Initially, El Nido seems to be underdeveloped and chaotic with all the tricycle jammed along the narrow streets, and random boat stops disorderly adjacent to the beach. The waterfront does offer a delightful panoramic view, but the beach itself is not too appealing for water sports because of the continuous boats going in and out. However, the striking beauty of hidden idyllic beaches situated among the gigantic limestone soon unfolds.
The prime reason for many travellers to visit El Nido is to go island hopping around the Bacuit archipelago. Thanks to the combination of its towering limestone, sandy beaches, and its turquoise lagoons, El Nido is a unique place for tourists to keep them pouring in. Getting around these scattered islands is very easy, since there are many tour operators offering day-trip packages at similar prices. With many day-trippers, some of the beaches and lagoons might resemble a smaller version of Disneyland, especially during the peak season in the Philippines.
There are plenty of beaches to linger in El Nido, so it is no surprise that “Condé Nast Traveler” placed El Nido at the top of its list of “20 Most Beautiful Beaches in the World.” For those who seek a little more seclusion, Las Cabanas is a good pick. Just 20 minutes away with the tricycle, Las Cabanas is a perfect spot for sunset gazing on a great weather. A great option is also Nacpan Beach, which is my personal favourite. Being only 40 minutes by motorbike away from town, Nacpan offers a relaxed experience with a few amazing beach bars.
El Nido is not just the home of sea and sand. If you are up for a challenge, try to hike up to Mt Taraw, the highest peak in El Nido. The trail on the sharp limestone is physically demanding, and there are a few points where the path is almost vertical, without any ropes to hang on to. After the adrenaline-pumping session for a good one hour up, the view from the summit is just captivating. Everything seems so surreal.
Ever since El Nido is getting more limelight from the international media, it has become a touristy place to visit. If you are looking for tranquillity and solitude, El Nido is not a perfect choice, but, then, there are always ways to work around it.