Van from Puerto to El Nido w/ Sabang Sidetrip
We hired a van for a return trip Puerto Princesa-El Nido-Puerto and with Side trip to Sabang. The cost was at 14K. He owns a nice Hi-ace van. He is a quite person but what's important is that he can take you to your destination safely.
Rent a bike!
Rent a bike at Pit Stop. You find the shop 20 meters around the corner from Squidos on the street towards the municipal hall / market.
Arnaud, the friendly French, has about 10 well maintained (!) motorbikes, 125 and 200 ccm Hondas. Ask him for sightseeing tips, visit outlaying villages, beaches or simply get motorized for your stay. You can rent a Pajero for a one-way trip to Puerto Princessa or a jeep for a rougher tour.
Bike rental was 700 / day; you may get a nice discount, if you take the bike for two weeks or so, just ask. This is particularly interesting, if you intent to stay outside El Nido, e.g. at Islandfront in Corong-corong and want to be mobile.
from Puerto Princesa via private van rental
If you're a big group (5 or more), you can rent a van from Puerto Princesa to El Nido. Travel time is between 6-8 hours depending on road conditions. There are still large stretches that are unpaved and rocky.
We originally planned to do this and got in touch with Joseph Hidalgo of Hidalgo Rent a Car. Package was P15k roundtrip for the 5d/4n trip. You can rent his van to any point of Palawan. He is also a licensed tourist guide so he can give you a running commentary of Palawan while you are on the road :)
- Road Trip
- Budget Travel
from Puerto Princesa via bus
We didn't try this one but the trip is supposed to be about 6-8 hours. But since the buses are old, there's a tendency for them to break down along the way. This is what happened to the couple we met who also stayed in Marina. The bus broke down and they had to wait for 4 hours to get a ride or for it to be repaired. But this is the cheapest option of getting to El Nido. I think the fare is just P300 one-way.
Details from the other site:
Sweety transport offer 2 trips a day from El Nido to Puerto Princesa City passing through Taytay and Roxas. The trips generally takes around 8 hours and departures are between 7am and 9pm. The fare is 300 pesos. There is also a corresponding to trips from Puerto Princesa City back to El Nido each day, leaving between 7am and 9am.
Eulen Joy transport also offer 2 trips a day from El Nido to Puerto Princesa City passing through Taytay and Roxas. The fare is 300 pesos. Similarly they have two corresponding trips from Puerto Princesa City to El Nido. Leaving between 7am and 9am.
- Budget Travel
- Road Trip
by air via Sea Air
This is really a small plane. A 19-seater one that has a stop over in Busuanga for about 10-15 mins. It takes about an hour to get to Busuanga from Manila. And then another hour to El Nido. The pilots are really good because both take off and landing are smooth. It just gets really hot in the plane before take off and before landing. Nothing bigger flies in in El Nido because of the really short and unpaved runway.
Rate is P12,560.80 per person for a round trip ticket to El Nido.
The airport in El Nido is pretty cool. It's just a small open hut with benches around trees at the back. And hammocks for waiting passengers :)
Commute via Van to El Nido
Me and my friend were able to find a Van at San Jose Terminal. Look for Fort Wally Vans, they charged us 500 pesos for the trip straight to El Nido Town. The regular route is Puerto Prinsesa to Taytay, but fortunately there were other 4 people that's going to El Nido also. There were 10 passengers in the van, the other 4 are Taytay bound. It's better to be there as early as 5am or 6am, because some seats were already reserved.
The van left San Jose terminal at 7am and we arrived in El Nido at 2:30pm, that includes a total of 1 hour and 15 minutes stop over time. Expect a bumpy ride since the roads are still under construction especially the roads from Roxas to Taytay and to El Nido.
**Going to San Jose Terminal, just ride a tricycle from Puerto Princesa, we paid the tricycle driver 100 pesos, even though that's not what he charged us, San Jose terminal is actually 10-15 mins away from Puerto Prinsesa, so as a kind gesture for taking us that far, and him taking the chance of not having a passenger on the way back, we gave him extra :)
Bus from Puerto Princesa
An 8-hr bus ride from Puerto Princesa to El Nido on a non-airconditioned bus is no joke. With half of the trip on paved roads and half on rough gravel roads and mud pits, make sure you have a good seat. The bus stops in Roxas for lunch and washroom break.
First trip leaves at 6am. Second at 7am. Get to the bus terminal early so you can get a good seat. Just grab a tricycle and tell the driver to take you to the bus terminal. Easy as pie. Hehe.
The bus fare from Puerto Princesa to El Nido is P300.
Lemme tell you my story... About 3 hrs before El Nido, an old lady got on the bus but the bus was already full! I see her standing and getting banged around inside the bus. So, I offered her my seat since I was the closest guy to her. Little did I know that there's still 3 hrs to go on this trip on rough roads. I was thinking, why did I give up my seat?! So there I was standing and getting banged around for about 45 mins when our bus gets stuck in the mud! The driver tells everyone to get off and walk. We all had to walk over 1 km until the bus clears the mudpit!
I didn't wanna stand in a bus after a long walk, so I decided to "topload". Haha! Sit on the roof of the bus with all the luggages, boxes full of chickens, and some white guys... under the blazing sun and on rough roads going about 80-100 kms/hr!
I've never done anything like that before... What a trip! I loved it!
19- seater plane
if you're getting a package...the airplane ride is part of it...you take a Dornier 19-seater plane from Manila at the Andres Soriano Hanger and land in a private airstrip (El Nido Airport). Then you get welcome drinks in their airport lounge. A huge high top jeepney will take you for the short (about 500 meters away) dusty ride to where the speedboat is...this then will take you to the big outrigger boat which will take you to El Nido Resorts.
Hiring Boats for Island Hopping
Unlike Honda Bay in Puerto Princesa, the boatmen are independent operators in El Nido. For a tourist, this can be a mixed bag experience. If you are an overseas tourist and not staying in a resort with boat facilities, stick with El Nido Art cafe operators. If the cottages you are staying is reputable like Rossana, then it is a good idea to book through them too. In our case we were a mixed bag of some foreigners and mostly locals. We were a large group also. So the first day we talked to a few boat people and settled with Mercado. It ended up being the best random choice we ever made. Every day we discussed an itinerary and negotiated a price with Mercado. We arranged our own lunch and the charges were only for the boat. We had a diverse group ranging from young children to adventurous to older people. So we had to plan to accommodate every one and Mercado did a wonderful job on this. He always chose the best beach for the kids ot play while the adventurous went on hour long snorkel trip with Mercado guiding us.
There are only 2 airlines flying to El Nido,one is Seair,they fly twice or thrice daily with a short stop over Busuanga.The other airline is ITI, I don't know exactly how often they fly to El Nido.Reminder;the flight fares to El Nido are really expensive,paid 12,000++ pesos for a return ticket.Another option is,fly to Puerto Princesa then take the public bus to El Nido but it's very long journey.
Scenic Flight but unreliable SEAIR
We flew in to El Nido town from Manila by SEAIR. The flight takes almost two hours with a fifteen minute stopover in Busuanga, Palawan. The plane is an eighteen seater and flies at an altitude of 10,000 feet. Hence, you get the opportunity to see the beautiful islands and even take some pictures. It's a bit bumpy when we flew over land mass. In fact, my daughter vomited as we were approaching Manila. All in all, however, it's a pleasant flight.
I must warn you that the tickets are expensive as it cost us around PhP 12,000 per adult round trip. Furthermore, do not agree for SEAIR to transfer your luggage to ITI when you return to Manila. It seems that the return flight, when it is full, is overloaded. So they have to transfer portion of the luggages to the other airline. I made the mistake of accepting the request because my co-passengers refused and being the only Filipino, I wanted to help out my countrymen (I mean SEAIR). Besides, they said that the other plane would arrive first and that our luggages would just be in the SEAIR office (located beside the Domestic Airport) when we arrive. This did not happen and we had to wait around thirty minutes (it was only hastened because I kept complaining inside their office).
Once you get to the El Nido Airport, you will have to wait for the plane to leave because the tricycles that fetch you also use the runway to get near to the waiting shed. It will take around fifteen minutes to reach the town itself and it will cost PhP 150 per tricycle. I suggest you make arrangements with the tricycle driver to bring you back to the airport (assuming you were satisfied with his service) on the day of your departure.
- Family Travel
I flew into Puerto Princesa, bused to to Sabang, then took a bangka to Port Barton and El Nido. Bangkas are long and narrow. They carry between 4 and 8 people. The trip from Sabang to Port Barton was 2000p. Prot Barton to El Nido was 2500p. Both split among 4 passengers.
The bus from Puerto Princesa is around 500p, but takes 8-10 hours.
You get a better flavor for Palawan by flying into Palawan by either Puerto Princesa or El Nido, then flying out from the other. The flight to and from Puerto Princesa is much cheaper and more operators fly the route.
Flying to El Nido
There are three airlines that fly to el nido from manila. Seair, cebu pacific and iti.
Seair is the cheapest, but only flys three times a week, and some of them are via busuanga. Cebu costs more but I think flys daily. ITI is owned by lagan and miniloc and is primarily for the resort customers. You can fly with them even if you are not staying at the resort, but you can only book the ticket a couple of days in advance. Great views from the plane.
El Nido airport is the smallest I've ever seen. The runway is not sealed and the departure lounge has hammocks! Nice really, very laid back. You get to town on a motor tricycle, cost is 150 peso. Be warned though, the bikes cannot come into the airport when a plane is landing (cos they drive up the runway!), so you may have to wait a bit if another flight is coming in. We were stuck there for an hour and a half. Guess thats why they have hammocks :)
There are also scheduled flights to porta princessa, may be others too, not sure. Judith is the font of all knoweldge and is very helpful, ask her!
Puerto Princesa to El Nido
Bus is the cheapest way to get to El Nido from Puerto Princesa (around P300) compared to a boat ride from Sabang which costs P6000 per boat and takes 6 hours (with a stop in Port Barton after 3 hours). The earliest trip from Puerto Princesa is at 5am in the morning. My friend and I had to wake up around 4am in order to pack our things and to give time-allowance for the tricycle ride from Rizal Ave. to the San Jose Bus Terminal. Tricycle fare is around P50 and takes around 30 minutes to the terminal. I tried to haggle but it wasn't good enough. If you're looking to buy a quick breakfast, Dunkin Donuts is open 24-hours. Don't forget to order Chocobutternut and Choco-Honeydipped. Be there early to have a good seat. The bus leaves on time surprisingly and takes around 6-8 hours. The road is paved until Roxas and then you have to endure a gruelling travel through dusty roads with occasional reprieve since the roads are slowly being built. Don't forget to take out your jacket to avoid inhaling dust... a lot of dust. They had to fix the bus in Roxas and there were two rest-stops: breakfast in Roxas and lunch in Taytay. Try to walk around the Spanish fort in Taytay since the lunchstop takes about 15-20 minutes. Just make sure to tell the driver and the bus conductor about it so you won't be left behind. If you miss the 5am bus, don't worry since there's another one every hour until 9am.
- Budget Travel
puerto princesa to el nido
WinEulenJoy is another bus company that offers Puerto princesa-el nido route. The fare is PHP 300. If you dont like to take the bus, there are air conditioned vans that can take you to El Nido. I think you have to pay PHP 500 per head for the trip.
- Budget Travel