I get you, been there, done that. A week before our trip, I was cramming our itinerary, and I remembered how confused I am on how many El Nido beaches there are. What should I do? Should I visit one every afternoon after our activities? Do we need to see them all? Don’t they all look the same? And to answer my questions, we didn’t visit one every day, we didn’t see them all, and yes, they kind of look all the same. I might not have seen all, but I did see the famous ones and was able to clear out my confusion when I was there. So let me help you, you stressed wanderer, with your itinerary.
So let’s start with the three nearest beaches south of El Nido town – Corong Corong, Maremegmeg, and Las Cabañas Beach. These three beaches have different names, but they just share the same shoreline. You can rent a tricycle (if you’re not into motorbikes) to bring you into these beaches. If you’re staying in El Nido town, drop by before the sunset. It is famous for being a sunset beach, but I would advise you to stay a night on this side of the town.
CORONG CORONG BEACH
Corong Corong is the one nearest town, and it is also where most of the affordable accommodations are. It is as commercialized as the beach in El Nido town proper. Many boats waiting for their island-hopping clients are parked along the main beach, so it would be better if you’ll spend a night somewhere in the red box (see photo below). I didn’t get the chance to visit here because our tricycle driver told us that Marimegmeg Beach has a better ambiance for the sunset viewing.
It is also known as Vanilla Beach. We hired a tricycle for P150/one way for three people to bring us to Maremegmeg to watch the sunset on our first day in El Nido. It’s a 20-minutes ride from the town proper, and they dropped us on a big shopping area that says “Shoppes at Vanilla Beach.” It is a commercial area where there are Mcdonalds, boutique shops, restaurants, and the beach by the end of it.
Maremegmeg is cleaner and more beautiful than the beaches (that turned out to be like ports) of Corong Corong and El Nido town. It is not crowded on a Thursday dusk, and there are bars along the beach where you can settle. We chose to sit by the sand until the sun disappears.
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Do not miss this gorgeous and very Instagram worthy beach bar on this beach!
LAS CABAÑAS BEACH
From Maremegmeg Beach, you can walk along the shoreline to reach Las Cabañas Beach. It is basically Maremegmeg Beach, too, but was somehow named after the famous beach resort in the area. This beach is more private since there are only a few beach resorts and commercial stores around. During low tide, you can walk your way to Depeldet Island.
Among the three, this is my favorite. If you have the budget, spend a night in The Birdhouse El Nido located in this area.
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On the third day of our trip, we went beach hopping to rest ourselves from the tiring island hopping the day before. I only wanted to visit Nacpan Beach, but my travel group insisted on dropping by the other two beaches, Lio and Duli. Unlike the first three mentioned above, these beaches are kilometers away from the town proper. You can rent a motorbike, a van (P2,000 for the whole day), or a tricycle.
Lio Beach is fancy, which I expected it to be because Ayala Corporation, Inc. privately own it. And I love fancy things and places so maybe next time when I return to El Nido, I’ll book a night in this resort. Lio’s beachfront has a lot of trees, creating a much-needed shade on a noontime. My Instagram heart went ga-ga over the swings, gorgeous designs, and artsy restaurants around. This place reeks sophistication.
We decided to explore the bridge on the beach before we head off, and I was shocked when suddenly an airplane is above us. The airport is next to the resort, and Air Swift, the only airline offering a direct El Nido flight, is also owned by Ayala Corporation.
If Lio is fancy, then Nacpan is hip. It reminds me of the San Juan, La Union’s ambiance but with a much more beautiful beach. It is a long stretch of beach with coconut trees and sun-bathing foreigners everywhere. There are many stores and food places around, and unlike the artsy restaurants of Lio, these are in nipa huts. The most famous attraction to see here is the Twin Beach of Nacpan and Calitang that can be seen by going up a small hill.
But Nacpan itself is a great beach to chill around. The sand is fine, the water is clear and cold, and it has that hipster beach vibes. There are numerous resorts and commercialism (bars, massage) in the area. The famous Glamping El Nido is along here. Among all the El Nido beaches, Nacpan is my number 1.
Duli Beach, 15 minutes away from Nacpan, is the surfer’s beach in El Nido. It is famous for its big waves and secluded vibe that attract surfer tourists. The road to Duli Beach is off-road and a little hard for the beginner motorbike drivers. It is said to best go here in the morning. There are surfboard rentals (P500/hr) available here and one beach resort in case you wanted to spend a night. If you love quiet and secluded beaches, then this Is perfect for you.
El Nido Beaches have their own personalities that you need to match with your own in order to enjoy it. Each beach caters to different audiences like, for example, I know for the fact that my mom will love Lio Beach and that Nacpan Beach would be too loud and wild for her. I have somehow described each of them, so choosing the perfect El Nido Beach will boil down on your own preference. My personal top 3 will be Nacpan Beach, Las Cabañas, and Lio Beach in the respective order. Can you share yours in the comment section below?
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