No trip to the Philippines is supposedly complete without a visit to one of its hotspots, El Nido. Infamous as THE place to be for island hopping tours, it’s no surprise that El Nido has become a hub for tourists. But what if we told you that there was a secret hideaway a mere 15km away? A place to escape the noise with an idyllic and peaceful setting away from the crowds. Would you go?
Well, we did and it was one of our favourite places in the Philippines. If you’re planning on heading to El Nido, we say skip the main town and go straight to Nacpan Beach instead.
Nacpan is a looooong stretch of beach unlike El Nido Town’s Main Beach
El Nido town is great for restaurants and bars but unfortunately, there isn’t a nice big beach to cater to the crowds. On the other hand, Nacpan Beach has two sides so you can always find a large area to relax without being disturbed by anyone else.
Nacpan Beach is what Boracay was 20 years ago
Before Boracay became the hottest island destination, it was also a peaceful beach without the crowds, resorts and infrastructure it boasts today. Locals tell us that Nacpan Beach today is what Boracay was back then – no nearby airport, no flocks of tourists and no resorts. I’m hoping that Nacpan Beach never turns into Boracay but just in case it does, you’re better off enjoying it now!
Witness some of the most epic sunsets
Pretty. Damn. Impressive.
Yep, super posed and not candid at all. We used to HATE taking couple pics. If you look back on the first 10 months of travelling, we didn't take many at all outside of selfies. But we've forced ourselves to get a bit more comfortable and now we secretly love taking these pics because they really are beautiful and this sunset was killer. And even though it was a bit of a "forced" moment, we don't mind staring at each other for a little while. • • • • #travelgram #huffpostgram #igshots #instatravel #earthpics #headedelsewhere #nakedplanet #ourplanetdaily #weareexplorers #vibetravel #livetravelchannel #theglobalwanderer #travelawesome #wanderlust #creatorclass #createexploretakeover #ig_shotz #gotouring #thepeoplestraveller #underwaterworld #travelcouple #femaletravebloggers #travelbloggers #southeastasia #paradise🌴#fatalframes #adventurer #lifeofadventure #canon_photos
It’s only 30 minutes from El Nido
Nacpan Beach is 20 km north of El Nido town and only takes 30 minutes by scooter. We paid a tricycle 600 pesos ($15AUD / $12USD) to take us since we didn’t know how long we’d spend here. This means you can easily get back to El Nido town if you need access to an ATM or some shops – but trust us, you won’t want to leave Nacpan.
You can still do island hopping tours from Nacpan Beach
The same tours are available and you can ask the guide to start off in a different direction so that the stops aren’t packed with other boats when you arrive.
Stay at a fun hostel that’s making a positive impact in the community
We had such a great time at Hammock Homestay and highly recommend it. It’s few minutes walk from the beach and the owners, a local Filipino, Greg and Frenchman, Thomas, are passionate about positive contributions to the community in Nacpan.
They’ve started a few projects such as growing a veggie patch which they hope will go towards improving the consumption of fresh vegetables in Nacpan.
Also realising that littering was a huge problem, HH put out drums around the area and along the beach so that people could dispose of their rubbish properly. The government noticed the initiative and now sends a garbage truck to come and collect the rubbish every fortnight! Talk about change!
If you have a couple of hours to spare, HH arrange a rubbish pick up along the beach every Saturday morning.
They also have volunteer opportunities for teaching English at the local school or helping with their veggie patch so if you’re looking to chill somewhere and contribute to a community, this is the place. Thomas and Greg’s passion for their community is contagious and the homestay has a great vibe. Almost every person we met staying there inevitably extended their stay (yep, we did too).
Get in contact with Hammock Homestay on Facebook to book or for more info.
Staying at HH also means free kayaks and body boards
Yes, FREE. We had a great time on the body boards. Just look at the joy!!
The restaurants in Nacpan are cheap
You won’t have the variety that El Nido offers but there’s enough to keep you satisfied for a few days. There are a couple of different restaurants along the beach (our favourite was Ruby’s) that have a mixed menu and serve beers and fruit shakes.
So if that’s not enough to convince you, here are a couple of our favourite shots of Nacpan that will have you packing your bags ASAP.