A beautiful view from within central Cebu

How to get from

El Nido to Cebu

  • Book online with local operators
  • We're here for you 24/7
  • Stories by travelers, for travelers

1 way to get from El Nido to Cebu

Taking a Flight from El Nido to Cebu
Know before you go

Air travel from El Nido to Cebu is a crazy comfortable option to chose. The plane cabins are always well air conditioned. This is a pretty short journey but that doesn’t mean that you’ll be provided any less amenities. The plane departs from the El Nido airport and lands in the Cebu International airport.

  • Pros
    • Bathroom on board
    • Checked baggage included in ticket price
    • Return journey available
    • Ample luggage allowance
  • Cons
    • Limited departure times
    • Printed ticket necessary
    • No other transport options (currently)
    • Pricey option
    • No personal pick ups/drop offs
Most popular rides

About the ride from El Nido to Cebu 

There are two ways to ride from El Nido to Cebu. One is very easy and only takes an hour and 30 minutes, the other is incredibly convoluted and can take anything up to four days. 

Flying from El Nido to Cebu is by far in a way the easiest option. Covering the 508 kilometer (315 mile) distance by air means that you can be up and down in no time at all. Plane companies, such as Air Swift, offer a modern and comfortable service with return journeys also available.

At the moment there's just one flight leaving from El Nido to Cebu each day. You will also need to factor in at least an hour before departure time. The airport is small and safe with one or two places to buy drinks and food. Don't expect food to be served on the flight as part of the service.

Taking a bus and ferry from El Nido to Cebu is, of course, going to take much longer than a flight. However, if you've got time to spare, this is by far the more memorable traveling experience. For better or for worse. It's all about island hopping and spending a night or two on each island.

You basically have to research ferry and bus departure times in advance. Some ferries won't be running in low season which is from June to November. Flights, on the other hand, generally run non-stop throughout the year. 

Buses will usually be for local people and not laid on specifically for traveling tourists. This means that they might not coincide with ferry departures. They'll usually be air-conditioned but they won't necessarily be as comfortable as more tourist-friendly options. Don't expect a tour guide.

Tickets for the flights from El Nido to Cebu start from $220. Although this might seem expensive by Philippines standards, it will be more affordable than an overland alternative where you'll be paying for traveling costs, food and accommodation.


What to see when traveling from El Nido to Cebu

When flying from El Nido to Cebu you're going to be in the air for just under two hours. The airport is air-conditioned and provides a comfortable place to sit and watch the world wander by before the flight desks open. Grab a coffee and prepare for take off.

Flying out of El Nido might give you the chance to see a scattering of tiny islands as you cross the Sulu Sea. You'll probably fly over the islands of Panay and Bacolod, too, as well as the straits of Guimaras and Tanon. Don't expect to see too much of interest unless it's a clear day.

Coming into land at Cebu can be interesting as you descend below the clouds. Cebu City is quite large and flying gives you a great view of the coast and countryside before you head down over the urban area surrounding the airport.

If you're traveling from El Nido to Cebu by local bus and ferry you're going to see a whole lot more. The trip itself requires you to head south overland from El Nido to Puerto Princesa. This is the best way to see the island of Palawan at ground level.

The ferry ride from Palawan to Panay is a long one (15 hours) and there's only one car ferry that leaves once a week. Your best bet is to book a cabin and get some sleep. There won't be much to see other than sea but you might be able to catch some sleep or some rays.

Continuing your journey from El Nido to Cebu will find you arriving at the Lapuz Wharf Iloilo on Panay and transferring to the port bound for Bacolod. Iloilo is a very busy city and most travelers tend to stay at the port and wait for the next ferry rather than heading into town to explore.

Once you're on board the ferry from Panay to Bacolod you'll pass by Guimaras Island before finally docking at Bacolod City ferry port. Again, there won't be too much to see on the journey until you pull into port. Grab a seat on the top deck for sunbathing, if you can or use the time to sleep below decks in a cabin or in one of the air-conditioned seating areas. 

The final leg of the ride from El Nido to Cebu takes you across the Tanon Strait by ferry. You will first, however, need to travel overland from Bredco Port to Port of San Carlos before making the hour-long ferry crossing to Cebu.

All of the ferry ports and bus terminals that you'll encounter when traveling from El Nido to Cebu give you a much more honest perspective of the Philippines. You'll see real life and maybe meet a few unforgettable characters along the way.


How to get to Cebu from El Nido

Flying to Cebu from El Nido

If you need to get from El Nido to Cebu in the quickest time possible then flying is your best option. The distance between the two cities by air is 508 kilometers (315 miles). You'll be flying for around an hour and a half before the plane starts its descent.

Air Swift offers an excellent daily service to Cebu from El Nido. Planes are air-conditioned, modern and comfortable. It is the most expensive option but if you've not got time to spare, it's the most efficient way to see more than one island in the Philippines.


Taking a ferry/bus to Cebu from El Nido

Traveling by local bus and ferry from El Nido to Cebu is not something to be taken lightly. This is not on the typical tourist island hopping agenda. Some ferries only run once a week and also take a very long time to cross from one island to the next.

You'll need to plan your journey carefully and take into consideration where, and for how long, you might want to stop over in between your travels. The ports are often very industrial looking and not the most desirable places to stay. It can be done but think to yourself, is it worth the hassle?

Let El Nido and Cebu inspire you

A complete transportation guide to reaching El Nido

Skip the layovers and flight hopping to find your way to El Nido from all around the Philippines with this complete transportation guide.

Read more

6 essentials to pack for a long bus ride

Not sure what to pack for the long bus ride you have coming up? Here`s with a short list of things you can`t forget to take with you.

Read more

How to fly more sustainably

Air travel remains the most polluting form of transport, but we know that it can`t always be avoided. Learn what to consider when it`s your only option.

Read more

Your questions, our answers

Bookaway's customers prefer Economy flight by Air-Swift

Economy flight by Air-Swift starting at US$116

510 Km (Air)