It can’t be argued that El Nido is one of those travel destinations that makes a buzz when it comes to tropical expeditions. This first class municipality of Palawan is well-loved for its natural elegance and unique tropical atmosphere.
El Nido, Palawan is an extraordinary travel destination. Envision a peaceful island corner where the only things that create a sound are the soothing waves of the water, the chirping of the birds and the swaying of the leaves. These are the sounds of nature, and they bring nothing short of pure tranquility.
However, El Nido might come off as extravagant for most people. The luxurious hotels and accommodations, island hopping tours, and many others might seem a bit of a predicament for those who want to travel to this beautiful island but are on a budget.
But fear not, for traveling there is feasible even for those who are tight on the pockets. Truth is, you don’t need to spend a lot to enjoy the wonders of El Nido. This magical place opens its doors to anyone who wants to explore its beauty without the hefty price tag. Here are some tips for budget traveling to El Nido, Palawan.
There are several ways to reach El Nido and flying is the most convenient of them all. Booking your flight few months ahead can give you a bigger chance to acquire your air seat in a relatively low price -particularly during promo sales where travel tickets can go as low as half the price, saving you a lot for the entire round trip.
Once you reach Puerto Princesa, it’s much better to travel by ordinary public transportation. This will save you few bucks on travel expenses. It is desirable to hire a tricycle to transport you from the airport to the terminal (where buses bound to El Nido are located) which can cost at around P50 and you can even haggle for a lower fare.
Bargain for Fares and Take Ordinary transportation
Another pointer to take to make your El Nido trip less costly is negotiating for lower fare in your commutes. Whether it’s the van shuttles, buses or tricycles, make it a point to bargain your fare since most of these carriages are contesting to fill up their seats.
Also, when booking for your rides around the town, opt for the “regular” trips such as ordinary bus rides rather than the air conditioned ones. The ride is very much comparable to each other and it’s not that uncomfortable as well so there really isn’t that much of a difference.
Explore the Uncommon Getaways
El Nido is filled with numerous travel corners and amazing spots not often found or seen by the public. Apart from getting to those popular places, why not discover hidden gems in the island that are as stunning and magical as the ones usually celebrated? Going for these more laid-back travel destinations in the island is much cheaper than going to where the crowd is.
Moreover, the activities that you can do and enjoy in these quiet corners are similar to those in the big names in El Nido but, of course, for half the price.
Low Cost Accomodations
Another tip for your budget travel is to go for travel-friendly accommodations during your stay. There are numerous lodges, inns, and hostels around town that offer lodging for as low as P350 per person, including breakfast.
Also, when you’re traveling in big groups, you can even get discounts to share the cost of the place. It is recommended to do research and look for these low-cost vacation residences first before heading out to the place. This way you will be able to compare prices and amenities beforehand and pick the one that suits your preference.
Island Hopping Tours
Traveling to El Nido and not being able to experience the “all-the-range” island hopping trips is never acceptable. Your trip won’t be complete without experiencing the waters and exploring its sceneries above and under.
However, just because you’re on a budget doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some island hopping in your itinerary. Frugality considered, you can pick an island tour that covers some of the best spots in El Nido. You can even squeeze in some other island tours that you can haggle for a much lower price (at least a few hundreds off).
During your travel in El Nido, always make it a point to ask for discounts especially for island hopping trips. Settle a good bargain with your tours, especially incorporating water gears in your bargain.
When you’re traveling with a big group, and you venture on some island hopping trips, it is recommended that you rent a private boat when heading out to the waters, instead of signing up individually. This could save you a lot on your island hopping expenses.
Enjoying the island’s scene without charge
Enjoying the island’s best features doesn’t always mean having to pay for everything. More often than not, you’d have to spend money for pleasure, but this is not always the case when you’re taking a vacation in El Nido.
Enjoying the magnificent sunset display at Las Cabanas beach does not require you spending cash for the phenomenal sky show. You simply find a spot on the coast and marvel on the beauty unfolding right before your very eyes. The adventure is calming and the sight is beyond compare. Now, that is something money can’t buy.
Skip the fancy restaurants
If there’s one thing traveling entails, it’s the food. Exploring a place as well and its cuisines are two of the best recipes of a memorable travel experience. But just because you’re in a budget doesn’t mean you have to starve yourself on your entire trip.
Instead of going for the fancy island restaurants to enjoy your meal, why not go for the local eateries? They don’t only cook tasty island food, but you can basically have a taste of the island’s local delicacies for half the price! Not only will you get a chance to treat your taste buds during this time, most of these local eateries provide traditional cooking/taste in their meals that will make your trip feel even more genuine.
Best season for travelling
Another great way to cut down on your travel expenses is to book your El Nido vacation during off- seasons. Prices of accommodations during this time are relatively cheaper compared to the ones during peak seasons. You can take advantage of the cheap airline fares and travel packages.
One good thing about journeying to this island is that bad weather is not something you should worry about. Palawan barely gets affected with typhoons and dreadful weather conditions. That means, all year round, the weather in El Nido is A-ok, extending your travel opportunities to this wonderful island all the days of the year.
Less crowded, cheaper accommodations and good weather are favorable circumstances that you should not miss.
Traveling can be intimidating at times, but there are always exceptions. What you thought as an island escape only for those who can meet the expenses turns out to be an island getaway that everyone can enjoy. El Nido, Palawan has its own magic and charm that people all over the world yearn to see and experience, and you don’t need to be rich in the pockets to enjoy these natural treasures.
/// Written by Carmela Alvarez, The Philippines