There was a time back in mid 2000 where there are only about 40 rooms available for visitors in El Nido. These days, development is growing at a steady pace that even from the last time I visited (2010) there are already marked changes in town since I stayed in Hadefe Cottage in Calaan. Now that I have more time to explore this side of El Nido, I was able to comb through this north side beach. Check out my Caalan Beach, Eats and Resorts compilation.
Quiet Beach Hideaways
For those looking to stay on a more tropical and quiet setting in El Nido, the beach stretch of Sitio Caalan is perfect. Never mind the 10-15 minutes walk from the town proper, the occasional wave splash in the evening high tide (especially at new moon) at the pathway from town, or passing by a cemetery all the time (if it doesn’t creep you out) as Caalan makes up with its quiet island atmosphere, unobstructed view of Cadlao Island and the lapping of the waves in the evening to lull one to sleep.
It was also a pleasant surprise to find beautiful stretch of beach here. The initial stretch is rocky but swim-able, on windy days, surfing is also possible. But walk further until the last resort (literally) and find a wonderful stretch of a soft and powdery stretch of beach with gentle waves and waters ideal for swimming and snorkeling.
Resorts in Caalan Beach
There is an interesting mix of accommodations there now. I must say prices have shot up now or probably because of the peak season. But there are mid-range choices (Php800-1500) to high-end (P6000) I managed to check out most of them and all of them had friendly staff/owners and was easy to talk to. I’ll just say something brief about them and its up to you to decide. The resort order is based from the guardhouse to the last resort at the edge of Caalan Beach. I may have missed one or two though.
Makulay Lodge and Villas
First among the lodgings in Caalan, it’s a convenient short walk from town. This family owned lodging has the creative and homey vibe one finds in Baguio. The lodgings on the three-story structure on ground have spacious rooms and instant access to the beach. If you don’t mind climbing stairs, they have lovely villas up on a hill with wonderful views of Bacuit Bay. They can accommodate a family or a group of 5 and above. Their hammocks by the beach are inviting.
Price Range: Php 1500-3500
Contact: +63906.323.6470, +63926.681.6971, +63917.257.3851
(Added Feb 16, 2013) This one is fairly new. Only months since the opening found just after the turn from the guard house beside Makulay Lodge. A short walk and you’ll find cottages among the cool surrounding chaparral, hence its name. So far about 4 cottages but the rooms are big. Basic design. Some rooms have 2 big beds and one small one good for groups. Another room has one big bed for singles or couples. Fairly pleasant place to stay.
Price Range: Php 1000-1600
Contact: +639497504889, +639204223118
Cadlao Resort and Restaurant
This is probably the most high-end in Caalan area (or even El Nido Town itself). It has a large well-manicured garden area enclosed by high walls for security. Rooms looks elegant and all of them are uniform. They have solar power for 24/7 lights a good-looking pool and a restaurant. All the rooms look the same, the price only differs for the fan or aircon rooms. If you have money to splurge, this is a good place to stay.
Price range: Php 5500 (fan only), Php 6500 (aircon)
Kalinga Beach Resort
It has a nice spacious ground with cottages on the sides. The rooms look nice and well-kept. I could imagine the sunset would be a good view from their porch. The owner was very accommodating. All rooms are fan rooms and there’s wifi at the reception.
Price Range: Php 1500 (w/ breakfast)
Angel Nido Resort
Place is a bit small with only 3 rooms available (there’s currently another one being built) but still at the beach front. I wasn’t able to see the rooms since they were all occupied but it looks big judging from the size of the building.
Price Range: Php 1650
Contact: +63939.165.8916, +63949.750.4889
Basically the same as before with more cottages now. Please see this post for details on Hadefe Cottages.
Golden Monkey Cottages
The place has a nice premise for its name, it’s a refuge for rescued monkeys in El Nido. Aside from its noble advocacy, they have lovely cottages and they pride themselves of using recycled materials. Their beach front cottages are large and spacious.
Price Range: Php 1800-3500
Antonio Village Pension and Cafe
It’s not a beach-front lodging but they have some of the cheapest rooms in the area. Rooms are spacious and well-kept. Their bathroom can even fit another bed. The café is definitely a plus for this pension.
Price Range: Php 800
Contact: +63927.764.0121, +63939.902.2237
El Nido Reef Strand Resort
Fairly new, it is a wonderful modern house turned resort. For its price though, its 4-rooms available are of good value since the rooms are handsome with verandas facing the sea. The staff here is also very pleasant to talk to.
Price Range: Php 1500
Taiyo Village Resort
The whole resort occupies a large enclosed area with cottages and buildings on the sides. Some have good sea view some of the garden. There’s a variety of rooms that can occupy small to large groups. There’s a mix of quality on some rooms, some felt old and worn out and some new but all functional and clean with a choice of fan or aircon rooms. But the real charmer here is the Japanese owner Naoko who has lived in El Nido for more than 10 years. She’s very friendly and enthusiastic.
Price Range: Php 1500-3000
Club Hippocampe Last Beach Resort
If isolation is what you seek, Club Hippocampe is a secluded sanctuary. It has a wonderful area with nice cottages on a quiet and cool hillside location. The beach in front of the resort is wonderful and powdery. If you don’t mind being cut off from civilization this is the place to go.
Price Range: Php 1200-1800
Contact: +63949.469.9130, +63916.851.5317
Gawad Kalinga Restaurant Eats
One of the downsides of staying in Caalan are the limited choices for dining. While there are some sari-sari stores (general merchandise stores) to cater for quick eats there are only a few restaurants. There’s the Cadlao Resort Restaurant that is open to the public but my fave there is the Gawad Kalinga Restaurant operated by the Gawad Kalinga Cooperative. Their prices are not bad, slightly lower than the beach front restaurant but the ambiance is a plus.
Disclaimer: Ironwulf.net En Route is not affiliated with any of the entities (resorts, hotels, companies) mentioned above. Information given are accurate at the time of writing. (Updated Feb 16, 2013)