We visited El Nido Palawan for $9 Per Night in 2022. I share how we spent 30 days in El Nido Palawan for almost free in April 2022. Almost free is definitely an exaggeration, but let me explain why you can probably afford to go to El Nido now.
We just extended our Philippines tourist visa for 2 more months and we asked the officials some questions that may interest you. After I discuss how to visit El Nido for Cheap, I will give an update on the terms of the 36-month tourist extension.
In a previous report, I discussed “How to travel when you are Broke.” I shared 6 different ways to travel when you don’t like wasting your money. I explained how I prefer staying in furnished 1 bedroom apartments, but I sometimes stay in hostels or co-working places when I am visiting expensive parts of the world.
You are probably thinking that a place this close to the beach in El Nido is really expensive. Am I right? In general, you would be right. But I have a few tricks up my sleeve that I would like to share with you right now.
You see, some parts of the Philippines are super cheap. But El Nido is not one of them. El Nido is a vacation wonderland so it will empty your wallet quickly if you are not paying close attention. I will start with accommodations and then discuss food, entertainment, and tours.
We checked Airbnb.com, Booking.com, and Agoda.com looking for cheap places in El Nido. We could not find any reasonable prices. If you follow us, you know we have a process we teach about how we find cheap apartments around the world. At the end of this video, I will show you how to get all of these links.
So we followed that process and found a $200 per month apartment, which we show in another previous video. But when we visited that place, we learned that the Internet was spotty. Since we planned to be in El Nido for a month, and we make money online, spotty Internet is a deal-breaker.
If the Internet is not so important to you, then the $200 apartment we toured in that video may be a winner for you. But I pay for our travels with my travel hobby, so we needed reliable Internet. I have a video about that also, how we pay for travel as we travel the world.
We also read online that the Internet was very spotty all over El Nido. When that happens, we look for well-reviewed co-working spaces. You see, in order to call yourself a co-working space you have to have reliable internet.
So we searched for co-working spaces in El Nido and we found a co-working place that had a backup diesel power supply, and multiple redundant Internet providers. Remember those two conditions and look for them when you are going somewhere in the world with spotty Internet.
So we went over there and inspected the premises and found this amazing co-working hostel called Lexias Hostel (Lexias Hostel Google) (Lexias Hostel Webpage) (Lexas Hostel Facebook). Lexias is run by a guy named Ed that did an amazing job keeping us happy. He helped us in so many ways during our 30-days in El Nido, that I could make a separate video about that.
The most amazing thing about the Lexias Hostel is the view. The hostel only had one negative aspect which I will explain in a moment.
El Nido Palawan for $9 Per Night in 2022
A private room, with a private bath, for 30 days for 2 people was $517.00 USD including internet and utilities, and weekly room cleaning. That is $17 per night or $9 per night, per person, since we are two people. Lexias Hostel Webpage.
That gave us access to everything, the co-working space, the pool table, the swimming pool, the lobby area with an amazing view, plus there is a restaurant on site serving meals in the range of 100 to 180 pesos ($2.00 to $3.50 USD) and laundry service is available for about $1.30 per kg.
They also provide rides up and down the mountain so we didn’t have to walk. You see, the view is amazing here because you are on top of a mountain and the road is very steep. They include tricycle rides so you don’t have to walk.
Okay, here is the negative aspect. It is not really negative if you do what I am going to explain now. The tricycle that picks you up and drives you up the hill only comes when you call for it. But there is no cell phone reception at the spot where the tricycle picks you up.
So you just have to call for the tricycle before you arrive at the spot where it picks you up. So make sure to get a Philippines SIM card for your smartphone so you can make a local call before you arrive at the pick-up spot (in front of McDonalds’‘).
We are not in charge of the pricing of this hostel. We are just paying customers like you that are sharing what we loved about them. We will not make any money if you decide to book this hostel. This is just our honest opinion about this place with no other motivation to share with you.
Okay, now let’s talk about how to save money on food in El Nido.
When we travel to expensive places, we have a bunch of tricks we use to save money. You see, expensive places have expensive restaurants. Many of the restaurants in El Nido are geared toward tourists.
Tourists don’t mind paying $6 to $8 USD per entree. Heck, they are only there for a week or two and then they fly home. But we were here for a month. So we look for other ways to save money on food.
Since we booked 30 days at the Lexias Hostel, they gave us kitchen privileges. There are actually two kitchens at Lexias. One is downstairs where they prepare the restaurant food. The other is upstairs with a view and is available to hostel guests under certain conditions.
When we were there, they gave us use of the kitchen automatically because we booked for 30 days. So we fixed many of our meals (60-70%?) ourselves in the view kitchen. That allowed us to manage the quality and costs of food more easily. Since I love to cook, a kitchen hostel with this amazing view is a winner in my mind.
So where did we buy the food we cooked? There is a public market where we bought food supplies. Lexias even let us use their cookware and we had our own shelf in the refrigerator of the view kitchen. We would often prepare large portions so each meal we prepared would feed us twice.
We also ate at Lexias restaurant meals 4 or 5 times per week and at several El Nido restaurants. One of our favorite restaurants in El Nido was The Happy Home Restaurant where we ate out a few times per week for $3 to 5 per meal.
All of our favorite restaurants are on our Retire Cheap in Paradise reports for El Nido Palawan.
Next up is the cost of transportation. We have toured all over the Philippines on and off over the last few years. We have a Youtube playlist if you want to see videos of our 82 favorite places in the Philippines.
When we were in Dumaguete in the Philippines for 7 months in 2020, we rented a scooter for $92 USD per month, which is $3 per day. But we couldn’t find anything like that in El Nido. In the tourist areas of El Nido, they wanted $7 to $10 USD per day to rent a scooter.
So we decided that we only rent the scooter for a few day trips and just ride the tricycle taxis around most of the time. Overall, that turned out to be a good decision.
You are not going to save much money on tours in El Nido. The 4 most famous tours are the A, B, C, and D tours. These are day tours that tour you around many of the islands off the coast of El Nido Palawan.
They cost about $24 USD per person which includes lunch and an all-day tour (9 am to 5 pm) of some of the most beautiful places you will ever see in your life. On top of that, you will have to pay a one-time environmental fee of around $4 (good for 11 days) and $2 for a snorkel and mask. People also tip the guides and boat hands.
We did only the A and C tours. I am providing links to our videos of all the tours we took so you can see which you want to take. Tour A, Tour C.
We also did two Nacpon beach tours. We rented a motorcycle for $7 for the day for that and drove ourselves there. There was no parking or entry fee but we have a video and map to help you.
Finally, many people that come to El Nido also want to see Coron Island. The ferry to Coron costs about 2700 pesos ($54 USD) one way per person. But while staying at the Lexias Hostel, we learned about a better way to go to Coron.
The better way to get to Coron is called the Tao Experience. The Tao Experience picks you up in El Nido and takes you on a 5-day, 4-night tour of remote islands before dropping you in Coron around 5 pm on day 5. Tao Expereince Videos. Coron Tour Video. Retire Cheap in Coron Video.
When we went the Tao Experience costs us about $400 per person but it was worth much more than that to us. It was an experience of a lifetime.
We flew into Palawan from Manila for around $100 per person and we flew back to Manila for about $100 per person. We generally use Skyscanner.net to find the best prices on Airfare.
36 Months of Philippines Tourist Visa Extensions
We just got an additional 2 months extension on our tourist visa in the Philippines. Some of you have been asking about whether or not 36 months of extensions are still possible. We asked the official and she said they never went away.
That means that you can still get the 36 monthly extensions on your tourist visa that were available before the pandemic. So you can get extensions for 36 months before you have to do a visa run to a nearby country.
Some of you have also asked about the insurance requirement and the return ticket requirement.
First, is the insurance requirement. When we entered the Philippines, we were required to have insurance to cover us if we get sick from COVID. That is still required as far as we know. Here is a video about that.
But we were wondering if we would have to maintain the insurance while we remained in the Philippines. In other words, would we have to show insurance to get our extensions? We have been to the Philippines immigration for extensions twice now, and neither time did they ask for proof of insurance.
So what about a return ticket? Did they ask for one when we went for an extension? The answer is no! Here is where we got our tourist visa extensions in Metro Makati. Ayala Circuit Mall.
The only thing that changed for us now in 2022 from when we last got extensions in 2020 was the period of the extension allowed. The official said you have to come back every 2 months now for your extensions, they no longer do them for 6 months like before.
Now, I don’t know if this rule changed in other parts of the Philippines, nor did I ask the official. So if you have been able to get the 4 or 6-month extensions wherever you are in the Philippines, please leave a comment below.
Thank you for reviewing El Nido Palawan for $9 Per Night in 2022. All of this is in writing on our webpage with links to everything we discussed in this video. Just click the first link in the notes below this Youtube video.
While you are there, please grab a free copy of my eBook, “How I fired my Boss and Traveled the World for 15+ Years.” This is Dan of Vagabond Awake, the youtube channel for Vagabond Buddha.com. The world is your home. What time will you be home for dinner?