EL NIDO, PHILIPPINES
We’ve got to be honest, planning a trip to El Nido was like stabbing around in the fucking dark. The photos online look amazing so the physical beauty of the place was never in question. The question was “but whats it like?”. I mean, are we talking Bali or are we talking Cambodia? Can I expect to order a flat white with my smashed avo brekkie or will I be eating rice with a spoon and drinking juice out of a can? The big (food related) questions… of course.
So here’s our piece of El Nido. We’ll make it short. Ish.
Lets quickly cover the nature porn. We assume this is the reason you want to go to El Nido in the first place and let us reassure you that it really IS that good. Like, #nofilter good. Like, Mother Nature had a fucking party here. This is the type of beauty that makes you drop it all and join a marine conservation organisation to protect that shit. Mind. Blown.
Side rant: Please be nice to the coral. Promise us that you’re not the type of arsehole who’ll stand on it and take things out of the ocean for your own sick enjoyment.
Anyway, onto El Nido town itself.
El Nido is a good 6 hour drive from Puerto Princesa airport. Unless you miraculously unearth or charter a plane to El Nido airport. In which case you are much wealthier than we are and we’re jealous because that drive to El Nido is quite literally a pain in the arse.
Confession: We love that El Nido is a schlep to get to. The schlep tends to deter the arseholes and that makes us happy.
Tip: Book your shuttle van in advance through your hotel or these guys:
So, what IS El Nido town like? Well it’s a chilled beach-side town made of twisty dust roads crammed with restaurants and shops. This is no Kuta, people. There will be no eggs benni, there will be no flat whites and there definitely wont be any Acai bowls sprinkled with bee pollen. However, there will be fresh fish on the beach, late nights in dirty reggae bars and the most epic starry skies you’ve ever seen. You’ll also have sandy feet 24/7, the power will flicker on and off every day and you’ll feel very fucking far from home. Despite comments online that might suggest El Nido is a bit shitty, we have a special place in our cold cold hearts for this place. Magic.
As far as hotels are concerned, most hotels we came across needed a coat of paint and some new white sheets. That said, El Nido is being developed by the second, so anything we commit to the internet is likely to be out-of-date by tomorrow. To save you from dodgy info we’d suggest you do some serious research before you book anything. Look on AirBnB, scour the internet. You know the drill.
So, you’re in El Nido, what next? Where to eat? What island-hopping tour to take? Stay tuned…