First Time Travelers
Traveling to El Nido for the first time? You’re in for a treat. This place situated in the northern part of Palawan has been named by the CNN Go as the “Best Beach and Island Destination in the Philippines” so expect to see extraordinary sights as well as experience close encounters with diverse flora and fauna Palawan is famous for.
So that your first vacation in El Nido would be one for the books, here are some practical tips to remember:
Do your research
Don’t just pick a travel date, learn when the best time to travel to El Nido is. Don’t simply book an accommodation, shop around extensively to get the best value for your money. And don’t blindly pick a tour to take on, consider your preferences when planning your itinerary. There are many useful links in this blog that you can use for your trip planning and preparation.
- Handy Tips and Information about El Nido Palawan
- Cheap Places to Stay in El Nido
- High Island End Resorts in El Nido
Set a budget
So you don’t come home broke from your vacation, formulate a budget plan for your El Nido vacation. First, make a computation of all the things that you need to spend for including air fare, fare for traveling from Puerto Princesa to El Nido, accommodation, food, tours and shopping.
Next, determine the amount that you can comfortably afford. See if the two figures tally. If the expenses are bigger than your budget, then you can tone down the expenses by staying in a cheaper place, opting to cook your own meals, riding a bus to El Nido instead of a private van, and so on. Find various ways to work around your budget.
Practice smart packing
El Nido is a town that provides most of your basic needs—food, water, medicine, personal supplies and so on. This means that there’s absolutely no need to bring the whole house with you on your trip. Bring only a few clothes and opt to have them washed in a laundry service in town. Your back will thank you for your efforts to pack lightly.
Bring enough cash
Another thing that you have to know about this beautiful place is that it doesn’t have an ATM. There’s no bank anywhere in the area. It makes sense to bring enough cash for your survival. Just so you know, some hotels and restaurants do accept credit cards but you don’t want to rack up on the credit card fees, right?
Spend a longer time in El Nido
One of the biggest misconceptions about El Nido is that two or three days are enough to see its natural splendor. El Nido has so much to offer that a few days trip will only give you a small slice of its paradise. If you’d like to truly enjoy your vacation, it will be wise to take at least a week off from work so you can cover all the tours and even travel the off the beaten path to see El Nido’s most precious hidden gems.
A digital nomad is someone who uses technology to work from any location and to conduct a “nomadic lifestyle”. Bloggers, photographers, digital artists are just few examples of digital nomads in today’s modern society. If you belong to this group, and you’re traveling to El Nido for a vacation either for work or pleasure, here are some important pieces of information that you can’t afford to miss.
El Nido, Palawan is a remote town. It does not have 24-hour electricity unlike most of the other places in the Philippines. This means that during most of the day, there’s no power. There’s only electricity from 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. but the schedule can vary from time to time. To work around this, you need to have extra batteries for your laptops, smart phones and other devices. You also need to bring your own mobile WiFi source if you have to be online all the time.
WiFi is available in many hotels, restaurants and coffee shops in town. But when there’s no power, WiFi doesn’t work unless the establishment has a generator or some other alternative source of electricity. Again, it’s better to rely on your own mobile WiFi source. It’s a smart move to invest on a USB WiFi dongle and a local Globe SIM card. Globe is the most reliable network in the area. USB WiFi dongle is available in most gadget shops in Manila, and also in a few in Puerto Princesa. Just take note that the connection can be turtle-slow sometimes, but that’s something that you have to prepare for. For example, if your deadline is 5 p.m., you might as well start uploading your files at 2 p.m. or 3 p.m.
You can always work inside your hotel room. But if you’d like to spend time outdoors, you can also work in front of the beach. There are many beachfront eateries in the town of El Nido that offers WiFi. You can also find peaceful area to work in some cafes and restaurants like the Art Cafe and Boutique, which has the best pizza and European dishes in town. Centro Cafe is also a good option. It has power all day and WiFi service is available. This place can be found along Calle Lisang.
There is no ATM in El Nido so you might want to bring enough cash with you. If you’re not comfortable bringing a lot of cash, you’ll be glad to know that some hotels and restaurants do accept credit cards. However, keep in mind that many stores and pension houses don’t. Don’t forget to take into the account the credit card fees.
Many digital nomads stay for a long time in one place. In El Nido, there are some pension houses that offer lower rates for long-term vacationers. You can haggle with the price to save money. Go around town to look for a place where you can get a clean and comfortable accommodation and at the same time, pay for a reasonable rate that won’t set you back for much.
Traveling to El Nido can be a glorious experience. If you’re staying here for a long time and you’ll have to make use of your gadgets, be sure to prepare for power outages and slow internet connection.
Eco tips for everyone
However, tourism is a double edged sword. On one hand, it helps the economy, providing livelihood for locals and the government. But on the other, it can damage the natural resources, particularly if the tourists are not properly educated about the correct ways of taking care of the environment.
In El Nido, tourism is a major source of income. A world-famous tourist destination, it welcomes millions of visitors each year. Come here during the summer season, and you’ll find that most places are fully booked. There are tourists everywhere! Again, this can be a boon for El Nido and its locals, but it can also be detrimental to the environment.
So that El Nido’s beauty can be preserved for a long time, it’s very important for all tourists to be responsible and concerned. Here are some eco tips that every tourist should follow during a trip to this amazing part of Palawan.
Minimize use of plastic
If you’re going to pack lunches, snacks or any other thing that you need for your trip, make sure that you put them in reusable containers. Put water in a reusable water jug or tumbler instead of buying bottled waters. At the end of the day, place them inside your backpack and don’t leave them behind.
Use organic sunscreen
Even those that things that you apply on your body can find their way back to the sea and harm marine life. That’s why, it’s imperative to make use of organic sunblock made from natural ingredients that won’t harm your health as well as the environment. Combine coconut oil, bee’s wax, tea tree oil and zinc oxide to create your own organic sunblock.
Don’t step on corals
When you alight the boat in the Big or Small Lagoon, or go snorkelling around one of the islands in El Nido, make sure that you don’t step on the corals. This can damage the precious habitat of fish and other sea creatures.
Stay in eco-friendly places
In El Nido, you’ll be glad to know that there are many eco-friendly hotels and pension houses that make use of solar energy, efficient water and lighting systems, and proper waste disposal. You can find out more about these when you view the hotel or pension house’s website or read customer reviews.
Be responsible in all your actions
Always respect the environment wherever you go, not just in El Nido. Stay on established trails when you go hiking, do not leave waste when you spend time at the beach, do not feed wild animals when you encounter them, and do not pick plants in the forests. In your hotel, always make it a point to turns off the lights, aircon and faucet when not in use.
Buy the right souvenirs. Don’t buy any product that comes from or is made with endangered animal species. It’d be better to go for souvenir items made from recycled items and materials.
Hopefully, these practical tips will help you have fond memories during your vacation in El Nido Palawan. Also, do your part in taking care of the beautiful El Nido. Even small actions can go a long in helping preserve the natural resources of Palawan.