I’m back in Manila and I’m sorely missing the beach in El Nido. I’ve prepared a series of blog posts about this trip, and I hope you guys find it useful for planning your own El Nido vacation. First up is of course, the travel budget.
The perception of many is that El Nido is a very expensive place to travel to. It actually is, considering that direct flights to El Nido from Manila can cost as much as Php 13,000 per person. The cheaper alternative is to go via Puerto Princessa, but you’d have to deal with rough roads and cramped spaces inside vans or buses (or if you’re hardcore, saddled on an off-road motorcycle). The best place to stay for budget travelers is El Nido Town. There are several resorts and lodges that offer cheap accommodation to fit every budget. The same go for restaurants and shops.
El Nido’s main attraction, of course, are the spectacular limestone formations and sparkling white sand beaches of the islands in the Bacuit Archipelago. To visit these islands, you can either hire your own boat or go with a group tour. The group tour aren’t so bad, and they’re usually limited to about 8 to 10 passengers. If you’re a fairly large group (5 and up), you can try sweet talking the tour operator to let your group have the entire boat to yourselves. Tour of the islands usually start at Php 500 per person and already includes lunch.
This is certainly not my cheapest domestic trip, but considering that it’s a 5 day, 4 nights trip in one of the most amazing places in the Philippines, it’s worth every peso.
|El Nido 2010|
|February 24 – 28, 2010|
|Air and Land Transfers|
|Manila Airport Terminal Fee||PHP 200.00|
|El Nido Airport Terminal Fee||PHP 112.00|
|Taxi to and from Manila Domestic||PHP 390.00|
|Tricycle to and from El Nido Airport||PHP 400.00||2|
|Marina Garden Beach Resort|
|Deluxe room, 2,250 per night||PHP 3,426.00||3|
|Php 320 per night for extra person|
|Meals, snacks and drinks||PHP 1,250.00||4|
|Island hopping tours||PHP 1,290.00||5|
|Environmental fee||PHP 200.00||6|
|Snorkel and mask rental||PHP 175.00|
|Other things I will not enumerate||PHP 61.00|
|1 Thank you, Seair! Flying with Seair to El Nido is the easiest way to go to the island. They offer two direct flights a week: Wednesday and Sunday. To maximize your stay in beautiful El Nido, take the Wednesday morning flight to the island, then take the Sunday afternoon flight back to Manila.|
|2 Unless you have a pick up from your resort, the only means of getting into town from the airport is via tricycle. It’s pricey, specially since the most that one trike can carry is 2 passengers plus their luggage. But it’s a rather comfortable ride, since you have the trike to yourself, instead of squeezed in with a bunch of strangers and their bulky backpacks and suitcases.|
|3 Admittedly not the cheapest accommodation in El Nido town, but the resort has the best stretch of beach for sunbathing and swimming. The room rate is good for 2, and you’ll have to pay additional fees for the extra bed and breakfast if there’s three or four of you sharing the room.|
|4 Includes 2 relatively expensive meals and several cups of dirty ice cream and Choco Mucho.|
|5 We were able to get a Tour A package for Php550 each (plus Php 50 each for tip to the guide and boatman) and a Tour C package for Php650 (additional Php 40 each for supposedly extra trip to Snake island but ended up in Ipil 2 beach instead)|
|6 What I like about El Nido is that the environmental fee for ALL island is just Php 200 per person and it’s good for up to 10 days. If you’re just staying in the town, there’s no fee.|