El Nido, on the island of Palawan, is a tropical paradise. Its blue lagoons, its sandy beaches, clear and pure waters, its welcoming inhabitants, its sunny weather … All this makes it a dream place to spend holidays. That being the case, and as you know, perfection is not of this world. There are many things you need to know before you arrive to avoid disappointment, and make your stay a pleasant and memorable one.
- There is no ATM in El Nido
Although it is a very touristy place, El Nido has no ATM (for “ATM”). Many tourists do not know when they arrive, which is likely to lead to embarrassing situations. There are still solutions, which I addressed in a previous post: Where to withdraw money in El Nido? But the ideal is, of course, to be proactive and comes with enough money to cover all your expenses. This will save you a lot of worries!
- Staying in El Nido is not so easy …
… at least during the high season. And it is likely that it is precisely at that moment that you come (the peak of attendance being between December and March / April). Many tourists and travelers arrive at this time of the year and have difficulty finding accommodation in El Nido. After, and in any case, you will probably find something. But perhaps the only vacant rooms will be in hotels that exceed the budget you planned to spend there. To avoid any inconvenience, it is better to book your hotel in advance. You can, for example, do it here: Booking.com – Establishments in El Nido.
- Connect to the Internet remains complicated (understand: “very slow”)
For most people, this should not be a big problem. You’ll have plenty of time to share your gigabytes of photos on Facebook when you get home. But if you need to use the Internet for business reasons, and you plan to stay put for a while, be aware that finding a good internet connection in El Nido is not a sinecure. Some hotels have correct connections but do not expect to find broadband access in most bars or restaurants.
- There is no clinic or hospital in El Nido
Of course, one does not want to think that misfortune can happen when one comes to spend his holidays in a place so paradisiac. But as the saying goes: “We are never safe”. For minor medical care, there are three suitable places in El Nido: the Medical City Center, the Rural Health Center and Dr. Reyes’ office. None of these three locations have medical infrastructure to deal with more serious cases. The nearest hospital is located in Taytay (1-hour drive) and, in fact, serious medical emergencies are transferred (by van) to Puerto Princesa, which is about 5 hours from El Nido.
- In El Nido, the streets have no sidewalks
While there are no “official” sidewalks, this does not mean that it is acceptable to walk in the middle of the street. There is traffic in the city (motorcycles, tricycles, cars, trucks …). Walking down the road disrupts and annoys drivers, and this makes you a potential source of accidents. To know where to walk, look at how the inhabitants of El Nido are doing. You will see that they stay on the sides of the road and that they pay attention to the traffic, in particular by listening to the noise of the vehicles arriving behind them (thus, they deviate a little more if it is necessary). Respect the same principles, and you will avoid being honked every 30 seconds!
- Power cuts are commonplace
Until October 2014, El Nido was not supplied with electricity 24 hours a day. It was only available between 15:00 and 06:00. Today is different and you can have power all day long. That being the case, power cuts are commonplace. Most of the time, they only last a few hours or less. Sometimes it’s a little longer. The only real inconvenience that is related to it is during the night: if your fan stops working, the heat can quickly become stuffy. The most important hotels usually have their own generator, so if you stay in one of them, you probably do not even notice them.
- El Nido is a relatively expensive city
It’s probably one of the places where life is the most expensive in the Philippines. Transport, restaurants, bars, hotels … everything is a bit more expensive. It’s simply because it’s a tourist place. Of course, this is by no means comparable with the most touristic places in the western world. But – and here we come to the first point – make sure you bring enough money to finance all the activities you want to have on site (and there are plenty of excellent ones: island tours, underwater dives, cultural outings…).
- El Nido is truly a tropical paradise
Of course, not everything is perfect. But the most important thing is that you find in El Nido what you have come to look for: beautiful landscapes, a friendly welcome and a very pleasant sense of simplicity. After having made the first tour in the islands, you will certainly be comforted in the idea that you made the right choice by coming to spend your holidays here. You will be blown away by the scenery: the place is truly heavenly. By doing well, you could even enjoy it by avoiding being melted in a horde of tourists (for example, thanks to private tours). It is likely that when leaving El Nido, you have only one desire: return as soon as possible!
If you think I forgot something important to know before arriving at El Nido, do not hesitate to say it in comment. If we can help you organize your trip or have any questions, you can use this form to contact us. We will be happy to help you make your stay in El Nido an excellent memory!