How to El Nido on a less than 7k budget (4D4N)

Have you heard about the most beautiful island in the world? What comes into your mind when you were asked about Palawan? Coron, Balabac island, Puerto Princesa and El Nido. Last September 2016, I had a chance to go to one of those places. I went to the beautiful place of El Nido, Palawan. Pretty intimidating right? You’ll ask yourself… Will a broke traveler like me be able to go there without hurting my humble wallet? Well, good news! I did! Without taking the fun out of the itinerary.

El Nido on a Budget

Palawan who is considered by some of the most elite Travel Magazines like Conde Nast Traveler, National Geographic Traveler and Travel and Leisure magazine, as the most beautiful island in the world. It would be a shame if you’ll not be able to visit such treasure in our country, right? So what’s keeping you from going here? Money? Well, here’s my way of El Nido without tattering my hungry wallet.

Corong corong beach El Nido after storm broke travelers
Corong Corong Beach
I’m sure, the question in your mind now is… to get a Tour Package or not?

Guess what, this time I would recommend not to get a Tour Package. Now, why? Because the people there are very nice and if you ask them, they will say where you should go next. El Nido is a very small town, you can go anywhere by foot or by a tricycle.

Marimegmeg Beach El Nido broketravelers
Marimegmeg Beach
How To get there?

Via Air:

Airswift – It would usually cost you around Php 5,000.00 (one way), it’s a direct flight from Manila to El Nido Airport. Then you could ride a tricycle from the airport to the main town.

Cebu Pacific (Our option) – We got a Promo fare, so it’s less than Php 1,000 for our round trip tickets. The flight would be from Manila to Puerto Princessa. Then, either get a tricycle or at the exit of the airport (Php 100.00), you may also take a multicab to Robinsons Place Palawan (Php 8.00) , then ride a jeep to San Jose Terminal (Php 8.00).

From San Jose Terminal, you may haggle with the price of the van going to El Nido. (Php 400 to 450). You may opt to ride a Cherry bus, which is cheaper when you get an ordinary ride (non-air conditioned). Please visit this link for their schedule. (

Travel Time:
Van to El Nido 6-7 hours
Bus to El Nido 7-8 hours

Island Front II Dining Sunset view broketravelers
Island Front II Dining Sunset view
Where to stay?

There are a lot of cheap places to stay there, I would suggest to look at travel sites like we did, we booked an air-conditioned room for two (2) at Leonides Budget Hotel (but was upgraded to a better room near the sea at Island Front Cottage) Expedia.

There are budget hotels and dormitories there near Corong-Corong beach or beside Calle Hama.

Tip: Always get a hotel with breakfast included. Because food is quite expensive there.

Jeepney ride from Robinsons Place Palawan to san Jose Bus Station

Mode of Transportation:


Corong-Corong beach to Main town – Php 15.00 (per head)
Las Cabanas – Main Town – Php 100.00 (Special)
Nacpan to Main Town (Whole day) – Php 1000

Tip: If within main town, walk and enjoy! You’ll meet locals that would teach you about things and the real prices, when commuting. Make sure that your ride is not overpriced.

La Paz Batchoy El Nido Broke travelers Cheap food
La Paz Batchoy
Cheap Eats!!!

El Nido is famous for having expensive “restaurants” (Even the Karendirya is quite expensive). So the people would usually have their packed lunch at work to avoid spending too much on food.

Cheap eats in El nido Broketravelers

Here’s a cheap place to eat! IBR Restaurant!

I would recommend a good place in front of Sava Beach bar, IBR Restaurant, along Calle Hama. Beside the convenient store, you’ll find a good cheap place who offers a very delicious La Paz Batchoy at less than Php 100.00. (24 hours store)

Seafood pasta art cafe broke travelers
Seafood Pasta of Art Cafe

Best Time to go there?

The weather was really bad when we were there, but it didn’t stop us! We were walking on the streets with no umbrellas. I say don’t let the weather stop you when you’re travelling. (Unless you’re going to the open sea)

The people there would recommend January and November. The sea is calm during these months, not much sun, you can enjoy the beach the whole day, without burning your skin.

Peak months are during Summer time. (What a surprise!)

Underwater sea El Nido broketravelers

Itinerary for 4D4N in El Nido:

Day 0:
12:00 PM Departure from Manila
01:30 PM Arrival PPS International Airport
02:00 PM Robinsons Place Palawan Buying of Snacks
02:30 PM Lunch
03:30 PM Jeep to San Jose Terminal
04:30 PM Departure of Van from San Jose Terminal (Long WAIT)
10:45 PM Arrival EL NIDO! Check in to Hotel
11:00 PM Green Tea Loving the breeze
12:00 AM Lights out

Day 1:
06:30 AM Preparation for Tour C
07:00 AM Breakfast
09:00 AM Start of Tour

Note: We didn’t get to Secret Beach cause of the weather

05:30 PM End of Tour
06:00 PM Wash up
08:00 PM Dinner at Marbers (More of a Snack with Red Horse)

Day 2:
07:00 AM Breakfast
10:00 AM Beach walk (loving the view)
11:00 AM Early Lunch at Art Cafe
01:00 PM Bought Souvenirs
02:00 PM Walk along Calle Hama
04:00 PM Las Cabanas (Marimegmeg Beach is the best!!!!)
08:00 PM Dinner at Beach Shack (Marimegmeg Beach)
09:00 PM Went back to the hotel (Always bring flash light cause the walkway is really dark)
10:00 PM Walk at the Shore of Corong-Corong Beach

We did change our minds on going on Island hopping, cause we’re here in El Nido for the Beach!

Day 3:
07:00 AM Breakfast
12:00 PM Lunch
11:00 AM Las Cabanas (Marimegmeg Beach is the best!!!! AND FREE!!)
06:00 PM Went home (Always bring flash light cause the walkway is really dark)
10:00 PM Pukka bar ohhhhh got Drunk
02:00 AM Got Dinner (cause we’re drunk)

Day 4:
03:00 AM Wake up call
04:00 AM Check out
05:00 AM Goodbyes to El Nido (Van to PPS)
12:00 PM Arrival PPS International Airport
02:00 PM departure to PPS International Airport
03:30 PM Arrival Terminal 3

Rock Formations El Nido broketravelers

Airplane Cebu Pacific ———- Php 587.00 (RT) pax
Van from PPS to El Nido ——– Php 450.00 pax
Hotel ————————– Php 1800.00 pax (4D4N)
Food ————————— Php 1500.00 pax (5D4N)
Tour C (inclusive of env fee) — Php 1200.00 pax
Van from El Nido to Airport —- Php 500.00 pax
Terminal Fee ——————- Php 200.00 pax
Total: —————– Php 6237.00 pax

If you add another Tour, make sure you do tell them that you have paid for the environmental fee that is included already on your first Tour. Environmental fee is good for 3 days of stay there in El Nido. Make sure you keep and ask for a receipt all the time.

Have you been to El Nido? How was your stay there? Let us know by writing us a comment below.


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