Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Some people thought of El Nido as an expensive holiday destination, I thought so too until I came to EN.  Maybe because it’s far and the airfare is costly?  Maybe because the province of Palawan is dubbed as "The last frontier"?

Far?  Not really and if you buy your tickets early, you might be able to get the 1 peso fare via Cebu Pacific Air + the usual taxes and fuel surcharge of course.  It’s just over an hour flight too to Puerto Princesa.  Although, yes, you have to travel by bus or van for 6 to 7 hours to get to El Nido from Puerto Princesa City.  Then again, the long distance is worth it.

For people who are used to budget travels, there are several shoestring-budget accommodations in town, some are even beach-front properties.  Food too aren't that costly, cheap meals are available at local eateries as cheap as PHP100 including a small bottle of cola.  There are several ministores although, yes, grocery stuff costs a little higher compared to the city, that’s explainable because most of the items including fruits in stores are shipped from Manila or some big cities nearby.

Now, for the benefit of those who really want to get to El Nido on a budget, I want to give a rundown of the (mostly budget) accommodation options in El Nido, I’m sure some of these will fit into your budget.  A beach-front property will be a good idea if you can find a room, at least during the peak season.  For some reason, perhaps the country's political atmosphere or the rain, it’s already the end of October and the tourist season is just starting to pick up.  Hotels aren’t full, mostly half, some almost none.

There’re many hotels, hostels, guesthouses along the beach, some of them are really affordable budget accommodation and some of those don’t have internet presence.  During low season, you could just come to EN and walk in, and more often than not, you’ll be able to get a room at any of those beach front accommodations from PHP500 and up. 

I would suggest staying at any of the beach front properties, so when you wake up in the morning, you instantly and literally can jump on the water, aside of course from the fact that you enjoy the view of the bay at your balcony, watch the boats moored there or people sailing out in the morning and coming back in the afternoon.

Here’s a list as far as I can remember, or my camera can remember.  All are facing the bay with  an entrance at the back facing the main street.

The Alternative
The Alternative  – as the name suggests, it’s an alternative place.  Quite nice with wooden ark-shaped balconies above sea level or jutting on the sea, so you get a really nice view and the feel of floating above the sea.  Location is near the port.  Cheapest room is PHP700, fan room. ($)

Casa Buenavista
Casa Buenavista  - there’s a balcony upstairs shared by everyone staying there, it’s overlooking the bay, and a bar downstairs.  Room costs 1,000 pesos, but you might get a discount. ($$)

Rovic's Pension
Rovics Pension House – long ground level balcony. ($$)

Hostel La Banane
Hostel La Banane – A backpacker’s favorite, just like Alternative, expect lots of foreign guests.  Bed at dorm room costs PHP350, rooms at PHP800. ($)

Lally and Abet Beach Hotel
Lally and Abet Beach Hotel – this one is different from the bigger one (resort) at the left end of the bay that’s more expensive.  Green building with several rooms upstairs, large balcony shared by everyone facing the bay.  Twin room at PHP1,000, Family room costs PHP2,500.  All aircon rooms. ($$)

Spider's Pension
Spider Pension House – looks like a homestay, very Spartan. ($)

Periking and Rico's
Periking and Rico’s – Nice proper hotel with long balcony facing the bay.  Friendly owner.  Cheapest room facing the main street costs PHP2,500, facing the bay at PHP3,000 aircon room inclusive of breakfasts. ($$$$)

Dara Cottages – 4 cottage rooms laid out in a beautiful garden facing the bay.  It fels like you're in a mini jungle, a paradise within the paradise island of El Nido.

Entalula – Nice hotel, room cost PHP2,200 airconditioned rooms, inclusive of breakfast, clean hotel with nice facilities.

Tandikan – my favorite so far.  Clean, simple rooms with toilet showers, friendly and helpful owner, courteous staff, very affordable rates too  at PHP600 for fan rooms, PHP1,200 if you need an aircon.  Duplex family rooms and doubles both have balconies with 180 degree view of Bacuit Bay. ($)

Rossana’s – Beautiful property, rooms on the second level are really nice with balcony overlooking the bay.  Very clean rooms, nice big beds, friendly owner and staff.  Costs about PHP1,800 inclusive of breakfasts.  Aircon rooms, lovely balcony.

El Nido Beach Hotel
El Nido Beach Hotel – this is big two-story hotel, located a bit at the end of the bay.  Nice breakfast.  All aircon rooms at PHP3,000 for the cheapest one facing the street, PHP3,600 lower level facing the ocean and PHP4,000 on the second level sea view also. ($$$$)

El Nido Garden Hotel
El Nido Garden Hotel – not to be mistaken with its neighbor El Nido Beach Hotel.  Another     big proper hotel with swimming pool and nice landscaped ground.  

There are several others right near the port, many budget ones costing from PHP500 to 800.  Staying at the other side of the street isn't bad also as the beach is just a minute cross away or less, just without the bay view, except for those 3 storey buildings which has a balcony on the third.

If you need any assistance in making an advance reservation or arrange a discount at any of the above hotels or a package deal that includes airport pick-up at Puerto Princesa City direct to your hotel in El Nido plus the island hopping boat tours of your choice, you may email Jim or call 09275056282.  Especially if you want to stay in a nice but budget-friendly beach-front accommodation.



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