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Hiking in El Nido, Palawan

Fun for Landlubbers in Bacuit Bay, Palawan, Philippines

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Bulalacao Falls, El Nido, Palawan, Philippines

Bulalacao Falls, El Nido, Palawan, Philippines

Image © Shubert Ciencia/Creative Commons

El Nido's limestone outcroppings hide many spots of interest criss-crossed by hiking trails. These trails are rough and dusty (muddy in rainy season) - however, half the fun in El Nido hiking is the wildlife and magnificent views you'll encounter along the way.

Hike guides can be arranged through your hotel or pension house - most El Nido accommodations have arrangements with outside providers, or have guest coordinators who know these trails themselves.

You can also arrange for hiking guides through the El Nido Tour Guide Association, which holds office at the El Nido Boutique & Artcafe in El Nido Town. The Association's guides are trained and licensed by the Philippine Department of Tourism; hiring them will set you back about PHP 800 per person, inclusive of a packed lunch and tricycle ride to the jump-off point.

El Nido Hiking Tips

  • Bring as much water as you can; convenience stores are few and far between along the trails.
  • Use sun block. During the summer season, the sunlight in El Nido is intense at high noon. Don't hike between the hours of 10am-3pm, if you want to avoid the worst of the heat.
  • Use insect repellent. DEET will keep away the mosquitoes and other biting bugs may swarm you on the trails.
  • Don't light any fires. El Nido is a protected area.

El Nido Hiking Spots

Hike to the top of El Nido cliff to get a great view of the surrounding countryside and Bacuit Bay. The target spot overlooking the town can be reached in about three hours; you'll also need gloves (provided by your guide), good calves and great shoes to make it all the way up the limestone cliff. The trek cannot be undertaken without a hired guide.

Nagkalit-kalit Falls is located about 14km north of El Nido Town. The falls collect into a natural pool that you can swim in at the end of your trek.

To get there, you'll need to make a 25-minute tricycle ride from El Nido Poblacion, then walk an unmarked path to the waterfalls. The hike passes through rice fields and jungle, with some river crossings along the way. Wear beach shoes, sandals, or any footwear that can take a soaking.

Makinit Hot spring is a hot pool of water about 20km north of El Nido town. To get there, you'll need to take a thirty-minute tricycle ride from El Nido town to Barangay Bucana, after which you hike 15 minutes to the spot.

Elli Caves features the remains of a prehistoric settlement, with the ruins of a stone wall and human bones to show for it. Getting there takes about 45 minutes by tricycle to Barangay New Ibajay, then an hour and a half hike from the barangay center.

Bulalacao Falls in Barangay Pasadena is a grueling, two-part trek that first requires you to ride up to 45 minutes on a tricycle to Barangay Pasadeña. Once you arrive, you'll hike for almost two hours down a trail that courses through rice paddies and a thicket of trees before you reach the spot. The trip cannot be undertaken without a guide, and must not be attempted during the rainy season between August and October.

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