PalawanJune 16, 2017 on the Philippines
Direct flight ✈️ to El Nido from Caticlan was so easy and stress free, air swift even provided a free lunch which included a brownie. You fly in right over the ocean and practically land on the beach, it's a tiny place and I heard up until recently you used to collect bags from under a palm tree 😂 now it's just a guy handing them out from a van. We found our air bnb and headed out to get some food and explore El Nido. It's a very dramatic setting, huge black limestone cliffs are to the west of town and everything seems squashed on to the beach front and surrounding streets. We found some very decent spots to eat though, first night a vegetarian place that did amazing falafels and humous. I was surprised I managed to get Bailey in here and sure enough he didn't like his meal and we had to swop 🙄
The next day we took a trike to ? waterfall, our guide Bong showed the way for the half hour sweaty trek and well deserved swim afterwards. Next up Napcan beach, we just missed a downpour and to be honest neither of us were very impressed when we arrived. This is the beach every trike driver wants to take you too mainly cos it's miles away (30/40 minutes from town). The shore line was full of little jellyfish so no chance of a swim, we attempted to go in some water on the opposite side of the bay but it was filthy. Feeling disappointed we decided to get some lunch and ask to go to Las Cabanas Beach a little earlier than planned. Las Cabanas was 👌🏻 we made it for an amazing sunset and had a couple of drinks in the little bars. We went to a place called La Traverse for pizza and pasta that evening and it was unreal, so good in fact that it's where we ate for the next 3 nights 🙊 creatures of habit!
So up until now I'm loving El Nido but then El Nido decides to not love me by ravaging me with sand fly bites 😭 I wake up at 1am clawing my legs off and have upwards of 75 bites on legs, arms and back! We visit the chemist before going on boat tour Z. Genera consensus is its sand fly bites from Napcan and I start to notice lots of other people with bites, white patches of calamine lotion (the only thing to soothe the itch) and plasters! Tour Z offers alternative locations to the usual boat tours, kayaks, SUPs, on board massages and giant inflatable unicorns. It was a small group of us on board but we had lots of fun, even stopping on a sandbar to play a game of volleyball. We saw the most stunning sunset from the boat, the colours were like nothing I've seen before.
Unfortunately it was back to another night of sand bite hell and I had to return to the chemist demanding anything they had! We moved to spin "designer" hostel for our first hostel experience of the trip. The place has a really cool design, lots of open spaces with sofas and chill out spaces. We were sharing with two older American guys, I felt it was now my duty to warn everyone about Napcan so made sure they took plenty of protection.
We joined a combination boat tour of A/C the next day, the most popular stops for tourists in El Nido. We were on the boat with another couple which was good as not too busy and people delaying the boat moving on when we were ready. I was very cautious about going on the beach, Bailey described it as getting back in the water after a shark attack. All was soon forgotten though and we were snorkelling and enjoying our BBQ lunch 😊 kayaking in the small lagoon was definitely a highlight. The boat tour routes are very busy though lots of bangka boats jostling for the best spot, and we weren't even in El Nido in peak season!
Not many places in El Nido had a pool available and with my bites still causing trouble we decided to go down to Puerto Princessa and enjoy the last couple of days at a nice hotel away from the beach.
Puerto Princessa had a couple of nice places to eat and bars to drink in, La Terasse and Hibiscus were favourites. There was a summer festival on while we were there so we watched lots of live music and visited food stalls at the main municipal building.Read more