Guest writer Jyotsna Ramani has put together a brief 48-hour guide to one of the most beautiful beach destinations in the world- El Nido in the Philippines.
El Nido in Palawan, Philippines, is considered to be one of the most spectacular beach destinations in Asia, just like Halong bay in Vietnam and Krabi in Thailand were once. This destination has all the grandeur of a beach paradise, without the high end trappings of a super touristy place and the extravagant prices.
Why settle for a hotel facing the beach when you can stay overlooking the ocean in a house on stilts? Why dive in any old site, when you can choose from unspoilt orchid-walled lagoons?
From enchanting white sandy beaches, unspoilt settings, and lush green jungles bounded by towering marble cliffs, there is little doubt why El Nido is often called the Philippines’ Last Frontier. A 48 hour trip, though short, can easily be undertaken with a bit of research. Expect crowds but nothing like those in the crowded markets of Thailand or Vietnam.
No tour to this area is complete without island hopping to see the lagoons and beaches and simply immersing oneself in the quiet wonders of these islands and bays. Given the restricted time frame, it is best to do the lagoon and Seven Commandos Beach Tour. This tour will take you to see the most awesome rock formations and lagoons in Bacuit bay, namely Secret Lagoon, Shimizu Island, Small Lagoon, Big Lagoon and Seven Commandos Beach. Scientists believe that these lagoons were initially caves, the roofs of which collapsed millions of years ago and emerged in their place. The tranquil, turquoise green waters harbour a large variety of diverse marine life.
There are quite a few options to use the second day.
You could take a ferry to Coron town & Busuanga Island. This six-hour trip will bring you to a place of true beauty, perfect for scuba diving and wreck diving. Even here the island hopping is good, but what is truly outstanding is the diving. There are many WWII era sunken ships to explore. Top it off by hiking to the peak of Busuanga Island. It takes some time to get to the top, but once there, the views from the top are spectacular.
From Coron you can fly directly back to Manila, without the tiresome and long entry trip via Puerto Princesa.
This itinerary will be quite tight though, so if you have more time on hand, I would recommend spending extra time in Coron & Busuanga.
So that’s the essential 48 hour guide to El Nido which should give you an awesome time. Bear in mind though, that this place is developing fast, maybe not on the scale with others, but things will sure look different a few years from now. The cheap alternatives available here are reason enough for the frugal traveler to come and visit. This of course drives up prices eventually, so get there while you can.
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Jo is an adrenaline junkie and an avid globetrotter. She loves to write and started putting pen to paper at a very early age by jotting letters to her pen pals. Now, she writes on her blog WanderWithJo.com and shares her travel tales with adventurers across the globe. She loves the great outdoors and being close to nature, among other things.
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Have you been to the Philippines? What would you add to this list?