Manila to El Nido

Overview Compare Direct Flight Flight Ferry

How to get from Manila to El Nido

Ready to escape Manila’s hustle and bustle and head to paradise? Palawan’s El Nido is best known for its coral reefs, pristine white sand beaches, colourful lagoons, and dramatic cliffs. Off the coast of El Nido lies even smaller islands like Miniloc and Lagen, each with luxurious resorts.

Whether you’re looking for a prestigious getaway or a smaller budget hotel, El Nido is one of the best places in Palawan for relaxation.

COVID-19 Travel Advisory: Since the beginning of 2022, the Philippines eased travel restrictions for foreign travellers and locals alike. The main requirement is to be fully vaccinated.

Taking a flight? As of November 2022, all international travellers bound for the Philippines are required to register an eArrival Card. You can fill it out upon arrival, but it’s recommended to register 72 hours prior to your flight to avoid queues and delays at the airport.

3 ways to get from Manila to El Nido

Transport modeDurationCostsAvailability
Direct Flight1hr 20m4,000 PHP ($69)Check Direct Flights
Flight via Puerto Princesa7 hours2,420 PHP ($42)Check Flights
Ferry*14.5 hrs excl. transfers3,700 PHP ($64)Check Ferry Tickets
*COVID-19 UPDATE: The last time we checked (May 2022), the ferry option takes 46 hours of travel time in total because of 2Go Travel’s new ferry schedule.

The distance from Manila to El Nido is 623 km (387 miles). In this post, we compare the three best options to travel from Manila to El Nido: by a direct flight (1hr 20m), by an indirect flight (7 hours), and by ferry (14.5 hours). Ticket prices range from 2,420 PHP ($42)4,000 PHP ($69).

The flight via AirSwift is the only direct option for the Manila to El Nido route. It is also the fastest with the flight taking only 1 hour and 20 minutes. There are multiple flights operating daily, with fares starting from 3,980 PHP ($69).

An indirect flight via Puerto Princesa is the most common option travellers choose because it is both convenient and affordable. The flight from Manila to Puerto Princesa takes only 1.5 hours, but you need an additional 5.5-hour van ride to reach El Nido. Combined rates cost about 2,420 PHP ($42).

The ferry is the slowest, but an option to consider if you want to make a stop in Coron anyway. This option included 2 ferry rides with a total travel time of 14.5 hours. The trip used to cost 3,700 PHP ($64).

TIP: If you decide to travel by plane, please consider including a carbon compensation fee to reduce your impact on the environment.

Itinerary from Manila to El Nido

Manila to El Nido by Direct Flight

Duration: 1hr 20m
Cost: 4,000 PHP ($69)
Duration: 1hr 20m
Cost: 4,000 PHP ($69)

The easiest and direct way to travel from Manila to El Nido is by a direct flight with AirSwift.

Since El Nido is a prime location, flight tickets are quite expensive, but this is probably your best option if you’d rather save time than money.

Departure Station

When travelling from Manila to El Nido, your journey starts at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), located in Pasay City.

The airport is accessible from most cities in Metro Manila via taxi or Grab. If you’re coming from other provinces and looking for public transport, you can take a Point-to-Point bus to the airport or a provincial bus to Pasay, where most bus terminals are located, and then take a taxi to the airport.

NAIA has 4 terminals with different entry points that are a bit far from one another. AirSwift flights from Manila to El Nido depart from NAIA Terminal 4.

Direct flight from Manila to El Nido

AirSwift operates multiple direct flights from Manila to El Nido daily.

The earliest flight schedule is 05:10 in the morning with the last flight of the day at 14:35. The flight to El Nido takes around 1.5 hours.

A one-way ticket from Manila to El Nido starts from 4,000 PHP ($69) and can get up to 6,000 PHP ($100), depending on the day and time of flight.

Check Flights on Air Swift

Arrival Station

The direct flight from Manila to El Nido lands at El Nido Airport, which is about 5 km away from El Nido town centre.

From El Nido Airport, you can take a tricycle to El Nido town. Fares start at 300 PHP ($5) for two passengers with luggage. You can also ask your hotel for assistance with airport pick-up.

Manila to El Nido via Puerto Princesa by Indirect Flight

Duration: 7 hours
Cost: 2,420 PHP ($42)
Duration: 7 hours
Cost: 2,420 PHP ($42)

If taking a ferry is too long of a trip but a direct flight is out of your budget, your best option is to fly from Manila to Puerto Princesa. From here, you can take a van to El Nido.

For this route, you can book flights with Air Asia, Cebu Pacific, and Philippine Airlines.

Departure and arrival station

Flights from Manila to Puerto Princesa are also available at Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Pasay City. NAIA Terminal 2 is exclusive for Philippine Airlines flights. Meanwhile, Cebu Pacific and AirAsia flights depart from NAIA Terminal 4.

For this route, the arrival airport is Puerto Princesa Airport in the southern part of Palawan. Outside the airport, you can easily find shared vans bound for El Nido.

Step 1: Manila to Puerto Princesa by Flight

Duration: 1hr 25m
Cost: 1,580 PHP ($27.50)
Duration: 1hr 25m
Cost: 1,580 PHP ($27.50)

AirAsia, Cebu Pacific, and Philippine Airlines (PAL) offer multiple flights a day from Manila to Puerto Princesa. The flight to Puerto Princesa takes 1 hour and 25 minutes, which is about the same time as the direct flight from Manila to El Nido.

If you’re booking for the next month, you can find flights ranging from 1,600 PHP ($27.50) to 2,000 PHP ($34.50). Flight fares tend to be more expensive if you are booking days away from the scheduled flight.

Aside from booking tickets during seat sales, booking your flight months in advance is the best way to avail cheap tickets for your trip. Flight tickets from Manila to Puerto Princesa can get as low as 630 PHP ($11), depending on the airline, day, and time of flight.

Check Flights on Skyscanner

TIP: Cebu Pacific and AirAsia offer many promotions annually. Keep an eye out for these promotions to book a cheaper flight for this route!

Step 2: Puerto Princesa to El Nido by Minivan

Duration: 5.5 hours
Cost: 5.5 hours
Duration: 5.5 hours
Cost: 5.5 hours

Upon arrival at Puerto Princesa Airport, head to the exit hall. Van drivers are usually present outside the exits and will happily guide you to their minivans. If are not sure where to go, you can always ask the transport counter at the airport and they’ll be happy to assist you.

From Puerto Princesa Airport, there are two minivan operators bringing passengers to El Nido. Eulen Joy Express vans cost 840 PHP ($14.50) per person, while Fortwally vans cost 910 PHP ($15.50). They have the same departure times and both take 5.5 hours to reach El Nido.

We recommend booking a van ride online beforehand so that you won’t have to worry about your transport. Also, you can check the reviews of van companies beforehand to be assured that you’re travelling with a trusted company.

Check Minivan Tickets with BookAway

Note that there are reviews about the lack of legroom and the van not leaving on time. Unfortunately, these are common occurrences when taking a van in the Philippines.

Arrival in El Nido

Minivans and buses are not allowed to enter El Nido town due to its small roads. The drop-off point for shared vans from Puerto Princesa to El Nido is El Nido Bus Terminal. From here, you can take a tricycle to the town centre for 50 PHP ($0.85).

You can check out our route from Puerto Princesa to El Nido for more information. If you’re ready to book your ride, just click the link below.

Manila to El Nido by Ferry*

Duration: 14.5 hours excl. transfer time
Cost: 3,700 PHP ($64)
Duration: 14.5 hours excl. transfer time
Cost: 3,700 PHP ($64)

There are no direct ferry trips from Manila to El Nido. Since the ferry from Manila heads only to Coron, we advise you to spend at least a night in Coron before heading to El Nido via another ferry.

The last time we checked (May 2022), the ferry trip from Manila to Coron takes 42.5 hours with fares starting from 1,530 PHP ($26.50). The reason for this 2-day trip is 2GO Travel’s new ferry schedule.

2Go Travel now makes stops in Batangas and Puerto Princesa before heading to Coron. The ferry leaves Manila North Harbour Pier 4 every Wednesday at 07:00 and arrives at Coron Port every Friday at 01:30. From here, you can ride another ferry bound for El Nido.

You can visit 2Go Travel’s Facebook page to see the latest updates on their ferry trips and schedules. If you want to push through with this 42.5-hour journey from Manila to Coron, you can book your tickets at the 2GO Travel website or with 12Go.Asia.

Check Ferry Tickets with 12Go.Asia

There is another ferry you can take when travelling from Manila to El Nido. Atienza Interisland Ferries Inc. has one passenger-cargo ship with direct trips for this route every week. However, we don’t recommend this option for several reasons explained in the last part of this article.

Departure and arrival station

If you’re taking the ferry option from Manila to El Nido, the 2Go Travel ferry departs from Manila North Harbour Pier 4, located in Tondo, Manila.

This pier is accessible via taxi or Grab from anywhere in Metro Manila. If you’re coming from the province, we recommend taking a provincial bus to Pasay City and then take a taxi to the pier.

The 2Go ferry arrives at Coron Port. From here, you need to take another ferry to El Nido Ferry Terminal.

Step 1: Manila to Coron by Ferry

Duration: 11 hours
Cost: 1,900 PHP ($33)
Duration: 11 hours
Cost: 1,900 PHP ($33)

The ferry trip from Manila to Coron takes 11 hours. 2Go Travel operates only 1 trip weekly, which departs at 19:00 on Fridays from Manila North Harbour Pier 4. For more information about the ferry trip, read how to go from Manila to Coron.

You can book your ticket directly at the 2Go Travel website or via 12go.Asia through the link below. Fares start at 1,900 PHP ($33) for air-conditioned tourist class. This is also available to book on 12go.Asia for a few dollars more. Just click the link below.

Check Ferry Tickets

Step 2: Coron to El Nido by Ferry

Duration: 3.5 hours
Cost: 1,800 PHP ($35)
Duration: 3.5 hours
Cost: 1,800 PHP ($35)

We advise you to book a fast ferry from Coron to El Nido because it only takes 3.5 hours. Fares range from 1,800 PHP ($31) to [1,900 PHP] if you book via BookAway through the link below.

You can read more about this route in our post from Coron to El Nido.

Check Ferry Tickets

Passenger-Cargo ship from Manila to El Nido (not recommended)

Duration: 24-25 hours
Cost: 1,700 PHP ($29.50)

Atienza Interisland Ferries Inc. is originally a cargo & freight company that now offers ferry trips between Manila and Palawan. Unlike the new ferry schedule from 2Go Travel that requires another ferry ride from Coron to El Nido, Atienza offers direct trips from Manila to El Nido.

M/V Star San Carlos is a passenger-cargo ship that operates this route weekly. It is the only ship that allows both passengers and cargo. The other ship for this route allows only cargo.

The direct ferry trip from Manila to El Nido takes 24-25 hours. An economy class ticket costs 1,700 PHP ($29.50), while an air-con tourist class ticket costs 1,850 PHP ($32).

All Atienza ships depart from Baseco Port Area in Manila at 06:00 in the evening. For this route, M/V Star San Carlos arrives at El Nido Ferry Terminal at around 06:00-07:00 pm the day after.

Note that online booking is not available. The only way to buy tickets is by visiting the Atienza Interisland Ferries office inside the Manila Port Area.

Why we don’t recommend this option

Although they offer weekly trips, the trips are not on the same days every week. They do not have a working website, so all information is available only on their Facebook page. This means that you can only plan your trip after they have posted the schedule, which is usually 1-3 days before the departure.

Atienza Interisland Ferries Inc. also hasn’t been responsive to customers’ comments on their Facebook page. They rarely answer customers’ queries on their posts, but you can try your luck by calling the phone numbers posted on their page.

Rounding it up

The last time we checked (May 2022), Atienza is the only company offering direct ferry trips from Manila to El Nido. However, we don’t recommend this option for travellers. For now, it’s best to take a direct or indirect flight to El Nido until 2Go Travel starts offering direct ferry trips again that take only 11 hours.

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