While the beginning of our El Nido trip was rainy, the end of the week saw a brief respite in typhoons. It was beautiful even with the rain, but better with the sun.
We spent an afternoon renting kayaks and paddling around the bay. The process for renting kayaks was pretty sketchy; because of the typhoons and the high waves, a lot of the outlets were refusing to rent kayaks. We checked in with a few places and were refused, even though we kept insisting we just wanted to paddle around the bay. In better weather, you can take the kayaks across to the other islands, but with the high waves the operators thought we might try anyway and capsize. We finally found a small restaurant with a few kayaks out back and assured the man that we wouldn’t go out past the bay.
So we just paddled around the boats and out to the edge. The waves were really high once we got near the mouth of the bay, but we stayed in obviously safe areas and enjoyed paddling. None of us are expert kayakers so we were thrilled enough with just hanging out in a boat in the water.
Our evenings were dotted with finding awesome food and hanging out at bars along the beach. Coming from Korea, we thoroughly enjoyed the variety of options available. We were eating seafood but no meat, and didn’t have any trouble finding delicious food. We ate some absurdly awesome pizza at Altrove Trattoria and also enjoyed the food at Artcafe, and ate a few nights at OG’s Beach Pension Restaurant because there was an absurdly nice host who was the friendliest person ever. We also splurged one night at La Salangane, right next to our hotel. Splurging is all relative – we spent a silly small amount even though we were eating dinner and drinks out every night.
Toward the end of the week we decided to sign up for one more tour; the companies that we talked to weren’t allowing people to sign up for C because of a warning from the coast guard about high waves due to the typhoons. We signed up for Tour B, but heard from a few other people that they found tour companies that did let them sign up for C.
The day started horribly; it was so cloudy and foggy that we couldn’t even see the mountain across the bay from El Nido. As our boat began to head out began raining in horizontal sheets, and our boat heaved across high waves. I pictured us capsizing our little waterbug boat and sat in the cold and damp wishing we hadn’t scheduled a tour. A whole day of being cold and wet!
Then, we got to the first island and the sky cleared and it was the most beautiful day we had.
This tour was much more mellow than the first one, and basically involved hanging out on different islands throughout the day. We stopped at one island then swung around a sea cave (to gaze at, and hear about the deadly poisonous sea snakes inhabiting the cave) before settling on another island for lunch.Our guides started cooking lunch midmorning and continued grilling as our boat bounced from one island to the next. We snorkeled near the island and hung out in the sand while lunch was being prepared. A few of the people on the island were selling fresh coconuts so we went to buy a few. One of the girls with us joked that she would like some rum with her coconut, and the man selling said, “Really? Ok!” It turns out it was his birthday, and they were on the island to celebrate. he pulled out a bottle of rum and poured it into our coconuts, refusing to let us pay for them. For his birthday! And we enjoyed the amazing lunch they prepared for us.
After lunch we headed toward Snake Island and took a short hike to the top of the island for a view across.
Our guides apologetically cut out the last stop in the tour because of the high waves and instead took us to a little island, the same island we stopped for lunch on our first tour, to laze about, snorkel, and play on the beach.
We spent about 7 days in El Nido, and with the amount of travel it took to get there, the 7 days were well worth it. I enjoy settling down and getting to know a place when traveling, so I would find it really hard to come all that way for just a few days before hopping to the next destination. There was plenty to do, the people and food were awesome, and even with the rain it was beautiful.
We were sad to leave, especially to say goodbye to our best friend, Gordo, the doggy from Pura Vida Inn.
But we used the last of our pesos to buy large bags of baked goods from Midtown Bakery, where we had our mid-morning donut everyday. Warm donuts! Covered in sugar! What more could you ask for?