Eco-friendly travel guide to El Nido advises how to be a responsible tourist. Learn how to explore the attractions in a sustainable way and how to respect the local people and culture. Make your trip green by supporting locally owned hotels, organic restaurants and other businesses. Read more on how to protect the environment by making conscientious choices and how to travel green in El Nido, Philippines.
- Air quality: 3 / 5
- Exploring by foot: 2 / 5
- Exploring by bicycle: 3.5 / 5
- Public transportation: 2 / 5
- Parks: 4 / 5
- Outdoor activities: 4.5 / 5
- Locals' English level: 2 / 5
- Safety: 3.5 / 5
- Accommodation: US$10 - $70
- Budget per day: US$100 - $200
- 1 Responsible Travel
- 2 Air Quality and Pollution
- 3 Respect the Culture
- 4 Top 10 Places to Visit
- 5 Explore
- 6 Eat
- 7 Drink
- 8 Activities
- 9 Accommodation
- 10 How to Get There
- 11 Moving Around
- 12 Sustainable Shopping
- 13 Recycling
- 14 Work and Study Abroad
- 15 See Also
When you are in the city, make sure to use local transportation services like buses, taxis, and others to help you move comfortably around the city and keep your travel eco-friendly. It will also help you to save a lot of transport expenses. You will find many green hotels in the city that are very eco-friendly and comfortable for your stay. You do not have to find many different places to find a green hotel. It will help you to stay healthy and keep the city pollution-free.
Shopping is essential for every tour, and it will help you get the best experience of the place. There are many local shops in the city that sell unique products. Make sure to visit these shops and buy them if you like, and it will help the local people very much.
Another thing that you need to try in the city is the local food. As a part of this city is dependent on tourism, it will help them very much if you buy street foods from the local food shops. It will help you to get a lifetime experience in the city.
Air Quality and Pollution
As a tourist, you must keep this in mind when visiting the city and taking precautionary steps accordingly. After all, health is wealth. Air quality and pollution play an important role while visiting a new city. One can say that automobiles' effect is more than that of the people who visit the city. Other than ground transportation, the shipping industry has contributed a lot to air pollution. If you wish to get fresh and clean air in El Nido’s, prefer visiting the outskirts and the hilly regions. These areas have the least air pollution level, and air quality is also better than the city's crowded places.
Most of the fuels used in marine ships have a major concentration of sulfur, which is a contaminant. Automobiles are the prime source of air pollution in the city as they emit harmful chemicals like carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide. The Air Quality of any tourist location or place is a crucial thing to keep in mind because not all tourists can adapt to a city where air pollution is low, and the air quality is good, especially for people who belong to a sensitive group. El Nido mostly has good air quality, and pollution levels aren't bad.
Respect the Culture
It is not out of place that one of the first things you would hear when visiting a new place is that you should respect the culture if you want to flow well with the locals. However, some people might be lost if they do not know the traditions of the city. If you are having lunch with your local friends, then it is proffered if everyone pays for what they ordered or can offer to pay for everyone if you are hosting. Do not wait for others to pay your bill and always offer to pay for your own food.
If this city is your chosen city for a holiday, have no fear as we would give you some tips on respecting their culture. You should know that the people of this city love it when the atmosphere is relaxed. Thus, they would not jump into any business topic. Always talk about something simple and allow the host to start the conversation.
Top 10 Places to Visit
• NACPAN BEACH
The beauty of the city of El Nido is that it is surrounded by a cluster of more than a thousand islands. Many beautiful cottages face the seaside and offer the right setting for you to enjoy the stunning beach views. Island is often considered one of the best getaways for those looking for some of the finest beaches that are not very far away from El Nido. It is possible to reach this place with the help of a simple minute boat ride.
• BIG LAGOON
Big Lagoon is the Island in the city of El Nido. Several islands surround the city of El Nido. Apart from the natural beauty that it offers, many other things are worth mentioning as far as Island is concerned. You can enjoy some of the best water activities, like diving, snorkeling, parasailing, and there are several points where you can take part in these activities.
• INILOC ISLAND
Though this Island is located around 150 kilometers from El Nido, it is worth visiting it for several reasons. All the beaches here face the West. Therefore, they offer the most stunning views you could think of. If you wish to enjoy the setting sun, then there is little doubt that Iniloc Island could be one of the best choices.
• SECRET LAGOON
The beaches are gorgeous, and words may fail, and therefore the best way to experience this beach is to pay a visit to it when you are in the city of El Nido. There are cars available for rent, and you also could look at other public modes of transport. You also will love the various dive points, and they are full of clownfishes, and these fishes come in different sizes, shapes, colors, and hues. You will not ever forget this beach because of some obvious reasons. However, it is located quite far off from the city, and you will have to travel around 125 kilometers from the city.
• THE GARDENS DAY CLUB
The park was a part of the famous monument in the city. However, in the earlier year, the monument was demolished, and the park was built on the area freed by this demolition. The administration did the construction. The park is quite big and is spread over an area of around 25 hectares. You will love the greeneries and other wonderful attractions, and the good thing is that the park is open throughout the year.
• LIO TOURISM ESTATE
Lio Tourism Estate is basically located in Palawan, Philippines. It is situated within Bacuit Bay, which is on the west coast of the north side portion of El Nido. It has become a famous tourist attraction for people nowadays.
• NAGKALIT-KALIT FALLS
Nagkalit-Kalit Falls is basically a scenic spot in the city of El Nid and. It has a series of two waterfalls that are very famous for a picnic, swimming, and trekking through the dense forest.
• CUDUGNON CAVE
The Audubon cave is a tourist attraction for the people living in the city of El Nido. It is basically located in Palawan, El Nido, Philippines. It is a scenic beach consisting of chambers and a narrow opening mouth.
• CATHEDRAL CAVES BULALACAO FALLS
The cathedral caves Bulalacao falls are the thirty longest caves in the sea throughout the world. It is basically located on the Waipati beach, which is 15 km away from El Nido.
The city has many things to offer apart from the many historical and culturally renowned places packed with tourists. The various parks, beaches, museums, and landmarks will help you get deep insights into the local culture and its beauty. People say that all work and no play would make one dull. This city ensures that it has places that play roles in calming and relaxing the mind. Thus, it is not surprising that people always want to visit this city.
There is so much to do in this city, so tourists should have a schedule plan ready so that activities will not be jumbled.
The city is big, and it has a big collection of parks and other such places. It has big open spaces and greeneries where you can spend time with your children and other family members. The views are one thing you cannot take away from parks.
Here are some famous city parks in the city:
- MALIGAYA TREE PARK
- PALAWAN ECO AGRO PARK
The country has always been famous for its beautiful and graceful natural resources, and so that this city has a wonderful collection of national parks and a zoo. We are listing down a few of them that may not exactly be located in and around the city but are not very far away from the city.
- ZAKAH VIEW POINT
- PALAWAN ECO AGRO PARK
- LAGEN ISLAND MOUNTAIN TRAIL
The city of El Nido is basically a city of Islands. It has numerous islands and beaches around it. The city of El Nido is famous for its stunning beaches, and therefore it attracts thousands of tourists from across the world. Here are some famous beaches:
- STAR BEACH
- TALISAY BEACH
- IPIL BEACH
- DULI BEACH
The city of El Nido also has its share of memorable landmarks and monuments. You must try and visit as many as you possibly can. While the list is quite long, we are mentioning a few of them for our readers' benefit.
- PINABUYUTAN ISLAND
- PAYONG-PAYOUNG BEACH
- DILUMACAD ISLAND
Visiting museums would be the icing on your holiday package, especially if you are in this city, as it shows that you have adequately explored the city.
Here are some of these museums given are as follows:
- IIIE CAVE
- SIBALTAN HERITAGE CENTRE
- PANGKO MARITIME MUSEUM
You will find that the locals prefer to eat healthy and nutritious food with lots of vegetables and meats. Apart from these traditional and modern cuisines, the local street food is a must-try one that will leave your mouth lingering with their flavors. You will find that vegetarian, and non-vegetarian dishes are popular, and you will not find much trouble conveying your food preferences. Here are some famous local restaurants, vegetarian and vegan, and street foods are given below.
Traditional Local Restaurants
Here are some famous local restaurants which serve their authentic traditional foods are given below:
- ASHOKA – AUTHENTIC INDIAN CUISINE
- OSAKA CASTLE EI NIDO
- REPUBLICA SUNSET BAR
- TRATTORIA ALTROVE
Vegetarian and Vegan
Sometimes the habits of two people are different. Thus, everyone does not have the same eating habit or love the same pattern when it concerns food choices.
If you are a vegetarian, you do not need to worry when you are in this city as there are many restaurants to attend to your needs. With these places, you will get to enjoy traditional meals properly with your regular choices. Some of these vegan restaurants are:
- PAUL’S MAGIC VEGAN DINNER
- B-BELLE’ VEGETARIAN CUISINE
- BELLA VITA EL NIDO
Different cities have various food they classify as street food. Suppose you are a street food enthusiast and would want to try some in this city. You know those foods you can easily get at the roadside without the need for a fancy restaurant—those classified as street food. The preparation time for them does not take long, and it is something you can eat on the go. One thing about street food is that you can try out varieties at the same time.
• MARGARITA PIZZA
Here you can get tasty margarita pizza which basically costs with 150p. This is known as a beach restaurant. The restaurant is so classy; they have an amazing sound system setup and tables at the beachside for dinner. It is somewhat costly. It is situated beside the beachside.
• PASTA AND SANDWICH
Here people get yummy and delicious street foods such as pasta, sandwiches, salads, and seafood’s with the beer bucket. The costs of 100p to 200p. They also provide free Wi-Fi to all the customers. You can try these tasty dishes at Aplaya Restaurant on the beachside, El Nido.
• CINNAMON BUNS
This place is situated just down the street near the Cliffside Cottages. They serve freshly made coconut buns, Butter buns, Cinnamon buns, Cakes, Cookies, and whole wheat buns. They are very affordable and tastes yum. It costs between 2p to 25p. You can get it in Midtown Bakery in El Nido.
• EGG BURGER
If you are looking for the perfect morning breakfast, your search is completed here. It is the perfect place to get tasty and delicious as well as healthy dishes. You can get here a yummy egg wrapped burger with extra cheese. And they also serve the yummy cheesy egg omelets. It basically costs between 25p to 80p.
You also will be able to come across many fruit juice stalls where you can enjoy almost all types of fruits that keep your body cool and in good health. If you are a teetotaller and would like to restrict yourself to only soft drinks, the city of El Nido offers options for the best of coffee, tea, and other beverages apart from branded soft drinks.
Even the water that is available in hotels and street-side food joints may be unsafe to drink. Hence, carrying bottled water is a good suggestion. Unlike many Western countries, tap water may not be safe to drink, but the locals do drink after boiling it. Water is unstable even to the small majority who have a direct connection to tapped water. Different areas of the city receive water on specific days of the week, some for a few days and others for just a few hours.
The city has stood up to the task of catering for all segments of the population, including those with a preference for organic foods. Since some people would prefer to eat organic, it is not out of place to have organic cafes in different cities. While they are not as obvious as the mainstream restaurants, the city has several organic eateries:
- GLOW JUICE BOX
- BOTANICA CAFÉ
- GANDHI’S REVENGE
- ODESSA MAMA CAFE
If you love alcoholic drinks, you will have a swell time in the city as there are many fabulous options for you. Have a look at some of its breweries:
- BACUIT BAY BREWHOUSE
- THE PANGOLIN BAR
- HAPPINESS BEACH BAR
- SAVA BEACH BAR
- EL NIDO BOUTIQUE
The museums and art exhibitions are always there for you to explore, making you appreciate art. Even if you are not a lover of artwork, something in you will be compelled when you see them.
The city is best known for its art and culture in tourism, and it has many places to explore. However, this is not the case for people who wish to visit the city as there is always something to do. Foreigners hate getting bored when in a new city, so you would see those seeking locals' recommendations.
Yoga and Retreats
You will find that young people are the ones that like to participate in such fitness exercised. There are many yoga institutes in the city where you can train under a qualified and experienced yoga teacher. With increasing awareness of the need for a healthy and fit lifestyle, the local people are gaining interest in yoga, an ancient Indian practice for maintaining the health of mind and body.
Some of the renowned yoga centers are as follows:
- EL NIDO YOGA
- NAMASTE EL NIDO YOGA AND SPA
- PEAK CORNER (FITNESS) GYM
- QI PALAWAN
We would not say that accommodation in this city is cheap, neither would we say that it is expensive. The price you would get depends on your accommodation option. It may not be as low as what you would get in some cities, but it is not the most expensive in the world. With this clear, we know that the next question concerns the pricing as people want to know to plan their budget.
The city has many options when it comes to accommodation, so foreigners are not stranded. These accommodation options range from hotels to apartments, and much more. You can either make accommodation plans when you are in the city or before you arrive. It would be best to do whatever works best for you.
Many foreigners fail to realize that they have a role to play in protecting the environment, and it does not matter if it is your place of origin or not. If you are an environmental enthusiast, we know that you would search for green hotels in the city to ensure that you have an eco-friendly stay in the city. You should play a role in any place you find yourself.
Here are some of the green hotels in the city given below:
- THE GREENHOUSE
- GREEN VIEW PARADISE INN
- SUITES BY ECO HOTEL
- EL NIDO RESORTS LAGEN ISLAND
Hostels and Guest Houses
Here are some comfortable and affordable guesthouses as well as hostels in the city. They are given below:
- KAME HOUSE BACKPACKERS
- PAWIKAN HOSTEL EL NIDO
- FRENDZ HOSTEL – EL NIDO
- SPIN DESIGNER HOSTEL – EL NIDO
You will have many such options available to you. However, not all apartment owners may feel comfortable renting out their properties to foreigners, but things are changing. They would like to earn some passive income from their apartments that otherwise would have remained vacant.
There is an online community known as couchsurfing.com, and if you are a part of it, you will be able to come across dozens of CouchSurfing mates and companions. The perk of Couchsurfing is that it is free. As a foreigner, you do not need to pay your host. However, it is your responsibility to be respectful and abide by the laws of the city. It is a new concept but has taken off quite well in the city.
Campers describe the experience as exciting, and it lures those who have never been camping before. It helps you meet new people, and you get to do things you have never done before. If you a lover of nature and the outdoors, we know that you would wish to experience camping in whatever form when you are in a new city.
The thing with camping is that there are particular areas for it; else, the whole purpose is defeated. Thus, it is right to know about camping sites.
- FOREST CAMP EL NIDO, PALAWAN
- EDA BEACH CAMPSITE
- SINAG EL NIDO COMMUITY CAMPSITE
- BAYOG BEACH CAMPSITE – SIBALTAN, EL NIDO
How to Get There
The city is extremely well connected by air. You can reach the city from almost all parts of the world, and there are dozens of flights that land and take off from the city. Let us have a look at some of the easiest ways of getting into the city.
El Nido Lio Airport is around 25 km from the main city center. It is one of the busiest airports and is among the top ten in air traffic. It is connected to almost all major cities in the world.
The bus terminuses are chaotic, and you may have to take some local help to determine which bus to choose for your requirements. This is because the intercity bus terminus is located around one hour from the city. The city has reasonably advanced local bus transport services, but intercity bus services are not very comfortable.
If you want to move away from the city, the train is the best mode of transport. There are train lines connected to the northern and southern parts of the country from the city.
While the locals are quite friendly and hospitable and hitchhiking is a common practice in many parts of the world, it is not common to encounter hitchhikers in the city.
Most drivers are naturally wary of picking up strangers, fearing carrying robbers and carjackers. While there are exceptional cases of drivers who would be okay with offering one a lift, most of them would not, especially when driving at night.
Since the country comprises scores of islands, boats, launches, and trawlers are commonly used to transport from the city to most islands across the country. You could also use motorbike taxis and regular cars, and there are smartphone apps that can be used for this purpose.
These modes of transportations are efficient in helping you move around the city and discover the city's hidden gems. If you wish to travel, then the best option at your disposal is public transports such as subway trains, available buses, and electronic vehicles. Walking is an alternative mode of moving around but is the healthiest and cheapest mode.
Despite numerous attempts to decongest the city, including increasing the parking cost in town and banning public service vehicles from accessing certain parts of the town center, the streets have continued to be congested.
Walking is the most eco-friendly means of transport but also because of the traffic jam. As the city has rapidly grown, the city has become known for its unending traffic jams.
If you like to travel the whole city riding bicycle, then you have the option available. Also, there are many parks in the city where you can ride your bicycle as much as you want.
Though this is a new concept, a beginning has been made, and you can see some electrically powered public vehicles moving around the city.
Public transport services are reasonably well developed, and you can use local buses and local trains on a limited scale. They are an eco-friendly option and very inexpensive as well.
Tram, Train and Subway
The city has an efficient MRT system that connects many parts of the city, and many tourists use it.
This type of shopping is done to promote eco-friendly and recyclable products while emphasizing local businesses' use. Sustainable shopping refers to buying products that have less impact on the environment and society. These businesses sell a wide range of everyday items that are cheaper and environmentally friendly.
These places provide visitors with an authentic taste of the local food while promoting local businesses. The city of El Nido’s food markets is popular amongst the locals and the tourists as they are packed with fresh and high quality produce. Here are some of the popular food markets in the city of El Nido:
- EL NIDO PUBLIC MARKET
- VILLA LIBERTY PUBLIC MARKET
- WATER MARKET
Some of these markets operate daily, whereas some markets operate on special days or fixed days of the week.
Flea markets are markets that sell low priced products by local traders. These markets often consist of used or second-hand items in good condition and can be used again.
- VANILLA BEACH EL NIDO
- LEGAZPI SUNDAY MARKET
- EL NIDO BOUTIQUE ARTCAFE
- D TALIPAPA
Second Hand Stores
These stores sell a wide variety of items such as clothes, furniture, books, and other reusable items. These stores sell used items at a lower rate and are popular amongst inferior income group peoples as they cannot afford them at their retail price.
- AQUANAUT DIVE CENTRE
- TABANKA DIVERS
- CEBUANA LHUILLIER PAWNSHOP
Many eco-friendly fashion stores in the city of El Nido offers a wide range of sustainable and organic fashion collections. With the widespread need for eco-friendly practices, eco-fashion or sustainable fashion has started to gain huge popularity because they are environment-friendly and pocket-friendly. These clothes are made with organic fabrics and recycled materials with the use of sustainable practices.
With the growing awareness of environmental protection, the country has the highest recycling rate in Europe. The green containers are used for the disposal of glass items. Because of such extensive measures for proper recycling, El Nido has started to become the cleanest city in the country. The municipalities have allotted multiple containers for different types of garbage items, such as the yellow boxes are used for plastic, cans, milk cartons, metal lids, and other recyclable items. El Nido's government has adopted various measures for the proper disposal of trash, and about 60% of the population follows these measures.
The local municipality makes sure that both locals and tourists follow the proper waste management measure, and whoever fails to follow is fined. The yellow and green boxes are for recyclable items, blue containers are used for disposal of printed items, brown containers are used to remove organic substances, and the grey containers are used for non-recyclable items. The local municipalities and garbage disposal agencies in the city of El Nido follow proper disposal measures to keep the city clean. There are different containers allotted for the different types of waste.
Work and Study Abroad
As the largest metropolis on the Mediterranean Sea, the town also offers excellent career opportunities that attract many foreign professionals. The city of El Nido offers some of the best opportunities in education and professional fields. Many international students study in universities and colleges as the city offers some of the best education facilities.
These institutions provide various scholarship opportunities to many students enrolled in the student exchange program. Because of the city's cultural and historical significance, many foreign exchange students study at El Nido's national and international universities.
In return, the au pair gets some monetary allowances that they can use for their personal use. This type of practice is common in the city with low-income families as they cannot provide proper education facilities to their children. Au Pairing is a widespread practice in El Nido, where a foreign person helps out a family take care of their children's education or help out with the finances.
To play your role as a responsible tourist, the best thing you can do to help the local communities is by taking part in volunteering activities. There are many agencies, NGOs, and businesses that are involved in such activities. Some of them include:
- EL NIDO FOUNDATION
- LORD OF NATIONS