Facts About El Nido: Things You Need to Know Before You Go

What else do you need to know about El Nido aside from being a tropical paradise famous for its emerald waters, immense limestone cliffs, pristine beaches and magical lagoons? Read on!

It is part of travel planning to learn some facts about El Nido or any other destination in the Philippines, it makes you a more knowledgeable and responsible traveler. And the more you learn, the more you realize you knew shockingly little about the country.

Facts About El Nido

E Nido is the main destination for exploring Palawan’s natural attraction, the Bacuit Archipelago, home to towering limestone cliffs, mystical lagoons, and white sand beaches. Your travel to Palawan won’t be complete without visiting Bacuit Bay‘s iconic spots.

And here are some of the things that might attract you to travel to El Nido soon enough!

Facts About El Nido

Geography

El Nido is in the northernmost tip of Palawan in the Philippines, covering around 465 square kilometers of land area. It is bordered by the South China Sea in the west, the Sulu Sea in the east and the Linapacan Strait in the north. El Nido is surrounded by 45 islands and islets, each has its own distinct geological formations. Cadlao island has the highest peak which is about 640 meters high.

El Nido has 18 towns/villages or “barangays”, four of which are located in El Nido’s main town.

Climate

There are only two seasons in El Nido, the dry season, from November to May, and the wet season, from June to October. The driest months are April and May. Heavy rainfalls happen during the month of August. The coolest temperatures are usually experienced during the month of January while April and May are the hottest months.

History

El Nido was named after the Spanish word for ‘edible nest’. The edible nests of swiftlets can be found in the crevices of El Nido’s limestone cliffs. During the Spanish colonization of the Philippines, El Nido used to be part of the municipality of Taytay in northern Palawan. It was known as “Bacuit” when it became an independent municipality.

Burial sites and fossils that were found in many caves confirmed that humans inhabited El Nido up to 22,000 years ago. Some of these fossils date back to the late Neolithic Age. Early Chinese traders visited the area for its edible birds’ nest.

Sea Conditions

El Nido’s sea currents are usually manageable the whole year around. Depending on tidal conditions, the currents can be very slight to moderate. From December to March, the average water temperature ranges from 24 °C to 26 °C and 26 °C to 29 °C from April to November.

The best time for scuba diving in El Nido is from March to May when the surface conditions are good. From December to February, the visibility ranges from 3 meters to 10 meters, 10 meters to 30 meters from March to May, and 10 meters to 15 meters from June to November.

Sights

El Nido is a top tourist destination for its towering marble cliffs, stunning islands and enchanting lagoons. Here are some of Bacuit Bay’s iconic spots:

El Nido Island-Hopping Tour

Big Lagoon

This enchanting lagoon is a popular snorkeling spot in the Bacuit Archipelago, with its deep, emerald waters often visited by sea turtles. A breeding ground for crustaceans and various fishes. Explore this big lagoon in the middle of Karst limestone formations and marvel at the natural wonders in front of you.

Secret Lagoon

Visit this magical lagoon located on a small island surrounded by towering limestone cliffs. You will see a massive crater with karst cliffs as you go through a small hole. This used to be part of the cave that collapsed a long time ago.

The Seven Commandos Beach

This beach is named after the Seven Commandos that said to have lived on the island. It is one of those stunning beaches representing the true beauty of El Nido. A quiet stretch of a white sand beach with a seafloor gradually sloping. This place also offers a magnificent view of the sunset.

Small Lagoon

Yet another magical lagoon of El Nido. This lagoon is located on the cove of Miniloc island. Swim slowly through a hole to see its calm emerald waters. Take a peek underneath to witness the richness of El Nido’s marine life.

Matinloc Island

This island is home to the best snorkeling spots – Kalmung Point and Kulasa Beach. The longest slim island of El Nido has a white sand beach also known as the “Secret Beach” which can only be accessed by snorkeling or diving through a narrow crevice in a rock wall. The sun shines through the opening at noon giving the limestone walls some light and shadow. There’s also the Kulasa beach which is a short strip of fine white sand at one of the island’s coves. Its water level changes and the sea floor around the beach rises gradually.

Pinasil Island and Cathedral Cave

This tiny island has a unique attraction, a cavern that is like a cathedral that can only be accessed by a kayak or a dinghy. The cave has a spacious interior with walls made of black limestone rocks of various formations. The sun shines through the opening at the top during certain times of the day, lighting the cave’s interior and creating an enchanted scene. The birds also make their nests on the cavern walls which in turn gathered by the nest gatherers called “busyadors”.

Hidden Beach

This is a small beach that cannot be seen from the open sea. This stunning place is surrounded by limestone rock formations. The swimming area looks like a natural infinity pool with crystal clear waters.

 

Karen is the local expert and itinerary specialist of Palawan AlterNATIVE. When she’s not traveling, she likes to immerse herself in a good book or blog about her life. Parts geek, parts scuba diver. Her other obsessions include things-to-do lists, cycling, solitude, and cryptocurrency. She currently lives with her cat in El Nido.

 

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