Puerto Princesa or El Nido

Is Puerto Princesa or El Nido Philippines Better?

Puerto Princesa or El Nido are located on opposite parts of the amazing island of Palawan in the Philippines. They both have amazing beaches, decent nightlife, neighboring islands and you will some decent food.

The city of Puerto Princesa has its own airport. And has accommodation that suits all budgets as well as good restaurants and several shopping malls.

On the other hand, EL Nido is nowhere near as developed as Puerto Princesa. It does have its own airport but it is small with only a couple of daily flights.

Even though it is developing it is popular for its white-sand beaches, coral reefs, and good restaurants.

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Is Puerto Princesa or El Nido Better?

Puerto Princesa and El Nido are both great places to visit for a variety of reasons. El Nido is a small region that is growing rapidly and Puerto Princesa is also developed with shops and restaurants.

We will try to make it easier for you do compare Puerto Princesa or El Nido in terms of there things to do in each place, accommodation, and any other factors that would have an impact on your visit.

Lets compare Puerto Princesa and El Nido!

How Far is El Nido To Puerto Princesa?

The distance between El Nido from Puerto Princesa is 260km.

Getting To El Nido or Puerto Princesa

To get to either El Nido or Puerto Princesa, you firstly need to get to Palawan. There are 2 options to get to which are.

  • Ferry
  • Plane

By Ferry

From Manila for Puerto Princesa. The Super ferry from Manila to Puerto Princesa every Friday and back to Manila every Sunday.

It can take between 17 to 22 hours from Manila and that includes a stopover at Coron.

By Plane

There is an airport in Puerto Princesa. There are direct flights from Cebu, Manila, and Busuanga to Puerto Princesa. The main airlines that go to Puerto Princesa are.

  • Air Philippines
  • Cebu Pacific
  • Philippine Airlines
  • Southeast Asian Airlines

If you fly into Puerto Princesa, El Nido is much more accessible since you can get there on a bus to El Nido.

There is an airport in El Nido Airport. There are direct flights from Busuanga to El Nido Airport provided by AirSWIFT but flights do not go every day.

El Nido in Palawan Philippines
Beach in El Nido

Places To Stay in El Nido And Puerto Princesa

El Nido and Puerto Princesa both have a good supply of guest houses, hostels, and hotels. Here are a few places to give you an idea of what is available if you are planning to either one.

Remember to check the reviews and book a place that suits your interests while traveling.

El Nido Accommodation

El Nido has a good variety of guest houses, hostels, and hotels. There are over 220 properties in El Nido with prices starting from $14 a night.

Cadlao Resort and Restaurant

Cadlao Resort and Restaurant
Cadlao Resort and Restaurant

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Rating 8.1, Prices start from $213 for a bungalow


Cadlao Resort has an outdoor pool overlooking the beach with standalone bungalows with balconies and free WiFi.

The bungalows are air-conditioned and come furnished with an in-room safe, private bathroom, and seating area.

Maligaya Beach Bungalows

Maligaya Beach Bungalows-min
Maligaya Beach Bungalows-min

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Rating 8.5, Prices start from $80 a bungalow


Maligaya Beach Bungalows is surrounded by beautifully landscaped gardens and offers free WiFi throughout the property.

The bungalows come with a wardrobe, a flat-screen TV and a private bathroom. Every room is fitted with a balcony with garden views.

Aquing’s Place

Aquing’s Place

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Rating 9.3, Prices start from $30 for Double room


Aquing’s Place is less than 1 km from Caalan Beach and an 11-minute walk from Papaya Beach. Aquing’s Place provides accommodation with free WiFi, air conditioning, and access to a garden with a terrace.

Puerto Princesa Accommodation

Puerto Princesa also has a good variety of guest houses, hostels, and hotels. There are over 200 properties in Puerto Princesa, with prices starting from $12 a night.

Hibiscus Garden Inn

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Rating 9.4, Prices start from $79 for Double room


Hibiscus Garden Inn is surrounded with beautifully landscaped gardens, as well as 24-hour front desk and provides free Wi-Fi access in its public areas.

Rooms come with air-conditioned rooms that are furnished with an in-room safe, a cable TV, minibar, fridge, and seating area.

Best Western Plus

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Rating 8.7, Prices start from $119 for Double room


Best Western Plus offers free WiFi access and an indoor pool there is free private parking is available on site.

All rooms are air-conditioned and come with a flat-screen TV with cable channels. Every room is fitted with a private bathroom with a bidet.

Sheridan Boutique Hotel

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Rating 8.5, Prices start from $35 for Double room


Sheridan Boutique Hotel offers accommodation with free WiFi and free private parking. They offer a 24-hour front desk, room service, and currency exchange for guests.

Rooms are fitted with a desk, a flat-screen TV and a private bathroom.

Nightlife in El Nido or Puerto Princesa

The Philippines is not so much known for its wild nightlife but the El Nido or Puerto Princesa do have decent nightlife.

Let’s compare the nightlife between El Nido or Puerto Princesa.

El Nido Nightlife

El Nido has developed into a bit of a party spot. Corong-Corong Beach is where the nightlife happens in El Nido.

It even has its own version of the full moon party. Similar to the full moon party in Thailand but not as crazy. It is free to enter and held every month.

The full moon party includes the usual live bands and DJs as well as the fire dancers and giant bonfires.

If you’re not in El Nido during the full moon, there are plenty of beach parties and there’s always something going on.

Coron Kayangan Lake
Coron Kayangan Lake

Puerto Princesa Nightlife

When it comes to nightlife in Puerto Princesa, you can go out for dinner and have a few drinks. You will find a pretty decent choice of places for partying and clubs.

You will also find karaoke bars, live music, and cheap beer open until 2:00 a.m. Katobom is a great place to have a few drinks.

And Chez Rose is a nightclub in town that stays open until 4:00 a.m. And Sakura is also a great choice.

What To Do See in El Nido or Puerto Princesa

El Nido and Puerto Princesa are both are blessed with amazing beaches, and neighboring islands to explore as well as other places to visit.

Here are some of the best things to do in each place.

Things To Do in El Nido

El Nido is developing and growing in popularity, especially as a beach destination. As well as a great place if you want to relax and enjoy the laid back vibe.

Here is our list of things to do in El Nido.

See The Beaches

The beaches near El Nido are generally unspoiled with white sand, turquoise waters, and coconut trees.

There are a number of awesome beaches around El Nido

  • Nacpan and Calitang – El Nido’s Twin Beaches
  • Seven Commandos Beach
  • Papaya Beach
  • Las Cabanas Beach
  • Marimegmeg Beach

You can also have a drink at the bars along the beach that sells snacks and beer.

Kayaking or Snorkeling

You can go kayaking or snorkeling in El Nido. This is an opportunity to explore El Nido. And you can enjoy some breathing taking views.

Try snorkelling
Try snorkelling

See The Cathedral Caves

The cathedral caves are shallow caves that are shaped like cathedral spires. The cathedral caves look spectacular but swimming in it is prohibited due to strong current and possible sea snakes.

You can hire a local boat in and around El-Nido. You want to get here with low tide cause if high tide the boat cannot get inside the cave.

Visit The Small And Large Lagoons

The Big Lagoon or Small Lagoons in El Nido is a wonderful one of a kind color surrounded by tall rock formations. It’s nothing short of breathtaking.

El Nido Palawan
El Nido

Things To Do in Puerto Princesa

Puerto Princesa is normally the first place to visit when going to Palawan in the Philippines. Mainly cause of the airport.

Here is our list of things to do in Puerto Princesa.

Go Island-Hopping To The Honda Bay Islands

There are islands near Puerto Princesa and plenty of island-hopping tours to Honda Bay. The island is located on the mid-eastern coast of the city.

The most popular islands you can visit are.

  • Cowrie Island
  • Luli Island
  • Starfish Island

Visit the Underground River

The Puerto Princesa Underground River become recognized as one of the wonders of nature in 2012. The cave is impressive and you can listen to the history of it through a headset.

Underground River in Puerto Princesa
Underground River

You will see loads of bats inside the caves and outside there are monkeys and monitor lizards. A visit to the underground river trip is definitely good, especially for animal-lovers.

See The Beaches

The beaches near Puerto Princesa are not as good as the beaches in El Nido. There are a number of good beaches around Puerto Princesa you can enjoy.

  • White Beach
  • Kalayaan Beach
  • BM Beach
  • Chez Rose

Go Ziplining in Ugong Rock

Ugong Rock is worth visiting and involves a hike, with a rewarding view when you get to the top. And an opportunity to take pictures taken along the way.

And finally, you can choose to hike down or buckle up to the zipline and fly down from the mountain.

Wrapping Up

Finally, in which one to choose really depends on your personal preference. For people looking vibrant nightlife with beaches parties, with a lot of exploring to do then it is El Nido.

On the other hand, if you are looking for more of a place with good nightlife but not wild. With nice beaches nearby then Puerto Princesa is for you.

And that’s it for now! I’d love to know if this guide on is Puerto Princesa or El Nido Better has helped you. Let me know if you have any questions and let me know if there is more to add.

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Puerto Princesa or El Nido

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