23 Mag El Nido, Palawan, the Philippines,a backpackers paradise
by Lisa Sihlberg from Sweden
As a conservationist photographer my expeditions often takes me to remote destinations around the world to document endangered species and disappearing nature. But that also means that I sometimes visit other places in between my expeditions. The backpacking paradise of El Nido, was one of those places…
…The long journey was definitely worth the while stepping out of the small bus feeling the sand between my toes and gazing out over the turquoise water. The only thing disrupting the line between the ocean and the sky was the remote and seemingly deserted islands sticking up from it.
I had to fly from Bohol to the small airport of the one island on the Philippines which actually still is covered with 80% of forest.
From the airport a small bus took me on a bumpy ride to the final destination of what is called the “backpackers paradise”.
A seemingly undiscovered and totally beautiful mecka for guitar players, rastafaris, and surfers to put down their backpacks and rest for a while. But before leaving the mainland, be sure to withdraw cash to support you for at least a week.
Since it is hard to find an ATM on the island and even though you plan to stay only a for a few days I can assure you you would want to stay for at least one week. For the ones not just looking for a place to rest weary feet, there are tons of things to do while staying here even though it seems like a super small place with all the accommodations and restaurants gathered on one fairly short beach.
You don’t need to look hard to find boat or snorkel trips where you usually can choose between options A to C, depending on how many sights you want to see (and how much money you want to spend). Remember to respect the wildlife under the sea, don’t touch anything and do not stand on the corals.
For those of you that do not wish to share space with a lot of other tourists, there are a lot of canoes you can rent by yourself. But beware of the strong tides and always bring a friend.
The islands are further away than they seem. There are a lot of options of cuisines from all around the world to chose from, just let your nose lead the way and feel free to join the more romantic restaurants at the beach or try one of the many colorful drinks, while dipping your toes into the warm water.
But beware of the tide or you’ll get more of the water experience than you bargained for.
It is easy to find touristy things to do on the island, but my recommendation is to get to know some of the local people to get that real cultural experience.
And for all of you lone wolfs, rent a bike, you are in paradise and life is full of adventures! But don’t forget to be respectful, don’t take photos with exotic animals, don’t litter and be a good example for other travel buddies!