El Nido was that place that always seemed to be out of my reach but was also that one place that I always dreamt of going to. I somehow thought that it was quite costly to go there and only recently found out that it was just as easy to go there on a budget.
It was a breeze to find accommodations in the town itself for such a cheap price, with a view of the breathtaking limestone cliffs looming above. It took little effort to walk around the charming yet busy town. I enjoyed the close-knit community and it was noticeable how many foreigners have settled down there with their businesses – living the dream as they say.
There is so much to do in El Nido, so the moment I got there I headed excitedly to the pristine white sand Nacpan Beach, about 45 minutes away from the town, and was instantly struck by its heavenly beauty. I loved that it was virtually untouched and did not have many establishments, save for some rustic beachfront restaurants that served some scrumptious seafood. The strip was lined with coconut trees and the water was expectedly divine.
The first tour I went on was Tour A, highly recommended by people. The waters were spectacularly clear and blue as our boat went from one island to another. We were supposed to stop by Seven Commandos beach first but as it would have been full of tourists we went instead to the adjacent beach called Papaya Beach – and I am glad we diverted, because I was able to see a turtle just by snorkelling a few meters from the shore. What a great way to start the tour. A fabulous lunch was also part of the tour, and of course the stops just got even better. We went to the stunning Big Lagoon with limestone cliffs as a backdrop while the boat sliced through pool-like aquamarine colored waters.
We also kayaked to the Small Lagoon, which had such a tiny opening that we had to lie on our backs on the kayak to get through the hole. We were delightfully treated to dozens of monkeys of all sizes crossing through the rock above that small opening – there were even baby monkeys clutching on to their mothers. As if that wasn’t glorious enough, the moment we saw the Small Lagoon we were awestruck by its beauty. Water was so calm and so blue; we couldn’t stop ourselves from taking a dip in this saltwater swimming pool surrounded by the magnificent limestone cliffs.