Often voted as one the ‘best islands in the world’ the white-sand beaches and coral reefs that make up Palawan and the surrounding islands, will have you thinking you’ve died and gone to SUP-heaven. And, with plenty of dive sites dotted around the lagoons too, you can soak up the beautiful surroundings from both above, and below the water.
El Nido is a Philippine municipality on the island of Palawan and is known as the gateway to the Bacuit archipelago, a simply stunning group of islands with steep karst cliffs that make a perfect place for paddling around the hidden coves on your paddle board.
Each island offers something special. The Miniloc Island is famed for the clear waters that fill its beautiful blue lagoons, nearby Shimizu Island offers calm, fish-filled waters and the Dilumacad Island has scuba and free divers lining up to take-on ‘The Tunnel’, a 40m long, underwater cavern.
El Nido is a great SUP location no matter what your paddling ability. There are sheltered lagoons with flat and clear waters which are perfect for beginners looking to improve their technique or just paddle and explore hidden coves with ease.
The bays around El Nido are well well-looked-after. Motorized vehicles are restricted here, which preserves the crystal clear, calm waters and there are no limitations to paddle boarding Palawan – just keep your leash and your lifejackets with you, paddle out and explore this dream SUP location till your hearts content.
The sheltered lagoons also make a perfect location for yoga on your paddle board. Stretch your mind and body and embrace the true beauty of these islands and try some SUP Yoga at sunrise. Be sure to pack an Activ yoga stand up paddle board for this trip, as we promise you’ll love seeking out those perfect nooks and lagoons to relax and improve your practice.
- .There are regular flights running to Puerto Princesa Airport in Central Palawan. You can fly directly from Manila and Cebu (via Cebu Pacific) or with local and international carriers such as PAL express or AirAsia.
- .El Nido is located 220 kilometers from Puerto Princesa Airport – so depending on your preference, there are number of ways to get there:
- .VAN: Travelling by van from Puerto Princesa to El Nido takes approximately 5 to 6 hours. There are a lot of companies that leave daily from the airport and you can buy a ticket on arrival at the terminal.
- .CAR OR MOTORBIKE RENTAL: If you’d rather travel at your own pace, then make a road trip out of the journey. This is a fantastic way to explore the Northern part of Palawan. You can easily hire a car or motorbike from the venders located at the airport.
- .BUS: A cheaper option is hoping on a local bus which runs the Puerto Princesa - El Nido route every day. This is a good way to share your trip and you might get some helpful tips from the locals.
- .BOAT: There are few ways of traveling from Coron – El Nido by boat which are operated every by several big outrigger boats and fast crafts. The comfiest way to get to El Nido is with Montenegro Lines which leave daily from El Nido at 6am. The travel time is around 4 hours.
Most resorts are accessed by boat only.
Launch at the water’s edge from your resort.
If you want to take your time and make the trip more Filipino, then hop on one of the large Banca boats. Sporting a thin central hull and two outrigger poles, Banca’s are designed to make islands hopping a breeze, getting close to the island banks which grow and recede with the tides. Banca shuttles are more weather dependent, so cancellations are quite common on this main route.
EAT, SLEEP, SUP
The resorts of EL Nido exercise a strong commitment to sustainability with an aim to preserve its flourishing and diverse environment. Many of the resorts are accesses only by boat so make perfect launch points for paddle boarding.
El Nido town has a great range of restaurants and bars which are open into the night and the locals will be happy to offer their recommendations.
El Nido Cove beach front accommodation with a stunning beach-view pool, light and airy rooms with surrounding gardens, a perfect spot to relax and unwind after a long day paddling.
The El Nido resort of Miniloc Island offers eco-friendly, back to basics accommodation, with rooms furnished with traditional Filipino materials. This is the perfect gateway to explore the large and small lagoons, you can easily launch your paddle board from the resort and explore.
Things to know
- As with most places in the tropics, watch out for jellyfish and sea urchins, both of which are incredibly painful to touch. Be aware of Triggerfish and Firefish, they have been known to bite or sting but don’t let that put you off enjoying the water. It is also worth keeping an eye out for rocks lining the edge of some of the lagoons. If you have any concerns make sure you speak to the local tourist information before you head out.