North rocks

An explosion of life.

Colorful corals, coutless fish and even the occasional whale shark. This pinacle is where you will find the greatest concentration of marine life in El Nido’s bay. You never know what you are going to encounter around the corner, a shy octopus, a curious grouper or a team of spade fish welcoming you. Loose yourself as you swim through a tight school of jack fish. Don’t forget your camera! As this is one of the hotspot for freediving in the Philippines.

Recomended for:

  • AIDA2 and above
  • Fun Dives

Palawan Freedivers

With great dive sites close to the shore and some of the most magnificent settings found in Asia, El Nido is the place to be when it comes to freediving in the Philippines.

Palawan Divers is one of the pionner scuba diving center in El Nido. Always wanting to share our passion for the ocean and exploring all the ways to visit the underwater world, it is naturally that we turned our attention on freediving and created the first freediving school in El Nido.

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At Palawan freedivers, we believe in an individualized approach, offering you a more personal experience. Progress faster thanks to our efficient training methods and the ideal sea conditions.

Your safety is our priority: When diving with us our experienced and professional staff will provide a safe environment where you will have the best chances of unlocking your freediving potential.

Freediving is environmentally friendly by definition. It is the least intrusive way to visit the underwater world and allows you a more intimate experience with marine life.

freediving lessons philippines

Palawan Freedivers school

Open daily from 8:00 to 20:00

Our new head quarter houses the Palawan Divers AIDA freediving center and our IYT sailing school. If you take a course with us, you will spend some time in our spacious and air-conditioned classroom. 

– Spacious shop
– Classroom
– Areas for studying, having a chat, making friends…
– Tropical garden
– Wi-Fi

freediving center el nido philippines

Palawan Freedivers banca: Irawadi I

In the Philippines, the bangkas are the traditional fishing boats. Build using local materials and benefiting from a low draft they are perfect candidates to be fitted as diving boats –  outrigger boats that are spacious and comfortable. To ensure your safety and enjoyment, we only accept a maximum of 8 guests on board.

 

 

– Max divers on board : 8
– Length : 14 m
– Complimentary drinking water, brewed coffee, tea, cookies and fruits
– O2 equipment and first-aid box
– Spare dive equipment and toolbox
– VHF & cellphone

Irawadi sounds like the famous river in Myanmar, but it’s an endangered dolphin living in El Nido’s waters. It looks similar to the beluga.

philippines-freediving-boat

 

Palawan Freediving gear

We use specialized freediving gear such as long fins, low volume masks…

All of our equipment is of high quality and in top conditions. We put time and efforts to maintain and regularly inspect all of our diving equipment.

We have a large choice of models and sizes to ensure your comfort and performance underwater.

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how to get to el nido

How to get to El Nido

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.

For bookings you can visit: www.air-swift.com
Another option is through Artcafe using this email address: flights@elnidoboutiqueandartcafe.com.

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.

Palawan Day Tripper

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.

island hopping tour a tour b tour c

Things to do in El Nido

Scuba Diving in El Nido with Palawan Divers

Palawan Divers is a pioneer PADI school in El Nido and the most established dive center. That’s why we  work together. They offer PADI Scuba Diving Courses (from beginner level and up), PADI Specialty courses and PADI Pro Courses. They also cater to certified divers wanting to explore Bacuit Bay’s reefs with daily guided dives. With a staff of experienced and full-time captains, divemasters and instructors you can rely on them to make the most of your time in here.

STING-RAY

Sailing

Palawan Divers offers sailing courses through Palawan Sailing. It is the first IYT center in Philippines. Join our professional and experienced instructor to get a course or simply discover Bacuit Bay on Aquilone, a 45 footer yatch. All the informations are in our website: www.palawan-sailing.com

Take a sailing and apnea course in Palawan, Philippines

Island Hopping

Island hopping is the most popular activity in El Nido. It’s a way to discover many hidden beaches and spend a day snorkeling in the most beautiful spots of the bay.

Pristine beach in Philippines

Kayaking 

Going to the islands with a kayak is the best way to be independent and feel like Robinson Crusoe while arriving alone on a beautiful beach! The waters are very calm, it’s really easy to get around the bay and further.

  • For a full day tour or an overnight kayak trip, contact El Gordo adventures
  • You can rent a kayak for half a day or a day at Art Cafe
  • For a 2 to 4 days trip, contact Serge

Stand up Paddleboard

Hire a paddleboard for the day and spot the turtles! Book at the Art Cafe.

Hiking

Take a 2-3 hour walk on Cadlao Island, see the incredible flora and fauna living in the dense forest of the island, soak in the breathtaking views of El Nido, or climb the cliff without rope for an hour. Book at Art Cafe.

Mountain Biking

Discover a nice little village right on the beach only 8km away from El Nido, or for the more adventurous, cycle up to 60km in one day. Book with El Gordo adventures for renting a bike or organize a guided tour.

ZipLine                  

There is a 750m zipline joining Las Cabanas to Snake Island. PHP500 one way, PHP400 more to come back, otherwise you can walk at low tide or swim. Book at Art Cafe.

Tours in the North

You can rent a motorbike or a van to visit the Northern tip of Palawan. Book at Art Cafe.

  • Nacpan and Calitang, the twin beaches– Enjoy stunning face to face beaches, probably the most impressive ones in Palawan (motorbike, 45min ride by van, longer by tricycle.)
  • Nagkalit-kalit Falls and Makinit Hot Springs – Chill out in the hot springs surrounded by the jungle and take a rewarding fresh bath in the waterfall after a walk through the forest (45 min ride, then 45 min trek to get to the waterfalls).
  • Dagmay Beach – Dagmay beach is completely empty and very quiet – a perfect spot for those who want some peace and quiet. If you’re there at the right time, you’ll be able to meet the local fishermen (45min by van).
  • Duli Beach 2h away from El Nido, you’ll find a beautiful 4km long beach, only surrounded by jungle and clear water.
  • Ille Cave Explore the famous cave where archeologists found human bones and potteries from 12 000 years earlier. (45mn drive from El Nido)

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Kitesurfing

Only 50min from El Nido, you’ll find a perfect spot to learn or practice kitesurfing. QI Palawan is a resort as well.
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Chill out

Take a tricycle and go for a day out to enjoy Las Cabanas and the surrounding beaches, or just sit on a terrace with a fresh fruit juice and relax as you enjoy the view.

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international freediving agency

AIDA – The Agency for Freediving Developpment

AIDA international’s reputation is well deserved today as it has grown to be the most widely recognized freediving organization.

freediver--phillipines-lesson-for beginner

AIDA has been the main authority for international freediving competions and record setting events since 1992. 

AIDA was the first sport federation to step up and implement proper regulations for freediving world records. Since it has kept on working at delivering and improving a safe set of rules and guidelines for competitions and record attempts. AIDA also participates in scientific studies on breath hold diving to further the understanding of the human body’s reaction to deep diving and thus improving safety guidelines.

AIDA‘s education system is the most widely recognized and available freediving education system around the world.

Sport and education, promoting the joy of freediving are key concerns of a sports federation. Thus AIDA is also devoted to making freediving safe and enjoyable for more people through it’s complete program of courses ranging from complete beginner to advanced training. Bringing the community together, allowing for curious people to discover what freediving is about and for experienced divers to prepare for competitive diving, always focusing on the participants safety and promoting safe freediving practice from the beginning through it’s education system.

AIDA trains new students and earn their certificates. Every day around the world

Start your free diving education the best way and enroll for your AIDA freediving course now. AIDA courses are available on all five continents. Freediving is safe, fun and challenging, give it a try and if you get addicted (which is likely), you can continue your training wherever you decide to dive next. Become part of the family and you will understand what all freedivers have in common. We all love freediving for this fantastic blend of inner peace, concentration, technique, training, friends and team work it offers. As a registered AIDA member you will also get access to all the AIDA’s online education system with freediving material, news and more.

For more infos on AIDA, have a look at their web site: www.aidainternational.org

freedive-course-philippines

beach resort el nido philippines

Sleep, drink and eat in El Nido

SLEEP

El Nido town has a range of budget accommodation from small run-down cottages to a few high-end resorts.

  • The El Nido Overlooking is our favorite place in town. Their cozy and spacious private villas are hidden in the hills and face Bacuit Bay. From the infinity pool or from your deck, the view is breathtaking. If you’re looking for space and peace in a luxury setting, this is the perfect accommodation.
  • The El Nido Mahogany is the Overlooking baby sister. Located on Corong-Corong beach, it offers well designed sea front cottages and spacious amidst coconut trees and tropical gardens. The wide infinity pool is worth it as well!
  • The Cadlao Resort and Restaurant is a classy accommodation. You will appreciate their nice and comfortable bungalows, the tropical garden, the infinity pool and the view on Cadlao island. They house the best restaurant in town and propose a lot of high-end services (massage, island and inland tours).

MIDRANGE

  • The Rosanna’s Cottages Just in front of our dive center. Beachfront rooms are simple but nice
  • The Bulskamp-inn Basic but very comfortable rooms in a quiet street downtown
  • Stunning Vista Located in Corong Corong. Just outside of El Nido. Quiet and peaceful
  • Golden Monkeys Nice native cottages. At walking distance from town. You benefit from the peace of the surrounding forest

BUDGET

EAT

NIGHT LIFE

 In the Philippines you’ll find live bands performing in bars almost every night and playing any kind of music.

keep your breath longer

Workshop in El Nido

What’s a freediving workshop? A great occasion to put your knew skills into action and practice them in the water, by joining one of our training session.

Our workshops are open to everyone through our school and our partners in the philippines freedivers or scuba alike. For some workshops we require AIDA2 or higher.

Duration : 2 to 3 hours
Time : To be arranged
Days : Daily
Includes : Studying material and handouts
Price: Php2,500 per session

Note : Age 16 and above. Be AIDA2 or higher.

freediving workshop

Workshops consist of theory and dry practice in our class room. Offered in our comfortable classroom, our most popular workshops are:

Basic Equalization (highly recommended for people with equalization issues)
Advanced equalization (mouth fill)
Monofin undulation
No fins speciality
Emergency first response
Fish identification
Training plans and coaching are also available.

It is best that you contact us early to book a workshop. Space is limited and may sell out for the dates of your vacation. Call +639 339 581 076 or use our contact form.

Beginner Freediving Course

Duration 2 days
CommitmentRecreational
SupervisionInstructor personal support
Maximum Depth 20 meters
Beginner Freediving Course
Welcome to our entry level course. This 2 days program will provide you with the knowledge and skills you need to become a certified freediver. Set solid foundations thanks to a combination of theory and in-water training. Our experienced instructors will introduce you to the wonderful world of freediving in a relaxed and safe manner. It’s easy, exciting and fun!
Time: 8:00am – 4:00pm
Includes: Theory, Relaxation & Breathing, Static, Dynamic, Depth training
Price: Php12,500

Theory Pack: Before starting your in-water training, you need basic knowledge about freediving. You can get an early start and study back home at your own pace before showing up in El Nido ready to freedive. To get the access to the student manual, we ask first for a 50% deposit through Paypal.
Course Orientation: The day before your first day of diving, we’ll be waiting for you at Freediving Dimension for your course orientation. You’ll meet up with our team, be introduced to your guide, fill out papers and fit your equipment. We will answer questions you might have about our operations and you can get some useful tips about El Nido.
Day onerelaxation session – static apnea – open water session
We will go over some of the theory in the morning. You will then start by practicing breathing and relaxation techniques. Time for a static apnea session in our pool, by learning to control your body and mind you will achieve longer and easier breathold. After a freshly cooked, healthy lunch break, Our boat will take you to the islands for an open water session. By 4:00pm, we will be back in Freediving Dimension for a debriefing.
Day two: dynamic session – open water session
After looking at some of the more technical aspect of the dive in the classroom, once again we head out for the water. Ready for a dynamic training session where you will improve fining technique and streamlined body position thanks to the advice from your instructor. During your last open water session you will realize how much you have improved thanks to the Freediving Beginner Course.

Our Beginner Freediving course package includes:

  • Full freedive gear
  • Instructor fee
  • AIDA instructive materials
  • AIDA certification card
  • Boat travel
  • Warm lunch made from fresh local ingredients
  • The undivided attention of our friendly dive staff.

You can pay by cash or by Paypal. A 10% fee applies on a PayPal final payment (no fee on PayPal deposit).

Do I have to do the discovery day first? This is our entry level course and you don’t need to do the Discovery day before joining. The discovery day is perfect for people who just want to get more confident in the water or don’t have the time to do a full course.
Can I freedive if I smoke? Even if smoking is not recommended in general, as long as you’re in good health you will be fine. Recreational Freediving is more about the mind set than physical capacity.
Static sessions are all about preparation and relaxation. You only have to hold your breath while laying at the surface. Easy you would say? Yes if done properly but it can also be a real mental challenge.
Dynamic sessions are the best time to improve fining technique. You will be swimming horizontally a few meters below the surface. The goal here is to be as efficient as possible in order to cover the greatest distance on a single breath.
Open Water sessions are the time to put it all together.  This is what freediving is all about, you will be descending along a safety line serving as a guide and gradually getting comfortable with the depth.

guillaume nery philippines

Guillaume Nery’s freediving clinics

We have had the chance to have world champion freediver Guillaume Nery as our host for one week last month.

He was in the phillippines offering freediving clinics in partnership with Palawan Divers and Freediving Planet. This was the opportunity for every passionate freediver from the beginner to the competitor to meet and learn from this freediving legend.

The first thing you notice when meeting Guillaume is how friendly and easy to approach he is. On the « greeting » evening Guillaume shared with us some of his videos. It was a diverse panel which included artistic movies as well as some more technical analysis of freediving. Starting with the now classic « freefall », we got to know more of his work, dove with him on his 125m cwt and even had a glimpse of his latest project which should be released soon. The freedivers participating to the clinic got to know each other and Guillaume, discussing the various videos and exchanging general ideas about freediving. We then talked about the program for the next few days and each divers interests and goals. After a nice dinner at Cadlao restaurant and a good nigh of sleep, everyone was looking forward to get in the water.

Day one, we get on the boat, the weather is perfect and the setting amazing. We are all speechless from the sumptuous scenery we pass through as the boat takes us to the dive spot. Upon arrival, Guillaume presents us his personal breathing and preparation techniques that we practice all together. Finally its time to get a taste of the local waters. Entering the quiet, crystal clear and warm water is an experience itself. Conditions are perfect and we are all decided to take full advantage of it. The first session is more of a refresher giving the divers the time to get back in the water and into freediving mode. After lunch and the mandatory nap we get ready for the second session. Now that Guillaume knows the divers in the water, he tailors a program for each diver and helps us improving our strong points while not forgetting to work on our weaknesses. We head back to El Nido town with the sun setting in our back and plenty of things to discuss in the debriefing held at Palawan Divers. A well deserved dinner together is a nice way to unwind as we chat and joke about the day.

Waking up and having breakfast on the beach is a perfect way to start the day. Before leaving Guillaume explains the points that will be focused on today, namely equalization and undulation. After sharing his stretching routine with us, we start gearing up for our morning session. Putting the accent on proper technique we practice deep equalization and advanced fining. The afternoon will be the continuation of this preparation. Getting everyone ready for tomorrow’s performance. The importance of tactics as indissociable from techniques is also brought forward. Back at the dive shop we debrief today’s dives using video analysis to pinpoint possible areas of improvement. The depth announcement for tomorrow’s performance is done as well. As Guillaume predicted everyone is happy to go home and rest in preparation for the next day.

After 3 days of training and now equipped with the techniques of the record man, everyone was in the mood to do their « perfect dive ». Following the announcement made the day before, each participant starts warming up and preparing their own dive to their target depth. All went great and taking turns each diver comes back from their performance, breaking the surface with a big smile. From what freedivers say, there are very few things that feel as good as getting to a newer depth, doing a smooth and easy dive. You also get a great sense of self accomplishment from it. The afternoon is spent enjoying the results of the time spent diving with Guillaume and refining details, working on the form. Dives look good and feel easier than they did a few days ago. And it is obvious that everyone is pleased with his progress. The usual dinner is taken a bit earlier today as everyone wants to be ready for tomorrow’s sunrise dive.

4:30am the boat is leaving while its still dark and the bio-luminescence of the water reflects the myriad of stars covering El Nido’s sky. We arrive at the dive spot right on time as the first lights of the day bring colors to the sky. The silence and solace you experience at dawn in the still waters of El Nido is unreal. But as soon as you look down you realize why we all woke up this early. Countless fish are already on the move. The incredible rocks and coral formations rivals the beauty of the sculpted limestone cliffs on the other side of the mirror. Now you can really mesure the benefits of this week of training with one of the very best freedivers in the world. Freedivers seemed to belong there as any other marine life would, moving with the same ease and agility. The fish themselves are the ones coming to welcome us. Time stopped for a while as to make this aquatic ballet last a little longer. It’s only almost 2 hours later that we gathered back on the boat with our heads filled with unforgettable images of this magic morning in El Nido. We had breakfast on the boat and it was time to say good bye to each other and to El Nido as this unique freediving experience was coming to an end. We hope to see you all next year. Guillaume said that he will be back with us and maybe even do a freediving movie here in Philippines most remote island, Palawan.