To get to El Nido, you have three options:
1) Direct flight to El Nido airport: the fastest and most comfortable way to get to El Nido.
Airswift offers direct flights between El Nido (Lio) and four popular destinations in the Philippines: Manila, Cebu, Caticlan (Boracay) and Clark (Angeles).
Travel time is about 1 hour on a 50 seater ATR aircraft. You will land directly at Lio airport, located only 4 kilometers from El Nido town. From the airport, it’s a 20-minute tricycle ride to El Nido town.
A one way ticket is around PHP 5,000, but this can vary depending on the time of the year. Watch out for promo flights on Artcafe’s Facebook page.
There is a 10kg weight restriction, including hand luggage. Each extra kilo is charged P200.
2) Land transportation from Puerto Princesa to El Nido: the best value for budget travelers.
Puerto Princesa Airport in Central Palawan is the main gateway to the rest of the island. The airport receives regular flights from Manila, Cebu and most of the major airports in the country via CebuPacific, PAL Express, AirAsia and other local carriers. From Puerto Princesa, you still have to cover about 230 kilometers of highway to get to El Nido. To do so, you have different options:
a) Van : The trip takes 5-6 hours. Most companies have 2 stops on the way where you can eat and rest for a bit.
We warmly recommend DaytripperPalawan. They will get you to El Nido safely and comfortably in their executive vans/coaches. You will have to get in touch with them to book your seat and organize pick up and drop off locations. The price per passenger is PHP 850-950.
Several other van companies leave daily from the Puerto Princesa airport. The vans can be crowded and the drivers in a hurry to get to destination. The price per passenger is PHP 500-600
b) Bus. If you are on budget, take a bus. Ask a tricycle to take you to the bus terminal. There two companies travel on the Puerto Princesa-El Nido route every day. We recommend Cherry Bus. It takes about 6-8 hours, depending on how many stopovers the bus will make on the way.
c) Car or motorbike. If you want to travel at your own pace you can rent a car or a motorcycle. A road trip is a great way to discover the Northern part of Palawan. You can stop over villages and enjoy the rustic view of the countryside. Be prepared, though. This can be a long trip (more than 230km) and full of surprises (cows, dogs, water buffaloes, potholes, etc.). Avoid traveling at night and drive safe!
Overnight in Puerto Princesa: If you want to stay overnight in Puerto Princesa, we can recommend you.
Hibiscus Garden Inn. The hotel has a beautiful tropical garden and a nice restaurant serving both local and western dishes. It is a convenient base if you want to explore the city.
One Manalo Place is another good choice. It offers a wide choice of rooms, a pool and a beautiful spa.
3) Boat trip from Coron to El Nido: only for the more adventurous souls.
If you decide to make the journey by boat your best option is probably Monte Negro lines. They offer daily transfers from Coron to El Nido and vice-versa. They operate a fastcraft which is newer and relatively comfortable. The trips leave daily from El Nido at 6am and from Coron at 12am. It will take about 4h to reach your destination. The price is PHP 1,760.
Several big outrigger boats also make the trip 4-5 times a week. They can be slow and uncomfortable and not recommended if you can find a faster way to come here. As these shuttles are weather dependent, cancellations are quite common on this route. The trip may take 7-10 hours and costs PHP1,400.
To book a ticket visit one of the local travel agency at least one day before. Your hotel might also be able to help with this.
If you are not in a hurry and want to take your adventure a bit further, a chartered sailboat is the best way to explore the remote islands between El Nido and Coron. It’s a beautiful experience and you’ll get a chance to set foot on wild tropical islands untouched by tourism. Alternatively you can have a look at Tao Philippines. Their expeditions between El Nido and Coron are always popular.
Once you get to El Nido you are welcome to visit us. At freediving Dimension we are water lovers. Choose your favorite way of discovering the bay, with activities like scuba diving, sailing and of course freediving.