El Nido, Palawan, Philippines, May 2016. El Nido may be a tourist trap but lets not forget why that is. The towns proximity to the many Islands that are teaming with marine life is what entices thousands of tourists to El Nido., but with prices double that of Cambodia and Indonesia its not going to be a budget trip by any means. here’s some info ascertained from my recent stay…
Island hopping, what to know. Prices are published everywhere one looks in El Nido so there isn’t the ticket tout scams that’s commonly experienced across the rest of Southeast Asia, No negotiations, the price you see is the price you pay, or is it? In addition to the published price there is a 200 peso tax to pay and as the boats have to anchor off the islands, especially at low tide, passengers will have to swim or a best wade to that paradise beach – rent or purchase a dry pack to keep those gadgets and cameras dry! Renting a dry pack for 1 day is 150 pesos but its really just splash proof according to the shop girl and not for on water activities. Plastic pouches are on sale every where for 150 pesos but again only splash proof. You’ll need to pay around 700 pesos for a 100% waterproof backpack! The sea bed is littered with shrapnel from corals, rocks etc so wading barefoot might be painful – renting rubber shoes is another 150 pesos. Good news is lunch and a snorkel mask are included in the original ticket price.
The boats are packed to the rafters, shoulder to shoulder with predominantly white tourists. Life jackets are provided and there are a couple of boats that have a kayak strapped to the bamboo outrigger, but who gets the Kayak in an emergency is anyone’s guess!
The tours will leave around 9.30 am and return around 4.45 pm, sometimes as late as 6 pm. There are so many boats and tourists its not uncommon for ones boat to wait in a queue at some islands and lagoon destinations.
The boat to Coron takes 6 hours, leaves from the town jetty and costs 1400 pesos for a one way trip. Any tour desk will gladly sell a ticket and give reliable advice. Coron Island Google Map