Discovering El Nido, Palawan

Snorkelling in the crystal clear waters of El Nido

The ordinariness (and some might say the ugliness) of El Nido only heightens the contrast between the mundane and the sublime. Spanish for ‘the nest’, El Nido is the gateway to the fabulous Bacuit Archipelago. The town, sandwiched between towering limestone karst cliffs and Bacuit Bay, is cluttered with buildings that creep onto the beach and businesses that cater to tourists. Centre stage is the looming Cadlao Island just offshore.

Taking a room in town means being close to restaurants and beachside bars, but also closer to the everyday sights and sounds; otherwise, you can stay in one of the nearby communities, or splash some cash for accommodation in the archipelago itself. Something of a French invasion is occuring amongst accommodation, restaurant and other tourism related businesses.