This Filipino owned and operated place has four beach-front rooms with balcony, good for two-people, in a wooden two-story building, while directly across the road it has another two-story concrete building with eight more rooms, some good for four-people.
A new concrete three-story beach-side building is just being completed and will provide an upgraded Reception area and additional smallish rooms (some beach facing).
Our off-season rate for three-pax was just Ps1600, including breakfast for two - consisting of either two-pancakes, with butter & syrup, or what is known locally as a "Continental Breakfast (one-egg and three-slices of toast, with butter & jam).
Staff is friendly and accommodating, providing a large flask of hot water, cups and glasses on request. Room make-up is also on request (leave your key with Reception). Towels and linen are both fresh and in a good state of repair.
Laundry service is available at Ps70/kg. Other "tourist" services are offered, such as Island Hopping tours and motor-bike rental. There are sari-sari (convenience) stores nearby for all of your needs, from the wonderful Tanduay Rhum, San Miguel Pale Pilsen and sodas to soap and shampoo.
Also near-by are a couple of rustic cafe-style eateries while along the beach, in either direction, are restaurants offering good Filipino and European fare. Some place chairs, table and torches in the sand in the evening (ala Alona Beach, Bohol).
El Nido generally is rather cramped and ruled by the ubiquitous "tricycle"; these ones with flashy Toyota or other car "grills", running-lights and chromed car-style rear-view mirrors. A ride is 10-pesos, or 20-pesos for a private hire anywhere in the town. Rides further afield, perhaps to one of the accessible and beautiful white-sand beaches, is by negotiation. A ride from the bus terminal is 50-pesos including all the people and luggage you can manage to load.
The west-facing bay provides a magnificent view of unusual volcanic rock formations thrusting out of the sea found all around the area. The many small islands dotted outside the bay provide the basis for the island hopping mentioned earlier; many with lovely and secluded white-sand beaches and a few enchanted lagoons boasting crystal-clear waters.
The high-light of the day and evening experience is "Art Cafe", where quality souvenirs, beach clothing, sun-screen etc. are offered along with an excellent dining and entertainment experience each evening. Several beach-front restaurants offer "dining" on the beach, with candle-lit tables on the sand and a good selection of sea-food. Lobster was offered at Ps1500 per half-kilo.
In summary, El Nido suffers from poor government, offering electrical power for just 16-hours per day, helter-skelter building codes, puddled and dirt-laden streets. Access is by expensive private airplane or a 6-hour road trip from Puerto Princesa; offering 40-km of construction. The road will, one assumes, eventually be completed and the power problem eventually addressed.
But since my first visit, five years ago, there is scant sign of any Local Government involvement or understanding of how to exploit the natural beauty of El Nido and the natural friendliness and charm of it's residents.
DIVING? Read on...
The main attraction, beyond island hopping, is scuba diving; with a good choice of operators offering banca (outrigger style boats) or speed-boat access to dive-sites. I can recommend Sea Dog Diving which offers a very useful speed-boat, guide and full equipment rental at just Ps1000/dive (if you log more than six dives with them).
The scuba-diving is just OK, with most sites showing little sign of soft-coral life and large areas of dynamited hard-corals; making it difficult to get a really useful 60-minute dive without a disappointing finish.
It really seems inexcusable that the local officials do not yet accept that scuba divers, while El Nido's best source of income, are not satisfied to see the continued destruction of the surrounding area. I personally heard one day-time explosion and was thankful to be far away from any fishing boats. Corals and undersea "critter" life is very limited, but there are interesting clams, blue-spotted sting-rays and a reasonable appearance of the usual varieties of small reef-fish.
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- Also Known As:
- Rosanna`s Cottages Hotel El Nido
- Rosanna's Pension El Nido, Palawan Island