TARAW PEAK – EPIC CLIFF CLIMB IN EL NIDO
Taraw Peak in El Nido is up there with my favorite viewpoints in the Philippines. It may only be a 30-minute journey to the summit but it’s also incredibly tough with extreme humidity and sharp rocks.
Most people are in El Nido for island hopping, which is amazing but not really an adrenaline rush. The beauty of this hike is that you can be up and down for sunrise and still make it on your island hopping tour so you don’t waste a day in El Nido. In fact, my friend Bryan who is the suggested Taraw Peak guide also works as a tour guide on island-hopping trips so you will definitely be down in time for a quick breakfast before you set off for island hopping in El Nido.
WHERE IS TARAW PEAK CLIFF IN EL NIDO
From the town and from out on the boats you will see the jagged cliffs that hang over the town. They look dramatic and impossible to climb but there is a route. The entrance to the hike is at a small little neighborhood next to ‘Skyline Bar’. This is where I met my guide Bryan an hour before sunrise.
The hike winds through the neighborhood before you begin the climb up the rocks. Having a guide is something I would 100% suggest on this hike as it is quite dangerous and knowing, which rocks are stable and the specific routes to take is very important. Below are the images of the entrance from the main street.
YOUR GUIDE FOR TARAW PEAK IN EL NIDO
Three years ago I met Bryan Hamora on the bus from Puerto Princesa to El Nido. The Taraw Peak hike back then was closed due to a storm but this time I returned three years later and got to link up with Bryan who toured me up to the Taraw Peak Summit. Bryan does the hike multiple times per week and is incredibly hard-working. Most days he takes tourists up the hike and then does a full day of island hopping tour guiding. A classic Filipino, Bryan is humble, friendly and someone I really enjoy hanging out with.
Bryan provides headlamps, gloves (for the sharp rocks) and will meet you at the bakery in time to reach the summit for sunrise. It costs around $10 USD per person depending on the size of your group.
To contact Bryan, you can send him a message via his tour guiding page ‘The Couch El Nido”: www.facebook.com/thecouchelnido/
TARAW PEAK CLIFF CLIMB IN EL NIDO – WHAT TO EXPECT
Expect extreme humidity. That’s what to expect! Holy hell this was the most humid climb of my life. But seriously, expect a short, steep intense climb and then to enjoy an epic, epic view for sunrise on jagged rocks. If you like adventure and miss this one in El Nido, you messed up!
The trail winds through the small neighborhood before throwing you into the jungle. From the first minute, you are clambering more than following a trail or ‘climbing’. The jagged rocks mean that you are constantly concentrating so you don’t misplace a step as they are unforgiving.
There are sections that are relatively vertical but nothing too extreme. There were lots of amateur hikers and climbers both male, female, young and old on the trail so don’t be scared of this hike because of the sharp rocks.
There were a few sections that were a bit sketchy but there is always something to hold on to. I’d say the level of difficulty for this hike is moderate to above average because of the rock clambering. I don’t want to discourage you from climbing Taraw Peak but some people may struggle or get frightened so I made sure to take these two photos in probably the two most sketchy spots.
After thirty minutes or so, we reached the top. I simply could not believe how sweaty I was after just thirty minutes on the climb. The humidity was off the charts. Once we cleared the final little ascent the view opened up and what a view it is. You have a birds-eye view over El Nido town and the entire bay, where the island-hopping boats are all lined up for another day of touring. We could see all the way out to Cadlao Island and beyond.
I think we spent about an hour or more at the summit with about 10 other people who casually hung out on the dangerous spires. The top isn’t dangerous at all if you stay in the middle but if you are like me and go towards the edges there are straight drops down so those decisions are up to you. Just wanted to make that clear that there is actually zero chance of falling down if you just enjoy the view and despite the dramatic appearance of the rocks it is quite safe.
For the drone pilots out there, I can share with you my experience. I couldn’t fly towards the ocean because I think the airport blocked my drone. I could only fly away from the beach, which turned out to be pretty nice anyway but just something to keep in mind.
Overall, it was an awesome hike and worth the three-year wait. Hope you head up with Bryan and say hello to him for me!