How To Get To El Nido, Palawan In The Philippines

El Nido, Palawan is a pristine, exotic island destination in the Philippines that can be reached by air, van, bus, or ferry.

It’s not hard to get there, but there are a bunch of different options so the process can be a bit confusing. There are also some old pages floating around out there with conflicting or outdated info.

Hopefully this post clears some things up about how to get to El Nido!

My woman on a boat at Cadlao Island in El Nido, Palawan, Philippines
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Direct Flights

The easiest, fastest, and most expensive (but recommended) way to get to El Nido is one of the direct flights sold by AirSWIFT.

AirSWIFT is a boutique airline that owns and runs the El Nido airport (ENI) as a private airport, so it’s the only airline company you can fly with to get there.

It’s a bit strange how that works, and the monopoly does drive up the prices, but in this case at least it simplifies things!

(Tip: Sit on the left side of the plane if you want the best island views when flying in from Manila!)

The El Nido airport (ENI) is not served internationally, so this means you will need to fly there from one of the following domestic airports in the Philippines:

The El Nido airport, also called Lio Airport, is located just 2.5 miles (4 km) from El Nido town, and the drive from the airport to town takes about 20 minutes.

When you arrive at the airport, there will be motor tricycle drivers waiting to transfer you to town, or your hotel can arrange a pickup for you if you ask them.

Plane at the Lio airport in El Nido, Palawan, Philippines
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Boats and footprints at Helicopter Island beach in El Nido, Palawan, Philippines
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Beach in El Nido, Palawan, Philippines
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Van From Puerto Princesa

The second way to reach El Nido is by taking a van from Puerto Princesa. This is one of the most popular ways to go.

You can reach the Puerto Princesa Airport (PPS) by taking a flight from Manila (MNL) or Cebu (CEB).

Vans are waiting at the PPS airport and go daily to EN, or some companies can arrange to pick you up at a hotel in PPS.

From Puerto Princesa, the drive north covers about 170 miles (270 km). The trip takes 5-6 hours by van and costs 875 PHP (~$17) per person.

Bus From Puerto Princesa

The third option to get to El Nido is to take a bus from Puerto Princesa.

As above, you can reach the Puerto Princesa International Airport (PPS) by taking a flight from Manila (MNL) or Cebu (CEB).

From the PPS airport, the bus terminal is 2.5 miles (4 km) away, so you will need to pay a tricycle driver to transfer you there.

The two bus companies are Cherry Bus and RoRo Bus. The bus drive from Puerto Princesa to EN takes 6-8 hours, and costs 500 PHP (~$10 USD) per person.

Beach hammock in El Nido, Palawan, Philippines
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Travel guy relaxing on a beach in El Nido, Palawan, Philippines
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Coron Ferry Boat

You may want to visit both Coron and El Nido on the same trip, in which case taking a ferry to El Nido from Coron can make sense.

There are two companies running a ferry route between Coron and El Nido — Phimal Fast Ferry and Montenegro Shipping Lines — and you can book tickets for the latter at Biyaheroes.com.

The price for either company is about 1,800 Pesos ($35 USD) and the journey from/to Coron takes 3-4 hours.

You can also take a slow ferry from Manila, but that journey takes almost 2 full days, depending on the weather and sea conditions. Not recommended unless you’re desperate!

More Palawan Travel Tips

I hope this was helpful for planning your own El Nido trip. Looking for more information on Palawan island in the Philippines?

Don’t forget to check out my full El Nido Travel Guide with free tips, photos, and more!

Drone view of Cadlao Island in El Nido, Palawan, Philippines
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Drone view of Entalula Beach and boats in El Nido, Palawan, Philippines
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Beach at Pinagbuyutan Island in El Nido, Palawan, Philippines
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See Also