We arrived in the Philippines and spent a night in Manila before heading out to our first long-term destination: El Nido. In Manila we spent the evening at a cute hostel called Z Hostel, which was recommended to us by a friend of a friend (thanks Marc!) The next morning we went to a small terminal in the airpot and hopped on an AirSwift flight direct into El Nido. We expected our normal budget airline… but were surprised with a great prop plane and even better service. We were given water and snacks upon arrival at the gate and the staff was fantastic. Our flight into El Nido was quick and beautiful!
Since we had slightly different agendas in El Nido, we opted to stay at different spots. Jenny stayed at Outpost hostel with fantastic sunset views while Kerry stayed at Amakan which was located in town. We stayed in El Nido for about a week and made the most of it! Here’s what we did….
Group Tours A&B and C&D
Jenny went on 2 different tours offered through her hostel, The Outpost. She met a great group of people on her first night at the hostel, and they all decided to sign up together to go on the A&B tour the following day. They visited Snake Island, Entalula Beach, the Big Lagoon and Shimizu Island. Mid-tour, the group feasted on a delicious lunch on the beach of fresh fish, grilled chicken and lots of fruits. A few beers were also enjoyed throughout the day…we even stopped at a floating bar on the water to stock up on supplies of local rum and more Filipino beer.
Two days later, the same group of people from Jenny’s hostel went on the C&D tours and had an equally good time as on the prior tour. On this tour, they visited Helicopter Island, Secret Beach and Hidden Beach. At one point, you had to go completely underwater and swim through rocks to reach a beach on the other side of the rocks…it was soooo spectacularly beautiful.
Private Island/Beach Tour
Kerry took a day trip on a private boat with a lovely French couple we met on a dive trip. We visited many of the same spots Jenny saw on her tours, but had a bit more control over how long we stayed places, if we added or removed stops, etc. It was incredibly laid back and relaxing – we snorkeled, swam to secluded beaches, laid on said beaches, feasted on an incredible lunch, spotted several turtles and took in the beautiful sights on the ride.
Diving with Palawan Divers
We met up for a day dive trip with Palawan Divers and got in 3 dives. Unfortunately Jenny’s ear started bothering her again so she didn’t get to go on a second dive trip in El Nido. The dives were lovely, the food was great, the company was fantastic and the staff at Palawan Divers took great care of us. We saw everything from nudibranch to rays to turtles. The dive sites were very different and always interesting, plus since we spent a full day on the boat we had time to relax, to tan, to play in the water and to snorkel a bit!
This is an amazing beach that is a short ride away from El Nido. Possibly one of our favorite beaches to date. It’s expansive, quiet, calm and clear and has a twin beach nearby. It was a great spot for laid back days with tanning, having a few beers, cooling off in the water and taking in the amazing scenery!
El Nido was a wonderful way to start our travels in the Philippines. It was small and easy to navigate and far from a big tourist spot. We started to learn more about Filipinos and how friendly and welcoming they are. Anyone we encountered had a smile on their face, waved and said hello. As we got to talk to people more, they were always happy to have us visiting and had many questions to get to know us! Of course we met amazing new friends in El Nido as well and look forward to seeing them on our future travels in Europe.
While we spent quite a long time in El Nido, we were not ready to leave. But Boracay was calling us and we had big plans for it! So it was time for another great AirSwift flight to get us there…
~ Kerry & Jenny