How to Travel From Puerto Princesa to El Nido?

//How to Travel From Puerto Princesa to El Nido?

How to Travel From Puerto Princesa to El Nido?

El Nido is located in the north of Palawan, about 230 kilometers from Puerto Princesa. In this article, we will see how to travel from Puerto Princesa to El Nido. What is the fastest way? What is the cheapest way? And how to organize yourself so that you don’t have to wander around Puerto Princesa International Airport to find a van or a bus going to El Nido? I will answer all these questions – and a few others that might interest you as well.  You will know how long it takes to go from “Puerto” to El Nido, how much it costs and who to contact to book your trip.

Note that we will only consider how to travel by land. There are no flights connecting Puerto Princesa and El Nido, and traveling by sea has very little interest (except if you fancy very long and very uncomfortable trips). But before seeing what are the specificities of traveling in Palawan by bus, by van or with a rental car, let’s answer a simple question…

How long does it take to go from Puerto Princesa to El Nido?

The time it takes to go from Puerto Princesa to El Nido mainly depends on which mean of transportation you’re using. To give you an overview, here is a table with an estimate of the travel time by mean of transportation, as well as the average price it will cost you:

Mean of Transportation Travel Time Price
Van 5 to 6 hours  500 to 700PHP
Bus 6 to 9 hours  380 to 480PHP
Rental Car Around 5 hours 2000 to 3500PHP/day

 

As you can see, travel times range between 5 and 9 hours. If you checked on Google Map prior to reading this article, this could be a bit surprising for you as Google Map indicates a 2h59min road from Puerto Princesa to El Nido. But it obviously doesn’t take into account the state of the road, nor its numerous turns and hillsides. You just can’t drive at an average of 77kms/hour on this road. For a van or a car, the high average speed would be around 50kms/hour, and for a bus it’s as low as 30kms/hour.

That being said, let’s have a closer look to every traveling option you have to go from “Puerto” (the local nickname of Puerto Princesa) to El Nido, with their pros and their cons.

The Van: The Most Popular Way To Rally El Nido, Palawan

Travel with a Van From Puerto Princesa to El NidoTravel with a Van From Puerto Princesa to El Nido

For tourists, the van is probably the most popular way of going between El Nido and Puerto Princesa. There are several companies commuting the two towns and each one of them runs several trips a day. Here are the two main ones: Eulen Joy and Lexus Shuttle.

As you’ll step foot outside of the Puerto Princesa Airport, you’ll probably be approached by van drivers asking you if you need a ride to El Nido. So, in a way, you won’t have to look for a van… But there are a few things to take into account.

What is the normal price for a van ride?

People who are used to taking the van between Puerto Princesa and El Nido (locals and expats) will generally get a fare of 500PHP (or even a bit lower). But the prices asked to tourists can be a bit higher. They generally range from 600 to 700PHP.

What are the van schedules?

After you booked your ticket, you could suppose that you’ll be going soon. But you have to be aware that, most of the time, the van company will wait until the van is fully book to start going. Sometimes, you may even have to wait a few hours (basically, until the next flight has arrived) which can a bit be frustrating. Unfortunately, nobody will tell you that prior to booking.

Can they come pick you up at your hotel?

Some van shuttle companies can come to pick you up at your hotel in Puerto Princesa. This is normally the case of Lexus Shuttle. The most tricky part is to contact them without having to go to the San Jose bus terminal (from where Lexus Shuttle operates).

How goes the trip?

The trip follows Puerto Princesa North Road, which goes though Roxas, San Vicente and Taytay. You will then ride along the Taytay-El Nido Highway (which, as of now, is not fully finished yet). About half-way, near Roxas, the van will stop in a “canteen” where you will be able to eat some typical Filipino food.

After 5 to 6 hours, you’ll arrive to Corong-Corong bus terminal, which is just a few minutes away from El Nido town proper. You can take a tricycle from there. It’s preferable to avoid walking to El Nido town (especially at night) as there are no sidewalks. Walking on the road is both disturbing for the drivers and exposing you to serious accidents.

Is the van ride confortable?

The van companies tend to fit a maximum of people into one van, sometimes adding removable extra seats. It’s not rare to have 13 to 14 people into one van, driver included. So, if you’re 6 feet tall and stuck in the last seat row, you won’t be very confortable – notably because you won’t have much space for your legs. Here are a few tips for tall people…

The best seats in the van are in the front seat (it’s perfect for a couple, for example) and in the first seat row behind the driver where you will have more space for your legs. Note that these seats are generally the fastest to be taken. Thus, if you’d like to have them, you should ask if they’re still available before booking and duly specify you want to sit there.

Most of the vans are air-conditioned (and sometimes even a bit too cold!). Their general confort depends on their age and on the model. For sure, a 20 years-old van will be less confortable than a brand new. If you’re really picky on that kind of stuff, you can still ask to see the van before booking!

How to book a public or private van?

El Nido Paradise now offers online booking for your van transfer from Puerto Princesa to El Nido or for your van transfer from El Nido to Puerto Princesa. You can access it through the online booking section.

If you’re traveling as a group, you can book a private van. The cost is around P6,000 in total and you can now reserve your private van online by clicking here for a private van to go to El Nido, or there for a private van going to Puerto Princesa.

Book Your Van!

New: You Can Now Book Your Van Online!

In partnership with Eulen Joy, Barakah Transport and Lexus Shuttle, we now offer online booking for your van transfer from Puerto Princesa to El Nido, and from El Nido to Puerto Princesa (only 550PHP/person).
Book Your Van!

The Bus: The Cheapest Way (But Is It Really?)

A Roro bus going to El Nido, Palawan

This is the second most popular way for travelers to go from Puerto Princesa to El Nido. There are two companies you can choose from: Roro Bus and Cherry Bus. Both companies operate from the San Jose Bus Terminal, which is 7 kilometers away from the airport. Here is the location on the map.

How much does it cost to get to the San Jose Bus Terminal?

There is a 10 to 20 minutes (depending on traffic) tricycle ride to go from Puerto Princesa Airport to the Bus Terminal. The last time I checked, the official price (displayed inside the tricycle) was of 120PHP. For Philippines, this is an expensive ride. You may get it cheaper or be able to share the cost if you are two or three in the tricycle.

What are the bus fares to go to El Nido?

The bus fares range from 380-385PHP for a normal Roro or Cherry bus to 480PHP for an air-conditioned Cherry bus. The prices depend on the model of the bus. They stay the same, no matter the hour of the day or night.

How goes the bus travel to El Nido?

There are buses going to El Nido every one or two hours during the day. These are the one that can take the up to 8 or even 9 hours. The reason is simple: during daytime they make a lot of stops along the road, especially at the hours when school starts and finishes.

In Philippines, you basically just have to stand along the road and wave to the driver to make a bus stop. When the kids are on their way to school or home, the bus will stop many times to pick and drop them off. You should also know that the bus allowance is not limited by the number of seats. Thus, on certain parts of the road, you can sometimes have almost as much people standing in the ally as there are people sitting.

After a time travel varying between 6 and 9 hours, you will arrive in Corong-Corong bus terminal, where you can take a tricycle to El Nido town proper.

Are there night buses?

You can get a night bus since the Roro company also operates during nighttime (the last and first departures should be at 10PM and 4AM). If you’re on a budget, this can be a way to save a night at the hotel. Plus, during the night the bus are usually not full and you may be able to get a seat row for yourself (which definitely is better to sleep). During the night, the ride to El Nido can take only 6 hours, because it will make only a few stops.

Comparing the bus and van costs for going to El Nido

Taking a tricycle to go from the airport to the bus terminal in San Jose (around 120PHP) is something you have to add to the total price. If you get a normal bus, it will add up to 500PHP. If you take an air-conditioned one, it will make a total of 600PHP. As you can see, a bus ride is not necessarily cheaper than a van ride. In any case, it will take you more time to arrive in El Nido.

Renting a vehicle to go from Puerto Princesa to El Nido

Rent a Car (here Mitsubishi Montero) to go from Puerto Princesa to El Nido

You can find companies to rent a car or a motorbike in Puerto Princesa. Prices for a motorcycle (type Honda XRM 125) will be around 500PHP/day, and a little bit lower if you rent for a longer time. More powerful models will be more expensive, around 800PHP to 1000PHP/day. To rent a car that you’ll be able to drive on all roads up to El Nido, count on 2500 to 4000PHP/day, depending on the model. Driving a car between Puerto Princesa and El Nido can definitely be something you’ll enjoy: the road has very beautiful parts. If you’d like to book a rental car in Puerto Princesa, it’s now possible with our online tool. Just click here to do so: Rent a Car in Puerto Princesa.

Is it a good idea to rent a motorbike to drive until El Nido?

It clearly depends on your motorbike skills. 5 hours on a motorbike can be a exhausting (I did it several times on a XRM 125, so I speak from experience…), especially for a non-expert driver. Above all, you must be aware of the dangers on Palawan roads. There are a LOT of stray dogs and they probably are the first cause of motorbike accidents in Philippines. My only advice is that you drive carefully. And know that if you enjoy riding a motorbike, there are plenty of places you can rent one from in El Nido, starting with our booking (which is located just in front of the Altrove pizzeria).

Conclusion

We didn’t speak here of the other ways to come to El Nido (airplane and ferry) and only focused on how to come from Puerto Princesa. The best option is probably to take a van from Puerto Princesa airport. Taking a bus or renting a car can also be interesting solutions, depending on your budget and the time you arrive in Puerto Princesa.

If you have any questions, please leave a comment below or to send us a message from our contact page. Also, don’t hesitate to check our page on El Nido island hopping Tours and our all-inclusive (transportation, accommodation and island hopping tours) El Nido Tour Packages. I hope this article was helpful and wish you the best stay in El Nido!

2017-01-21T04:33:46+00:00 August 13th, 2015|Traveling in El Nido|64 Comments

62 Comments

  1. Jerome February 5, 2016 at 9:59 am - Reply

    Hello,

    First, I’d like to thank you for the info and advice about Palawan island. I have been lookng into transportation options and I came across your website. My wife and I will be flying into Puerta Princessa on March 13, 2016 @ 0230pm, however, I’m not sure if they have any private vans that are heading to El nido around that time. I was wondering if you can help us out. It will be much appreciated.

    • Pierre February 5, 2016 at 5:10 pm - Reply

      Hi Jerome,
      Thanks for your kind comment. 🙂 It’s possible to organize a private van transfer from Puerto Princesa to El Nido. Please just send us an email via the contact page here: https://www.elnidoparadise.com/contact/ We’ll be happy to plan that for you.
      Cheers,
      Pierre

  2. Andei February 22, 2016 at 2:01 am - Reply

    Please give me an estimated amount for 17 people (2 kids ages 2&4). Is there a van where we can all fit?
    We will be on our way from Puerto princesa to el nido on april 19. Thanks

    • Pierre February 25, 2016 at 9:57 am - Reply

      Hi Andei,
      Thanks for your comment. You can either book two private vans or book 17 seats for public van transfers. In both case, you won’t be able to be all together in the same vehicle because the vans don’t have such a capacity.
      Cheers,
      Pierre

  3. ports March 22, 2016 at 12:23 pm - Reply

    Thanks for this very informative article guide, we’ll be there in late June, we will stay there for 4N 5D, my question is, is it possible to hire a private van just one (1) way to El Nido and one (1) way going back to Puerto? Thanks.

    • Pierre March 24, 2016 at 10:24 am - Reply

      Hi,
      Yes, it’s possible to hire a private van. For that, please just send us an email on our contact page.
      Thanks, and have a great stay in Palawan!
      Pierre

  4. Shona April 7, 2016 at 10:42 am - Reply

    Hi , we arrive in Puerto Princessa at 12:45 on the 9/4/16.
    If I was to book 2 seats on a minivan from the airport would it be leaving not long after we get there or do you think it will wait a while. Thanks for your very helpful website. Regards

    Shona

    • Pierre August 7, 2016 at 1:42 pm - Reply

      Hi Shona,
      You’re welcome! 🙂
      It depends if the van is near to be filled or not when you arrived, which is basically impossible to tell in advance…
      Cheers,
      Pierre

  5. PT May 24, 2016 at 3:55 am - Reply

    Hi, I will travel to Puerto Princesa on this Aug.08 and be staying there 2 nights. On Aug.10, I’d like to go to El Nido so can you please help to advise on which vehicle should I take (check-out at the hotel at 12pm)? Also, I’d go back to Puerto Princesa from El Nido on Aug.12 to take the flight back to Manila at 6pm, can you also help to advise on that? Thanks much for your kind support.

  6. Emilie larsen June 6, 2016 at 4:52 am - Reply

    Hello, i would like to know if you get the tickets on email?

    • Pierre June 9, 2016 at 3:10 am - Reply

      Hi Emilie,

      Yes, and we send you all the practical information by email too.

      Cheers,
      Pierre

  7. Francis July 30, 2016 at 8:37 pm - Reply

    Hi, I just want to ask if there will be no problem if I will bring my son (3 years old) going to el nido? I mean d package tours? I’m thinking that there might be age restrictions. Thanks a lot.

    • Pierre July 31, 2016 at 1:03 am - Reply

      Hi Francis,

      There’s no age restriction for kids that I know of, except for special activities like cliff climbing, etc. 🙂 Note that for going to El Nido, the van will allow your kid but you will have to book one seat for him, at the normal rate.

      Cheers,
      Pierre

  8. Jeff Tyrone Vito August 18, 2016 at 3:24 pm - Reply

    Is there a night trip if we take the van?

    • Pierre August 23, 2016 at 4:29 am - Reply

      Nope, except if you take a private van.

  9. Neil August 22, 2016 at 7:18 pm - Reply

    Hello, How much will it cost us to hire fully air conditioned van for eight people – no more no less?

    • Pierre August 23, 2016 at 4:40 am - Reply

      Hi Neil,
      The rate for a private van is P6,000 for one way and P11,500 for the round trip.

  10. Rowena September 12, 2016 at 11:19 am - Reply

    Hi

    We will be visiting El Nido in Jan 2017, with the van for P11,500 round trip- how many seats is that?

    Thanks
    Rowena

    • Pierre September 12, 2016 at 12:40 pm - Reply

      Hi Rowena,
      There’s up to 12 passenger seats in a van.
      Cheers,
      Pierre

  11. Ngoc October 12, 2016 at 10:17 am - Reply

    Hi,

    We’ll visit El Nido in Jan, 2017. I would like to book your service but I don’t have Paypal.

    How can I book your van? And how can I pay to you? How much for 3 people for vising El Nido (round trip)

    • Pierre October 12, 2016 at 5:10 pm - Reply

      Hi Ngoc,

      Actually, you don’t need a PayPal account to use PayPal. You can use it with a simple credit card. Just click on “Proceed with PayPal” on the checkout page, and on the next page, click on “Pay without a PayPal account”.

      Here is the link to the van transfer booking pages:

      https://www.elnidoparadise.com/product-category/transportation/

  12. Joji cruz November 4, 2016 at 6:27 am - Reply

    Im planning to go to el nido in january and was wondering if the roads are narrow and close to a ravine and if its zig zag. Im afraid of heights and narrow roads and winding roads. Please advise. Thank u.

  13. Maybelle December 5, 2016 at 1:53 pm - Reply

    Hi,
    We will be in Palawan next week and we’re wondering if the public van can accommodate luggages? Luggage for 7 person?
    Thank you

    • Pierre December 7, 2016 at 8:00 am - Reply

      Hi Maybelle,
      Yes of course. 🙂

  14. Dennis December 11, 2016 at 9:02 pm - Reply

    What time is the last trip of van going to el nido?

  15. DAT January 18, 2017 at 7:08 pm - Reply

    Hi
    I`ll visit El nido with my family around 20 person on july for 4 days i would like to take 2 private van round trip, before i book flight ticket back to Manila from Puerto Princesa i would like to ask how long its take from El Nido to Puerto Princesa airport and what time will van pick us up so we can take flight 13.35 pm
    Thank you

  16. Jessica January 20, 2017 at 10:59 am - Reply

    Hi,

    Very useful info – when you say that the van takes 4.5 – 5 hours is that actually accurate? My experience in Asia is that it’s always a couple hours more or longer than what we are initially told.

    Thanks
    Jess

    • Pierre January 30, 2017 at 1:56 am - Reply

      Hi Jessica,
      You’re right, I edited the article to reflect it. 🙂 The trip generally takes 5 to 6 hours.

  17. Nataniel V. Falcis,Jr. January 22, 2017 at 2:43 pm - Reply

    Dear Pierre,

    We will visiting El Nido this coming April, 2017 via Puerto Princesa. Kindly advice ussince we are also planning to visit underground river. Which do you think we’ll go first. El Nido or the Underground river.

    Best regards,,

    Nataniel

  18. Amanda February 3, 2017 at 9:15 pm - Reply

    Hi Pierre,
    Is it possible to get picked up from the airport in PPC if doing the Underground river tour to El Nido?
    Thank you.

  19. Annie Imasaki February 6, 2017 at 7:00 am - Reply

    Hello po.Just want to ask if its possible to travel with kids po.Plan kasi namin mag bakasyon ng pinas then were planning to visit Palawan.First we want to visit Puerto Princesa possible po ba sa underground river na may kasamang bata po?then we want to visit el nido after puerto princesa..Hindi po ba kami mahihirapan kung may kasamang 4 years old and 6 years old po.?Thank u po.Looking forward sa reply nyo po…

  20. ciela February 10, 2017 at 8:15 am - Reply

    hello

    ask ko lang po kung anong oras yung last trip ng van from puerto to el nido? time arrival 3:40pm

    thanks

    • Pierre March 25, 2017 at 3:26 am - Reply

      Hello po,
      Ang last trip sa El Nido ay around 6PM.

  21. Magda February 21, 2017 at 11:12 am - Reply

    Hello,

    I would like yo ask if there is a possibility of rent a motorbike in El Nido and return it in Puerto Princesa?

    Thanks,

    Magda

  22. Chita Walkden February 24, 2017 at 8:05 pm - Reply

    hi

    just stumble upon your informative website, we are visiting Elnido for the 2nd time on the 24/04/17 till 27/04/17 all accommodation and domestic flights now arrange, currently cannot get hold of a friend who booked our trip to Elnido last year so I resorted of doing all the arrangement by myself I would appreciate if you can advise if there is a private van for 6 people all adults available to take us to our hotel in Elnido and pick up from Elnido to Puerto for our return journey and how much? appreciate for your assistance – thank you !

  23. Vaida February 26, 2017 at 12:55 am - Reply

    Hi, as I saw comment above about visiting underground river on the to or back From El Nido to PPC. I am interested now to visit that river on the way back from El Nido.
    Could you organise the van to pick up from El Nido and dtop at the hotel near The Underground River? Is it more expensive if need todtop us off in a hotel near River then would be in PPC

  24. Natalie March 11, 2017 at 5:18 am - Reply

    Hello, my partner and I are coming to Palawan in October. Is is possible to hire a car for a one way trip from PP to El Nido? Would you recommend staying a night in Roxa to break up the long trip?

    Are the roads dangerous for a foreigner to drive? We are from Australia.

    Is there a way to drive to El Nido from the Underground River without having to drive back into PP?

    Thank you

  25. Simon March 13, 2017 at 3:49 am - Reply

    Hi.
    Thank you for your helpful advice.
    I am looking to travel to El Nido tomorrow from Puerto Princea but would also like to stop to see the underground river. Do you know of any company’s that would do this?

  26. Cassie March 18, 2017 at 5:16 am - Reply

    Hi! I would just like to ask what time is the last trip of the van from airport going to el nido? we’ll arrive in puerto princesa airport around 2:30pm I’m thinking if we should go straight ahead to el nido and then have our tour in puerto princesa before going to manila instead. I hope you can give me some tips. Thank you so much!

    • Pierre De Vreyer August 23, 2017 at 10:32 am - Reply

      Hi Cassie,
      You can verify that info on the van booking page but in any case at 2:30PM there is no problem to get public van from the airport.

      • Caselie Casas September 9, 2017 at 6:03 am - Reply

        Thank you!

  27. RLehen March 24, 2017 at 11:56 pm - Reply

    Hi!
    Your article has been very very helpful! Thank you so much already!
    If I and my 2 friends took a van to El Nido, Where does the van drop you off at, and how would we then get to our lodging? Also, how/where would we find a van to get back to the airport?
    Thank you for your help!

    • Pierre March 25, 2017 at 3:22 am - Reply

      Hi RLehen,
      Yes, the public vans stop at the bus terminal of Corong-Corong, from where you can get a tricycle to go to town. You can find them here: Public Van from PPC to El Nido. To get a van back to PPC, you simply have to buy a ticket. You can reserve it online for the route El Nido to PPC on this page.

  28. Ands April 19, 2017 at 3:40 pm - Reply

    Hello we are going to Puerto Princesa. Next week. We are thinking of going to El Nido for a day tour. Like travelling at Friday night to El Nido and going back to Puerto Princesa on Saturday afternoon? Is that possible?

    • Pierre April 23, 2017 at 10:39 am - Reply

      Hi Ands,
      That’s a lot of van on only two days but yes, it’s totally doable!

  29. Pammy May 7, 2017 at 12:11 am - Reply

    Hi there,

    I booked a plane going to Puerto Princesa and I’ll be staying there for 4days and 3nights. Just wondering how to squeeze in the el nido trip if I’ll arrive in Puerto @4:00 in the afternoon of thursday? My flight bound for Manila will be Sunday @5:30 in the afternoon. Any suggestions and recommendations for a fun solo travel experience? Looking forward! Thanks!

  30. Maria ceniza May 20, 2017 at 4:46 pm - Reply

    Hi very useful tips on how to travel. We want to first do puerto princess for a day then go to el nido in the evening of sept 11th. If we rent a car or jeep to el nido where do we drop it off? If we choose van can they pick us up from our hotel in puerto princess?

    • Pierre August 23, 2017 at 10:35 am - Reply

      Hi Maria,
      Yes, the pick up at your hotel in Puerto Princesa (proper town) is possible with your van transfer. For the car rental, you can contact us to get more info about the possible drop off options for your planned itinerary .

  31. Aimee June 8, 2017 at 9:36 pm - Reply

    Thanks for the info.i have a little bit more idea on how to travel from Puerto Princessa to El Nido.My comfort is more matter most bus and van is not for me

  32. Akanksha July 31, 2017 at 10:50 am - Reply

    Is there a ferry from Puerto princessa to elnido we will be at Puerto till 9pm

    • Pierre August 4, 2017 at 2:00 pm - Reply

      Hi Akanksha,
      There is no ferry going from Puerto Princesa to El Nido. The common way to travel between these two points is the van (either public or private).

  33. Kean Rae Martin August 1, 2017 at 1:49 am - Reply

    How many liters of gasoline will take if i use Toyota Wigo on rent a car going to elnido from puerto princesa?

    • Pierre August 4, 2017 at 1:59 pm - Reply

      Hi,
      On a general basis, for a diesel vehicle, you can count around P1,000 to travel the road from Puerto Princesa to El Nido. If it’s a city car, it will be slightly lower than that, maybe around P800.

  34. Kim Cai August 23, 2017 at 10:22 am - Reply

    hi!

    Thank you for the info, helped us a lot while planning. My boyfriend and i will be travelling to El Nido this December. We are actually planning to rent a private car from Puerto, however both of us dont feel like driving all the way to EN for this trip. Is it possible that we can rent a car and hire a driver as well?

    Thanks,
    Kim

  35. Eden September 13, 2017 at 5:10 am - Reply

    Hello!
    What’s the latest schedule of the vans from Puerto Princesa airport going to El Nido? My flight will land at 8PM hence the question coz I plan to travel at night. Also, I’d like to know the schedule of the van from El Nido to Puerto Princesa. Thank you. 🙂

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