A beautiful view from within central El Nido-mobile

How to get from
Cebu to El Nido

Cebu to El Nido Trip Overview

Distance508 km (317.5 miles)
Price range$192-$192
Ride Duration1h 40m
Earliest Departure01:20
Latest Departure03:00

Find up-to-date information on departure times, schedules, and prices so you can easily compare and book your tickets.

Travel Schedule Options from Cebu to El Nido

Taking a flight from Cebu to El Nido

Fastest flight: 1h 40m

Cheapest flight: $192

The fastest: 1h 40m

The cheapest: $192


Bathroom on board

Checked baggage included in ticket price

Return journey available

Ample luggage allowance


Limited departure times

Printed ticket necessary

No other transport options (currently)

Pricey option

No personal pick ups/drop offs




A beautiful view from within central El Nido

About the ride from Cebu to El Nido 

The easiest and most efficient way to get from Cebu to El Nido is to fly. Flying between the islands takes just an hour and 30 minutes although you will need to leave time to arrive before the check in desks open. It's a comfortable, air-conditioned flight on a modern, well-serviced plane.

Flights leave from Cebu to El Nido once a day so you will need to arrive in good time to ensure you don't miss it. Ticket prices per person start from $220. This is quite an expensive travel option by Philippines standards, but it's worth it if you want to arrive fresh and relatively uncreased.

The overall distance from Cebu to El Nido is 508 kilometers (315 miles). You'll be up in the air and down on the ground in no time at all. Air Swift is the airline provider and they're well known for offering a friendly and professional service. Just don't expect food to be included on this trip.

There is another option if you're thinking of traveling from Cebu to El Nido. It's almost the exact opposite to flying, in so much as it takes around four days with quite uncomfortable conditions and potentially a lot of waiting. Especially if you miss any of the intended departure times.

Taking a ferry from Cebu to El Nido is not an easy option. It requires lots of planning. That said, if you're interested in experiencing a lot more of the Philippines at ground and sea level, it could be something to consider. Think of it more as a traveling experience rather than anything else.

Some ferries only run once a week, others won't run at all in low season (June – November). Local bus services aren't always in tune with ferry departures. This is not a typical tourist route. You won't find a tour guide or overnight bus journeys with a TV onboard and lots of fellow travelers.


What to see when traveling from Cebu to El Nido

Flying from Cebu to El Nido is the best way to see the Philippines from above. Taking off from Cebu gives you ample opportunities to see how the urban sprawl becomes countryside and coastline. Once you're offshore you'll be presented with endless blue seas dotted with tiny islands and inlets.

The flight into El Nido from Cebu offers a chance to see the layout of the land on the island of Palawan. The north of the island is really rural and don't expect to see half the urban areas that you'll have experienced taking off from Cebu City. 

Cebu City's airport is air-conditioned and quite modern. It's an international airport and a lot larger than what you'll fly into on El Nido. You'll see plenty of other international travelers as well as business commuters flying out of the Philippines or in between the islands.

The flight itself is comfortable and only takes an hour and a half in the air. You'll need to arrive at Macatan-Cebu international airport at least an hour before take off. There are plenty of fast food restaurants, duty free stores and coffee chains where you can rest and get ready before boarding.

Your other travel option between Cebu and El Nido is by local bus and ferry. If you're opting for this mode of transport you will see a lot more of the Philippines. However, it will also take you a lot longer to arrive. 

Starting from Cebu City you'll need to get to Port San Carlos and cross the Tanon Strait to Bacolod by ferry. This journey usually only takes an hour. From here you'll need to take the local bus westwards to Bredco Port. This overland part of the ride takes around four hours. 

From Bredco Port on Bacolod you'll continue heading west but this time on the lengthy ferry crossing to the island of Panay. Keep an eye out for the Guimaras Island that you'll be able to see as you get closer to Lapuz Wharf Iloilo on Bacolod.

Alternatively, there's a 12 hour 30 minute ferry crossing direct from Cebu to Iloilo. This vessel will usually include passenger cabins so you might want to take up this option if you're hoping to get a good night's sleep.

Whichever method of ferry crossing takes you to the island of Bacolod, the next stage brings you out at Puerto Princesa on the island of Palawan. From here you'll need to take a local bus north before you finally complete your overland and sea journey from Cebu to El Nido.

Don't expect to see many outstanding scenes if you're making the ride by bus and ferry because this is not a typically scenic experience. It's more a functional route used by cargo transporters or a more affordable way for local people to get from one island to another.

Most vessels will have an open air seated area on the top deck for sunbathing and there will almost certainly be an air-conditioned area below deck if you fancy cooling off. Cabins should be available on the longer legs of the trip but don't expect much more in the way of entertainment.


How to get to El Nido from Cebu

Flying to El Nido from Cebu

Flying from Cebu to El Nido is the logical way to travel. It takes barely any time to undertake the 508 kilometer (315 mile) distance and you'll arrive feeling refreshed and ready to explore. Air Swift is the recommended service provider if you're wishing to fly from Cebu to El Nido. 

Planes are modern and comfortable and the service is warm and friendly. Ticket prices per person usually start from $220. The flight itself takes around an hour and 30 minutes. Do remember to allow at least an hour at Cebu International Airport prior to checking in.


Taking the ferry/bus to El Nido from Cebu

This is more of an experience than a relaxed way to travel. It's a long and sometimes arduous journey and can take anything up to four days to complete in total. You'll need to do your research and maybe stay for one or two nights on the islands in between Cebu and El Nido.

Traveling by local bus and ferry to El Nido from Cebu is not a typical island hopping adventure. Be prepared for long waits at busy industrial ports and for lengthy ferry rides in between islands. It's an option if you've got time to spare but wouldn't you rather enjoy more time at the beach?

Companies Operating from Cebu to El Nido

Average time

1h 40m

Average price



Popular stations and stops in Cebu and El Nido

Departure stations in Cebu

Lapu Lapu Airport

Arrival stations in El Nido

El Nido Airport

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