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 other popular destinations in the Philippines: Manila, Cebu, Bohol, Caticlan (Boracay) and Clark (Angeles).
Travel time is about 1 hour on a 40 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 5,000php. 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 200php.
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
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. Lakwatsero is one of the few rental companies offering one way service. 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 (almost 300km) 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.
3) Boat trip from Coron to El Nido: The most scenic route but remember to check the weather forecast.
If you decide to make the journey by boat you have now 3 choices. They all offer daily transfers from Coron to El Nido and vice-versa. The travel time is around 4h in newer and relatively comfortable fastcrafts. Keep in mind that bad weather can make the trip longer and very uncomfortable. Trip cancelations are also common due to bad weather or boat maintenance. The price is 1,760php -1,840php.
From El Nido to Coron:
The Monte Negro ferry leaves first at 6am. Followed by the Phimal ferry at 8:20am. And finally the Jomalia ferry at 12:30pm.
From Coron to El Nido:
The Jomalia ferry leaves first at 7:30am. Followed by the Phimal ferry at 8:20 am. And finally the The Monte Negro at 12pm.
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. Make sure to take your freediving course before the trip so you can make the most of it and enjoy what the islands of Linapacan and Culion have to offer underwater.