Traveling to El Nido Palawan on Budget

El Nido Palawan rose to global popularity in the recent years. What once was a town with seldom visitors boomed as one of the top tourist spots in the country. From someone who was born and raised in Puerto Princesa Palawan, it is quite a known fact that El Nido Palawan was an expensive touristic town to visit. I had a chance to debunk this myth back in 2013.


I stayed in El Nido for three months leading up to partnering on a business venture. Well that didn’t really bring in much success but my entrepreneurial mistakes isn’t why I am writing this.

Let’s go back to the travel tips when going to El Nido Palawan

 How to get to El Nido Palawan

You can take Roro and Cherry buses at the San Jose Bus Terminal. From the Puerto Princesa Airport just get a tricycle heading to San Jose. Buses leave every hour. Regular buses (no air-conditioner) is only P280 and air-conditioned bus for only P380 pesos. The travel time is approximately about 6 hours.

Save an hour with your travel time going to El Nido Palawan by taking a van, book directly from the airport, there are plenty of tour agents there. A van from Puerto Princesa to El Nido costs from P400 to P600 depending on the season. Prices may vary.


RoRo Bus Pic Source

IMG_1973Cherry Bus Pic Source


In terms of accommodations, there are plenty to choose from in El Nido Palawan, especially recently with the booming tourism industry. There are plenty of hostels, inns and hotels competing. Hostels may range from P400 per person to P500 per person. However, please do not expect anything other than basic accommodation. Further, some of them may have shared bathroom and toilet.

Rooms closer to the beach or by the beach may range from P1000 to P2000 for basic accommodations. Usually this is good for two. Unfortunately, no rates are set on stone in El Nido Palawan, the reason I am not mentioning names of hostels is because I do not want this post to receive any bad review or deemed misleading, for is not in anyway connected to an agency or any establishment in El Nido Palawan.


Nonetheless, no one should be spending anything beyond what I was mentioning for basic accommodations when traveling on a budget. There are plenty of choices, you just need to look.

Island Hopping

Tour prices range from P315 to P500 per person. Booking a tour from an agency anywhere around El Nido town is very easy. The tour price may vary because the island hopping tours fall under 4 options, prices are determined by the distance. These are:

Tour A includes the following islands to visit:

Small Lagoon

Big Lagoon

Simizu Island

Secret Lagoon

7 Commandos Beach

Tour B includes the following islands to visit:

Entalula Island

Pinagbuyutan Island

Snake Island

Cudugnon Cave

Cathedral Cave

Tour C includes the following islands to visit:

Hidden Beach

Helicopter Island

Secret Beach

Matinloc Shrine

Star Beach

Tour D includes the following islands to visit:

Bukal Island

Ipil beach

Nat-Nat Beach

Cadlao Lagoon

Paradise Beach

Meals are usually included with the tour package. Nonetheless, should you prefer other dishes (which will be prepared by your boatman and his assistants) pitch in a few hundreds and get it from the market.


Land Tours

You can rent a motorbike from any of the shops within El Nido Town proper. El Nido Palawan is not all about island hopping. In fact, there are plenty to explore around town, beaches within the mainland are breathtaking. I tried going to the waterfalls which is quite a nice experience, although it is a bit far, rent a tricycle to go there if you do not prefer a motorbike.

Explore the beach called Marimegmeg, then known as Las Cabanas. Ideally before sunset, because Las Cabanas offers a great view of the sundown.

Also try Nacpan Beach, known for its white beach sand and clean water. Although you should be careful with the rip current.

Nacpan-Beach-El-NidoPhoto Source


For a budget stay of about 4 days and 3 nights, 6000 pesos per person should be enough. That includes your airfare should you book early with any of the major airlines’ promos.

There are plenty of alternatives in terms of accommodation and dining in El Nido outside the usual Hotels and Restaurants. I guess the main reason people find it very expensive is because most of the information found online boasts luxury travel. No, it doesn’t have to be. I enjoyed El Nido best when I traveled alone in 2013 and stayed for 3 months and when I recently visited along with a dozen of my relatives and stayed for 3 days and 2 nights.

If you are not picky, you can explore El Nido on a budget and even extend your last pesos to party day and night.

Leave a Reply