How to get from Puerto Princesa to El Nido

How to get from Puerto Princesa to El Nido

Puerto Princesa is known as one of the cleanest and greenest cities in the Philippines. It is famous for its amazing diving opportunities and beautiful beaches. Nicknamed the city in the woods, Puerto Princesa has everything you need for shopping and dining, great seafood restaurants and gorgeous beaches.

Travel options from Puerto Princesa to El Nido

How to get to El Nido

If diving and beaches are your thing, don't forget to also head north to the smaller town of El Nido. A quieter alternative to Princesa, El Nido has great beaches and scenery, and is also famous for excellent diving. Getting by car from Puerto Princesa to El Nido is easy and relatively cheap.
Travel options from Puerto Princesa to El Nido

If you are already planning to visit Puerto Princesa, El Nido is not too far away and highly recommended if you like beaches, scenery and diving.

The distance between towns along the highway is about 230 kilometers (144 miles), and although the road is generally in good condition, it loops along the coast and mountain slopes, so it may take a little longer than you expect. The advantage is that you will enjoy beautiful lush green trees and views of the sea, it is definitely a scenic area!

Keep in mind that there is one particular stretch of road that is quite bumpy, so it adds to the travel time. And if you are prone to motion sickness, you can take something before you leave Puerto Princesa.

Auto is the only way to get from Puerto Princesa to El Nido, but don't worry, there are two transportation options - public bus and minibus, they travel quite often, so you won't have trouble finding a travel option.

Bus from Puerto Princesa to El Nido

Philippine bus

As you might expect, public buses are always the cheapest way to get from Puerto Princesa to El Nido, but the journey will take much longer than if you travel by minibus. So, weigh the pros and cons of time and cost when considering buying a bus ticket.

If you are happy for a longer trip - it could be anywhere from 6 to 9 hours depending on traffic and time of day, buses are a very good option. True, if you get a driver who is happy to stop and pick up passengers along the way, you may stop several times, and that can be very frustrating. Nevertheless, the buses are quite modern and safe. They have Wi-Fi as well as televisions and air conditioning. Cherry Bus also offers cheaper buses without air conditioning, as does another bus company, Roro. Flights leave every two hours during the day, the first one around 4am and the last one around 10pm.

There is usually an express bus option that can save about 30 minutes from the trip, but given how much more expensive it is, you'll need to decide if the time savings are worth the extra money.

Also, keep in mind that buses only depart from the San Jose bus station, so if you arrive at Puerto Princesa Airport and want to head directly to El Nido, you will need to take a 15-minute tricycle ride to the bus station. It's not such a big deal, just keep that in mind.
If you want to save on the cost of a hotel night, you can travel overnight by bus from Puerto Princesa to El Nido. You won't be able to enjoy the scenery, but it will save you money. Note that all buses will make one stop for everyone to get off, stretch your legs, and buy food.

Minibus from Puerto Princesa to El Nido

Minibus to El Nido

The second option for traveling between Puerto Princesa and El Nido is by minibus. You will probably hear that this is the preferred way for tourists, mainly because it can be much faster than taking the bus, but before you book your tickets, read on!

The Puerto Princesa to El Nido minibus trip can take as little as 4 hours, but you should probably expect to average 5 hours. Be sure to add some stopping time, as minibuses make one stop along the way, just like buses do.

The big advantage of traveling by minibus is that there are many companies offering this route, so many options for departure times, and usually there should be no problem finding a seat. However, for peace of mind, we recommend that you arrange your trip from Puerto Princesa to El Nido in advance to be sure.

If you are staying in Puerto Princesa, some companies will offer free shuttle service from your hotel, so this can be a great advantage over buses, saving you time and hassle. Or, if you arrive at the airport and want to go directly to El Nido, there are always minivans to meet arriving planes.

However, there is an important thing to keep in mind: even after buying a ticket for a particular minibus, you may sit waiting for an hour or more before it actually leaves. This is because the driver will wait until his bus is full or almost full, which may mean that he is waiting for the next plane to arrive. In general, minibuses can get from the airport to El Nido faster than buses, but if you have to wait a significant amount of time before departure, you won't be able to save your time.

For this reason, it may be better to spend a few days in Puerto Princesa before going to El Nido, and that way you can get a convenient transfer from your hotel.

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