Jamaican paradise. That’s my impression on El Nido.

OUr outrigger

Our outrigger in Bacuit Bay

I’m not sure you’d go to El Nido purely for the diving, but for a holiday including diving, it’s perfect. In off-season. (I rather liked the lack of tourists, made me feel special).

El Nido’s a relatively small town, nestled into sheers cliffs on the northern edge, with a bay filled with small islands rising out of the sea.

It’s a curious place – the foreign western nationality here is Germans but the dominant foreign culture, on the sea front at least, is a bit rasta. Reggae music abounds, the coloured beanies make the rounds….. You get the picture.



We arrived off the ferry from Coron in the north, with no plan and no bookings. But after a short stroll with our backpacks on, looking at hostel signs and chatting, we were invited by a woman to see her accommodation. So down an alley we followed her (it was day time, not scary), and popped out on the beautiful beach – and as luck would have it, that was where the place was. Perfect! A little haggling by Jenni got us best room, at the worst room’s price. Spider Hotel is the name, if ever you find yourself in El Nido.

For diving, we headed out into the bay, weaving our way through the small islands towards Bacuit Bay.

Topography under the water is much like above, just inverted. Complete with caves.

We spent the morning exploring the open bays – which were lovely, not particularly exciting, but lovely. Then in the afternoon we headed to Dilumacad Island, where we dived the well-known cave. It’s a great dive, slightly daunting as you enter through a tunnel that goes for around 20 metres (its not too tight though), but then you arrive in a large ‘room’, which is always a fun experience. There’s not a whole lot of fish-friends in the cave, but there are crabs and other shelled creatures.

If you get tired of diving (what?!) there’s a bunch of other things you can do around El Nido, like drive round the nearby coast (which quickly turns into open farmland) – we chose to rent a scooter to do this, which turned into a bit of an experience as it started raining and the clay roads were slippy and slidey! There’s also other beaches both to the north and south of the town, very worth visiting, and a walk to the nearby lookout (we didn’t do this though).