There are now 4 ATMs in El Nido. 4 in the main town, 1 soon-to-open BPI atm in Corong Corong and 1 in Lio Beach. Don’t expect these machines to work all the time though. Some foreign credit card holders may also experience difficulties getting money as there are withdrawal limits. More ATMs are located in Puerto Princesa City which is 6 hours away.
Credit cards are accepted at some fancier resorts or restaurants. But there’s a hefty 4% surcharge. There are a few money changers in town though but pay close attention to the exchange rates. It’s best to exchange your foreign currencies in cities such as Manila or Puerto Princesa.
It’s best to carry small bills when taking the ‘tricycle’ and local shops in town always have the difficulty breaking bigger notes.
El Nido is just a small beach town and even the locals themselves are having problems with the public health center and its services. There’s a pharmacy and a private clinic called ‘Medical City’ in town in case you need immediate medical assistance.
The power is frustratingly unstable especially during summer and rainy seasons. The power outage is something to expect and be patient for. This should not be such a big problem if you are not planning to stay indoors for 24 hours. Most of the big hotels and fancy resorts have their own generators that cover the blackouts.
Most of the bars, hotel, restaurants, and resorts have free wifi access and there are a few internet cafes in town. There’s also a free public wifi in Lio Beach. And of course, the internet access is subject to electricity availability. One can also purchase a mobile phone sim card and register to 3G access. Globe network 3G seems to work better close in Lio beach area It can be overcrowded during the peak season that all 3G services and wifi connections get painfully slow.
Never make the mistake of drinking tap water if you don’t want to have any health problems during your trip. If you are in a bar or restaurant, always ask where the ice or water came from. There are also water stations that sell safe-to-drink, filtered water in case you want to refill your own water bottle. It is best not to purchase smaller plastic bottles though as El Nido is fighting against the use of plastics. Please conserve water if possible as people and a lot of establishments have issues of not having enough water especially during summer.
Smart and Globe are the two major network operators in the Philippines. Smart seems to work better in El Nido and Corong Corong town while Globe works perfectly fine in Lio beach. The sim and prepaid cards are available and are quite easy to purchase at El Nido Boutique & Artcafe and other smaller shops in town.
There’s El Nido Boutique and Art cafe that showcases lots of souvenir items. You won’t miss the smaller souvenir shops around the town if you take a walk during the day or night. There are fancier shops and an artisan place in Lio beach if you want to take home authentic and handcrafted souvenirs.