There are ways to avoid the crowd in El Nido and steer clear of the tourist circuit. But planning your trip can be overwhelming especially if you are trying to get the paradise all to yourself. With all the blog promotions, cheap flights, and guidebooks these days, El Nido is getting famously crowded. And this is quite inevitable.
While most travelers don’t mind the party scene and crowded sites, there are those who prefer to get away from it all. The purpose of going on a tropical vacation is to find relaxation and enjoyment in nature with your friends and loved ones. However, if the sites are overwhelmed by masses of tourists, you might end up not enjoying the holiday at all. Then you start thinking about why you even left home.
Don’t let the frustration of dealing with pushy tourists ruin your tropical vacation.
Here are some local tips to help you bypass crowds while on vacation.
Book with a Travel Agent
It is the job of a travel agent to know Palawan’s natural attractions inside out. And it helps to ask where they would personally go themselves. Have a chat with a local expert before booking your tours to know the best time to visit the popular sites. A travel agent can get behind-the-scenes or after-hours entry to popular sites or has special access to off-the-beaten-track places.
Take Private Boat Tours
Most of the big boats leave at the same time. These boats carry a lot of people on group tours which can be overwhelming especially during the high season. By taking these cheap tours, you’ll end up focusing on the crowd instead of nature. If you want to escape the crowd rush, it’s best to book a private boat tour. Depending on the tour company, a private tour lets you leave earlier than the rest so you can immerse yourself in what you really came to see. Don’t forget to bring a friendly local expert with you. Who knows, he or she might take you to some sights not part of the usual tourist circuit.
Travel During Off-Season
Visiting El Nido during March and April means guaranteed swarms of tourists, “cattle boats”, and long waits. Off-season doesn’t mean there’s typhoon every day. It can be unbearably warm in the morning and rainy in the afternoon. Take advantage of the unpredictable weather by traveling during the off-season. Adjusting your vacation even by a few weeks can halve the number of tourists in your midst. You might even get special deals on hotels and flights. Check with a travel agent for advice on off-peak travel to El Nido.
Take the Less Popular Tours
The iconic sites around Bacuit bay attract a lot of travelers. To get away from the herd, take the less popular tours or choose places that people tend to ignore. It’s best to book these tours from a specialized tour company. These tours can be expensive but if large crowds can ruin your once-in-a-lifetime holiday experience, splurging a little bit can save you precious mental energy. Not only you’ll be able to avoid the crowd, but you will also experience El Nido like a local.
Visit During The Week
Weekends are busier at famous tourist sites as locals are free from work commitments. Local tourists from other cities make up the big crowd of weekend getaways. They take advantage of long weekends and cheap flights to El Nido. It will make a big difference if you travel during the week. For fewer people and more chances of enjoying natural attractions, avoid tours during weekends. If you’re lucky, you might even have the place all to yourself.
Avoid Philippine Holidays
Crowding is understandable as there are 104 million people in the Philippines. Families and employees on vacation flood the popular sites during Philippine holidays. As local travel becomes more popular, more and more Filipinos leave their cities and travel to a tourist destination like Palawan, leading to price rises, overcrowding, and transport difficulties. It’s best to research and know the dates to avoid when traveling if you don’t want to be caught in the midst of local vacationers’ mad rush.
Sleep Away from Busy Areas
If you stay within the busy town of El Nido, you’re already amidst the backpackers and annoying touts. If you don’t wish to be part of the noisy party crowd, choose accommodation in less touristy areas. A beach resort is a good choice for families on holiday or couples on honeymoon. Before making a reservation, research about El Nido or rely on websites such as Trip Advisor to get an honest opinion about your home away from home. A travel agent can also give you local advice and handpick the best accommodation for your holiday.