The Ultimate Palawan Backpacking Bucket List

When we say El Nido, first thing on our mind is an extravagant vacation. This region, on the island of Palawan in the Philippines, is most often associated with luxurious hotels, private Island tours, fancy resorts, and exquisite fine dining experience. Partly true, on some level, but not entirely accurate at all.

Though El Nido is a popular island destination for well-off tourists, it doesn’t mean that this island paradise closes its doors for those traveling on a tight budget. You can still enjoy the wonders of Palawan without straining your pockets and leave happy and satisfied.

Want to know how? Here is a list of things you SHOULD do to make the most of your backpacking adventure in El Nido, Palawan.

1. Kayak at the Lagoons

A photo posted by Brian Tan (@br1ant4n) on

One of the most popular adventures in El Nido is the kayaking trip to the Big and Small Lagoons. The captivating scenery of the place is a perfect location for boat rides along the Miniloc Island of El Nido. Impressive limestone karsts, mesmerizing waters, and peaceful surroundings: the place is a slice of heaven on earth. And if you wish to freshen up, you will always have the clean waters to enjoy.

2. Climb Mt. Taraw

Taraw Cliff in El Nido is a summit for the brave. This staggering limestone monolith is one of El Nido’s highest peaks and is every adrenaline junkies’ heaven. Climbing the million-year-old peak has been a sought-after adventure for climbing enthusiasts (and for first time climbers as well). The view from the top grants a breathtaking vista of the quiet town of El Nido. It might be a challenge to take, but the reward is absolutely worth it.

3. Sip Tropical Drinks in Nacpan

Nacpan Beach is a long stretch of fine caramel sand, hemmed in by crystal-clear waters, and surrounded by shade-giving coconut trees. The place is known for its beautiful island setting that gives off that vibe of genuine serenity. Its wide coastline allows you to experience the tropics at it’s finest.

Recline on the beach with your drinks! Or have a splash in the water! Whatever you wish to do, Nacpan Beach will surely grant you the comfort and excitement of an island retreat.

4. Swing by The Twin Beaches

A photo posted by Angelica Gapit ✈ Wanderer (@thelifeofangelica) on

Just when you thought you’re having the best time of your life in Nacpan Beach, wait until you meet its twin! Just a few minutes of hiking will give you the amazing view of its twin sister, Calitang. These long and wide beaches of El Nido, their uniqueness, and the abundance of tranquility they offer makes them great destinations. The raw but serene atmosphere highlights the unspoiled beauty of Palawan.

5. Explore Simizu Island

A photo posted by mæ (@ricamae123) on

Though there are numerous islands to choose from in El Nido, heading to Simizu Island will do you great. The place is like a sight ripped off from tropic-vacation-themed movies. 

The island is wrapped around by white sand and turquoise waters so inviting you can’t help but take a dip! The towering karsts surrounding the island make the place even more phenomenal to look at. Never miss a snorkeling adventure in this place -- the water is so clear that exploring its underwater scene is effortless.

6. Ride on Rugged Road Trips

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Rough-riding in El Nido is one of the most exciting, non-water-related, adventure you can do in the island. It is ideal to have a tour around the area and discover the interesting nooks and corners of the island. Rent some motorbikes and cruise over the jagged terrain of El Nido. And, if you do wish to take a break in your land excursion, there is always a cozy spot in the shade nearby where you can put your feet up.

7. Come Alive at Night

A photo posted by Pablo (@cassius_bcn) on

Just because the sun’s gone down doesn’t mean you’re shutting off for the day too. El Nido comes alive after the sun bids goodbye, and you, my friend, will enjoy the night scene of the island. Music bars and grills are popular night spots in El Nido where local artists perform. Find a spot and enjoy the melody, the food, and the entertaining atmosphere of the night.

A trip to El Nido, Palawan does not have to be expensive to be enjoyable. All it really takes to get most of it is to be creative and have fun. Learn the best deals and the top places to go to without the hefty price attached. Make your backpacking adventure to Palawan one for the books!

About the writer:

Carmela Alvarez is an editor/customer service representative of 'Let's Palawan'. She's a 20-something bubbly and adventurous female who loves to take selfies.  Her aim is to share her travel experience and inspire fellow travelers.

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  1. Haaay...Wishing I could go there right now. Ugh! Maybe next year. :D
    Thanks for this list.


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