Tony Reyes

Travelled to 11 countries / regions

Written 40 briefs
I'm a local born and living in Manila



Asia > Philippines > El Nido > Useful Info
Updated on Apr 09, 2019 Useful Info

Best way to get to El Nido, Philippines

  • El Nido is located at the northern tip of the Palawan island, 200km southwest of Manila
  • The best way to get there is to fly in direct with AirSwift (mainly from Manila, but also from other places. See details below)
  • The only alternative is to fly or ferry in to Puerto Princesa, Palawan's main city with a much bigger airport, and then take a short flight or a 6-hour bus to El Nido. This is obviously not ideal as it takes significantly longer, but it is much cheaper
  • How to fly to El Nido directly:
  • This option is the best, but it's not cheap
  • There is a tiny airport in El Nido, called Lio Airport, located here. It's owned by AirSwift and only has flights by AirSwift
  • To fly in there, you need to book directly with AirSwift through the airline's website ( You cannot find its flights or any other flights to Lio airport from flight booking sites like Skyscanner, 12Go, Expedia, or Kayak. No other airlines fly this route as of 2019
  • Most people fly in from Manila, which takes 1 hour and 20 minutes, and costs 5000-8000 pesos each way ($96-$150 USD). There are currently two flights daily, in the morning at 5:10am and in the afternoon at 2:15pm. Check AirSwift's website for the current flights information
  • Other than Manila, AirSwift also operates direct flights to El Nido from Puerto Princesa, Caticlan, Cebu, Clark, Busuanga, and Tagbilaran. If you're in any of these places, you can fly easily to El Nido
  • At the El Nido Lio Airport, you can take a tricycle - a motorized three wheel taxi - to your hotel for 200 - 250 pesos ($4USD). Always negotiate your fare. Most hotels are in the town center area
  • Cheaper alternative to get to El Nido:
  • Instead of flying directly to El Nido, which can cost you $150USD in airfare each way, you may consider taking the slower but significantly cheaper option: fly to Puerto Princesa and then bus to El Nido. This will cost you $70-$90 USD in total each way
  • There are a lot more options in flight times and airline selections to get to Puerto Princesa, as it's the main airport on Palawan. Cebu Pacific, Philippines Airlines, and Air Asia all have flights to Puerto Princesa from Manila
  • Airfare from Manila to Puerto Princesa is $40-$50 USD each way, and flight takes 1 hour and 20 minutes
  • After you get to Puerto Princesa, you can take one of several bus/shuttle options to get to El Nido. They all take about 5.5-6 hours each way and prices are all pretty much the same at around 800-900 pesos ($15-$18):
  1. Cherry Bus: biggest operator on this route. 900 pesos for 1st class ($17USD) each way. Air conditioned and pretty well reviewed. Departures at 7:00 AM, 9:00 AM, 9:20 AM, 11:00 AM, 1:00 PM, 3:00 PM, 5:00 PM, 9:00 PM, 10:00 PM. You can book them only on 12Go, which is a huge travel booking site for Southeast Asia (search for Puerto Princesa to El Nido and they'll show up as an option). They operate those large coach buses
  2. Lexxus Shuttle: another big operator on this route, but terribly reviewed so I suggest avoiding them. $11 USD each way. You can book them through 12Go (search for Puerto Princesa to El Nido). They're operate vans
  3. DayTripper: 875 - 975 pesos each way ($17-$19USD). They're technically a tour operator but they do offer this transfer service between Puerto Princesa and El Nido. They're extremely well reviewed on Tripadvisor. Book through their website at They operate vans
  4. Eulen Joy Express: similar price as DayTripper. Book through their Facebook page at (click on "Services" tab). I've never used them before but I'd suggest avoiding them. They're not a big name and you can see a couple of terrible reviews about their drivers (like this one). They operate vans