Entalula Island - Things to Do in El Nido, Palawan

10 Best Things to Do in El Nido, Palawan in 2024

Searching for the best things to do in El Nido? This guide highlights our picks for the top activities in El Nido, Palawan!
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Searching for the best things to do in El Nido? This guide highlights our picks for the top activities in El Nido, Palawan!

If you like traveling to places where you can party like it’s the city but also enjoy the freshest air, the most serene waters, and the breathtaking backdrop of gray jagged karst, then El Nido is the perfect spot for you. One of the Philippines’ top tourist destinations, El Nido is one you shouldn’t miss when you visit the country.

👉Check flights from Manila to El Nido!👈

El Nido is tucked in the northernmost part of mainland Palawan. The tourist town is accessible via a 1-hour and 30-minute flight from Manila and Cebu, a 4-hour ferry from Coron, and a 5-hour van from Puerto Princesa.

👉Check flights from Cebu to El Nido!👈

How to Get to El Nido

To get there, fly from Manila or Cebu to Puerto Princesa, then take a 5-6 hour van ride to El Nido. The road takes you on multiple curves, so if you’re prone to motion sickness, make sure to take your medication or book the only direct flight to El Nido by boutique airline AirSwift.

👉Book your shared van transfer from Puerto Princesa to El Nido!👈

Best Time to Visit El Nido

El Nido and the nearby attractions are open all year round, but it’s best to visit from late November until May, with the peak travel season falling between the warm months of March and May.

To make the most of your El Nido stay, we recommend that you stay downtown, where establishments, especially the party hub, are just within walking distance. Plus, the majestic and towering backdrop of the limestone cliffs makes your daily walks scenic.

👉Book your Coron to El Nido trip!👈

Where to Stay in El Nido

If you’re looking for the best resorts in El Nido, check out these top-rated properties:

👉Find best accommodations in El Nido!👈

1. Explore Big Lagoon, Seven Commandos Beach, Secret Lagoon, Shimizu Island (El Nido Tour A)

Tour A is the most popular of all El Nido tours, which consequently makes it the most crowded. But don’t let that get in the way of this fantastic experience. Here, you will see Big Lagoon, Seven Commandos Beach, Secret Lagoon, and Shimizu Island.

👉Book your El Nido Tour A!👈

Big Lagoon

Big Lagoon - Things to Do in El Nido Palawan
Kayaking through Big Lagoon is one of the most popular activities in El Nido, Palawan.

The Big Lagoon is located east of Miniloc Island, and you will need to rent a kayak to fully enjoy its ethereal beauty. This is one of the most iconic attractions in El Nido, and honestly, there are absolutely not enough words to describe its beauty. It is also one of the most photographed locations in Palawan 95. Don’t be shy—look it up online, and you’ll understand why.

Seven Commandos Beach

Seven Commandos Beach - Things to Do in El Nido Palawan
An aerial view of Seven Commandos Beach in El Nido, Palawan

Seven Commandos Beach is lined with coconut and other trees, has a long stretch of sandy-coral beach, and, of course, pristine and calm waters. The place is packed with tourists and locals either chilling, getting their tan, snorkeling, getting snacks, or—even better—sharing a game or two of volleyball. The two rudimentary volleyball courts have been witness to many blossoming and sustained friendships in El Nido.

👉Book your Private El Nido Tour A!👈

Secret Lagoon

Secret Lagoon - Things to Do in El Nido Palawan
Secret Lagoon is a hidden attraction in El Nido, Palawan.

Upon docking on the sand-coral beach, you’ll have to walk to the left side of the island. The Secret Lagoon is a pool of seafoam green water hidden inside the gigantic walls of calcareous cliffs. The place is enchanting with shallow water but tends to get murky as more people wade their way in.

Shimizu Island

Shimizu Island - Things to Do in El Nido Palawan
Shimizu Island in El Nido, Palawan

The luscious green colors of trees pop out against the gray limestone, the turquoise waters, and the bright blue sky—Shimizu Island is the best place to chill and feast. The cliff and the trees also provide the needed shade while you sip on a coconut and cool down from the tropical sun.

👉Book your El Nido Tour A!👈

2. Visit Snake Island and Entalula Island (El Nido Tour B)

The El Nido Tour B features six spots—Snake Island, Pinagbuyutan Island, Cudugnon Cave, Cathedral Cave, Entalula Beac, and Papaya Beach. Two of which you shouldn’t dare miss.

👉Book your El Nido Tour B!👈

Snake Island

Snake Island - Things to Do in El Nido, Palawan
An aerial view of Snake Island in El Nido, Palawan

The island is actually called Vigan Island but was locally nicknamed after its shape, especially with its sandbar resembling a long and winding tail. Snake Island is part of the Bacuit archipelago, and on a fairly low tide, you can simply walk on the sandbar that connects it to mainland Palawan. You can even stop midway to swim and snorkel in turquoise waters and, of course, take as many photos as your heart can handle.

Entalula Island

Entalula Island - Things to Do in El Nido, Palawan
An aerial view of Entalula Island in El Nido, Palawan

Entalula Beach is located north of El Nido. It has every island’s must-haves: a long white beach, a backdrop of jagged limestone, tropical vegetation, and, of course, a calm and inviting sea full of life. Make sure you leave enough storage on your camera phones because this picturesque destination will keep you clicking away until it’s time to go.

👉Book your El Nido Tour B!👈

3. Discover Helicopter Island, Secret Beach, Talisay Beach, and Star Beach (El Nido Tour C)

This is the longest tour out of the four, and it takes you the farthest from El Nido town. This also means you get to see some places less traveled, including massive dinosaur-shaped islands and exotic limestone coves.

👉Book your El Nido Tour C!👈

Helicopter Island

Helicopter Island - Things to Do in El Nido, Palawan
An aerial view of Helicopter Island in El Nido, Palawan

Helicopter Island, also officially named Dilumacad Island, looks like an aerial transport that landed on water. Lay down your mat on the cream-colored beach and enjoy the seaside scenery, or dive into the colorful world of tropical fish, corals, and other marine creatures—including some sea turtles.

Secret Beach

Hidden Beach - Things to Do in El Nido, Palawan
An aerial view of Hidden Beach in El Nido, Palawan

The beach is one of the inspirations for Alex Garland’s “The Beach,” along with the rest of the islands of Palawan. The Secret Beach is a secret paradise on the edge of Matinloc Island. It is surrounded by towering and majestic jagged limestone and is only accessible by a single narrow crevice. You’ll have to swim through the narrow opening to reach the untouched beauty of this hypnotic island secret.

👉Book your El Nido Tour C!👈

Talisay Beach

Talisay Beach - Things to Do in El Nido, Palawan
Talisay Beach boasts a rich marine ecosystem. (Photo by Mario Manlupig / CEBU INSIDER)

Talisay Beach is a picture-perfect sandy beach with playful waves. It’s a classic tropical swirl of blues, greens, yellows, and whites. It also has an abundant underwater ecosystem complete with colorful fish and corals. It is one of the lesser-known beaches in Palawan, but it is no less beautiful than its more famous counterparts.

Star Beach

Star Beach - Things to Do in El Nido, Palawan
Star Beach is a great spot to chill at. (Photo by Mario Manlupig / CEBU INSIDER)

Star Beach is located in an area surrounded by cliffs. It is a small and secluded coastline with crystal turquoise water and white sand. The place is great for snorkeling and swimming. This beach is open publicly and is usually crowded during peak seasons.

👉Book your El Nido Tour C!👈

4. Explore Cadlao Island, Small Lagoon, Pasandigan Beach, and Natnat Beach (El Nido Tour D)

This El Nido tour is so underrated and even has fewer crowds than Tour C. However, it is as amazing as expected of the gorgeous El Nido.

Take note, though, that due to the few people who take this tour, it may not always be offered, so book it ahead of time, or you can opt to take a private boat tour. Here are the highlights of this tour:

👉Book your El Nido Tour D!👈

Natnat Beach and Pasandigan Cove

Pasandigan Beach - Things to Do in El Nido, Palawan
Pasandigan Beach in El Nido, Palawan

Stroll, swim or simply sunbathe in these destinations, where a wide stretch of powdery white sand meets the emerald-clear water against the iron-gray limestone.

The rawness of their tropical vibe allows you to connect with the healing and calming beauty of nature. Here, you can simply watch the waves and stare into the horizon.

Cadlao Lagoon

Cadlao Lagoon - Things to Do in El Nido, Palawan
Cadlao Lagoon in El Nido, Palawan

It’s an adventure hub with a small beach where you can laze around, serene waters for snorkeling and kayaking, and a limestone mountainside where you can rock climb.

It’s only a 10-minute claim and not as hard as you think, but you do need to be careful because the rocks can be sharp.

👉Book your El Nido Tour D!👈

Small Lagoon

Small Lagoon - Things to Do in El Nido, Palawan
Small Lagoon in El Nido, Palawan

Compared to the Big Lagoon, the Small Lagoon is a bit hidden. It is a pool of turquoise blue water surrounded by El Nido’s signature jagged karst.

The Small Lagoon is a great spot for cliff diving. Check with your tour guide to make sure that you’re jumping off and onto the right spots.

👉Book your El Nido Tour D!👈

5. Get Panoramic View of Bacuit Bay from Taraw Cliff

Bacuit Bay from Taraw Cliff - Things to Do in El Nido, Palawan
The view of Bacuit Bay from Taraw Cliff in El Nido, Palawan

El Nido’s signature sight is the backdrop of jagged limestone mountains over its town center. It’s easy to get intimidated by the idea of climbing it, but Taraw Cliff and Canopy is actually an easy climb, even for amateurs, young and old alike.

Humidity increases as you go up, and there will be many vertical climbs, but it’s worth it. The summit gives you a panoramic view of El Nido and Bacuit Bay and is best at sunrise.

👉Get your Canopy Walk and Dreamcatcher ticket!👈

6. Chill at Nacpan Beach

Nacpan Beach - Things to Do in El Nido, Palawan
Nacpan Beach in El Nido, Palawan

Nacpan Beach is the longest beach in El Nido, and it stretches up to four kilometers! It’s lined with coconut trees, local eateries, and a few resorts.

This must-see destination is a 45-minute drive from El Nido, and the road can get bumpy and dusty. Knock yourself out on the crystal clear turquoise water and the perfect ethereal tropical view.

Aside from swimming, visitors can also go on ATV rides, kayaking, and stand-up paddle-boarding.

👉Book your El Nido Land Tour!👈

7. Enjoy Sunset View at Las Cabañas Beach

Las Cabañas Beach - Things to Do in El Nido, Palawan
Las Cabañas Beach in El Nido, Palawan

A perfect view of the sun setting behind the jagged karst mountains of Palawan. Las Cabañas Beach has a strip of bars and restaurants that are a perfect place for a relaxed dinner and drinks with families and friends. Did we mention they have a zip line for a bit of adventure, too?

👉Book a Speedboat Group Tour!👈

8. Relax on Soft Cream Sands of Lio Beach

Lio Beach - Things to Do in El Nido, Palawan
The long stretch cream sand of Lio Beach in El Nido, Palawan. (Photo by Mario Manlupig / Cebu Insider)

Have you seen videos of tourists watching airplanes coming down to El Nido? Yup, this is the spot! Lio Beach is sitting right within the premises of El Nido Airport.

Lio Beach is so underrated, even when it’s only a 15-minute drive from the town of El Nido. It is a long stretch of cream-colored sand with crystal-clear turquoise waters lined with luscious coconut trees.

👉Book your El Nido Land Tour!👈

Lio Beach also has a wooden boardwalk and pier where you can take exquisite photos of the sunset. You can also play beach volleyball with the locals.

There are food stalls and restaurants, clothing and lifestyle shops, and a few drinking joints, but somehow, Lio Beach has kept its exotic and secluded feel. There is absolutely no reason to miss this paradise.

👉Book a Catamaran Group Tour!👈

9. Enjoy Bustling El Nido Nightlife

The nightlife in El Nido, though not as bustling as the one in Boracay, boasts of life and the opportunity to build friendships. The bars and restaurants offer a wide variety of local tastes and international cuisines and drinks, from Asian, Mediterranean, and American to European gastronomical experiences.

The bars and some restaurants even offer free live bands who take on requests on top of their standard sets.

👉Book 6D5N Palawan Tri-city Join-in Tour and Transfers!👈

As part of the famous Filipino culture, KTV bars are expected to have a little bit of disco. For a more familiar international feel, there are also sports bars and dance bars with local and international DJs, shisha sets, and pool tables.

👉Book 3D2N Clear Waters Expedition in Palawan!👈

10. Chase Waterfalls in El Nido

Chasing waterfalls in El Nido might not be as famous as its marine tourism, but this island has a bunch of waterfalls of different shapes and sizes, all with equally captivating beauty.

Nagkalit-kalit Waterfalls

Nagkalit-kalit Falls - Best Things to Do in El Nido, Palawan
Nagkalit-kalit Falls in El Nido, Palawan

On your way to Nacpan Beach, you’ll see signs for the Nagkalit-kalit waterfalls—an easy hour-long activity to add to your day trip. The trail changes depending on the season: summer offers clear, shallow streams with dry lands, while rainy seasons bring mud and knee-deep waters. The waterfall itself rests on a gray deburred rock wall with enough depth for cliff-diving.

👉Book Beyond El Nido Adventure!👈

Bulalacao Waterfalls

Bulalacao Falls - Best Things to Do in El Nido, Palawan
Bulalacao Falls in El Nido, Palawan

The Bulalacao Waterfalls is divided into two: the Small Bulalacao Waterfalls can be reached in an hour or less, but if you want the full experience, then opt for the Big Bulalacao Falls, which is 70 feet high. This is an advanced trail with a hike through a virgin forest that will take you at most two hours, so bring snacks and water.

Kuyawyaw Waterfalls

Kuyawyaw Falls - Best Things to Do in El Nido, Palawan
Kuyawyaw Falls in El Nido, Palawan

Kuyawyaw Waterfalls is actually not in El Nido; this series of waterfalls is located in the neighboring town of Taytay, which is about an hour away. The hike goes through a thick forest with three main stops, all with waterfalls dropping into powdery-turquoise pools.

👉Book your El Nido Land Tour!👈

Your Ultimate El Nido Travel Guide

These are only some of the things you can do in El Nido, but as we’ve said before, there’s still so much this paradise has to offer.

El Nido is an island of great adventures and an even greater paradise. From the picturesque landscapes to the underwater wonder, the welcoming people, and its melting pot of sounds and flavors, El Nido has it all for you.

If you’re still getting ready for your El Nido trip, our selection of travel guides can help:

  • El Nido Travel Guide
  • Coron to El Nido Ferry Schedule
  • Manila to El Nido Ferry Schedule
  • How to Get to El Nido
  • Best Resorts in El Nido
  • Best Hostels in El Nido
  • Top Tourist Spots in El Nido

Got more questions about traveling to Palawan? Drop them in the comments!

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Cebu Insider Team
Cebu Insider Team

Cebu Insider aims to deliver accurate and up-to-date Philippine travel guides to digital nomads, expats, full-time travelers, and remote workers.

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