List of Most Beautiful Islands and Beaches in El Nido Palawan
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In January 2016, Palawan was declared the World’s Best Island by Condé Nast Traveler, a lifestyle and luxury magazine based in the United States. That means that destinations in Palawan which include beaches in El Nido stood out across 195 countries and across all the hundreds and thousands of beaches in the world!
So, to pay tribute to El Nido, Palawan, as well as to my homeland, the Philippines, I created the ultimate list of all the amazing Islands and beaches in El Nido, Palawan. Prepare your planner and a bowl of popcorn, because this is going to be a long list!
List of Amazing Islands and Beaches in El Nido Palawan
1. Buena Suerte Beach
Buena Suerte Beach is a peach-colored sand beach that is bordered by towers of limestone formations. It nestles a small portion of Bacuit Bay and overlooks Cadlao Island, another amazing beach that we’ll talk about later.
This beach serves as the jump-off point for the neighboring beach islands. Since it’s located in mainland El Nido, the beach is always crowded compared to its neighboring beaches and has several nearby hotels, restaurants and business establishments.
2. Cadlao Island
Cadlao Island is the largest island in Bacuit Bay, El Nido. With an area of more than 10 kilometers and with the highest peak at more than 600 meters above sea level, Cadlao Island is known for its white sands, sedimentary formations, and hidden lagoons and coves.
This beach has waters suitable for swimming, snorkeling, and a terrain perfect for hiking. In fact, if you’re persistent enough, you might just get to Cadlao Lagoon or Makaamo Lagoon, which are located on the end of some trails. In overall, Cadlao Island is beach paradise that’s suitable for all kinds of seaside activities, even trekking! There are a lot of named beaches in this island, which are also on this list.
3 and 4. Nacpan Beach and Calitang Beach
I paired up our third and fourth beach on this list because Nacpan and Calitang are often known as “twin beaches”, because of being connected. Regardless if they should be considered separate or not, it is no doubt that these two beaches are one-of-a-kind.
Nacpan Beach is best known for its serene environment and cream sand. Prepare your strongest sunblock lotions because this island is bare and not developed. There are only a few coconut trees that can give you shade. However, this beach is where the sea singing lullabies, the wind blowing generously, and the sun rising or setting, is experienced the best.
On the southwestern tip of Nacpan Beach is its twin Calitang Beach, which, like the former, also takes pride in its unexploited shorelines. Unlike Nacpan however, Calitang Beach has a small hill covered in lush vegetation that can be climbed. The hilltop offers the best view of the entire stretch of both beaches, and is the perfect spot for solitude lovers.
Nacpan and Calitang are connected by a sandbar. If you see the point in the sandbar where the two beaches meet, you will understand why they’re called the “twin beaches” of El Nido, Palawan.
5. Dilumacad Island
Dilumacad Island is one of the islands reachable via a boat ride from mainland El Nido. The piece of landform, more commonly known as “Helicopter Island” is given such name because it looks just like a helicopter from afar. There are not much trees on this island, but no worries, for the towering limestone cliffs offer shade—definitely the perfect spot for any kind of beach activities.
If you’re not a fan of the sun, you can always go for a dive in Helicopter Island. The island has an underwater cave dive spot.
6. Dolarog Beach
If you’re looking for a beach that gives off a cozy, homey feel, with rentable nearby beach resorts by the seaside, then Dolarog Beach is the place to go. With an unobstructed view of the ocean, and a picturesque view of the horizon, sprinkled with a spoonful of tranquility, Dolarog Beach makes the perfect beach getaway.
7. Seven Commandos Beach
Our seventh beach on this list is called 7 Commandos Beach.. for real! There is an old local myth about how this beach: there was once 7 soldiers who got lost at sea due to a shipwreck. Seeking for temporary abode, they found this beach. After residing there for months, and after repairing their damaged boat, they carved the words “7 commandos” in one of the large rocks in the area. The locals who later came to live on the beach found the engravings, and thus gave the island that name.
Whether or not the myth holds true does not matter all that much. The beach, thickly vegetated and framed with towering limestone cliffs, resembles a strong platoon looking out the sea. The stretch of cream sand that gently gets washed away by the waves are irresistible, and there are several rentable nipa huts and small cottages that can serve visitors here.
8. Entalula Island
Entalula Island is originally a private island located off-shore of mainland El Nido. Only guests from the nearby island resort El Nido Resorts Miniloc Island and El Nido Resorts Lagen Island (more on these below) were allowed entry. But for some reason or another, a small portion of Entalula Island was opened to the public.
The beach opened for the public is not huge, but still serves as an excellent getaway. It has a calm atmosphere, translucent azure waters, and limestone formations in the backdrop. Don’t expect too much physically strenuous activities here; this beach is only for relaxation!
9. Lagen Island
Lagen Island is just about a kilometer away from the shores of mainland El Nido. It’s a small private island that can be visited by guests of El Nido Resorts Lagen Island. From afar, Lagen Island looks like a mother cradling a child—the limestone cliffs gracefully surrounding a small part of the sea, and the small stretch of white sands bordering the beach’s clear waters. Boating and swimming are some of the most famous activities on this beach, but relaxing on one of the cottages of the resort is also an option.
10. Miniloc Island
Checking in El Nido Resorts Miniloc Island will give you access to the beautiful Miniloc, as well as the other parts of Entalula Island. Like Lagen Island, this island is nestled with abundant coconut trees and limestone towers. Its waters are perfect not just for boating or swimming, but for snorkeling as well.
11. Malapacao Island
Malapacao Island is a small rocky island located about two kilometers from mainland El Nido and is built specifically for relaxation. The tranquil beach paradise has a number of small cottages where people can indulge in spa therapies, yoga, or meditation, to name a few. Smoking is prohibited on this island, as the management wants to make the island as eco-friendly and close to nature as possible.
12. Matinloc Island
Matinloc is a beach island that’s more than just for chilling out. While there are a number of resorts on the island that can provide you all the beachside relaxation you need, you can also choose to trek the waters of Matinloc to find the so-called “secret beach”. The beach is hidden and is not accessible by boat. You have to swim through a small limestone cave underwater to access the secret beach.
If you’re really seeking for solitude and peace, the “secret beach” of Matinloc Island is a bonus you can add to your itinerary.
13. Marimegmeg Beach
Marimegmeg Beach is known for having the best view of El Nido’s sunset. It’s part of the mainland but is not too crowded compared to its neighboring beaches. Unlike the other beaches on this list, Marimegmeg beach is not too blessed with limestone cliffs, but you can find shade here in the resorts in the area. Still, getting a healthy dose of orange sunset sun rays in Marimegmeg’s beach is also a good option.
14. Pangalusian Island
Two kilometers southwest of the picturesque Entalula Island is Pangalusian Island, another picturesque beach island in El Nido, Palawan. It’s one of the most recently developed beaches among this list but its a private property. The island is mostly just a huge chunk of rock, but, as if nature decided that it would make a perfect beach, there is also a small pocket of cream-colored sands where a resort lies. If you feel like going on a beach vacation with a castaway feel to it, this island is all you’ll need.
15. Pinagbuyutan Island
Pinagbuyutan Island is not your typical beach. If your idea of a beach is sand sprinkled with trees and rocks, then you’ll be surprised to know that Pinagbuyutan is the complete opposite. The island is coconut groves and rock grasslands sprinkled with sands. Adding to this is a twin-peaked karst formation in the background. But don’t let this intimidate you—it’s for this unique feature where this island is known for. If you like minimal hiking and meditating over swimming, then this is the paradise you should be seeking.
16. Pinasil Island
In this beach island, visitors can decide to do either of the two things: swimming under the sun or swimming under limestone formations. You can either spend the day swimming under the sun or swim your way to the famous Cathedral Cave, a limestone cavern that looks like European cathedrals. The cathedral itself is not reachable via a boat. You’ll need to kayak or swim your way to get here. Will you sunbathe and chill out in Pinasil Island’s cool waters, or will you stare at the beautiful work of nature in the Cathedral Cave? If you can’t decide you can always do both!
17. Simizu Island aka Shimizu Island
Just directly south of Miniloc Island from #10 is Simizu Island, a beach blessed with towering limestone cliffs and white sands. The area of the island with sand is not very large, and the limestone in the backdrop gives shade to the island for the most part of the day. But that’s okay because, in Shimizu Island, snorkeling is the number one beach activity. There are countless colorful fish here that are visible even without going underwater—and you can feed them as well. Who needs to go sunbathing when there are schools of fish you can swim with underneath?
18. Vigan (Snake) Island
Our last beach for this ultimate list is Vigan Island… or more commonly known as Snake Island! Don’t worry about the “snake” in this beach’s name. This beach is in no way infested by snakes. The island got its name from the S-shaped sandbar that gracefully curves like a snake. The sandbar is only visible during the low tide season, but visitors can still walk on the sandbar even during the high tide. This beach is known for having shallow and clear waters, so it’s perfect to wade around or just chill out on this beach.
The beach has a trail that can be trekked. The end of the trail leads to a view deck where visitors can get a beautiful glimpse of the horizon, and the limestone tops of the nearest islands.
How to get to El Nido, Palawan
The most popular way of getting to the beach paradise of El Nido, Palawan is via an airplane. Local carriers like AirAsia offer inexpensive flights from Manila and Cebu to Puerta Princesa, the capital city of Palawan.
From Puerto Princesa International Airport, you may catch buses and Vans that are bound to El Nido. The bus ride will take five to six hours.
Air Swift (http://air-swift.com/) offers daily flights from Manila to El Nido. Travel time from Manila is around 55 minutes on a 50-seater ATR aircraft.
From Coron Palawan
You can take a ferry to El Nido. The downside to this type of travel is that it usually takes longer than the first method, but if you’re after the scenic ferry ride then it’s a good choice as well.
El Nido Beach Hopping Tips
Planning to visit these Amazing Islands and Best Beaches in El Nido? Here are some of our helpful tips:
1. Most beaches here require a boat ride. The longest ride is at least 45 minutes long. Make sure to bring waterproof gadgets and bags.
2. The tides are generally unpredictable and are not determined by month. If you plan to visit Snake Island to walk on the sandbar, it’s best to ask your local boatmen first for the tide situation.
3. Make sure to bring waterproof cameras! Some locations, like Pinasil and Matinloc Island, have picturesque scenes that require you to swim to get there. You can’t miss out on the photo ops by forgetting to bring your waterproof camera.
4. The cheapest way to visit most of the beaches in El Nido is by taking island hopping tours. Tours are categorized as Tour A,B,C,D in which islands, beaches, and coves are divided according to its proximity.
El Nido Islands and Beaches Day Trips and Tour Packages
El Nido Tour A (Book Now) – Discover the clear waters of Miniloc Island, white sand beaches of Shimizu island and have lunch in one of the island stopovers.
El Nido Tour B (Book Now) – Discover Snake Island, known for its unique sandbar in the middle of the sea! Swim and snorkel in beautiful Pinagbuyutan island, visit the Cudugnon Cave and a delicious grilled lunch on the beach.
El Nido Tour C (Book Now) – Visit the famous islands of Dilumacad and Matinloc, Helicopter Island, the Secret Beach, Matinloc Shrine and a delicious grilled lunch at the hidden beach.
El Nido Tour D (Book Now) – Discover Cadlao island, known for its hidden lagoons and white sand beaches with a delicious grilled lunch at Pasandigan beach.
El Nido Nacpan and Duli Beach (Book Now) – Trek through rice fields to a remarkable white sand beach of Duli Beach, 40 minutes north of El Nido Town. Bask in the sun as you enjoy the pristine waters of Northern El Nido and Nacpan beach.
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This Ultimate List of Amazing Islands and Beaches in El Nido Palawan is a work in progress, we will continue to update this post with additional islands, beaches, and more travel tips!