1. BEST TIME TO VISIT
November to May is the best months to visit being that it’s the dry season. March to May is the hotter months and also peak tourist season, due to summer break. We went in July which is the start of rainy season, not the best idea but we were hopeful for sunny weather. It only rained heavily on our last day, but thankfully we were finished with all the tours.
2. YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR
El Nido is a tourist hub and the restaurants can be outside of your budget. Some hole-in-the-wall eateries are less pricey, but we often heard of food poisoning/sicknesses from these places. To be safe, pay the higher cost for food since it seems you get what you pay for.
3. CASH OR CARD?
Make sure to have cash (pesos) for your whole stay. It goes without saying that you should always have cash on hand on any trip you go on, you never know. Most of the stores and restaurants accept cash only. There are a few ATMs on the island, but don’t be so reliant on them as we saw a few not in service.
4. RIDE THE TRICYCLES (TUK-TUK)
The main transportation in El Nido is riding a tricycle (tuk-tuk); This compact, automatic, 3-wheeled scooter type of vehicle only seat seats four people and only accepts cash!
5. ASK THE LOCALS
Filipinos are very friendly. Although it may come off as bias since we (Mary and I) are both Filipino, I feel it’s the most friendly country we’ve been to so far. Make sure to ask the locals around the area for the best advice for restaurants, night life, directions, etc. They’re more than happy to help!
6. BUY FROM STREET VENDORS
Support the street food vendors. Support local. For most sellers, it is the only source of income, and need to support a family. Also, the best local food is made by them – nothing like a homemade meal! There are multiple vendors around the area, and usually, the one with the longest line is the talk of the town!
7. OVERNIGHT CAMPING + CONNECT WITH NATURE
There are a lot of agencies that offer overnight camping on the islands. If you want to get away from the main town of El Nido, book an overnight camping and everything will be arranged including camping tent, breakfast, lunch and snorkeling gear.
Also, mobile connection/ your device’s signal will not be the greatest, no matter what service you have. The reason for the slow signal is because El Nido is an island and the area is quite isolated. The only wi-fi you’ll get is at a hotel (if they offer it). It’s the perfect time to let go of the electronics and connect with nature. El Nido is full of breathtaking lagoons and hidden beaches.
8. BOOK A PRIVATE TOUR FOR ISLAND HOPPING
Explore the islands on your own time. Booking a private tour for island hopping is the best if it works with your budget. You’re able to control the time on how long you want to spend at the stops and get the best service from a tour guide.
9. BRING DRY BAGS
Dry bags will save your electronic devices life. Most activities constitute being either in, around or floating above the water. Water activities are everywhere. From boat tours, diving, and beaches, buying or renting a dry bag will keep your items safe from any water damage.
10. PROTECT YOUR SKIN
Don’t get eaten alive. Bring a mosquito repellent and apply it all over your body. We were in the Philippines for ten days, and the only place mosquitos bit me was in El Nido. Another item to protect your skin is sunscreen. When the sun is out, it gets scorching, and sunscreen will decrease the chances of sun cancer.