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 recommend spending 1 or 2 nights there and then heading straight to Nacpan Beach.
- Where is Nacpan Beach?
- Why Visit Nacpan Beach
- Where to stay at Nacpan Beach
Where is Nacpan Beach?
Nacpan Beach is 20 km north of El Nido town and only takes 30 minutes by scooter. We paid a trike taxi 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.
Tip: there are no ATMs in Nacpan so make sure you bring sufficient cash with you!
Why Visit Nacpan Beach
1. You get a long stretch of beach all to yourself
If you’re someone who hates the idea of crowds and having to share a beach with a million other people (yeah, no thanks), Nacpan is the perfect spot. Stretch for miles, you will always find a spot to yourself given that Nacpan just doesn’t get busy like El Nido.
2. 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. We’re all for sharing tourism so coming to a place like Nacpan is much better for the community, for your own enjoyment and for sustainable tourism.
Boracay is now closed off to visitors due to the impact and we’re glad to hear that Boracay’s beautiful beaches will hopefully receive some much-needed restoration.
3. Witness some of the most epic sunsets at Nacpan
Pretty. Damn. Impressive.
4. Island hopping tours from Nacpan Beach
Island hopping tours aren’t anything new and yes, they’re pretty tried and tested in the Philippines. Every traveller coming to El Nido is going on a tour and it’s for good reason, the islands are pretty epic. You can book the same island tours from Nacpan Beach but ask the guide to start in a different direction so that you are on a different timetable to the tourists coming from El Nido beach.
5. The restaurants in Nacpan are cheap
You won’t have the variety that El Nido offers (especially if you’re looking for new food to try in the Philippines) 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.
Ps. Here’s an El Nido travel guide if you’re planning on stopping by on the way to Nacpan.
Where to stay at Nacpan Beach
Since Nacpan Beach isn’t a tourist hotspot, it’s not overrun with hotels and hostels (which we love) so you don’t have too many options. However, what limited options you have happen to be fantastic.
1. Hammock Homestay: a fun hostel 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.
2. Where 2 Next: an eco-hostel working towards reducing plastic waste
Where 2 Next also supports Hammock Homestay in waste management and we love that this hostel is working towards being much more sustainable. The hostel runs on solar power and asks that guests bring a reusable drink bottle to fill up to reduce plastic waste.
The Mad Monkey chain is infamous through South East Asia and is very well known for its party vibes. If you’re looking for a good place to party in Nacpan, this is the spot. If you’re looking for chilled vibes and and a quiet place, don’t come to Mad Monkey.
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