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The Beaches of El Nido, Palawan

The Beaches of El Nido, Palawan

The Philippines is home to over 7000 islands, but ask anyone who has been (or is planning to go) about their trip and they’ll probably mention El Nido, on the stunning and sparsely populated island of Palawan.  Most people come for the island hopping tours, but spend a bit of time in and around El Nido town and you’ll fall for the laid back, local flavour that fills the air. The beaches of El Nido each have their own style and charm, so it’s a good idea to stay a few days and explore them all.

El Nido Town

The beach in El Nido town is surrounded by karst mountains, restaurants and a bay full of boats. The scenery is amazing, and the beach and water are much cleaner than you’d expect from such a built-up beach. It comes alive at night, when the various beachfront restaurants serve up BBQ seafood while diners are entertained by Filipino cover bands. I travelled to El Nido in the off-season, so things might be different in peak times, but it seems to be a tourist town that has kept its local roots. I saw far more locals than tourists on the streets and beaches; it just seemed like a normal Filipino town that just happens to attract tourists.

El Nido Town beach, one of the beaches of El Nido, Palawan, The PhilippinesThe clear water of the beach in El Nido town, one of the beaches of El Nido, Palawan, The Philippines

Nacpan Beach

This could be the best beach in the Philippines, but I need to see more of the country before I can make that kind of statement! It’s a bumpy 45 minute tricycle (Filipino version of a tuk-tuk) ride from El Nido town, but don’t let that put you off, it’s a must do if you’re in the area. The beach was almost completely free of both people and buildings – I’m sure it won’t stay that way for long though. There is only one private house and a small restaurant serving basic BBQ seafood and meat. The water was clear and the beach was almost perfect. It looked like someone had meticulously cleaned it, but since there are pretty much no businesses there it must just always be like that. There is a small local village further down the beach, which also leads to Calitang Beach, but it’s nowhere near as nice as Nacpan. You can rent a tricycle for about 1000 pesos, or pay a little extra and check out one of the waterfalls on the way. (The first photo in this post is also from Nacpan beach, in case you were wondering!)

Nacpan Beach, one of the best beaches of El Nido, Palawan, The PhilippinesBoats on Nacpan Beach, one of the beaches of El Nido, Palawan, The Philippines

Marimegmeg Beach

Just a few minutes from El Nido town lies Marimegmeg Beach. It may look pretty average in the photo, but it was raining while we were there; I’m sure it looks a lot better when the sun is out. Despite its close proximity to town, you’ll have to pay 150 pesos for the tricycle trip, compared to around 10 pesos per person to get to Corong Corong beach.

Marimegmeg Beach, one of the beaches of El Nido, Palawan, The Philippines

Corong Corong Beach

Even closer to El Nido town, Corong Corong Beach is where you’ll end up if you want a beachfront bungalow but don’t want to pay the high prices you’ll find in town. The beach itself isn’t that great – the water is too shallow for swimming and the sand is covered in bits and pieces washed up from the ocean, but the views and the atmosphere are perfect. There are some great accommodation options and some decent restaurants on Corong Corong Beach, and it’s an excellent place to catch the sunset. We stayed there for 4 nights and it’s definitely worth it for the views and the peace and quiet.

FURTHER READING: Check out this two week itinerary for the Philippines

Sunset on Corong Corong beach, one of the beaches of El Nido, Palawan, The PhilippinesA rainbow at Corong Corong beach, one of the beaches of El Nido, Palawan, The PhilippinesCorong Corong beach on a sunny day, one of the beaches of El Nido, Palawan, The Philippines

Island hopping is definitely the biggest draw, but the beaches of El Nido, particularly Nacpan, are some of the best you’ll find in the Philippines, and are more than worthy of a few lazy days.

FURTHER READING: Island hopping in El Nido, Palawan, The Philippines

Have you been to El Nido? What was your favourite beach?

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Jon Algie

A travel blogger from New Zealand who hates talking about himself in the third person and has no imagination when it comes to naming websites.
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Matt

Saturday 13th of June 2015

You have not seen the beaches going further up north from Nacpan beach? Then you have seen nothing ;)

Jon Algie

Sunday 14th of June 2015

Yeah I've heard good things, I'll be back!

ida p. baron

Friday 12th of June 2015

i and my family spent our summer vacation in palawan just a few weeks ago and we really enjoyed and amazed of the beauty of nature. nacpan beach is such a beautiful beach, clean and very clear water.

Jon Algie

Sunday 14th of June 2015

Great vacation choice, we really loved Nacpan beach!

Jennifer

Tuesday 29th of July 2014

The beaches look so gorgeous. With so many islands to choose from, I wouldn't even know where to begin for a first trip to the Philippines.

Jon Algie

Wednesday 30th of July 2014

It's a tough choice, there are still so many places I want to see there.

Marine

Monday 28th of July 2014

Hello !! loving your blog :-) I was in the Philippines between 12 November and 11 December 2013 .. A real pleasure to meet its people and its beauty .. I rented a bike from El Nido (very sporty) to reach Nacpan! I could not feel my arm, but what happiness arriving and discovering this beautiful beach, I spent time with the villagers and it was a great day for the exchange of laughter and music! forever the best beach.. it is on in the rest of the Philippines I saw beautiful beaches other .. I wish Nacpan, can keep his "freedom" and her wild side for a long time and not end up with buildings built !

Jon Algie

Wednesday 30th of July 2014

Thanks Marine! The countryside around the beach looked great, seems like riding a motorbike out there is a good way to see it.

Tracking Treasure

Monday 14th of July 2014

Been to El Nido last 2012. I love Nacpan beach among all the beaches there.

Jon Algie

Tuesday 15th of July 2014

It was my favourite too, definitely worth the ride out there.