As I woke up to another rainy day in El Nido, I was determined to continue to make the best of my time there. Since most (all) of the activities on this island involve being outside, I had two options which were either to venture out in the rain, or sit in my hostel all day. I think the first option sounded more appealing.
I walked downstairs of my hostel (Our Melting Pot) and asked the staff how I could get to the Nagkalit-kalit Waterfalls and Nacpan Beach (one of the world’s most beautiful beaches). The staff looked at me with a bit of concern when I told them I just wanted to go alone. “Why don’t you go upstairs and see if anyone wants to come with you?” they asked. “It’s expensive to do on your own.”
However, expensive to them is significantly different than for us. The 1000 PHP for the tricycle for the day only really equaled around $25 Canadian for me. Just as they were telling me this, I heard a voice chime in and ask: “Where are you going?” It was who was going to become my new adventure buddy for the day, Rocio, a backpacker from Grenada, Spain.
It didn’t take much convincing for me to get Rocio on board, as she was also on the hunt for something to do, rain or shine. We grabbed our things and boarded a tric on route to Nagkalit-kalit Falls. The trip was about 25 minutes from El Nido town and the entrance was no more than a cardboard sign that read, “Ask about falls info here.” As we got off the tric, a lady greeted us and told us we needed a guide to take us to the waterfalls which would cost us 200 PHP each. We agreed, and off we went with our guide who seemed less interested in giving us a proper tour, and more interested in getting us to the falls as quickly as possible.
As we started to walk, we made one quick stop at what seemed like a family home, where a lady stood in her fenced-in backyard asking for the 10 PHP fee to enter. Note that nobody on this adventure had change, so make sure you bring exact change for everything.
We continued our walk which took us through lush green forest, across rice fields, past some sleepy ox and rambunctious pigs. The path went from being a typical walking path to a rocky, muddy, up and down, rugged path pretty quickly. It was a tad challenging but I wore flip flops for this “hike” because I heard you get very wet and didn’t want to ruin my sneakers within the first few days of my trip. However, I would recommend sandals or water shoes if you happen to have them.
Along the route, you will cross multiple parts of the river which can at times be as deep as your waist. Our guide kindly held our hands to cross, to insure we didn’t get swept away by the current. Eventually, after about a 45 minute hike, I could see the waterfalls peeking through the greenery. We had made it!
The falls were beautiful, however, being from a country that has Niagara Falls, one of the seven natural wonders of the world, they were a bit underwhelming. I think the hike was almost more worth this trip than the actual falls, however, I was happy either way that I did it. We opted out of taking a dip in the cold water, but it is an option for those that want to cool off!
We then started our walk back, where along the way, we ran into several other pairs who were also setting off on the hike. It seemed like we obviously got the dud of the tour guides, as every tour guide we passed seemed to be eager to talk to us.
Back at the entry point, we paid our 200 PHP each and hopped back on our tric to head to Nacpan Beach. We headed up the paved main road until we reached the access road. Our first glimpse down the road, I looked at Rocio and said: “This is going to be an adventure.”
The road was bumpy, rocky, muddy, wet, and it looked like something you would look at in Canada and think you’d never take any form of transportation down unless you maybe had an ATV or a heavy duty truck. But down the road we went. Our driver was trying to be strategic on how he would conquer each section of the road. At times, the puddles were so deep, the dirty water would rush into the floor of the tric over our feet. At other times, we were asked to get out of the tric while the driver maneuvered over muddy sections and we would meet him on the other end. Meanwhile, we watched several tourists on motorbikes pass with confidence, only to see them wipe out, and other trics get stuck and pushed out of the mud. Like I said, an adventure.
We finally reached a little booth which seemed to be the entrance to the beach. We had to pay a 50 PHP environmental fee, and sign our names and country of origin before we entered. In we went and pulled up into the mini parking lot which was a sea of trics. We hopped out, gave our driver a meeting point, and headed straight to check out the turquoise waters and white sandy beach that stretched for four kilometres.
We walked all the way to the left end (left if you’re facing the ocean) to a little hill which you could walk up and get a view of both Nacpan and Calitang beaches, the two beaches that coin the name the “Twin Beaches”.
At this point, we were starving. We headed back near the parking lot where there were two restaurants on the beach. Both looked to have similar menus so we picked Kyla’s Cocina. I opted for a vegetarian dish because I wasn’t really sure if I could trust the meat and fish. I got vegetable noodles and a banana shake which cost around 240 PHP.
After lunch we went to lay on the beach, but right about then, the rain started again and in came the wind which was making it pretty tough to enjoy the beautiful sandy beach. We tried our best for awhile but it didn’t seem like the weather was going to clear, so we headed back to venture to our hostel.
Overall, the day was great, even in the rain. I feel that there is so much promotion around the island tours in El Nido, which are amazing, but not much around exploring inland. So if you do have the chance to do both an island tour and an inland tour, I’d highly suggest it, rain or shine.