WHERE TO STAY IN EL NIDO, PALAWAN: A GUIDE TO THE 4 BEST AREAS
El Nido is one of the most popular tourist spots in the entire Philippines. There are a few distinctively different areas to stay in El Nido so this guide should help you figure out which is the best area for you when considering where to stay in El Nido. The guide is broken up into four different regions of El Nido and for each region the best budget, luxury and value accommodations are listed.
WHERE TO STAY IN EL NIDO
El Nido is a municipality located in the northern tip of Palawan Island, about 230 kilometers by land transportation from Puerto Princesa or a short, scenic flight from Manila. Famous for its white sand beaches backed by swaying palm trees, hidden lagoons and stunning rock formations enveloped by sparkling emerald water, El Nido makes for an avid beach bum’s ideal island-hopping destination.
There are lots of accommodation options in El Nido, whether you are looking for a budget-friendly hostel or a luxurious resort. This blog post breaks down its best regions to stay in depending on your intention of visit. For example, you may want to be in the heart of the action in El Nido town or you may be looking for the tranquility and luxury of Lio Beach. I’ve spent more than a month exploring El Nido and know the area quite well. I’ll do my best to show you what each region offers and then highlight the top accommodation picks in each spot so you can pick the best area to stay in El Nido for you.
Here is a little checklist to start!
- If you are on a budget and looking for a cheap hotel or hostels, the town proper (El Nido Town) is the best choice for you.
- If you want to see the best sunset every night in El Nido, Las Cabanas is a perfect place for you.
- If you are in El Nido looking for for some peace, luxury and relaxing place, you need to stay in Lio Beach.
- If you want a secluded yet an exotic place to stay with the best beach on the mainland, head on to Nacpan Beach.
WHERE TO STAY IN EL NIDO
Area: El Nido Town Proper
The town proper of El Nido is the main hub of the region. You can find a great selection of shops and restaurants aside from the beautiful beaches, tour operators and laid-back nightlife. Below are my top picks in El Nido Town Proper for each different type of budget.
Happiness Hostel (Budget): Right in the center of the town, Happiness hostel, offers a cozy stay and chill vibes to all their guests. It is one of the recommended budget-friendly hostels in town. The dorms offer a semi-private accommodation with a closed personal bed with a sliding door that has a light and a fan inside. Let’s be honest we all appreciate that privacy of a screen in a dorm room. If you are a beer and food lover, Happiness beach bar serves sumptuous food and cheap beer.
Click here to check the best current rates and availability of Happiness Hostel.
Frendz Hostel El Nido (Good atmosphere): Nestled in the heart of El Nido, this newly-opened hostel offers free Wifi, rooftop swimming pool (at a hostel!), and bar which has an incredible sunset view, specialty coffee, and first-rate rooms. The restaurant is excellent and provides a wide variety of options. Frendz Hostel is a great place to meet new friends and create memories with them. All of the staff will really become your “frendz”.
Click here to check the best current rates and availability of Frendz Hostel
Spin Designer Hostel (Value): Let’s go for Spin! This rad hostel is located at the bustling town of El Nido. This property is highly recommended by many travelers as the service is superb. Spin Designer Hostel also provides a shared kitchen with a barbecue facility. It is value for money and very close to shops and beach. If you stay here you will make friends with like-minded strangers and be in the prime location for island hopping and hiking Taraw Peak.
Click here to check the best current rates and availability of Spin Designer Hostel
Vellago Resort (Luxury): Vellago Resort is a luxurious boutique hotel located just outside El Nido town proper specifically on Seven Commando Beach. Boasting white sand, turquoise water, and countless coconut trees. You can enjoy the best sunset on the beach bar or on your balcony. Guests can experience island hopping with a speed boat, snorkeling, kayaking, play beach volleyball, or sit back with a cold drink and take in your beautiful surroundings. One of the highlights of your stay here is that they set up a romantic dinner on the beach every day.
Click here to check the best current rates and availability of Vellago Resort.
Area: Las Cabanas Beach
Las Cabanas, also known as Marimegmeg Beach, is an ideal place to unwind after an island-hopping tour. It is just a ten-minute tricycle ride from El Nido proper, which gives you convenience but also seclusion. You can enjoy the most incredible sunset view. I actually stayed at Las Cabanas Resort for 10 days when I worked with Red Bull Cliff Diving and it is an unreal location and property. This area is probably my pick because you can walk into town in 5-10 minutes but you also get that quiet, tropical island vibe when back at the resort. Below are the three of the most popular accommodations:
Frangipani El Nido: This beachfront boutique hotel is equipped with a range of amenities and facilities including a private balcony that showcases the panoramic views of El Nido’s Bacuit Bay. Located near Corong-Corong beach, Frangipani provides luxury, tranquility and a more intimate ambiance perfect for couples and friends.
Click here to check the best current rates and availability of Frangipani El Nido.
Panorama Resort: Panorama Resort is an exotic boutique resort tucked between Corong-Corong Beach and Maremigmeg Beach, is a 3-star property that features a panoramic view of the mountains in El Nido. The resort is very insta-worthy and has a lot of amenities including a private beach, outdoor and indoor swimming pool, and free WiFi. It offers an amazing sunset view and chill vibe to guests.
Click here to check the best current rates and availability of Panorama Resort.
Las Cabanas Beach Resort: This incredible beach resort is situated perfectly on the shore of Las Cabanas beach in El Nido. It offers a peaceful sanctuary from the harsh realities of the outside world. The resort is picturesque and provides easy access to island hopping and other activities. It has rooms with sea and garden views, and the beachfront cottages are single standalone units.
Click here to check the best current rates and availability of Las Cabanas Beach Resort.
Area: Lio Beach
Located north of El Nido, Lio Beach has a wide sandbar reaching far back to its restaurants and bars shaded by coconut trees. If you want to grab a drink or some nibbles, I recommend Shaka Café and El Nido Grill. Lio Beach is about 20 minutes by motorbike from the town proper and there is also a free shuttle that runs every hour so you are disconnected from the town but also quite easily connected and with the free shuttle it is never out of reach to drop into the town, which I did many times.
Balai Adlao Resort: If you want a laid-back escape from the buzzing El Nido Town, Balai Adlao, a 3-star boutique resort, is perfect for providing that privacy and convenience you are looking for. The place is very modern and equipped with a number of restaurants nearby. The rooms are quite spacious and the staff is very friendly and hospitable.
Click here to check the best current rates and availability of Balai Adlao Resort.
The View: Situated 6 kilometers away from El Nido town, The View does bed and breakfast which serves Continental and American breakfast daily. The place is a little bit remote but it is highly recommended and worth it. I love the big hammock hanging on the terrace as it gives a spectacular panoramic view of El Nido.
Click here to check the best current rates and availability of The View.
Casa Kalaw: (Family Pick)Casa Kalaw is a Filipino-inspired hotel which provides comfort and warmth for escape and private gatherings. Guests can enjoy a drink at the bar or a meal at the on-site restaurant. It features a garden and a big swimming pool. It’s good for family and its value for money.
Click here to check the best current rates and availability of Casa Kalaw.
Area: Nacpan Beach
Nacpan Beach is located north of El Nido, a 4-kilometer stretch of powdery white sand and pristine blue water which is approximately 45 minutes from downtown El Nido via tricycle. The property is being watched by an armed security 24/7.
Nacpan Beach Glamping: If you haven’t experienced glamping in your life, Nacpan has the most mind-blowing glamping in El Nido. It’s literally the most amazing place for anyone looking for a true getaway in paradise. The tents are spacious and they are facing the beach which is good to wake up in the morning and just simply feel the fresh sea breeze and enjoy the mesmerizing view of sunrise. This unique accommodation in El Nido is surrounded by 30-meter tall coconut trees. It’s a 45-minute drive from El Nido proper.
Click here to check the best current rates and availability of Nacpan Beach Glamping
Cabanas de Nacpan Resort (Budget): Cabanas de Nacpan Resort is a luxury tent accommodation nestled on a farm. The property is 18-kilometer away from Big Lagoon and Small Lagoon El Nido. The hosts and staff are exceptionally helpful and very accommodating. It is a perfect place for stargazing and relaxation. Nacpan beach is just 10 minutes away from the resort.
Click here to check the best current rates and availability of Cabanas de Nacpan Resort
Mad Monkey Hostel (Budget): If you are simply adventurous and looking for a truly unique and unforgettable island experience on one of the most beautiful and unspoiled beaches in the world, we’ve got just what you’ve been looking for. Mad Monkey Hostel is located 40 minutes north of El Nido town. It is budget-friendly which is great for solo travelers or backpackers. The location is spectacular with a restaurant and a bar and it is a fun place to stay.
Click here to check the best current rates and availability of Mad Monkey Hostel
I hope this guide about Where to stay in El Nido helped you figure out which is the best area for you to stay in El Nido.
ARE YOU KEEPING UP WITH MY EL NIDO SERIES?
You want to go island-hopping in El Nido but aren’t sure whether TOUR A,B,C or D will be better? Take a look at my El Nido Island Hopping Guide that compares all of the four tours to help you pick the best one for you.
Wondering what there is to do in El Nido? I’ve been twice and spent almost 30 days in El Nido so I’ve got some great recommendations for you in my Travel Guide to El Nido: 20 Awesome Things To Do
Which region will you choose for your accommodation in El Nido? I’ve broken each region down and given you suggestions for budget, value and luxury in El Nido Town, Lio Beach and Las Cabanas Beach in this guide: Where to stay in El Nido
My Review and photos of: Tour A
My Review and photos of: Tour B
My Review and photos of: Tour C
The most epic activity you can do in El Nido on the land is to hike up Taraw Peak and I share the photos and tell you how you can use the same local guide as me in this blog post: Hiking up Taraw Peak – What You Need to Know