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White sand, palm fringed beaches and a laid back tropical island vibe await you in El Nido. If you can make it out of your hammock the diving is equally as impressive. Highlights include diving South Miniloc and North Rock where you’ll find kaleidoscopic corals, abundant reef life, passing pelagics and schooling fish.

Diving in El Nido

Quick facts

El Nido is best known for it’s white sand beaches and laid back, tropical island vibe. If you are hoping to dive and enjoy some relaxation time then El Nido ticks all of the boxes. Chill out in a hammock, watch the sunset with a cocktail or spend some time with the friendly locals. El Nido Town has a traditional charm combined with an array of restaurants, bars and places to stay, which makes it a destination that’s difficult to leave. As the gateway to the Bacuit Archipelago you’ll be mesmerised by the stunning coral reefs, myriad of marine life and the staggering limestone cliffs. El Nido is definitely one of the highlights of Palawan Island.

When to go

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Water temperature

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South Miniloc – This is El Nido’s most famous dive site for good reason. Colourful, shallow water coral gardens combined with turtles, schooling big-eye snappers, yellow tail barracuda and smaller schools of chevron barracuda make this a memorable site. North Rock - Located near the center of Bacuit Bay, this is an awesome spot for passing pelagics. You’ll find a mix of topographies from swim throughs to massive rock cleaning stations and huge table corals. Highlights include schooling jacks, barracuda, big eye jacks and the occasional blacktip reef shark/ Dilumacad Tunnel - This 35 metre / 115 foot long tunnel was discovered in the early 1990’s. Starting at 12 metres / 40 feet, with a memorial plate at the entrance, the tunnel has a sandy bottom and several ceiling holes. The tunnel gradually narrows towards the exit. It’s a stunning dive for experienced divers. Entalula – Depending on whether you dive the spectacular 35 metre / 115 foot wall or the stunning coral garden and sloping reef, this dive site never fails to impress. From schooling fish through to lazy turtles, marble rays, passing reef sharks and occasional eagle rays this colourful spot showcases the marine biodiversity of El Nido. Nat Nat – An absolute must for macro photographers and critter hunters. This coral reef and sandy patched dive site is home to seahorses, hermit crabs and a plethora of crabs and nudibranch including Spanish dancers. This site really comes to life after the sun sets so night diving here is recommended.

What to see

El Nido showcases a wide variety of marine life from passing pelagics to unusual critters. Macro highlights of the area include seahorses, nudibranch, scorpion fish, a plethora of crustaceans and cephalopods, jawfish and blennies. Big fish sightings include reef sharks, passing eagle and marble rays, schooling jacks, snapper, barracuda and groupers. Turtles are seen at most dive sights.


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El Nido is a municipality of 45 islands in the Palawan province of Philippines. It is a part of a protected area. For its majestic natural beauty and a diverse ecosystem, the area was declared as the best beach destination in entire Philippines by lifestyle program CNNGO. El Nido is only 238 kilometers northeast of Puerto Princesa, the provincial capital of Palawan Island. The area has had the protected area status since 1983 which has resulted in a very diverse ecosystem around the area. El Nido is an ideal diving location with pleasantly warm water and visibility of 30 meters during the period between March and May.

Getting there

El Nido Airport, also known as Lio Aiport, is located approximately 4 kilometres / 2.5 miles from El Nido Town. There are daily flights from Boracay, Manila and Cebu. Once you arrive at El Nido Airport it is around a 20 minute motor tricycle ride into El Nido Town. It is also possible to access El Nido over land from Puerto Princessa Airport in central Palawan which receives flights from Cebu and Manila. The journey is around 220 kilometres / 137 miles and takes 5-6 hours. There are regular bus and van transfers from Puerto Princessa and although it is a longer route, there is stunning scenery along the way.

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