Palawan is wonderfully magical. I traveled here with a fellow backpacker I met in Borneo, where we shared 2 brilliant weeks together traveling around the Island.
After our flight from Kota Kinabalu, we stayed one night in a cute rustic hotel before spending 8 hours on a bus to El Nido. The journey was terribly long winded, and if you are a sufferer from car-sickness like me, you’ll understand the gruelling pain I was in. However, once arriving in El Nido, the journey was washed away by the beauty of the ocean.
Things to do in El Nido:
Trips start at 9am – 4pm. The crew provide a delicious bbq’ed lunch on the beach, with fresh fish, meats and fruit.
Takes you to two lagoons on Miniloc Island,
Simisu Island, and 7 Commando
beach. Cost: P1200.
Tour to Snake Island, Cudugnon Cave,
Lagen Island, Inabuyutan Island,
Cathedral Cave. Cost: P1300/person
Big snorkel tour around Matinloc Island and Tapiutan Island, with a visit to the Secret Beach. You have a big chance to see Turtles.
Beaches to be visited in El Nido:
Las Cabanas beach
Although this beach isn’t very shady, it has beautiful white sand, crystal glass water with one beach bar at the end of the strip. We spent most of our week drinking mango smoothies here.
Very few tourists brave the long, bumpy tricycle ride to Nacpan Beach – and the sore bottoms that come as a result, but it’s worth it!
Where we stayed:
There is a new hostel called Spin Designer in the town of El Nido, and I highly recommend staying there if you’re alone, or even traveling with a friend. Although it’s slightly more expensive than your average hostel, at £15 a night, it’s worth every penny. The energy is relaxed yet vibrant and fun, the interior is unique and earthy; everyone is friendly and the members of staff are exceptionally warm and helpful.
After a week of beaching, boating and eating mangoes, we decided to head back to Peurto Princesa but en route stop at a little fishing village called Port Barton for a few days (I ended up staying there a week).
This place was a little piece of heaven, and although I loved El Nido, Port Barton touched me more. This village is on the northwest coast in Palawan and a 3 hour drive from El Nido.
Apparently Port Barton doesn’t usually attract luxury seeking, status vacationers, due to it not being as advanced as other places in Palawan. It has a limited electricity supply that turns on at 6pm and turns off at midnight, there are no ATM’s and just a couple of small grocery shops for the locals. Fortunately (for now), it has become a popular choice for budget backpackers and other adventurous international travellers, who appreciate and enjoy the rural, relaxed atmosphere and natural beauty that this quiet and peaceful beachside village, has to offer. So, if you’re heading to Palawan, make sure stop here; because in 5 years time, this peaceful place might have lost it’s tranquil charm.
Where we stayed:
Elsa’s beach resort, located on the beach.