With just a month to go before Valentineâ€™s Day, a lot of people are starting to secure flights and tickets to different destinations for a romantic celebration.Â A trip to El Nido in Palawan certainly ranks as just that.
El Nido is at the northernmost tip of the main island of Palawan in the Philippines.Â People who have been to Ha Long Bay in Vietnam or to Krabi in Thailand will find the limestone cliffs and rock formations in El Nido equally impressive.
Tourists usually fly to Metro Manila and take domestic flights to Palawan, either to capital city Puerto Princesa or directly to El Nido. Airlines that fly to Puerto Princesa City include Cebu Pacific, Philippine Airlines, PAL Express and Zest Air.Â Given the scarcity of direct flights to El Nido, visitors opt to visit Puerto Princesa first and stay a day or two before moving on to El Nido.
The land trip to El Nido usually takes about 5 to 8 hours depending on the season.Â Roads are slippery and rough during the rainy months.Â Buses leave from the San Jose Terminal in Puerto Princesa between 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. and the fare is about USD $10. There are also available trips from El Nido back to Puerto Princesa that also leave at around 6 a.m.Â It is highly recommended to book in advance as bus tickets get sold out easily. Those who prefer smaller vehicles can take private shuttle vans that depart from the San Jose Terminal between 7 a.m. and noon.
Some vacationers from provinces like Coron, Busuanga, Sabang or Port Barton have the option to take boats to travel to and from El NidoÂ It is better to ask local travel operators about trip schedules, as they can vary from week to week.
A solid El Nido itinerary should include:
Throngs of local and foreign tourists head to El Nido each year to experience magnificent marine life and ultra-colourful reefs.Â There are different sea creatures to observe and come in contact with for avid divers.Â El Nido has plenty of dive sites suitable for beginners and experts.
No trip to El Nido is complete without a full day hopping from one island to another.Â The trip is much more fun with a picnic basket, swimming gear and a good book in hand.
Island exploration trips can be arranged upon arriving in El Nido.Â Tours are offered at different rates depending on the number of people.Â The ultimate fee is also affected by the number of islands, food, guides and activities.Â Some tours include kayaks, paddle boats, fishing, or even an hour of windsurfing.
Several tour offices on the island offer cliff-climbing for thrill seekers.Â This activity allows participants to have a birdâ€™s eye view of neighbouring islands.Â Summits provide the perfect spot for agile and skilled photographers to capture a panoramic shot.
After a fill of water-related activities, one can also stay on land and follow dirt tracks that lead to the northern side of Palawan.Â There are different models of bicycles available for rent by the hour (avoid motorcycles, however, as they harm the precious environment of the island).
Do not pass up the chance to savour the local seafood! Ingredients are ultra-fresh and prepared simply and deftly at bistros, hotels in Palawan, or indeed, sometimes best of all, small roadside and coastal restaurants.