El Nido is the destination on everyones itinerary when visiting Palawan and therefore can get quite crowded in certain areas. However with a little inside knowledge you can escape the crowds and find your own spot of this iconic destination.
The main town of El nido is located on the west coast of the mainland facing the Bacuit Bay. These are the limestone karst rock formations that give El Nido its name. Small swiftlet birds lay their eggs in a nest made from their own saliva stuck on the side of the caves. These nests are treasured by the chineese for birds nest soup, so locals have been harvesting these small rubber like delicacies since spannish times, hence the name El Nido, ‘The Nest’ in spannish.
The Islands around El Nido offer plenty of island hopping, diving and exploring activities. Some of these destinations include, Big Lagoon, Small Lagoon, Secret Beach etc.
Many guests ask whether we will visit these places on the Open Expeditions. We specialize in avoiding the tourist crowds, and take you to remote island destinations. So if you have few days available on either side of the Tao trip, we recommend that you see these places in smaller island hopping boats available for hire in town.
El Nido town is split into two parts, the Town Proper and Corong Corong.
The Town Proper has the port to where all boat traffic departs from as well as many restaurants, bars and places to stay. Corong Corong is a short 10 min trycycle ride away. It is the stretch of coast that faces the stunning sunset across the Bacuit Bay. There are many places to stay and cool sunset bars and places to eat. Also the Tao El Nido Office is located here.
Heading North of El Nido is Lio Beach resort development where the Airport is, with shops, restaurants and a public beach. But if you are exploring the coast by motorbike, then we suggest visiting here for sunset at the end of the day, where you will be closer to town so you are not driving too far in the dark.
Instead head North to Nacpan beach, the longest beach in El Nido. Be careful of rip tides during strong weather. There are usually notices to tell you if it’s safe to swim in the water or not.
If Nacpan is still too touristy for you then head north still to Duli beach. It’s an undeveloped surfers hang out and one of the coolest vibes in El Nido. Be warned that the road gets rough and can be quite tricky if you are not an experienced driver.
Back on the main road, keep going north and just after the turning for Taniguiban you will pass a point overlooking Daracounton Bay and the stunning Daracouton Island. Keep on the road past San Fernando village and their Highschool. Take a left on the corner and drive down to San Fernando Pier [or ‘Pantalan’ if you are asking a local for directions]. Park your bikes here and walk along the path on the coast to Tao Farm. From here you can stay and hang all day, get some lunch or island hop over to Daracouton Island where Tao has a basecamp also. Tao Farm is also open for Bed and breakfast so you don’t have to rush back to El Nido in the same day.
Back on the road, head south to the village of Sibaltan. Here you can do great diving to see Manta Ray cleaning station and the more healthier coral reefs in the area. The crew running Dive Sibaltan are good friends of Tao.