Flying to Puerto Princesa

Flying into Puerto Princesa (the capital city of Palawan) is the least expensive way to get to El Nido. We’ve written up our tips and research on each leg of the journey:

Flying to Puerto Princesa

To fly to Puerto Princesa from Manila, you can take a domestic airline like Cebu Pacific Air, Air Asia Zest, Philippines Air, or Tiger Air from Manila’s Ninoy Aquino Airport to Puerto Princesa.

These flights may be booked directly on the airline websites, which often offer fare specials, or through third party sites like


Getting from Puerto Princesa to El Nido

It usually takes anywhere from 4-6 hours to drive from Puerto Princesa to El Nido. There are several options for the drive down to El Nido.

1. Shared Van with Airport Pickup (Premium)
2. Shared Van with Airport Pickup (Standard)
3. Private Van with Airport Pickup
4. Coach Bus

1. Shared Van with Airport Pickup (Premium)

This is our top recommended way to get from Puerto Princesa to El Nido. Premium vans cost a little more, so their drivers tend to deliver a better experience:

  • They limit the number of passengers in each van, rather than squeezing in as many as they can.
  • They drive at a safe speed, rather than trying to speed as much as possible in order to fit an extra trip into their day.

Here are two options (you can book both online):

a. DayTripper (850 – 950 pesos)

Daytripper offers a 10-seater Executive Van (850 pesos) and an 11-seater Executive Coach (950 pesos). You can see pictures of both vans on their website and a review of the Executive Coach on this blog. Their TripAdvisor reviews are here.

You can book online here.

daytripper2(image via tripadvisor user ufetz)

b. Go Palawan/WHL (1400 pesos)

Another premium van option is WHL, or WorldHotel Link. They have daily vans from Puerto Princesa to El Nido at 11 am, 1 pm and 6 pm and you can book online on their website.

fort_wally4(image via go palawan)

If you have budget for a premium van, then we highly recommend it.

2. Shared Van with Airport Pickup (Standard)

You can also get a seat on a standard shared van. These run for 600 pesos from Puerto Princesa to El Nido, and the van will pick you up at the airport. Then you will share a van ride down to El Nido with other travelers.

In general, vans tend to arrive faster than buses, as they are smaller and have an easier time on the winding roads. Vans also tend to drive faster than buses, and make less stops along the way. This can be both good (faster means shorter trips) and bad (faster also means a less safe trip).

The capacity of an average van is around 10 – 13 people or so. The van will drop you off at the El Nido Bus Terminal.

3. Private Van/Car with Airport Pickup

We can also arrange an entire private van/car, just for your own party, for 6,000 PHP. The private car will pick you up at the airport, and drive you all the way to Lally & Abet’s which is where the Caalan Beach Access Lane begins.

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If you’d like us to help arrange any of the above rentals, just let us know and we’d be happy to make the arrangements. Just let us know three things: your airline, the flight number, and the time your flight is arriving.

Also, if you do take a van: please ask the driver to text us to let us know when you will arrive. That way, we can make sure to have a tricycle waiting for you at our reception desk in downtown El Nido (see below).

4. Coach Bus

To catch a coach bus, take a tricycle from the airport to the San Jose Market and Bus Terminal to get to the Roro Bus or the Cherry Bus.

You can see the Cherry and Roro Bus schedules and reservation information here. Coach buses will drop you off at the El Nido Bus Terminal.

If you’d like to book a ticket on a Cherry Bus, you can do so online here (as long as you’re booking at least 3 days before your bus trip).

cherry bus(image via Cherrybus)

rorobus(the smaller non-aircon bus)

Getting from the El Nido Bus Terminal to Caalan Beach Resort

Once you’re at the El Nido Bus Terminal, take a “tricycle” (a retrofitted scooter with a sidecar that can seat up to 4).

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.

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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 TERMINAL: If you are coming from the bus terminal, just head north on “Taytay – El Nido National Highway” toward El Nido. Continue for 1.3 km. Just after you pass the Spin Designer Hostel, turn left onto Cafe Real. Take the second right turn (after you pass Marikit Pension) onto Osmena St, then turn right onto the main street of El Nido, Calle Hama. Caalan Beach Reception will be on your right about 60 meters down the road.

Our workers will load your luggage in our tricycle, and then drive you the 5 minutes or so to our resort. 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. We recorded a time-lapsed video of the trip, to give you a sense for it.