El Nido, Palawan, Philippines: Top Places to Visit

A markerEl Nido, Palawan, Philippines -
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A Breathtaking Escape

El Nido is a beautiful place for chilling and relaxing. You really feel the relaxed vacation vibe as you lie on a hammock by the beach on Corong-corong which is not too far from town. With a beach that's separated from the town area's shore by a karst formation, you'll have the privacy and silence that you need to chill and relax. And, any time, you need some noise, live bands and clubs are just a tricycle ride away.

Although staying in the resort, lying on a hammock and reading a book can be horribly tempting, you shouldn't miss the beautiful sights that this place has to offer. You've got to join the tours and head to the different islands that surround El Nido. And, with the number of tours that the resorts offer, it's got to be difficult to squeeze everyone of them into your itinerary. So, here are some places that you shouldn't miss.

Stunning Vistas Resort, El Nido, Palawan, Philippines.
Stunning Vistas Resort, El Nido, Palawan, Philippines.

A Portal To Paradise

Swim through this hole to get to the Secret Beach.
Swim through this hole to get to the Secret Beach. | Source

The Secret Beach

Try to picture this. Your boat man stops in front of a huge karst formation. And, you start wondering what you're supposed to do there. You get another shock when you are told that you have to get off the boat and jump off into the sea -- Of course, with a life jacket if you can't swim. You then follow your guide to a small hole underneath the karst and you find yourself in shallow waters with beautiful corals underneath you. And, when you look up you see a beach with powdery white sands.

As you swim towards the shore, you find yourself surrounded by colorful corals.
As you swim towards the shore, you find yourself surrounded by colorful corals.
After snorkelling, rest on this beautiful, quiet beach.
After snorkelling, rest on this beautiful, quiet beach.

The Big Lagoon

It's better to explore this lagoon on a kayak instead of the noisy motorboats that they use. Upon request, kayaks can be loaded on the boats that they use for tours. Although there's an extra cost for hiring a kayak, paddling through the clear, tranquil waters of the cove makes it worth it. It's like you're floating above a beautiful coral garden.

It doesn't look that interesting from afar.
It doesn't look that interesting from afar.
The water here is so clear you don't need to go underwater to see what's underneath it.
The water here is so clear you don't need to go underwater to see what's underneath it.
Beautiful dark karsts amidst clear waters.
Beautiful dark karsts amidst clear waters.
Gliding through a coral garden.
Gliding through a coral garden.

Small Lagoon

This beautiful lagoon has a colorful underwater world. It's a great place for snorkeling where you can find tons of corals and fishes. You just got to be careful since the spot where you'll be getting off the boat is pretty shallow and you might end up scraping your legs on the corals as you swim to the deeper part of the lagoon. You might also ruin some corals that took a long time to form.

Regal Angel Fish
Regal Angel Fish
Trumpet Fish
Trumpet Fish
Underwater Rose
Underwater Rose

Cadugnon Cove

It's another rabbit hole to wonderland. Just like the Secret Beach, you have to go through a hole to see a pool of water surrounded by dark, towering karsts.

The hole that you need to crawl through.
The hole that you need to crawl through.

Helicopter Island

Shaped like a helicopter, this island is worth visiting not just because of the way it looks from afar. It's got the most beautiful powdery beaches that are so fine you're feet sinks into them as you walk on the beach. It's a really nice place to chill or have a swim.

Helicopter Island
Helicopter Island

The Beautiful Beach of Helicopter Island

Can you imagine walking on this beach?
Can you imagine walking on this beach?

7 Commandos Beach

How this island was named is a mystery -- A question that no one could answer. It's probably because of the place's rugged look which makes it look like the perfect setting for Lost or The Lord of the Flies. With the tranquil setting of the white sand beach, the magnificent karsts around it and the forest at the back of the beach, this can be a good place to be stranded in.

Although this place is in Tour A, it's worth kayaking here on your own with a packed lunch and an ice box filled with beer and water. The tours don't really allow you to stay in one place for a long time. And, kayaking here on your own means that you can spend a whole afternoon lounging under the shade of the trees. You might even make friends with the island's dog.

Beautiful Karst Formations On The Way to 7 Commandos Beach
Beautiful Karst Formations On The Way to 7 Commandos Beach
7 Commandos Beach
7 Commandos Beach
Under the Shade
Under the Shade
Underwater -- Snorkelling in 7 Commandos Beach
Underwater -- Snorkelling in 7 Commandos Beach

These beautiful locations are worth seeing. They might be hard to get to, however. Round trip air tickets from Manila to El Nido are worth $200. Another option is to fly to Puerto Princesa and ride a mini van to El Nido for around $12, one way. The road to El Nido is long and bumpy. It takes around 4 to 5 hours to get there. Another thing that you should consider is the fact that you may have to pay in cash most of the time. Since they don't have electricity from 8 AM to 4 PM, paying with your credit card may be a bit tricky. Also, not all establishments accept credit cards.

Quick Historical Facts About El Nido

2680 B.C. -- Humans already inhabited El Nido. In fact, fossils from the Late Neolithic Age were found in the Ille Cave in New Ibajay.

960 - 1279 B.C. -- During the Sung Dynasty, Chinese traders visited this place regularly in order to get edible birds' nest which they usually use for soups. In a book called Chu Fan Chai, which was written by Caho Ju-Ka, El Nido was mentioned and was given the name Pa-Lao-Yu which means The Land of Beautiful Harbors.

1800 -- The Spaniards arrived. Chinese settlers also migrated to this area.

June 17, 1954 -- The name of the area was changed from Bacuit to El Nido because of the swiftlet nests that can be harvested for soup. Nido, by the way, is the Spanish word for nest.

1973 -- The remote island of El Nido was discovered by divers (as a tourist spot) who were stranded in the vicinity in the middle of the night because of a tuna line that got tangled around the boat's propeller.

1983 -- The first dive station was established on Miniloc Island.

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