his novel here.

There are always offered 4 tours: Tour A, B, C and D. In addition, there is also a Tour E (inland tour).

  • Tour A: Small Lagoon, Big Lagoon, Simizu Beach, Secret Lagoon, 7 Commandos Beach
  • Tour B: Pangulasian Island, Snake Island, Cudognon Cave, Cathedral Cave, Pinagbuyutan Island
  • Tour C: Helicopter Island, Hidden Beach, Matinloc Shrine, Star Beach, Secret Beach
  • Tour D: Cadlao Lagoon, Pasandigan Beach, Paradise Beach, Natnat Beach, Bukal Beach
Paradise Beach on Cadlao Island in the Bacuit Archipelago, El Nido
The Paradise Beach on Cadlao Island – one of the many dream beaches in the Bacuit Archipelago

The prices are currently between 1200-1400 pesos per person (a delicious grilled lunch is included, but snorkel masks sometimes cost extra). Tours A and C are recommended almost everywhere.

But we didn’t want to do a mainstream program and decided on Tour D. We definitely didn’t regret it and also had the advantage of having the boat just for ourselves, as no one else had booked Tour D that day. More on this in our Island Hopping article.

2. Twin Beaches: Nacpan and Calitang

The so-called Twin Beaches, named Nacpan Beach and Calitang Beach, are located about 18 Kilometers north of El Nido Town and the drive there usually takes around 1 hour. Sometimes even longer if the unpaved roads are flooded.

But it’s worth it! Due to its length, Nacpan Beach offers a number of lonely spots where there is no one far and wide. Only on the main section of the beach are a few tourists (because swimming is only allowed there due to strong waves and currents).

The Nacpan Beach north of El Nido

There is also a small viewpoint at the bottom of the beach, where you have a wonderful view of the Nacpan and the adjacent Calitang Beach (according to latest reports, this is apparently no longer accessible). You can find more information and a detailed report in our article about the Twin Beaches.

3. Nagkalit-Kalit Falls

On the way to Nacpan Beach you can make a detour to the Nagkalit-Kalit waterfall. However, you still have to hike about 40 minutes to get to the waterfall. Just the perfect thing for adventure and nature lovers, even if the waterfall and the adjacent lake are quite small. It is always a nice cool down.

By the way, the Nagkalit Kalit (also like the Twin Beaches) is part of the offered Tour E. In theory, you can also explore it on your own, but you shouldn’t go without a guide. You can also book this on site, just before you go through the jungle to the waterfall.

4. Marimegmeg Beach

Marimegmeg Beach, a dream beach with fine sand and large palm groves, is about 10-15 minutes south of El Nido Town by motorbike or tricycle. You can also have a great swim on site.

Marimegmeg Beach near Corong Corong, Palawan

If, like us, you don’t have your accommodation directly in El Nido Town, but at Corong Corong Bay, you can also reach it on foot by simply walking south along the beach. However, there are some not steep rocky sections that have to be climbed.

If you don’t like it so adventurous, you can simply take a tricycle for around 50 pesos. Or you ride a scooter, because there are a few nice viewpoints on the way. However, renting a scooter in El Nido is relatively expensive. At the tricycle terminal on the main road (shortly before the hairpin bend, which again leads a short distance to the north), a small sandy path goes down to the beach.

Marimegmeg Beach near Corong Corong, Palawan

In our opinion, the Marimegmeg is absolutely recommendable and a little insider tip. There are also a few cool beach bars and restaurants where you can treat yourself to a nice cool SMB (San Miguel Beer) or SML (San Miguel Light). Beach vendors run around there every now and then, but they are not annoying and leave you alone if you are not interested.

5. Zipline

There is also a zipline at Marimegmeg Beach, which you can use to slide from a platform on a hill to the island of Depeldet. The ride down is over 800 meters and costs between 500 and 1100 pesos – depending on your position (sitting or Superman) and whether you choose one-way or two-way.

Unfortunately, due to time and weather reasons, we could not try it, but we will definitely do it next time. It absolutely seems exciting, as you can see in the video below.

You can reach the zipline via the small sandy path described above, which leads from Marimegmeg Beach to the main road and back. Around the middle of the path you can already see the signs. Since you can see the zip line from almost every point on Marimegmeg Beach, it shouldn’t be a problem to find the entrance.

Entrance to the El Nido Zipline

6. El Nido Town and El Nido Beach

El Nido Town itself is not very spectacular and doesn’t have much to offer in terms of activities. The highlight is clearly the beach of El Nido with its many restaurants and beach bars, where the most is happening. Of course, many hotels and hostels have also settled here.

Small street in El Nido Town, Palawan

It’s fun to sit in one of the bars and watch the goings-on on the beach. In addition, you simply have a beautiful view of the bay and the rugged limestone cliffs. However, it can sometimes get quite crowded on the beach, especially at rush hour when the island hopping boats come back from the tours and the tourists all get out.

El Nido Beach, Palawan

Boats and beach restaurants on El Nido Beach, Palawan

7. Happy hour drinks

One thing in advance: the Philippines is probably the best country in Southeast Asia if you want to have a good and cheap drink! And while we’re at beach bars, there are many cool bars on El Nido Beach (and sometimes in the town, too) that offer happy hour.

Happy Hour on the beach of El Nido

Specifically, this means beer (SMB and SML) for around 30 pesos and extremely reduced cocktails. The rum-coke mixes are also highly recommended, as they cost little more than a beer, but have a lot of rum in them for their price. You almost can’t say no.

8. Taraw Peak

If you are looking for adventure, you are physically fit and you want an amazing view of El Nido Town, the Bacuit Bay and the islands in the archipelago, you should climb Taraw Peak – the highest point of El Nido Town.

View from Taraw Peak over the bay of El Nido

The ascent takes about an hour and should of course not be done without a guide. Depending on the guide, the size of the group and your negotiation skills, the costs are around 300-500 pesos. By the way, you can find detailed articles about the Taraw Peak Trekking with many photos here and here.

9. Kayak tour

You can rent kayaks almost anywhere and explore the area on your own. Rent a kayak on the beach of El Nido or in Corong Corong and go to Seven Commandos Beach or Cadlao Island (e.g. the Cadlao Lagoon), which you can reach in about 30 minutes.

Kayaking tourists in a lagoon near El Nido

There are also island hopping tours where a kayak tour is included. The El Nido Boutique & Artcafé, for example, offers a tour to Miniloc, where you can paddle through the lagoons. Highly recommended.

10. Sunset in Corong Corong

The Beach of Corong Corong is just a 5-minute tricycle ride from El Nido Town. The trip there only costs about 10-20 pesos. Incidentally, if you want to save some money on accommodation, you can also search for hotels here. These are usually a little cheaper than in the town.

Corong Corong Beach at sunset, El Nido

We can recommend the Islandfront Cottages and Restaurant, where you can also enjoy the sunset from the balcony of the restaurant. By the way, there is a small time-lapse video of this in our El Nido video.

Sunset at the Corong Corong Beach, El Nido

Of course, you can also just lie down on the beach and watch the sunset from here. There is usually very little going on and you meet hardly any people.

More hotel recommendations for El Nido:


What do you think is missing from our list? What is your personal tip for El Nido that should definitely be in here?

Photos: Photo 11 (Taraw Peak): Lano Lan/shutterstock.com and photo 12 (kayak tour): R.M. Nunes/shutterstock.com