Nacpan Beach - El Nido Tourist Spots

10 El Nido Tourist Spots You Should Visit in 2024

Looking for El Nido's top attractions? This guide highlights the must-visit tourist spots in El Nido, Palawan!
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Looking for the most stunning El Nido tourist spots? In this guide, we handpicked some of the best tourist attractions in El Nido that we think you should put in your itinerary.

El Nido is not much of a big town, but it’s definitely a paradise where you can get lost. Between its abundance of majestic jagged karst, pristine blue waters, and scenic locations, your visit to El Nido will surely be not just exciting but will make you come back for more.

👉Check Manila to El Nido flights!👈

El Nido is a first-class municipality in the province of Palawan. Most visitors take the common route of traveling by plane to Puerto Princesa, Palawan’s capital, and take a 5-hour van ride to El Nido.

If you stay in downtown El Nido, you will find many establishments, from bars to restaurants to hotels, within walking distance. Most tourists just walk around the town center, but you can also rent a scooter to roam around town.

👉Check Cebu to El Nido flights!👈

Getting to El Nido

There are various ways to get to El Nido. From Manila or Cebu, you can fly directly via AirSwift. However, one-way airfare can get expensive for this route, ranging from 6,000 to 13,000 PHP (~106-230 USD).

The most common route would be to take a direct flight from Manila or Cebu to Puerto Princesa and then take a 5-hour van to El Nido. Alternatively, you can take an overnight ferry from Manila to El Nido.

If you are coming from Coron, you can catch a 3-hour ferry to El Nido. Coming from Port Barton, you can take a 5-hour van to El Nido.

For more details, read our guides on How to Get to El Nido from Manila and How to Get to El Nido from Cebu!

👉Check Cebu to El Nido flights!👈

Best Time to Visit El Nido

El Nido is best visited from November to May. The peak season would be the hot months of March, April, and May, which are considered the summer months in the Philippines.

Nevertheless, you can still enjoy El Nido all year round. But if you can, avoid the rainy months from June to October.

👉Book your Coron to El Nido ticket!👈

Where to Stay in El Nido

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

👉Find more resorts in El Nido!👈

Here’s our top pick of attractions of El Nido that you should not dare miss!

1. Big Lagoon

Big Lagoon - El Nido Tourist Spots
An aerial view of the Big Lagoon in El Nido, Palawan

The most iconic photos you’ll see online if you look up El Nido will be those from the Big Lagoon. The combination of clear turquoise waters, majestic limestone mountains carpeted with luscious greens, and bright clear skies is a no-fail perfect profile photo every time.

The Big Lagoon is located on the east side of Miniloc Island. It’s usually the first top of tours that include it.

Your tour boat will drop its anchor on the deeper end of the waters. From there, you will need to kayak or swim your way to the Big Lagoon and enjoy the ethereal beauty of the placid waters and the jagged karst.

Big Lagoon - El Nido Tourist Spots
An aerial view of Big Lagoon in El Nido, Palawan

Your first view will be no less than magical—the two-facing limestone mountains create a portal-like opening to the Big Lagoon. Once you get to the shallower parts, hop off your kayak and dip in the refreshing waters.

Many tourists start taking selfies, but you can also keep paddling until you reach the end of the shallows. This is where the Big Lagoon photos are usually taken.

Don’t worry about your photos—you’ll be surprised how good your tour boat guides are at getting the perfect shots. With the harmonious and picturesque balance of blues, greens, grays, and beautiful sunshine, you’re guaranteed not to need any photo editing filters.

There are simply not enough words to describe the Big Lagoon, so we implore you never to miss this site!

👉Book your El Nido Tour A!👈

2. Small Lagoon

Small Lagoon - El Nido Tourist Spots
El Nido’s Small Lagoon boasts a turquoise blue wate against towering limestones. (Photo by Mario Manlupig / CEBU INSIDER)

Compared to the Big Lagoon, which is accessible through a wide and open channel, the Small Lagoon is a bit hidden. El Nido’s Small Lagoon can only be entered through a small crevice in the limestone rock wall on Miniloc Island.

To get inside the lagoon, you will need to kayak to get close to the entrance because big boats must stay on the deeper end. You can swim through it, but unless you’re a confident swimmer, you might just want to stick to kayaking.

Small Lagoon - El Nido Tourist Spots
The tiny crevice going inside the Small Lagoon in El Nido. (Photo by Mario Manlupig / CEBU INSIDER)

The Small Lagoon is a pool of turquoise blue water surrounded by El Nido’s signature jagged karst with great spots for cliff diving. Check with your tour guides to make sure that you’re jumping onto the right spots.

👉Book your El Nido Tour D!👈

3. Snake Island

Snake Island - El Nido Tourist Spots
An aerial view of Snake Island in El Nido, Palawan

An island full of snakes? Not really. Snaked Island is officially called Vigan Island. Locals call it Snake Island because of its shape, especially with its sandbar resembling a snake’s long and winding tail.

Snake Island is part of the Bacuit archipelago, and at fairly low tide, you can walk on the sandbar connecting it to mainland Palawan. 

Yes, it’s quite extraordinary, and it gives you this child-like feeling of awe—walking from the mainland to Snake Island with nothing but a narrow strip of white sand in between turquoise waters. You can even stop by mid-way to swim and snorkel and, of course, take as many photos as your heart can handle. 

👉Book your El Nido Tour B!👈

4. Cadlao Lagoon

Cadlao Lagoon - El Nido Tourist Spots
An aerial view of Cadlao Lagoon in El Nido, Palawan

The Cadlao Lagoon is a tiny adventure hub that will add a bit of adrenaline to your island-hopping adventure in El Nido.

There’s a small beach space where you can laze around, ample space on the aquamarine waters to snorkel and kayak, and an area for rock climbing.

The climb to the limestone mountain only takes about 10 minutes, and you need to be careful because the rocks are sharp.

If you feel like you might take a shot at this, even just a small chance, wear shoes with soles that can withstand the rocks. Flipflops will work, but shoes are definitely better.

👉Book your El Nido Tour D!👈

5. Taraw Cliff

The view of Bacuit Bay from Taraw Cliff in El Nido, Palawan. (Photo by Mario Manlupig / CEBU INSIDER)

The town of El Nido is known for its backdrop of jagged limestone mountains, and the idea of climbing them can be intimidating.

However, Taraw Cliff is actually doable even for amateur climbers, young and old alike.

The hike begins just in the middle of the town, with trails leading you to a jungle and then to rocky mountain walls.

A guide is absolutely compulsory since rocks may shift, and you’ll need somebody who knows which ones are steady and which ones are not.

Some locals will tell you it’s fine to go up with just flip-flops, but for safety purposes, we recommend wearing sturdy-soled shoes.

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 Taraw Cliff ticket!👈

6. Talisay Beach

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

Because of its shallow and calm waters, Talisay Beach is a preferred lunch stop for some island tours.

The beach is located on Tapiutan Island, just a few minutes from Matinloc Shrine.

Talisay Beach is one of the lesser-known beaches in Palawan, but no less beautiful than its more famous counterparts.

You can laze around and chill on the beach, dip in the clear water, or snorkel to see its rich marine ecosystem.

👉Book your El Nido Tour C!👈

7. Nacpan Beach

Nacpan Beach is one of the top tourist spots in El Nido, Palawan. (Photo by Mario Manlupig / CEBU INSIDER)

Nacpan Beach is the longest beach in El Nido, stretching up to 4 kilometers!

This long stretch of white sand is lined with a few coconut trees, food stalls, and restaurants.

This must-see destination is a 30-45-minute drive from El Nido. If you don’t have a car, you can charter a habal-habal (motorcycle taxi) or rent a scooter.

The road takes you on the mountain ranges, and some unpaved roads will get a bit bumpy and dusty, but once you get to Nacpan, you’ll understand why people endure all the discomfort.

👉Book your El Nido Land Tour!👈

From the parking area, you’ll think it might be just tourist bait.

But once you see the beach in full view, we promise you, you’ll find it hard to decide where to take a million photos of this serene and magnificent beach or run immediately to the crystal clear turquoise water.

Nacpan Beach - El Nido Tourist Spots
An aerial shot of Nacpan Beach, one of the best beaches in the Philippines.

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

Due to its location and sheer size, Nacpan does not get crowded, so it’s the perfect place to relax.

There are a few humble restaurants and drinking bars, so you can still have a little fun.

👉Book your El Nido Land Tour!👈

8. Lio Beach

Lio Beach is one of the best beaches in El Nido, Palawan. (Photo by Mario Manlupig / CEBU INSIDER)

Lio Beach is more accessible than Nacpan Beach, which is located 15 minutes from El Nido.

The beach is located inside a privatized eco-tourism estate, which is also home to El Nido Airport.

Despite that, Lio Beach is free to access with free parking for everyone.

This long stretch of fine cream-colored sand with crystal clear water is lined with towering coconut trees.

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)

They also have a wooden boardwalk and pier where you can take exquisite photos of the sunset.

Lio Beach is lined with food stalls and restaurants, clothing and lifestyle shops, and a few drinking joints, but somehow, it has kept its exotic and secluded feel.

There is absolutely no reason to miss this paradise!

👉Book a Speedboat Group Tour!👈

9. Secret Beach

An aerial view of El Nido’s Secret Beach

If you’ve watched Leonardo de Caprio’s movie ‘The Beach’ and thought, “How cool would a secret paradise be?” Ask no more.

Secret Beach is one of the inspirations for that, along with the rest of the islands of Palawan.

The beach is on the edge of Matinloc Island and is surrounded by towering, majestic, jagged limestone, only accessible by a single, narrow crevice. 

You’ll have to swim through the narrow opening to reach the untouched beauty of this secret beach.

Once inside, it’s easy to get lost in awe, and the place honestly feels hypnotic. It feels like you can simply forget the world and stay for good.

Even snorkeling here feels otherworldly. Pro-tip: bring an underwater camera or waterproof camera, or you might miss out on the really cool travel photos. 

👉Book your El Nido Tour C!👈

10. Seven Commandos Beach

Seven Commandos Beach is one of the most popular attractions in El Nido, Palawan.

Seven Commandos Beach is the best place to make friends and bond. This spot is lined with coconut and other trees and has a long stretch of sandy-coral beach and, of course, pristine and calm water.

This place is utterly special because, in the last few years, it has become a social hub. 

The place is packed with tourists and locals either chilling, getting their tans, snorkeling, or even better—sharing a game or two of volleyball.

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

There are two rudimentary volleyball courts, and when we say everyone, we mean everyone gets to play.

There’s also a little nipa hut store for snacks and cold drinks, so you can grab a few cold beers and toast to new friends!

El Nido is one great adventure and an even greater paradise.

Many people who’ve always been to the town come back because even if you think you’ve seen it all, there’s still so much El Nido could offer.

👉Book your El Nido Tour A!👈

Your Ultimate El Nido Travel Guide

El Nido cannot be missed if you are visiting the Philippines. Just a friendly reminder—do not pick up corals, sand, and other sea creatures out of the water.

Always secure your own bottled water, and when dining out, make sure the ice and drinks are served and made only with filtered water.  

If you are working remotely, the internet connection in El Nido is extra slow.

Bring a book or something to keep you busy when it rains, as there is not much to do when that happens.

If you’re gearing up for your trip to El Nido, check out our range of travel guides:

Got more questions about traveling to El Nido? 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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