A complete transportation guide to reaching El Nido

A gateway to the popular Bacuit Bay, El Nido acts as an important hub to explore the smaller islands in this region. However, getting to El Nido has not always been that simple. Even until a few years back, if you wanted to travel to El Nido, you would first have to fly from Manila to Puerto Princesa on Palawan island and then take a bus or minivan to El Nido

There’s technically nothing stopping you from doing that even now, but what if you are not in Manila, but in other cities like Cebu or another island like Boracay? Or, you may be starting from Manila, but prefer lesser travel time. This transportation guide to El Nido will help you do just that minus all the fuss!

Traveling from Manila to El Nido

The biggest and busiest city in the Philippines, Manila now has direct connectivity to El Nido, something that was once not possible. You can now take a direct flight from Manila to El Nido run by Airswift, which takes only 1-1.5 hours to cover the distance. Albeit a little pricey, a one-way flight ticket on this route costs US $208 per person.

©Dan Lundberg/Flickr

Having said that, this direct flight does save you a ton of time and a considerable amount of money that you would have otherwise have spent flying to Puerto Princesa and then taking the road to reach El Nido. If El Nido is your final destination and you want to spend as much time as possible exploring it, we highly recommend you consider flying there directly.

Traveling from Coron to El Nido

Lying to the north of El Nido, Coron occupies a part of Busuanga island and also includes an independent island, typically referred to as Coron island. Given its close proximity, Coron makes for a great base to travel to El Nido quickly.

©Queenie Gumiran

The most popular way to travel from Coron to El Nido is by ferry – either a high speed ferry or a regular tourist ferry. While the former take 3.5 hours, the latter takes a little more than 4 hours to cover the distance between these two popular destinations in the Philippines. With prices starting at US $74 per person for a one-way journey, the ferry is an economical mode of transportation on this route.

More recently, Coron and El Nido have also been connected by direct flights run by AirSwift that complete the journey in just 25 minutes. Flights run on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday and cost US $132 per person – worth the convenience that comes with flying and cutting travel time by more than half!

Traveling from Boracay to El Nido

Undoubtedly one of the most famous islands in the Philippines, Boracay lies to the east of El Nido, a distance of about 290 Km separating the two islands. Until recently, there was no way to travel from Boracay to El Nido directly. The only route connecting them was via Caticlan and Coron, which involved hopping multiple islands and changing transportation. A massive waste of time and effort to say the least.

©Fabio Achilli/Flickr

Now, there’s a much easier way to travel between these two important tourist hubs in the Philippines – a direct flight run by AirSwift for US $169 per person. A journey lasting a little more than an hour, this direct connection between Boracay and El Nido is a game changer for anyone planning to explore islands in this region. Fly just like you would on a regular commercial flight with your luggage, and make the most of the unique landscape of the Philippines.

Traveling from Cebu to El Nido

Cebu is another major island in the Philippines from where you can now directly travel to El Nido, without having to go all the way back to Manila to catch a connecting flight. The only direct way to travel from Cebu to El Nido at the moment is by air, with AirSwift’s one and half hour long flight. Since there is no other mode of transportation available on this route, the price is slightly steep at US $235 per person.

©Fabio Achilli/Flickr

Having said that, think of all the time and money you’ll be saving by avoiding a roundabout way to travel on this route and hopping on a direct flight instead! Take this opportunity to fly across Sulu Sea and get a stunning bird’s eye view of this part of the Filipine archipelago.

Even a few years back, getting to El Nido would have been quite a task, with limited connectivity to other parts of the country. But with domestic carries like AirSwift coming into play, accessibility to El Nido is not a big deal any more. You don’t necessarily have to start your journey from Manila any longer, allowing you to free up more time in your itinerary and spend them exactly where and how you want to – in El Nido, hopping across beautiful islets and soaking in the warm sun!

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