5 Alternative Things to Do in El Nido, Palawan

things to do in el nido palawan
Let me tell you something real quick about El Nido: it was unlike anything I had expected.

I have yet to meet somebody who doesn’t rave about this paradise in Palawan. They were all right about it: perfect waters, relaxed vibes, stunning sunsets—but it wasn’t until I got there that I believed them, which is a good thing. My actual first impression is so much greater than my expectations, always a plus in any trip. But just like any other destination, El Nido isn’t perfect—and the downside is that it has changed quite a bit. It isn’t the El Nido that anybody who has been here years before knew it to be.

things to do in el nido palawan
Much has been said and written about El Nido, but the truth is that despite the constant rise of the number of tourists, it still remains to be a favorite getaway in the Philippines. That’s why today, I’ll tell you about alternative things to do in El Nido! While idly browsing the web, I found a website that gave me a lot of helpful tips and inside information, especially in figuring out what to do in El Nido and planning a vacation in the Philippines. Check them out below!

1 | Overnight Camping Island Hopping

If you wish to avoid the congestion of the regular island hopping tours, an overnight camping trip is a smart way to go around Bacuit Bay. With these camping trips, you'll leave the town much later than the other boats, so you'll reach your destination once everyone is already back in El Nido. You're going to spend the night in a "trillion star resort"—yes, in a tent under the stars! Add that to a dinner around the bonfire and I couldn't think of anything more perfect.

things to do in el nido palawan
The day after is just as good if not better—when you're already in the first destination of the island hopping. You literally wake up in paradise! While everyone else is just leaving town, you are already enjoying the place all to yourself, and your boat is always going to be a few steps ahead of the rest. Sounds awesome, yes?

2 | The Party Boat

Now this is a totally different way to do island hopping. This kind of tour attracts travelers who are keen on exploring destinations others usually don't want to seealongside hard partying! The party boat departs town much later than others, mainly because of the late-rising nature of the party animals.

things to do in el nido palawan
This trip is organized by Mellow Yellow, a newer version of what was known before as the El Nido Party Boat. The boat can accommodate 50 people, and the tour includes lunch, music, and unlimited drinks for 500PhP! It returns to town at around 6:00PM.

There are smaller tours that have festive themes too, like the Ape Tours, which combines the two most popular tours together (so you get to visit more iconic sights), beers and music included.

3 | Visit beautiful mainland beaches

Many people who visit El Nido do only the popular tours (Tour A and C) and forget to check out the beaches on the mainland. This is such a shame because they're missing out on the mesmerizing beauty of El Nido's lesser known secrets. Perhaps two of the most popular are the Nacpan and Calitang twin beaches, just an an hour away from town proper. These are two back-to-back beaches, with Nacpan boasting of 4 kilometers of creamy white sand and pristine waters. There isn't much activity in here unlike in Bacuit Bay, except for a few eateries, stores, and some budget accommodations. So this place is mainly for long walks on the beach, tanning, lounging with a book, or playing frisbee.

things to do in el nido palawan
A more secluded beach is Duli, a long white-sand beach sandwiched between the mountains. It's most notable as a surfing spot, so expect to find the more adventurous travelers here. It has a few bars that mainly serve the handful of guests who choose to stay there, mostly surfers from El Nido town. It's a relatively deserted beachyou can get your own hammock.

4 | Find the best eats and drinks in El Nido

things to do in el nido palawan
For a place that's quite secluded, there is an interesting culinary scene going on in El Nido. It's probably because of the many expats who has chosen to stay and live here, unable to let go of its beauty and rustic ambience. They end up setting up businesses and opening restaurants that serve the food from their home countries.

One of the must-tries is Trattoria Altrove, known for having the best authentic Neapolitan brick-oven pizza in the Philippines. While they actually have a branch in Paranaque, it always feels different to try the original. Enjoy delicious homemade pasta and a good selection of wines. Be patient as there's always a queue outside!

Another interesting restaurant is Republica Sunset Bar, a Spanish restaurant located in Corong Corong Beach. Republica Sunset Bar offers an amazing view of the ocean and sunset, and they serve quite a few classics, like paella, gazpacho, patatas bravas, and many more. This is one of the most highly-ranked restaurants in TripAdvisor, and many of the reviewers are Spanish too, so you know the food is legit. They also have a wide selection of cocktails and sangria.

things to do in el nido palawan

5 | Dance Under the Full Moon

El Nido is also known for its nightlife, and if you seek a different party experience in the island, try the El Nido Full Moon Partieswhich attracts hundreds of guests! Enjoy house, EDM, and hip hop music, crunched by foreign DJs invited to play their sets in El Nido. This has been going since 2016, and if you have never heard of it, now is the time to follow their page.

What other alternative things can you add to this list? Share your thoughts below!

If you like my posts and would love regular updates on travel photos, food finds, restaurant reviews, dance articles, and drunken tales, follow Pepe Samson on Facebook!

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