The Roro Bus at San Jose Terminal Puerto Princesa
The Roro Bus at San Jose Terminal Puerto Princesa

(Update: January 26, 2015) “…you can feel that Palawan is ready to hit the big-time in 2013” says Lonely Planet as it recommends this vast archipelago of Palawan islands as one of the Top 10 Best Regions to Travel in 2013. I couldn’t agree more as things are looking bright now in the region especially in the El Nido area. Despite the 6-hour bus ride from Puerto Princesa, it doesn’t stop people from discovering this wonderful destination even now that the Roro Bus to El Nido made travel a lot easier and comfortable.

Leg room inside the aircon Roro Bus
Leg room inside the aircon Roro Bus

The Roro Bus to El Nido

Before, people only have the old and cramped non-aircon Eulen Joy Bus and several van companies that ply the El Nido-Puerto Princesa route. The entrance of Roro Bus since last March 2012, owned by the same company of Montenegro Lines offered another option with newer buses and much comfortable travel. After riding the bus several times already here are several reasons why I liked this bus option

  • It is cheaper (Php 483 Php 380 on aircon and Php 250 Php 290for non-aircon)
  • It has hourly bus schedule starting from 4am to 10pm
  • More leg room than vans
  • Newer and more comfortable seats
  • Leaves on time even if not full
The non-aircon Roro Bus to El Nido
The non-aircon Roro Bus to El Nido

Aircon vs Non-aircon Roro Bus

I’ve tried both type of buses. Aside from the obvious difference on air-conditioning and price the travel time differs. I can’t say it’s not comfortable with the non-aircon as it is quite windy on the way but the bus often stops to pickup passengers along the way (especially on school days when students also ride the bus to and from the school) often times extending my travel time from only 6-hours to 7 hours at times. In contrast, the aircon can go as fast as 5 and a half hour but if it does pick up passengers it can go a little over 6 hours including the regular 30-minute bus stops in Roxas and Taytay.

Best Views

I’m very particular on seats that offer a nice view on the road especially when traveling during the day. Coming from Puerto Princesa, the coastal view on the right seats is very good until the stop at Taytay. From there the view on the left seats which includes the Malampaya Sound and several islands as it approaches El Nido town.

Road Condition

The road condition have improved a lot through the years. While there are some patches of construction work along the way, the winding road up to Taytay is mostly paved. From Taytay to El Nido, it’s a series of rough roads with patches of paved ones.

Going to the San Jose Bus Terminal from the airport

The Roro Bus is stationed at the new San Jose Market and Bus terminal. The easiest way from the Puerto Princesa airport is not necessarily the cheapest. Tricycles can take passengers directly to the bus station from Php100-140 depending on your haggling skills.

If you want it cheap and are not in a hurry, just walk outside the airport and take the Php 8 blue tricycle to the junction. Ask to be dropped there and you can take a multicab to the San Jose market for Php 13. The multicab’s last stop is at the San Jose Bus Terminal.

The El Nido Integrated Terminal
The El Nido Integrated Terminal

El Nido and Puerto Princesa Bus Schedule

As of January 2015, all the transport going in and out of El Nido are located in El Nido Integrated Terminal. Both buses (Roro and Cherry) as well as the numerous Vans are located across the market. Other buses going to other parts of El Nido are located here.

Puerto Princesa to El Nido El Nido to Puerto Princesa
Non-Aircon Aircon Non-Aircon Aircon
4:00 am 6:00 am 4:00 am 6:00 am
8:00 am 10:00 am 8:00 am 10:00 am
12:00 nn 2:00 pm 12:00 nn 2:00 pm
4:00 pm 6:00 pm  4:00 pm 6:00 pm
8:00 pm 10:00 pm  8:00 pm 10:00 pm
Contact Details: 0999.787.9469 Contact Details: 0998.184.6761
*Data updated as of January 26, 2015

Cherry Bus Alternative

(Update March 4, 2014) Check out my post on Cherry Bus to El Nido here.

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Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.

170 Responses to “Transit: Roro Bus to El Nido from Puerto Princesa Palawan”

  1. provet pal

    Hi, I just want to correct that the multicab’s last stop is not actually in San Jose Terminal. Just tell the multicab driver to drop you off there since multicab only passes the terminal and it goes far from there. But in going back to the city proper, there are multicabs already park in the SJ terminal.

  2. Sir, do they have a bus terminal in el nido? We’re planning to take the 10pm sched, but im a bit worried about the arrival time and as to where we’re gonna stay.

    • Hi Loy! Yes, they do have a bus station which is near the El Nido Market. If you leave at 10pm you’ll be arriving around 4am so it’s best to contact a lodging and advise them on your arrival

  3. salamat po Sir, my flight to Cebu is 12:35pm. Sa tingin po ninyo makahabol ako sa flight ko even on the very first trip na 4am from EL Nido to San Jose Terminal ? tapos from San jose terminal to Airport pa … sana maka rating ako sa airport atleast mga 11:15 am … sa tingin po ninyo maka abot po ako? maraming maraming salamat po and hope to hear you soon … God Bless us all

    • Hi Rose! It’s possible since I’ve taken the 4am bus a few times already but that could also stretch your luck. The 4am bus is kinda slow, I would be in Puerto usually 10:30-11am. But if the bus gets delayed by some other reason you can might miss your flight. So it’s a gamble 🙂

  4. Nimrod

    Hi! If we take the 10am roro bus from el nido to puerto princesa. Abot po ba kaya sa 650pm flight namin? What do u think would be the best time for our 650pm flight? Thank you..

  5. Mischa

    Hi…, peak season po ba sa el nido ng jan,.? Mas better po ba na book na kami ng hotel,o d kaya dun na kami mag hanap..
    Thank you po sa info ..keep it up!

  6. Hi. Thanks for the comprehensive post!

    Question: Do they put your stuff in the luggage compartment or is there an overhead bin? If there is a luggage compartment, how safe is your luggage if left in there during potty breaks?


  7. hello there, we’re planning a trip on the 4th week of January 2014 to El Nido. Unfortunately, we’ve heard in the news that El Nido is in a state of calamity including some areas going to El Nido due to typhoon Yolanda. We would like to know if it’s a good idea to plan a short vacation there on January.

  8. Hi,
    I have a flight booked for April (I know, long ways away!)… but it is supposed to land in Puerto Princesa at 5:20am.
    In your experience, how much time will we need to get to San Jose Terminal, and would we be able to catch the 6:00am Air condition RoRo?
    Thank you!

  9. Hi Ferdz – do you know if either company offers private transportation? We are running a Holy Week trip in April and will be going from PP to El Nido. I’ve not made any transportation arrangements yet. The group will be coming across from Dos Palmas resort in Honda Bay and heading up from there.

      • Thanks, Ferdz. We need a larger vehicle than Daytripper offers. The ones we used when we were there with you last year, were really all smaller than we’d like. Ideally we want two seats for everyone so people will have room for their gear. It seems to be a challenge to find something in the “middle”. Especially online when it’s not always clear if they’re counting the Jump seats as seats – to us, they really don’t count. We want the isle to stay clear to people can move around to shoot, if need be. Then, of course, pricing is also a consideration. Are their websites available for the comopanies you mentioned?

  10. Hi ferdz

    Im indonesian who will travelling to el nido this march..which is im so excited about it.. your blog is really helpfull.. but i want to ask you some question you have any info about underwater river in puerto princessa? My flight will be landed by 9am,.. im planning to spend time at PP until 5 pm… then off to el nido.. but i really have no clue about how much times it consume if i take underwater river..

    2. About RORO bus, is it still operating? Any update schedule?

    3. My flight from puerto princessa to manila is 6pm.. what is the best time for me to take for the hus leaves el nido?

    Thanks you so much…

  11. Hi Ferdz, thanks for this helpful resource. Me and my partner will be going there on the first weekend of June. I just want to ask if there are any vans available in the aiport that will travel to El Nido directly. We are planning to just go directly to El Nido after landing. Our ETA is friday at 4:25pm. Please help! thanks

  12. hi ferdz,
    thanks for the great information in your blog. i will be finishing the tao philippines trip in el nido at the end of march and the trip arrives back in el nido around 5 or 6 pm. i would like to take a bus that same night to PP so i can catch a flight the following morning. is this reasonable or is it a bad idea to arrive in PP in the early morning before sunrise? we would go straight to the airport from the bus terminal. are there tricycles or taxis waiting at the bus terminal all the time to take people to the airport? how long is the drive between the bus terminal and the airport? thanks so much for your help! and also, do i have to book a bus ticket in advance? or can i book it that day?

    • Hi Mathew! Thanks for visiting. Yes it is possible to take the night bus to PP. Just make sure you still have enough time for any contingencies that may happen. If you’re flight is around 8am onwards it’ll be safe. Travel time from the San Jose terminal to the airport is around 20-30 minutes. Yes, there are trykes there already in the morning and they may charge about 100 pesos up. As for the Roro or Cherry, if it’s not peak season, you can just book that day.

  13. Hi ferds, is it safe to travel at night from pps to elnido ? Our time of arrival in pps is 545 am,may 5th. Im planning to explore the city and take the 9pm bus to elnido by cherry liner. You think it will be safe ? I enjoyed reading your blogs . It’s a big help.Thank you and God bless.

  14. Hi po. Pupunta po kami sa El Nido this coming March 24. Kelangan na po ba namin magpareserve for the bus? Or okay lang po kahit dun na lang bumili ng ticket? BTW, sobrang napakahelpful po nito lalo na for first timers na tulad ko.. 🙂

    and gusto ko po sana malaman, what happened sa RORO? :O

  15. Hi! plano ko pong magtour sa El Nido this coming April and wanted to bring my sister along with me and of course by hearing the news she insisted on bringing her husband syempre ako daw taya… 🙂 the thing is 30k ang plano kong budget naming tatlo (5days stay) in your opinion kasya na ba yun? with tours? food accommodation? pedeng pagkasyahin?


  16. hi ferds..thanks for the very informative blog you have..been reading some ideas for my palawan you i also love to travel…if you were to choose which one would you take?cherry or toro?ty..

  17. Mapster

    Hi ferds! We’ll be going to El Nido this March 21. Would you prefer taking RORO bus over van? We prefer comfy yet not so long travel time. Thanks in advance!

      • Minerva

        Hi Ferds! Thank you so much for creating this blog, it’s very helpful God bless you…
        by the way, i have a question, i am planning to visit El nido via PPS by the end of April 2014 for 2 days and flight back from PPS airport to MNL at 6:25AM. We are planning to take the late bus at 10:00PM will that be enough to catch our flight? What would you suggest? it will be a big help..

        thank you in advance.


  18. Hi there! I find your blog really helpful. Just wanna know if we can still find affordable accommodation when we get to El Nido even without booking in advance? Our travel date will be on the 6th of April. Thanks you very much

    • Hi Anne! Since it’s the peak season it’s best to book in advance. I have some friends who recently went there and told me most of the lodgings were already booked. While it is still possible to find accommodation, you really have to look for it on your own 🙂

  19. Minerva

    Hi Ferdz,

    Hope you doing fine, by the way, our plans to visit El Nido is end of April, do I need to make a reservation for RORO bus? or other transportation?

    Thank you in advance,


    • Hi Ferdz,

      Read your blog and the comments here, the infos are really helpful thanks for posting it. Tanong ko lang sana – plano kasi namen this May 03 to go to Palawan, 8:50am yun arrival namen sa PP airport, aabot pa kaya kame s 10:00am trip ng RORO Bus to El Nido. If not, magkano po kaya kung magrerent kame ng van papuntang El Nido and ano yung mas prefered nyo RORO BUS o renting a VAN? Gusto asi namen yun makarating kame ng El Nido as early as possible kasi yun pinagbookan namen na hotel baka i-NO SHOW kame pag nalate kame ng 2-4hours ee.

      Another thing, ok lang ba malate ng check-in ng 2-4hours s hotel na pinagbookan namen? sorry for asking, baka kasi may naexperience ka nang ganito, it would be really helpful to us for your advise.

      Thank you sa blog and sa mga infos dito. Keep it up. :3

      • Hi Nico! If you have no delays in your flight and there’s no traffic, you can make it for the 10am departure. For VANs, it’s best to contact eulen joy express at 0918-653-4017, 0926-699-870

        As for the check-in lodgings and hotels each have different policy. It’s best to call them up and let them know you are going to be late.

  20. WOW! This has been very helpful! I am planning my El Nido trip and I luckily stumbled upon this! I am hoping that I won’t encounter any problem such as buses not leaving on time especially coming back from El Nido to PP because it would surely suck if I miss my flight back to Manila. But other than that, this post is a blessing to any traveler who has never set foot in PP and is planning to go to El Nido.

  21. Hi Ferdz,

    I tried calling the numbers above for the Puerto Princesa to El Nido trip but all 3 are no longer in service. Would you happen to know any other numbers? Our trip to Palawan would be on the 23rd of May, would it be recommended to book a bus trip in advance? We are planning to take the 10pm trip. Also, would you recommend booking the accomodation at El Nido in advance or is it better to look for one once we arrive there? Appreciate the help!

    • I you can’t contact them, just be early at the bus station. It’s still the peak season and there are no assurance of empty seats. If you can book advance in El nido it would be much better. Lodging can get filled up easy these days. It’s better than walking around lugging your packs under the heat of the sun

    • Hi Jen! I don’t think you’ll make it. Best time of arrival would be 11am, no more time for check-in. You can alternatively take a 5am VAN and you could have a chance to arrive earlier

  22. Doan Cong Kham

    Hi I’am Kham, I’m from VietNam, i’ll have a flight from Cebu to Puerto Princessa at 07.08.14, I’m going to stay in PP at 11:55AM, I want to take the 2:00 PM to El nido 07.08 & take back from El nido to PP at 10:00pm 08.08.14. How do you think about that, can u help me book a ticket.Please contact me through my email: [email protected] Tks very much. I have 5 people.

  23. Hello poh.
    I find your post very informative and helpful. I will be in Palawan this coming august 8-12. I’m traveling alone. I was thinking to stay in PLWAN 8-10 then el nido to 10-12.

    As reading some of ur replies.

    Pls help me. Po

    1. Cheap pension house or louge.
    Palawan and el nido.

    2. Is there a local tour guide where I can travel with?

    3. Recommendations.


    God bless u

  24. Hello,
    your blog is very helpful. I was wondering if you could give me your opinion on if I should book my ticket ahead of time to travel to El Nido from PP using the roro bus I will be traveling there on August 11. If yes are the numbers above still current to call and book a reservation.

  25. After searching for hours on transport to El Nido from Puerta Princess I found your site. Very well done my friend! You have to best information available. I will be there in Jan/15. I’m thinking I’m more inclined to take the Roro bus. Thanks again for all your hard work.

    • Hi Jackie! If you take the 4am, most likely you’ll be in Puerto by 11am to 12nn then add 30 minutes to the airport so I guess you still have time. Just to be sure though I would recommend just taking the Shuttle Van Lexus or EulenJoy as they are much faster. Even if they leave at 5am they would be there before noon. And they can head straight to the airport.

  26. Im now preparing my itenerary, wil be in PPS – el nido from march 2 to 6, DIY ako so syempre isa sa mga main concern ko ang accomodation at means of transportation, since im on a sensitive budget, your blog really helps me alot to find the cheapest yet makatarungang transpo and accomodation. this is our first time to go to el nido, so thank you so much for sharing all your experience on a well budget travel.

  27. Hi 🙂
    I have also one question concerning going back from el Nido to Puerto Princesa. We want to take the bus at 9 p.m from el Nido to PPS travel in the night and catch our flight at 6:25 a.m in the morning. Do you think it is safe to travel in the night? And when we get to PPS at the bus station at around 3 or 4 a.m. do you think there will be any tricycles available to bring us to the airport. Thank you so much!

  28. hi sir! Is it advisable to leave from Puerto Princesa at 10pm (last trip) going to El Nido? Can u please share w/ me thru email ur itenerary for the while trip. I’m planning for a Family trip and haven’t decided yet regarding our itenerary. thanks in advance sir! 🙂

      • hi sir! thanks for the reply. we’ll be staying for 5days but our arrival and departure in Puerto Princesa is in the afternoon. We’re planning to stay in El Nido for 2days then 1day hopefully in Puerto Princesa.

        • hi sir ferdz! May I just ask for your inputs regarding PPUR tour. We really want to visit this place but budget is really our concern. I already read a lot of travel blogs regarding but still I’m a little bit confused. Is there a way that we can have the PPUR tour even if we do not avail of the tour packages? Php1500/pax for this is a little bit expensive for me. Can you suggest any alternative aside from the tour packages? thanks in advance. 🙂

          • Hi Dony! It is possible to do a DIY but you still have to go to a booking office since a visit to PPUR requires you to register ahead of time. They only allow a limited number of guest per day and usually you have to pre-book your visit there so doing a package tour would be much more convenient as they can tell you when a slot is available or not.

  29. Ferdz we are in El Nido right now :). We have a flight from Puerto to Cebu on Saturday at 3:30pm and we wanted to take roro at 6am but after your post I am starting to wonder if the 4am bus would be Nido better. We can’t find reliable information how long the bus to Puerto go, everyone says different thing – and when we took the roro from Puerto to El Nido at 10pm it was in El Nido at 2:30 am (!!!). Also do you know where we can book place in the roro bus in El Nido? In Puerto there was a guy in the morning transit station with book where he entered passengers inside, here we can’t find such person :). Thank you again for your help.

    • Hi Simon! Wow! that travel took faster than the usual. You can just go to the terminal opposite the market. They have a dispatcher there and they have a desk. Just ask around under the pavillion. He’s usually there.

      • Yes it took faster but this wasn’t a pleasant ride, and I think our backpacks has cleaned whole trunk because of the speed (they were super dirty). Tha ks for the tip, and what is your opinion regarding 3:30 pm flight and hour we should leave el Nido?

        • From my experience when I took the 4am from El Nido, I arrived around 11am since it was a school day and there were frequent stops. The 6am would take you to Puerto before 1pm probably so you have a bit of time to checkin unless there were some hassles which hopefully would be none.

          • Thank you Ferdz. Your tips are super helpful :). In that case 6am sounds like a bit better option and possible. Especially that we’re going on Saturday which is not a school day. It’s always a gamble with those trips and flights :). So the trip time is around 7hours. We still have around 2h ours of spare time if we take the 6am bus, before the flight.

  30. Hi! My cousin and I are planning to visit Palawan on May 2015. I’d like to ask what is better—-tour package or tour-by-ourselves? Are there also electricity rotational brown-outs in the major places in Palawan like Puerto Princesa and El Nido? Thank you!

    • Hi Chris! It’s really much better to take a package tour if you are going to the islands in El Nido, it’s really much better to take a package tour. Since the rates are standard it’s just looking for a good operator. If you want to go on your own, rent a kayak and explore. Puerto has regular electricity. El Nido recently had regular electricity but there are short brownouts here and there.

  31. alexandra

    Hi i am going to palawan on may 2nd 2015 and want to get from puerto prin to el nido by buss do i have to book online first or do you just show up and hope its not full? thank you!

  32. Hi! My friends and I are travelling to Palawan on July. Our flight to PPS is in the afternoon. We are planning to do a DIY firefly watching then ride the last bus to El Nido. Do you think it’s feasible? And is it still possible to find an accommodation in El Nido during the wee hours in the morning or is it best to reserve a room in advance? Thanks!

  33. Hello Ferdz,

    We will be arriving to PP on the 29th at 16:55. Inititally I was thinking of spending the night in PP and then take a van the next day to El Nido. Until I found your very helpful post 🙂

    Do you think we will have time to catch a bus to go to El Nido? Also I am confused with the timetable. You say in your post there is a bus every hour but then the schedule shows a bus every two hours, could you please clarify for me?

    Finally our guesthouse offered us to book a minivan for us for 600PHP per person, is it overpriced?

    Many thanks for your help

  34. Hi Ferdz — thank you for your extremely informative post! If I only had one full day in PP and one full day in El Nido, which places do you recommend that I visit? I am up for all things outdoorsy!



  35. Hi ferdz! very helpful blog you’ve got here… my family and i will be going to el nido next year still though, i would just like to ask if it’s safe to bring a 2yo child there? and the island hopping packages,is it safe for the child as well? thanks!

  36. Hi sir, We have a scheduled flight in Puerto at 1:05pm. what would be the best option: 1) RoRo at 4am 2) Van at 5am 3)RoRo at 10pm then stay in Puerto. Thanks

    • Hi Grace! The 5am Van can make it with ample time. They can also head straight to the airport. Just ask the van company. Usually the Lexus Eulen Joy head straight to the airport if they have enough passengers.

  37. Hi.

    Thank you for a nice and useful post.

    We are arriving at 12.55, at Puerto Princesa airport.

    Do you thin it is possible the catch the RoRo Aircon-Bus at 2 pm.?

    We are flying domestic from Manila – and dont know how fast they are at the airport and i dont know how long a tricycle is from the airport to the RoRo bus station.?

    Regards, Jannik

  38. Christine

    Hi Ferdz,

    Nice blog you have here, and very informative.

    Operational parin ba ang RORO BUS ng mga panahon na to? Hehe.

    I will be going to EN this Friday and my flight back to MNL is Tues next week. Ask ko lang sana.. since my flight back to MNL is at 11:50am.. I am thinking, I need to be at the airport by.. say.. 10:30am? To do check in and stuff.

    i’m wondering if which is better option:

    A. Leave EN to PP early morning: Makakaabot ba ang 4am (non AC) for my flight? Considering it is lean season and weekday?

    B. Leave EN to PP late night (10pm last trip): What to do, where to stay in PP until our flight ng 11:50am?? Hehe.

    C. Leave EN to PP 6PM (after island hopping), arrive in PP mga 12mn and stay sa cheap hostel until flight time? Any cheap hostel recommendation?


    Also, with your friend Virgie from OutventurePH. How much kaya since we’re just 2pax to do the island hopping. Better sana if kaming dalawa lang. Possible ba yun? How much kaya for it?

    Will be very glad to receive a response from you 🙂


    • Hi Christine!

      From my experience with option A, I always arrive around 11am, I think it wouldn’t be a wise choice. Either B or C would be good. If you take A, there are cafes or a diner already open when you arrive. For cheap lodging… please try searching at Agoda on the right. It’s what I use when looking for good hotel deals 🙂

      You can contact outventure directly. Yes, you can rent the whole boat to yourself and your companion. Kindly ask their rates.

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