You’ll need an airplane when island hopping between Bohol and El Nido. The ride departs from Panglao International airport and lands in El Nido airport after a quick, hour and a half journey. It’s recommended to arive early enough to the airport as check in closes 45 minutes before scheduled departure time.
There are two ways to travel from Bohol to El Nido and that's to fly or to island hop by ferry, and bus. Both modes of transport offer extremely different experiences and are worlds apart in terms of traveling times. Flying is the speedier option but if you're looking to hop on/hop off, take the ferry.
It takes about 90 minutes to fly to El Nido from Bohol, although you are requested to arrive two hours before departure. Flights leave once a day from Panglao International Airport. The economy flight with Air-Swift is the most popular option. Prices per passenger start from around US$217.
Airplanes are air-conditioned, modern and comfortable. There will be a washroom onboard and one item of luggage is included within the price of the flight ticket. No food is included on the flight although there might be some things to purchase when you get on board. You can also bring your own food and drink but check with the airline first before boarding with a full-on picnic.
Taking ferries, and connecting bus rides, from Bohol to El Nido is going to require a whole lot of traveling. Basically, it's a hop on/hop off adventure where you'll take a ferry from Bohol to Cebu before continuing to Panay from Cebu and then Panay to Puerto Princesa in Palawan.
Once you arrive in Palawan you're going to need to make the rest of the trip to El Nido by bus. Buses usually run every hour and ticket prices start from US$13. The distance from Puerto Princesa to El Nido is around 260 kilometers (161 miles) and takes about five and a half hours by road.
It won't always be possible to make a smooth transition as you island hop from Bohol to El Nido. You'd be much better staying for a couple of days on each island before moving on to the next.
If you're flying from Bohol to El Nido it's always a good idea to get as close to the window as possible. The hour and a half flight can be quite scenic with lots of tiny islands juxtaposed against clear blue seas, making picture postcards beneath the cloud cover.
Panglao International Airport on Bohol is pretty modern and you'll find a collection of air-conditioned shops to stroll around and some decent restaurants to pop into before you board. Other than that, it's a case of sitting and waiting for your flight to leave.
If you're traveling between Bohol and El Nido by ferry and bus, you're going to see a whole lot more. This form of travel is how local people commute from island to island. Business travelers will choose to sit in air-conditioned lower decks leaving the tourists to sun tan on open upper decks.
Ferry ports are often busy with water traffic and eager taxi drivers waiting for fares. Keep your wits about you as you travel from one ferry terminal to the next as these are notorious hot spots for tourist scams. Keep your bags close and stick together if you're traveling in a small group. On the whole you'll be fine but it always pays to be careful.
Once your initial ferry ride from Bohol to Cebu gets under way you'll cross the Cebu Strait which takes about an hour. There's not much to see on this stretch of the journey other than sea, sunshine and blue skies.
The second leg of the ferry ride from Bohol to El Nido takes you on a 12 hour adventure from Cebu Pier 1 to Lapuz Wharf Iloilo on Panay. You'll travel along Cebu's east coast and around the northern part of the island before heading around the north of Negros.
This part of the journey takes you over the water where Visayan Sea meets the Guimaras Strait before you finally dock on the island of Panay. The last stretch of the ferry ride takes you from Lapuz Wharf Iloilo to Puerta Princesa on Palawan.
The final ferry ride is another long one (15 hours) and carries you across the Sulu Sea. You'll have plenty of time to sleep in your cabin or watch the waves from the top deck. Bring a pair of binoculars and really make the most of all that time on the waves.
Once you arrive on Palawan you'll be faced with a five and a half hour bus ride north from Puerto Princesa to El Nido. This is the best way to see much more of the island than you'll experience if flying. Expect to see a combination of towns and roadside communities as you journey north along the main highway.
Taking a flight
The flight from Bohol to El Nido takes around an hour and a half. Planes are air-conditioned and comfortable and feature an onboard washroom. There's usually one daily flight with ticket prices starting from US$217. The economy flight with Air-Swift is the most popular option.
If you're pushed for time or you just prefer to travel as quickly as possible then flying to El Nido from Bohol is for you. El Nido even has its own tiny airport so you don't even have to worry about a lengthy overland bus ride when you arrive. You can still meet fellow travelers and you'll also arrive a lot less creased than you would if you'd made the trip by ferry and bus.
Taking ferry and bus
Traveling from Bohol to El Nido by ferry and bus is going to require at least two to three days’ travel. The distance is 509 kilometers (316 miles) and you're going to need to island hop from Bohol to Cebu to Panay to Palawan before finally traveling by bus from Puerto Princesa to El Nido.
This is a real Philippines traveling experience and will require careful planning if you want to make all the connections as seamlessly as possible. For example, there's only one weekly ferry from Panay to Palawan. Your best bet is to enjoy each island for a few days before moving on to the next. In this way you can travel from Bohol to El Nido and really make the most of the adventure.
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