• Éadaoin Fitzmaurice

The Philippines: Nacpan Beach & El Nido

Our last island on our trip around The Philippines was probably my favourite. If you're planning a trip to PI, El Nido needs to be on your list. There's so much to see, great nightlife and it's good craic.

We flew into the dinkiest airport you can imagine (El Nido) where instead of conveyor belts in arrivals we were handed our bags by staff using lottery tickets. It kind of felt like we had flown into a celebs' private place.

Top Tip: Most travel sites will tell you to fly into Puerto Princessa and to get a 6-hour bus from there. Literally EVERYONE we met said the bus was hell on earth, so we re-booked our flights using an airline called AirSwift and not only did it cut our journey massively, it was so much easier and more enjoyable.

We hopped on a bike (there are loads outside of arrivals at El Nido airport) and our driver took us on our rockiest journey yet up the island to Nacpan Beach. If ever there was a place that looked like paradise, this is it.

We walked down the beach, sand hot on our feet and finally saw the cheeky monkey logo of Mad Monkey Hostel.

The tunes were blaring and sunbathers lay on long leather bean bags under parasols whilst sipping cocktails.

Mad Monkey has no WiFi, it's in the middle of nowhere so you pretty much just spend your entire day there drinking. It's the kind of place where you'd lose your mind if you stayed there too long, three days was plenty for us. Honestly, it was one of the best parts of the holiday. I was happy 24/7 with not a care in the world. It was so nice to be so far from reality and on the most beautiful beach I've ever laid eyes on.

The sky at night was insane.

It really was paradise.

We made our friends there and probably our best memories, though we only remember about 40% of it.

As you can imagine, Lynne and I had a crazy time at Mad Monkey Hostel. So after all the madness, we needed a cooling-off period.

We checked ourselves into a boujee spa resort in El Nido called The Nest and spent two days doing sweet fuck all, reading and lounging in our robes. I'd definitely recommend doing something like this after Mad Monkey to recharge the batteries before heading to another party hostel in El Nido city.

After The Nest we made our way to Frendz hostel in the heart of El Nido.

During our time there, we ate in an amazing smoothie bowl bar called Glow and we went to a Reggae bar around the corner from the hostel. They were my FAVE.

The weather wasn't the best during our time there, with rainstorms happening most days. Thankfully, it held up the day that we did Tour A.

I couldn't recommend Tour A more. You get to snorkel in a coral reef, explore a hidden lagoon and kayak through the big lagoon. We booked through the Frendz hostel and the tour guides we had were proper GAS.

Up there as one of the best activities I've ever done on a trip.


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