Towering limestone cliffs over a small town. Streets bustling with tourists. Emerald green sea water. Boats anchored near the beach. This was my first glimpse of El Nido, Palawan. The recently declared most beautiful beach by Conde Nast.
Like most of the visitors going to El Nido, we took a flight to Puerto Princesa (PPS). And traveled by land to El Nido town proper. It was 6 hours of butt-numbing and dizzying van ride.
The van representative showed up at the waiting area outside the airport terminal around our expected time: 8 AM. We were then led to a van waiting outside the airport which took us to the shuttle van terminal. Lunch stop, as well as few bathroom breaks, are included in the travel time. The road is cemented all the way now, so that makes it for a smoother ride.
You can also opt to take the bus at San Jose Terminal. Upon reaching El Nido terminal, we took a multi-cab to get to our accommodation.
Where to Stay in El Nido: Ocean Vista Inn
Located in the street just behind the beachfront, Ocean Vista Inn definitely lives up to its name. A peek through the inn’s windows as well as its open air restaurant will show you a panoramic view of El Nido bay and Cadlao Island.
The three-storey inn has five spacious rooms that cater to couples, friends, and families. Standard, Twin, and Deluxe rooms are located on the second floor while the rooftop restaurant is in the third. The restaurant is also where guests can avail of their free breakfast.
For couples, I highly suggest rooms 4 and 5 for that amazing window view. Rooms are provided with both a fan and air conditioning unit. Since power outages are still fairly common in El Nido, the fan will be your saving grace when that happens.
The beds are comfortable and not back-breaking. What I loved most was that they provided two fluffy pillows each per person in the Deluxe Room we stayed in. I can’t sleep with just one so it was definitely a delight for me.
The shower is equipped with hot and cold water, and both wi-fi and cable TV are provided in the rooms.
Another plus was the proximity of the inn to the boat dock so we didn’t have to walk far just to get to our boat.
Opened in September 2015, Ocean Vista Inn is owned by Mr. Philip Morales, a local of El Nido. He also owns Sealand Venture, tours and services provider.
Packing Guide for El Nido
Better come prepared in El Nido lest you want to risk spending a bit shopping for necessities. Here are some of the things you should include in your packing list:
- Dry Bag – To protect your valuables and other things of course!
- Waterproof cell phone pouch – You wouldn’t want to go home with a waterlogged phone, right? Hehe.
- Underwater camera or action camera – What better way to capture those water adventures than with a camera that you can use underwater! Most of the time you also get soaked while riding the boat so best not to risk your expensive DSLRs.
- Aqua shoes – You don’t want to be stepping on those corals and other marine life. So bring those aqua shoes or socks with you.
- Snorkeling equipment (optional) – If you want to bring your own, go ahead!
- Swimwear; Light, Easy to dry clothing – Bring your favorite swimwear for those fabulous #OOTDs. Hot and humid is the default in El Nido except when it’s raining, so make sure to stock up on light and easy-to-dry clothing.
- Sunscreen – You don’t want to come home from your amazing trip with painful sunburns right? Then bring lots of sunscreen/sunblock with you. And be prepared to reapply. Often.
- Cash – Although there are ATMs available now in El Nido, It’s still best to come prepared with cold, hard cash. You never know if the ATM suddenly becomes offline because it ran out of money. Now wouldn’t that be a bummer!
- Sunglasses – Not just a fashion statement but to protect your eyes from the harmful UV rays. Also, comes in handy when getting splashed by the waves while in the boat ride
- A sense of adventure
Traveling during the rainy season
August is right in the middle of monsoon season in the Philippines. The week before our flight, all tours were canceled so we were preparing for the worst case scenario. We went ahead despite Accuweather’s forecast of rainy weather halfway through the week. While we landed in a sunny Puerto Princesa, it was a different scenario in El Nido. The sky was overcast and there were isolated rain showers in the afternoon. But luck was on our side and the next days turned out to be sunny!
If you’re going to book flights during the rainy season, be prepared to be flexible with your plans. The Coast Guard and the Municipal Tourism Office announces which tours will be canceled for the day.
Stay tuned for the Island Hopping and Mainland Tour in Part Two!
In the meantime, here’s a teaser video of our five-day stay in El Nido!
[Watch in HD]
Ocean Vista Inn
Address: Serena st. Brgy. Buena Suerte Zone II, El Nido Palawan 5313
Facebook: Ocean Vista Inn
Rates: (High Season/Low Season)
Standard Room: Php 2,300/Php 1,300
Twin Room: Php 2,300/Php 1, 300
Deluxe: Php 2,800/Php 1,600
Check availability and book here!
Disclosure: Our stay was courtesy of Ocean Vista Inn and our tours were courtesy of Sealand Venture. As always, all opinions and insights are my own.
Have you been to El Nido? How was your travel going there?