As with Boracay, we knew that El Nido is a tricky place to get to- it wouldn’t really be a holiday destination for us as such. We had to get there on this trip!
We travelled from Boracay island back via boat to Caticlan and then a tricycle to the airport. We then flew on a tiny tiny plane directly to El Nido.
The flights were with Air Swift- the only company that fly directly between the two islands. They were fairly pricey but, as mentioned earlier it really is a once in a lifetime experience so we didn’t mind.
We got to our bed and bunk hotel and checked in to our particularly small double room. It was clean and functional although I will say the front desk staff were downright rude. On more than one occasion when sitting out on the veranda I noticed them texting on their phones and even when a guest came to the reception desk to be served they carried on!! I personally think that the front desk staff leave a lasting impression- they are the first and last people you see, so they should be exceptional in customer service. Or maybe thats just my customer service background? I do however, keep having to remind myself that these are not the same accommodation settings I am used too!
We had just 2 full days in El Nido and after lazing in Boracay for 8 days we were ready to get out and do some activities. On our first night we took a stroll into town (literally a block down from our accommodation) and scouted around to find a tour. We walked past around 15 different places all offering similar tours. We opted for a stand/shop which seemed to be getting a fair few repeat bookings for the next day- I know this because I lingered outside to listen to their conversation! The most common tour on the island is Tour A which comprises of; The 7 Commando beach, Small lagoon, Big lagoon, Secret lagoon and Shimizu island. We paid 2,400 pesos (around £37 for both of us) this included; the boat trip itself, lunch, a towel and snorkels. We thought this was a pretty good deal. Although I have never done any boat trips like this before so I am a bit of a newbie..
We rose VERY early on the day of the boat trip. I say VERY early… It was probably about the same time I used to get up when I was at home but I just haven’t seen that hour for a long time now! We wandered into town to catch the boat. We were met by ladies who were trying their hardest to get me to rent some “water shoes.” Personally I couldn’t think of anything worse than putting on some shoes that had been worn by a different person every day of their life… And they looked pretty rough for it! Needless to say I just decided to brave it without the water shoes and hoped I would be OK. I can report my feet were fine without water shoes! Hooraaah for Havaianas.
The trip was amazing. The beaches were beautiful, white sand, clear waters… You get the picture! The lagoons were even better! My pictures of the lagoons don’t do them justice whatsoever. Our lunch was delicious- they put on a beautiful spread of BBQ’d fish, chicken and pork along with salad, vegetables and fruit.
The biggest thing for me on the boat trip was that Scott taught me how to snorkel. This might sound fairly trivial to many of you but I have had a strange fear of fish for a long time. If you know me well you will have heard the family story about my panic attack in the Caribbean Sea when on a trip to swim with Stingrays.
Swimming isn’t the issue- I actually like swimming and am a confident swimmer. It’s the breathing through a pipe and being able to see everything underneath you that gives me the creeps. But, I got in and got on with it, and actually found that I really enjoyed it. I saw angel fish, Dory’s (don’t know what their real name is) rainbow fish and also a star fish. The star fish was electric blue?! I don’t know about you but I thought star fish were orangey/pink like Patrick on Spongebob. Now obviously being a first time snorkeler I don’t have many photos of what I saw as breathing & not swallowing water was my first priority.
By the end of the trip we were both exhausted after swimming nearly all day long- once I got my sea legs there was no stopping me! We got back to our hotel, had some dinner and then crashed by 9pm!
Our 2nd day was spent at Las Cabanas beach. We were going to do another tour, but they all seemed much the same and I think I had exhausted my swimming abilities for a couple of days on the first tour. Las Cabanas is a beach around a 15 minute trike ride from the main town. We arrived early but obviously not early enough as the only 15 sun beds on the beach were taken! We opted for an old fashioned deck chair instead. We spent the morning reading, chilling out and paddling in the water. After lunch (spaghetti for me and a chorizo burger for Scott, not local dishes but delicious all the same) we took a hike. When I say hike, it wasn’t our intentions to go on a hike in our swimwear and flip flops but that’s what it felt like! We wanted to do the zip-line from one island to the other. We approached the small shack on the beach which had the sign “zip-line here!” The lady on the stall muttered something to the young girls playing on the beach and she said follow the girls. They must have only been between 4 and 6 years old! So we followed the girls for what seemed like an age, up a twisting dirt track until finally we reached the top! The view was incredible as we zip-lined over the sea towards the next island. It was all over very quickly and then we had to swim back to Las Cabanas beach- all in a day’s work!
That was our short stop in El Nido. We then spent 4 days in Cebu in which me and Scott were both poorly so didn’t even manage to escape the room on 1 of the days. The rest of the time in Cebu was spent chilling by the pool and planning our next few stops. So I won’t be writing a blog post about our time there!
Next blog post- Singapore!!