El Nido is well-known for one of the best island hopping experience in the world. Whether you book a tour package or explore on your own, you won’t be disappointed with El Nido’s gorgeous beaches, coral reefs and colorful lagoons.

What is the best way to get from Puerto Princesa to El Nido?

Puerto Princesa is located in the center of Palawan. To travel the 260km distance from Puerto Princesa to El Nido, you can either take a van or a bus. The journey takes between 5.5 to 8 hours and fares start at 430 PHP ($8.50).

Van or Bus?

Transport modeDurationCostsAvailability
Van5.5 hours560 PHP ($11)Check van tickets
Bus6.5 hours430 PHP ($8.50)Check bus tickets

We recommend to take the van from Puerto Princesa to El Nido for more comfort and more choices in departure times. It’s a bit more expensive than the bus, with rates starting at 560 PHP ($11). But we think it’s more than worth it.

The bus is the cheaper option starting at 430 PHP ($8.50). However, travel time can take longer (6.5 to 8 hours) as they don’t always take the highway. Also, the bus can be a bit uncomfortable with all the twists and turns.

PRO-TIP: Can’t get enough of the beaches and beautiful Islands? Then consider adding Coron to your itinerary too.

Own experience: When I travelled to El Nido, I decided to take the van from Puerto Princesa to El Nido and try out the bus on the way back. I expected the bus would be less bumpy and offer a bit more comfort, but that was not the case. The roads are quite narrow and there are quite a lot of turns. This means the bus will shake even more than the van. Next time I’d rather take the van on the way back as well.

Looking for more info? We got you covered!

Itinerary from Puerto Princesa to El Nido

van icon

Puerto Princesa to El Nido by Van

Van station in El Nido

Duration: 5.5 hours
Cost: 560 PHP ($11)

Taking the van from Puerto Princesa to El Nido is a little more expensive than taking the bus, but also an hour faster.

Travel time is at least 5.5 hours. You can expect to pay 560 PHP ($11) to 840 PHP ($16.50) per person for the van ride, depending on which company you choose to book with.

We recommend booking your van ticket online to avoid the hassle of organizing your ride from Puerto Princesa. Also, most operators offer free cancellation, which can be useful in case your travel plans change last-minute.

Note: Keep in mind that vans and buses are NOT allowed to enter El Nido town due to its small roads. After your arrival at the El Nido Transport or Bus Terminal, you can take a tricycle to the town center.

Van OperatorScheduleDurationCosts
5h 30m610 PHP ($12) + free pick-up
Rems Katar Transport Service04:00-10:00
6h560 PHP ($11)
Eulen Joy Express09:00-14:30
5h 30m840 PHP ($16.50)
Lexxsus Palawan
(departs from San Jose Terminal)
5h 30m710 PHP ($14)
Diskubre Transport
(not available)
6h560 PHP ($11)

Most vans depart from Puerto Princesa Airport. If you’re coming from Puerto Princesa town, you can book a van with Lexxsus, which departs from San Jose Terminal. Fortwally departs from the airport, but offers free pick-up from any hotel in Puerto Princesa as well.

Vans leave as early as 04:00 in the morning and as late as 20:30 in the evening. They generally make a stop at a local canteen halfway to El Nido, where you can use the washroom and buy classic Filipino food, beverages, and snacks. The last stop is at El Nido Transport or Bus Terminal.

TIP: The van is the most preferred mode of transport in Palawan. Seats can fill up quickly, so try to book at least 1 day in advance through BookAway!

Check Van Tickets with BookAway 

Bus icon

Puerto Princesa to El Nido by Bus

Duration: 6.5 hours
Cost: 430 PHP ($8.50)

The cheapest way to go from Puerto Princesa to El Nido is by bus. You can choose from 2 bus companies and fares start at 430 PHP ($8.50). The journey takes between 5.5 to 8 hours.

The buses travel along small provincial roads and although El Nido is only 260km from Puerto Princesa, the trip takes longer than it would on a highway. This is due to the small size of these roads, which means you will feel every turn the bus makes.

To serve as your guide, we have provided you with the bus schedules from Puerto Princesa to El Nido:

Bus OperatorScheduleDurationCosts
Cherry Bus
6h 30m430 PHP ($8.50)
Cherry Bus
5h 30m760 PHP ($15)
Roro Bus06:00-14:00
8h560 PHP ($11)

Cherry Bus from Puerto Princesa to El Nido

Cherry bus from El Nido to Puerto Princesa

Cherry bus provides a standard bus service and many travellers, including the locals, seem to favor this company over Roro bus for the journey from Puerto Princesa to El Nido..

Roro Bus from Puerto Princesa to El Nido

Roro bus from El Nido to Puerto Princesa

This company provides a standard bus service for most routes in Palawan, but the journey takes much longer compared to Cherry Bus for this route.

You can buy your bus ticket directly at the terminal or online through BookAway.

Check Bus Tickets with BookAway

Buses depart from San Jose Terminal. From the airport, a tricycle ride to the bus terminal costs 120 PHP ($2.40). The buses make two stops along the way, in the towns of Roxas and Taytay, where you can buy local food, snacks, and some souvenirs.

The last stop is at Corong-Corong Bus Terminal in El Nido. From here, you can take a 10-minute tricycle ride to the town center for 50 PHP ($1). It’s best to take a tricycle as there are no sidewalks and it’s not safe to walk along the road, particularly at night.

Puerto Princesa to El Nido by Jeepney

If you like travelling via local transport, there are also jeepneys that head from Puerto Princesa to El Nido from San Jose Bus Terminal. They charge 250 PHP ($5) and the journey takes approximately 6 hours. Jeepneys also drop passengers off at Corong-Corong Bus Terminal.

However, Bear in mind that sitting in a van for 5 hours from Puerto Princesa to El Nido is already a struggle. Sitting in a jeepney wouldn’t be a good experience at all for such long journeys, especially during summer!

Frequently asked questions about traveling to El Nido from Puerto Princesa

El Nido town view

Is it worth to visit El Nido?

The scattered karst mountains offer one of the most stunning landscapes of the Philippines and is definitely worth adding to your island-hopping itinerary. The journey from Puerto Princesa to El Nido might seem a bit long, but once you arrive you know it was worth it.

Bear in mind though, that you will not be the only traveller visiting this beautiful part of Palawan. If you are looking for less touristic places, we recommend to consider to visit Port Barton. The charming beach town also offers several island-hopping tours, although it doesn’t offer the same landscapes filled with karst mountains.

Does El Nido have an airport?

El Nido does have an airport which is located 20km from El Nido town, about 30min by van or tricycle. The airport is owned by AirSWIFT which is the only airline operating at this airport and it does not have connecting flights from Puerto Princesa. However, if you prefer to fly, you can fly from Manila to El Nido which just takes a little over one hour.