To get to El Nido, you have three options:
1) Direct flight from Manila to El Nido
The fastest and most direct way is to fly from Manila. The flight takes about 1 hour and lands directly at Lio airport, located about 4 kilometers from midtown.
Island Transvoyager Inc. (ITI) offers daily flights from Manila to El Nido. Travel time is around 55 minutes on a 50-seater ATR aircraft. From Lio airport, you can take a 20-minute tricycle ride going to El Nido town. You can reserve your ITI flights through Artcafe here using this email address: [email protected].
Flights from Manila depart at 7:00AM, 11:00AM and 3:00PM daily. Return flights from El Nido to Manila leave at 9:00AM, 1:00PM and 5:00PM every day.
One-way ITI fare is PHP 6,750 per person, but you can also watch out for promo flights on Artcafe’s Facebook page. There is a 10kg weight restriction, including hand luggage. Each extra kilo is charged P200.
2) Land travel from Puerto Princesa to El Nido:
The second way to reach El Nido is to first fly to Puerto Princesa Airport in Central Palawan. Its airport receives regular flights from Manila and Cebu via CebuPacific, PAL Express, AirAsia and other local carriers. From Puerto Princesa, you still have to cover about 220 kilometers of highway to get to El Nido. To do so, you have different options:
a) Van : We warmly recommend DaytripperPalawan. They will get you to El Nido safely and comfortably in their executive vans/coaches. The trip usually takes 5-6 hours. Other van companies also leave daily from the Puerto Princesa airport.
b) Bus. If you are on budget, take a bus. Two companies ply the Puerto Princesa-El Nido route every day. We highly recommend Cherry Bus. It takes about 6-8 hours, depending on how many stopovers the bus will take on the way.
c) Car or motorbike. If you want to travel at your own pace, taking a road trip is a great way to discover the Northern part of Palawan. You can stop over villages and enjoy the rustic view of the countryside. Be prepared, though. This can be a long trip (more than 280km) and full of hassles (cows, dogs, water buffalos, potholes, etc.). Do not travel at night and be extremely careful!
Overnight in Puerto Princesa:
If you want to stay overnight in Puerto Princesa, we recommend you to stay at the Hibiscus Garden Inn. Not far from the airport, the hotel has a beautiful tropical garden and is a convenient base if you want to explore the city. One Manalo Place is another good choice. It offers a wide choice of rooms, a pool and a beautiful spa.
3) Boat trip from Coron to El Nido:
Boat trips from Coron to El Nido and vice-versa are operated 4-5 times a week by several big outrigger boats. The journey can be slow and tough and not recommended if you can find a faster way to come here. As these shuttles are weather dependent, cancellations are quite common on this route. The trip may take 7-10 hours and costs P1,800.
If you have time, you may want to go on an adventure with Tao Philippines. Their expeditions explore hundreds of remote islands between El Nido and Coron. It’s a beautiful experience and you’ll get a chance to set foot on undeveloped tropical islands untouched by tourism.