Thinking of backpacking the Philippines? If you are a nature lover, a surfer, a hiker or simply a globetrotter with a desire to explore, you will probably end up surrendering to the allure of the tropical climate, prehistoric caves, coral reefs, majestic waterfalls, lagoons, shrines and pristine beaches of the municipality of El Nido in the Palawan province. It is with good reason that this managed resource protected area is often called “Heaven on Earth”, and far from being a destination for upscale vacation goers, it is popular amongst those travelling on a low budget thanks to its good-value-for-money backpacker hostels offering opportunities to meet people from all over the world, party and enrol in outdoor activities in an absolutely unique natural setting.
It will be easy to find the perfect backpacker hostel in El Nido, Palawan, regardless of your beach, island or islet of choice. Many travellers choose to stay near Bacuit Bay to go diving, or in Seven Commandos Beach for a pleasant and effective retreat, as it can only be accessed by water. To experience the town life and have more shops and businesses within reach, those who want to get the best of El Nido alongside with the perks of staying in the downtown prefer Población, Cadlao Island –the largest one, which comprises Paradise Beach– and Matinloc Island and its “secret beach”. For unforgettable sunsets and lots of surf and aquatic activities, Nacpan Beach and Duli Beach are the places to go, while more touristy spots are Ille Cave and Las Cabanas, to mention just a couple. Continue reading for recommendations on how to plan your budget trip to El Nido, Palawan.
Travelling to Palawan in the Philippines: closest airports to El Nido
In order to get to El Nido by airplane, travellers and backpackers may book flights to either Puerto Princesa or El Nido airport from Manila or Cebu. Flights operated by Air Swift only take one hour and a half to reach El Nido, which saves a good deal of time that would otherwise be spent on a road trip from airports located way farther, but it must be said that this option is, nevertheless, the most expensive.
Provided that you opt for flying into Puerto Princesa, you may then hire a van, a car or a motorbike and reach El Nido – Palawan in an average of 5 hours. Public transportation services, like the bus, are affordable and take about 9 hours.
Recommended hostels for backpackers in El Nido, Philippines
Mad Monkey Hostel in Nacpan Beach
This beachfront hostel in El Nido is located by the white sands of Nacpan Beach, less than 14 kilometres away from El Nido airport. Guest may choose to stay in mixed dormitories with other travellers, in lofts or in glamping tents. The facilities feature a rooftop bar offering beautiful sea views where guests meet and party together, and aside from basic amenities among which we count the comfortable beds, shared toilets and showers, there are many extras provided by the staff at this backpacker hostel in El Nido that will contribute to a much smoother trip such as lockers, tourist counter, an onsite restaurant serving breakfast, brunch and dinner and organised activities.
Frendz Hostel in Palawan, the Philippines
Roughly 3,5 kilometres from El Nido airport and close to some of the most beautiful beaches in El Nido (Paradise and Caalan), the Frendz Hostel provides family rooms, double rooms and beds in mixed or female-only dormitories , free WiFi, an onsite bar and a swimming pool. The location is equally ideal to visit Seven Commandos or Papaya Beach; moreover, former guests have highlighted the daily cleaning service, the complimentary welcome drinks and the gatherings that allowed for making new friends and having a good time at this hostel in El Nido, Palawan.
ElBimbo Travellers Lodge in El Nido
Also close to Paradise Beach and Seven Commandos is ElBimbo Travellers Lodge, which offers air-conditioned rooms with complimentary WiFi and private bathroom. Its standard and deluxe units can accommodate couples and families and entitle guests to enjoy room service and continental breakfast, even when the area is popular for its local restaurants, cafes, supermarkets and markets. While staying in this budget accommodation in El Nido, Palawan, backpackers in the Philippines can easily access several bus stations, rent a bike or use the free parking spaces. A small deposit might be required from guests upon arrival.
Will you be touring the Philippines and passing through other airports in the country? See our recommendations for a layover in Mactan Cebu International airport.