5 Best Places to Stay in El Nido (Tried and Tested)

This post was written by Ashley Yap, Director of Brand Relations at BMTM.

Beautiful white beaches, crystal clear water and thousands of years of mesmerizing limestone, El Nido is a mythical place in the Philippines. If you’re planning a trip, here are 5 tried and tested accommodations at various budget levels to help you decide where to lay your head in El Nido:

1. Charlie’s El Nido

Charlie’s is only 20 minutes from the airport and 15 minutes from El Nido (where all the restaurants, bars and shops are) and offers complimentary airport transfers. You can also take the hotel’s free shuttle service into town as well as Lio Beach, so this is a great option if you don’t want to rent a bike or ride a tricycle.

The hotel is well built with 2 swimming pools, gym, spa room and in-house restaurant and bar. The rooms are comfortable and the air conditioner works well. It’s also away from the busy streets, making it a great place to kick back and relax after a long day of island hopping. The complimentary breakfast starts at 6:30 AM, so you’ll have plenty of time before starting your day. There’s a great mix of local and foreign guests, and the restaurant, bar and pool set-up make it easy to socialize with others.

The only thing I would like to mention is that the service seems a bit slow, especially when arranging bike or tricycle rentals. If you stay here, try to arrange these things ahead of time.

Book it here.

2. Beach Huts El Nido

Of all the hotels I’ve stayed at in El Nido, Beach Huts offers the best view of the sunset thanks to its location on Las Cabana Beach, one of the two best sunset spots on the island. During the day it is also the perfect place to relax and swim. The interior of the room was actually bigger than expected and sleeping to the sound of the waves outside the doorstep was a huge bonus for me. Check in was ridiculous as there wasn’t even a proper sign or reception, just a guy who shows up when you arrive. That said, I needed something several times, he was always there and very attentive.

Getting to the beach hut is a decent workout, especially with your luggage. I rented a bike and had to park it at a McDonalds (yes, there is one now), walk about 10 minutes past beachside shops, hotels and restaurants to get to the Beach Huts. My neighbor came the next day with a suitcase and drenched in sweat. However, it’s all worth the effort.

Book it here.

3. El Nido Mahogany Beach Resort

One of El Nido’s most popular resorts, Mahogany Resort gets booked up fast year-round, so if you’ve got your eye on this property, it’s best to book it right away. I didn’t stay at this resort, but I was able to visit for a day and I can definitely see why it’s so popular. The resort is tastefully designed, the staff is very attentive, and its location is secluded yet close to El Nido Proper. I also appreciate the lush vegetation throughout the property. If I were to visit El Nido again, I would definitely book to stay here.

Book it here.

4. Drift to Darokotan Island

Oh, where do you even begin with Dryft? Located on a private island north of El Nido, this sustainable, tasteful and one-of-a-kind paradise was absolutely perfect for solitude, peace and tranquility after the hustle and bustle and busy streets of El Nido. While staying on the expensive side is worth the money for many reasons.

During my 2 night stay at Dryft, I never saw more than 2 people on the white sand beach (not possible in the rest of El Nido). the food served in the restaurant is simple but tasty; staff were attentive and friendly; there was no WiFi and barely any reception, requiring a much-needed digital detox.

I read, meditated, did yoga and swam in the ocean for 3 days. I also walked 10 minutes to the other side of the island for a day of snorkeling around the ship. In the evening I rented a SUP and watched the sunset from the water. Many guests shared that the Drift was the highlight of their trip to El Nido, and I totally agree.

If you plan to stay at Dryft, be sure to bring enough cash. Round trip is 1500 PHP. Food is around PHP 400-500 per meal. SUPs, snorkels and masks for rent. I recommend the hut instead of the glamping tent. Bring water shoes, a good book and strong spray.

Book it here.

5. Erlittop Garden Eco Lodge

This adorable, hand-built eco lodge was probably my favorite place to stay in El Nido. I had the pleasure of talking to the host who built this place from scratch with love and you can clearly see the fine details throughout the property. Beautiful flowers are planted everywhere, hammocks are placed between the trees overlooking the ocean, and there are only 5 huts, so the host has managed to really take care of everyone. WiFi doesn’t always work, electricity is only available from 18:00-23:00, but there is a charging station in the restaurant that is available all day.

The biggest downside is that it’s almost an hour away from El Nido Proper, so I wouldn’t recommend staying here on days you’re planning on island hopping. As stated, this beautiful residence is only a 2 minute walk to a quiet beach and a 3 minute walk to a small village located on site. the little restaurant next door serves some of the best Sisig I’ve had (so good I had two nights in a row); and the lovely host made all the guests feel really welcome. It’s perfect for a localized and back-to-basics experience.

Book it here.

I hope this list helps you decide where to stay in El Nido. I kept the list short and sweet because I only wanted to recommend what I tried myself. If you’ve visited El Nido, let us know what other amenities you’d recommend in the comments below.

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