Although Palawan is on everyone’s lips when the talk evolves around traveling to the Philippines – it can be hard to figure out where to stay? Here we have described which areas we can recommend and some overall tips for good bungalows, hotels and resorts.

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The rumor of Paradise Island Palawan has slowly matured to a common fact. Not least because all prominent travel magazines such as Condé Nast Traveler and Travel & Leisure  have nominated the island to be among the most beautiful in the world.

However, some describe Palawan as an undiscovered paradise. Bum bum … I would categorize that as a slight exaggeration or classic tourist brochure rhetoric.  Let it be said….the travelers has now reached the island of the Philippines  that inspired Alex Garland to write the book “The Beach”.

However, it is still quite demanding to reach the best area of Palawan, which probably have limited the flow of tourists. Fortunately! Therefore you can still experience desolate and unspoiled sandy beaches that will haunt all your bounty dreams for the rest of your life. Just a polite warning…

HERE YOU WILL FIND THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PARTS OF PALAWAN

Before leaving Denmark we had a tough time figuring out where to stay – especially in relation to which experiences we normally find most attractive. However, we quickly found out that the most commonly mentioned place was El Nido – but it was not clear whether it was a city, a beach or a larger area with several small islands?

Now we know that El Nido is one of nearly 1.500 municipalities and a slice of the northern part and province of the island of Palawan. Ok then. In addition El Nido is also the name of the city of the same name and is the starting point for experiencing Palawan’s main attraction: the Archipelago of Bacuit.

Bacuit Archipelago consists of 45 islands with sharp limestone cliffs that rises through crystal clear waters and create an enthralling horizon at the northwestern coast of Palawan. At the foot of the towering cliffs, chalk white and palm-clad sandy beaches adorn and surely represent any Lotto advertisement. And that’s exactly where you’re going to travel if you want to experience what, in recent years, has placed the Philippines at the top of the list of the world’s most beautiful places.

Nacpan Beach

WHERE TO STAY AT PALAWAN

Northern Palawan is no longer a secluded destination reserved for backpackers. Therefore, there are a lot of accommodations for all types of travelers and wallets – from backpack budget to honeymoon luxury. So the answer obviously depends on you budget, needs and what you would like to experience.

We have described six different places in and around El Nido, which we can recommend based on different criteria.

1. Bacuit Island

Matinloc Resort and El Nido Resorts, made up of four different resorts, each placed alone on one of the small islands of Bacuit. They meet all the luxurious dreams of staying on a deserted paradise island but the dream doesn’t come cheap. The advantage of staying on the islands is that you are in the beautiful waters of Bacu and can easily discover the surrounding islands, lagoons and unspoiled beaches, which you can get completely to yourself.

If you prefer to be at sea and experience the islands from a ship along with other water dogs, then you should book a cabin on one of the Tao Philippines boats. We have heard from others who have sailed around the archipelago for a few days this way – and it sounds like an experience you’ll never forget. It is clearly on our ‘must do’ list next time!

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The view of the archipelago from El Nido city

 

2. El Nido Town

The town of El Nido is located on the beach of the same name and is the commercial starting point for experiencing the Bacuit islands. This is where you will find most hotels, hostels and bungalows as well as various shops, tour operators, restaurants and bars. The town consists of small, narrow and densely populated streets and can quickly feel crowded when the noisy tricycles twist around all the flip-flop wearing tourists.

El Nido is the most convenient place to live and is for those who want to be close to good restaurants, loud music, shopping and the harbor itself, from which all excursions to the Bacuit Islands start and where you can rent mountain bikes, scooters and kayaks. In addition, you will also find the area’s only ATM – which, however, rarely works – close to the City Hall. The beach itself is not worth a visit in itself as the water is slightly murky and filled with sharp rocks and boats.

El Nido Beach Hotel is the city’s largest hotel. It is slightly worn but functional, clean and preferable due to a good location on the north side of the beach, which is far more peaceful. However, there may be a big difference in the rooms, so be sure to get a room in the southern part. In addition we have been recommended hotels such as Rosanna’s and El Nido Garden Beach Resort.

El Nido strand på Palawan i Filippinerne
The beach at El Nido town
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The main street of El Nido town running parallel with the beach

3. Corong-Corong

Corong-Corong beach is located at a small village about 1.5 kilometers south of El Nido city on the other side of a small mountain. Most resorts and bungalows are next to the beach itself where you will find a lazy and relaxed atmosphere. Also a few restaurants and beach bars resides here, which offer the most beautiful sunset overlooking the Bacuit Islands.

We would definitely recommend staying here if you like us prefer to be close to El Nidos ‘leben’ but choose to live in natural and peaceful surroundings. You can easily take a trip to El Nido – the trip takes about 5-10 minutes and costs around 100 PHP (Approx. 2 USD).

The best place to stay at Corong-Corong is at Mahogany Beach Resort, which features a range of stylish and spacious bungalows and villas as well as a beautiful pool. The neighbor is the Last Frontier Beach Resort, which has some slightly smaller but really nice bungalows, all of which have a view of the beach. Alternatively check out the bungalows of Greenviews Resort if you prefer to spend a little less money.

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Corong-Corong beach
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Corong-Corong beach

4. Marimegmeg / Las Cabanas

A few kilometers south of El Nido city and Corong-Corong is the beach of Marimegmeg, which is the best looking beach within a few kilometers of El Nido. Many people therefore only go to hang out on the beach for a day. If you rent a tricycle from El Nido city, the trip costs approx. 150 PHP ( 3 USD) and takes 10-15 minutes. There are a couple of bungalows a la backpacker style as well as restaurants and small beach bars, but personally we would recommend moving a bit further down the beach to Las Cabanas.  To both swim and live.

Las Cabanas Beach Resort is located on a small coast area and has a beautiful 180-degree view of the Bacuit Island. The resort has two types of bungalows – some with ocean views and some surrounded by a nice garden. The place has a good restaurant with a large menu that can satisfy everyone’s desires (uhm!). There is ample space between all the cabins, which gives a particularly peaceful atmosphere and in the green garden there are hammocks hanging from palmtrees, which make the place the perfect area to nestle in – and either enjoy the beautiful view or to relax with a good book

We enjoyed hanging out here when we went for long walks along the coast. You should also take the time to stroll down the beach from Las Cabanas and towards the luxury resort of Dolarog. Especially if you are fond of pristine sandy beaches and palm trees and would like to feel like Robinson Crusoe for a day.

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View of Las Cabanas
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Bungalow at Las Cabanas
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The beach at Las Cabanas

5. Caalan Beach

Just north of El Nido city the neighbouring Caalan resides. Walking distance of approx. 5-10 minutes along a small gravel road along the water. It is a pleasant walk to an area that is far more green and peaceful than El Nido. Here are a couple of bungalows and resorts resides. Forexample Cadlao Resort, which is El Nido’s most expensive and also includes the finest restaurant of the town.

6. Nacpan Beach

You can’t walk around in El Nido for a long time before a tricycle driver asks if you want a trip to Nacpan Beach. And believe me – you’d like to! But if possible, we would recommend renting a scooter and drive the 30-45 minute trip on your own. Because it’s a beautiful excursion through Palawans lush jungle, small charming villages and past elongated rice fields.

Nacpan Beach is located approx. 20 kilometers north of El Nido. The beach is a few kilometers long, the sand is powder-soft and the water is absolutely crystal clear. Some tourists go here to swim and to see the area where Nacpan and Caitang Beach meet each other and form a narrow beach of water on both sides. But if you have time to spend we can recommend a barefoot adventure up the beach.

If you like the serenity of Nacpan’s exotic beauty and peaceful surroundings, you should book an overnight at Jack’s Place. Here you can get a primitive but nice bungalow with a view directly to the beach. Alternatively just enjoy a cold beer in one of their hammocks, tucked in between the palm trees on the beach. It’s nothing less than ‘heaven’ if you ask us.

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Nacpan Beach
Palawan-Filippinerne
Nacpan Beach

IMPORTANT INFORMATION BEFORE TRAVELING TO EL NIDO

Be sure to have enough cash for El Nido. For there is only one ATM located in El Nido city – and this is often out of function or emptied by cash. And there are neither banks nor ATM’s anywhere close by.

LINKS TO TRAVEL GUIDES

Palawan official travel guide
Travel site about holidays in Palawan
Wiki-Travel about Palawan 
Wiki-Travel about El Nido

What do you think? Please write your thoughts to us if you think our tips were useful or if you miss something – we would like to return with follow-up info. We also like to hear from you who have visited the Philippines and can add more tips. Please share your thoughts in the comments box below. Bon voyage, M & M

2 COMMENTS

  1. Indeed! Palawan is a great place and must be on your bucket list. Ive been to El Nido last year and we spent 3 days to relax.
    Ive been in Puerto Princessa as well and spent 5 days to self medidate and remove stress. I wish I could stay longer even if it’s expensive. LOL.
    I like the calm environment. So relaxing. So natural. I like the people and the cleanliness of them.
    But no one knows that it was the last. I mean now that there was coronavirus, I’m afraid of.
    So the next destination if the coronavirus already vanished is Coron. I heard of it but never been there.
    I wish that everything will be back to normal for me to travel again.

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