Where to Stay in El Nido: Nacpan Beach Glamping
Stay: Nacpan Beach Glamping
Located At: El Nido, Palawan, Philippines
Spend: $120 - $210 / night
Stay Here For: Unique glamping experience just steps from the ocean
Nacpan Beach is one of the most gorgeous beaches in all of the Philippines. Here, you’ll find miles of pristine white sand, gentle waves, and a dense concentration of coconut trees as far as the eye can see.
El Nido is without a doubt a popular place to visit, but I’d argue that Nacpan Beach is by far the most relaxing. While some people come for just the day, you can actually spend the night here, just steps from the ocean.
Read on for everything you need to know about staying at Nacpan Beach Glamping, a series of yurt-like tents located in Nacpan Beach, Palawan.
If you haven’t heard of Palawan, you may have very well seen its beaches in photos before. They truly are as beautiful in person as they appear online! Palawan is an archipelago of 1,780 islands in the westernmost region of the Philippines, and the northern part of the island of Palawan itself is where El Nido, and Nacpan, are located. This part of the Philippines is well-known for crystal clear waters, limestone cliffs, white sand, all-around beautiful natural scenery that really makes you feel like you’re in paradise.
To get here, it’s first important to note that it is as remote as it sounds. Traveling around the Philippines’ network of islands often takes a combination of air, ocean, and land travel. From Manila, you can fly to Puerto Princesa (cheaper) and catch a bus or van to El Nido, or fly directly to El Nido (faster) and simply hire a tricycle to take you to where you need to go.
I flew to El Nido with AirSWIFT, a boutique Philippine airline that privately owns and operates El Nido Airport. Round-trip, my flights cost me around 15K PHP ($300 USD). From El Nido, I took a van straight to Nacpan Beach. In total, expect getting from Manila to Nacpan Beach to take you around 5 - 6 hours, or longer if you’re going via Puerto Princesa!
Once you’re in Nacpan Beach, your van will drop you off in front of Sunmai Bar, which is part of the Nacpan Beach Glamping property. You’ll need to carry your bag(s) with you down a short path to get to the reception area for check-in. This part’s a bit cumbersome, so best to pack light if you can!
The reward for all this time-consuming travel is an absolutely picturesque tropical stay, far removed from the crowds.
Nacpan Beach Glamping is a true beachfront property and sits just steps away from the ocean, which is why I sought it out in the first place. The hotel has a small network of tents spread throughout a garden setting, connected by footpaths. Onsite, you’ll find a pool, a turtle hatchery (the hotel is actively involved in sea turtle preservation!), and a restaurant/bar.
Nacpan Sunmai Restaurant serves up a locally sourced menu of both Filipino and international cuisines. In the mornings, you can order a la carte meals or enjoy a complimentary breakfast buffet. In the evenings, the restaurant will often have live music, drinks, and even hookah served up with dishes like pork sisig or pepperoni pizza. My experience with this restaurant was, for the most part, pretty good. The food was delicious, the music was always good, and the location is exceptional (especially at sunset).
But I will say that Nacpan Beach Glamping is more accustomed to couples, and that to be a solo female traveler in El Nido, it definitely made me get my fair share of well-meaning questions, especially while dining! This didn’t bother me, but it’s definitely something to keep in mind if you’re planning on coming solo to what is arguably a very ‘romantic’ destination. You will be something of a curiosity!
If you don’t want to spend all your time at the restaurant, you can order a drink to go and stroll the beach. The beach area immediately in front of the campsite has beach chairs for Glamping guests.
In addition to relaxing at the beach or the pool, Nacpan Beach Glamping offers a handful of complimentary and reasonably priced activities for guests:
Sunset Sailing on a Paraw Boat (worth it!)
Coconut leaf origami
Campfire music and games
Private sailing trips and private dinners on the beach arranged upon request
Beachfront massages (1 hour for 700 PHP/$14 USD)
The hotel staff can also help you book tours and island-hopping day trips. They have a list of available activities at the front reception.
If you’re looking for a hotel with WiFi, something to keep in mind is that while Nacpan Beach Glamping claims to have WiFi, this is a very hard claim to really guarantee in Palawan, in my experience, simply given the remote location. WiFi in the tents was barely accessible for 90% of my stay. In order to get the strongest and most reliable signal, just go to the reception area or restaurant, where you should be able to connect much more easily.
Nacpan Beach Glamping’s tents are less like the tents you’re used to camping in, and more like massive yurts. Some of the tents are beachfront, and some have views of the mountains, but all feature the same setup.
Each tent is made from heavy-duty canvas and furnished with two queen-size beds (or one ginormous mega-king, if you push them together). In addition to the spacious beds, you’ll also find a seat, two poufs, a small table, a fridge, an AC, several fans, and a small safe. To conserve energy, the air conditioning units shut off every day from 10 am - 4 pm. This is definitely your incentive to get up before 10 and hit the beach, because these canvas tents get toasty immediately in the tropical heat.
Outside, each tent has a small deck and lounge chair so you can hang out and unwind.
Tips To Know Before You Go
1. TRANSPORTATION: In order to get to Nacpan Beach from Manila, you’ll need to fly to Puerto Princesa or El Nido, and then take a van from there. I traveled to El Nido on AirSWIFT for around 15,000 PHP round-trip. If you’re traveling from Puerto Princesa, the van to El Nido should cost you around 500 - 700 PHP. Once you arrive in El Nido, head to the Discover El Nido office to take the Nacpan Shuttle Service straight to Nacpan Beach Glamping for just 200 PHP (discounted from 350 PHP for Glamping guests).
Alternatively, if you’d prefer a private transfer from the El Nido Airport, the hotel can arrange this ahead of time for 1,800 PHP.
The only thing that the hotel does not recommend is hiring a tricycle or motorbike, because the roads are unsurfaced and bumpy. After traveling back and forth between El Nido and Nacpan several times on this trip, I can attest to this – stick to the van!
2. CASH ONLY: There are very few ATMs in El Nido to begin with, and I would say ATMs in Nacpan Beach are virtually nonexistent. You will also find that there is no option to pay for your stay by card onsite. So, plan ahead of time to bring enough cash for your reservation and for any activities you’d like to do while here.
3. WHAT TO DO IN THE AREA:
Planning your visit to El Nido? Would you stay in these tents? Tell me below!