Flying directly from Manila to El Nido on AirSwift is the fastest way to get here. We’ve written up our tips and research on each leg of the journey:
- Taking AirSwift
- Getting from the El Nido Airport to El Nido
- Getting from El Nido to Caalan Beach Resort
Air Swift moved from a private terminal into Manila Airport’s Domestic Terminal 4 back in March 2016. Their (nicer) old terminal was great, but it is much more convenient now that their terminal is located inside the Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
The fastest and most convenient way to get from Manila to El Nido is by taking Air Swift, (formerly known as ITI). Flights are 55 minutes on a 50 seat plane and depart daily from Manila and El Nido. The schedule varies depending on peak/off-peak seasons (typically 3-4 flights/day) so please check their website for the most current information. Flight rates vary depending on peak/off-peak season and range from 4000 pesos – 6500 pesos one way. You can book tickets through the Air Swift website.
Please note that there is a strict 10kg baggage allowance for checked in luggage (not including carry-ons), and there is an excess luggage charge of Php 200 per kg. You can, however, purchase 10kg extra luggage allowance for 200 pesos and most people are not aware of this (we weren’t for years and constantly paid overage charges!). This is not an option when you book your ticket online, so you must email Air Swift in order to get the extra luggage allowance added to your ticket. We would highly advise you to take advantage of this option as it is affordable, 10kg luggage allowance is not a lot, and the overage charges are very high!
Your carry-on luggage is not weighed, but please note that standard carry-on sized luggage are typically larger than their allowance. If your carry-on bag is larger than their allowance, you will have to check it in and it will go towards your 10kg allotted luggage allowance. So take smaller bags on the plane such as backpacks, tote bags, and shopping bags.
HOW TO GET TO TERMINAL 4 FROM THE INTERNATIONAL TERMINAL
Do not take a taxi to Terminal 4 from the international terminal. More likely than not the cab driver will guess that you are a tourist and try to overcharge you. There is a free airport shuttle and you may have to wait up to 20 minutes for it, but it is well worth it because:
- they will help you with your bags
- it’s free
- it takes less time than a taxi because it cuts across the middle of the airport (where taxis do not have access).
- you don’t have to deal with a taxi
We would suggest that you allow at least 3 hours before connecting flights.
When you arrive at the El Nido airport, you will be greeted by Filipino women singing a song in Tagalog! It’s a wonderful introduction to your stay in this friendly and beautiful town.
To get to town you can take a “tricycle” (a retrofitted scooter with a sidecar that can seat up to 4) into downtown El Nido. This is the main mode of transportation in El Nido. The trip is about 15 minutes and costs 200 pesos.
Ask the tricycle driver to drop you off at Caalan Beach Reception, our reception desk in downtown El Nido. Caalan Beach Reception is on Calle Hama, the main street in downtown El Nido. Calle Hama runs along the beach and has a number of resorts on it, such as El Nido Beach Hotel, Rossanas Cottages and Entalula Beach Cottages. The reception desk is across the street from Entalula Beach Cottages and Tandikan Beach Cottages.
Our reception desk will call us at the resort, so that we can pick you up in our tricycle! Please note: many locals (including tricycle drivers) don’t know the names of the streets of El Nido. Instead, they navigate by landmarks and building names. So we’ve pulled together these turn-by-turn instructions below to help out:
* FROM THE AIRPORT: If you are coming from the airport, your tricycle driver will turn right onto “Taytay – El Nido National Highway”. They will take that road all the way to El Nido for almost 4 km. Once your tricycle driver enters El Nido, you will be on the main street of El Nido: Calle Hama. Caalan Beach Reception is on Calle Hama on the left, a little over 200 meters down the street.
Once we pick you up from our cafe/reception desk, our workers will load your luggage in our tricycle, and then drive you to our resort (no charge).
Please note that there is a narrow alleyway between downtown El Nido and Caalan Beach, where we are located. Motorcycles and small tricycles (such as our resort tricycles) have no problem fitting through it, but most tricycles and cars can not. It’s a short ride (about 5 minutes); we recorded a time-lapsed video of the trip, to give you a sense for how it works.
If you would rather walk the path to our resort, you can just go north along an access road, past an oceanfront bar to your right (El Nido Corner), past the Barangay hall to your left, past a cemetery to your left, and then past a number of resorts on your left and right. It’s about a 15-minute walk.