Nacpan Beach is a four-kilometer strip of cream-colored sand and coconut trees with crystal clear turquoise water. It is located 17th kilometers north of El Nido town proper in Palawan. This powdery paradise was one of the secret getaways for some tourists until its beauty was discovered by many and became one of the most sought after destinations in El Nido. In 2016, it was voted as the world’s 10th best beach by users of travel rating website Trip Advisor.
Despite its popularity, the Nacpan Beach generally has few visitors. Hence, it is ideal for those who prefer to quietly reflect and relax while being one with nature. Tourists can simply lie on the beach or settle in hammocks if they want to do some sunbathing. They can also opt to rest in Nacpan’s shady spots.
Aside from swimming, visitors can also do surfing, kayaking, and stand up paddleboard. Mask, fins, and snorkel can be rented for those who want to explore the crystal clear water.
There are restaurants along the coast that range from affordable to expensive. There are also snacks for sale along the beach’s entrance although the selection is limited.
Nacpan is one-half of the popular twin beaches in the area—the other one is called Calitang Beach. The two beaches merge in a narrow sandbar that snakes into a lush hill, which offers an excellent view of Nacpan and Calitang. Tourists must trek to the southern portion of Nacpan to reach the hill where it meets with the smaller Calitang Beach. Calitang is also a stretch of white sand but its waves are calmer than those in Nacpan. It is a fishing village with multi-colored boats anchored along the shore.
El Nido is the jumpoff point to visit Nacpan Beach. To reach the town of El Nido, travel by bus or van from Puerto Princesa. Once you arrive, there are several options you can take to get to Nacpan Beach, which is about 17km away from El Nido town proper.
The most convenient and comfortable way is to book a shuttle service, which is usually part of organized tours going to Nacpan Beach. You will be picked up from your hotel and also get dropped off here coming back. This is also a great way to meet other travelers as you will most likely be sharing the service with other individuals or groups.
For a more authentic island experience, you can choose to hop on a tricycle to get to Nacpan Beach. While this will cost cheaper, expect a more bumpy ride as some parts of the road going to the beach are not fully cemented and sometimes muddy.
You can also choose to rent a motorbike and drive your way to Nacpan. Most budget travelers and thrill-seekers opt to do this since rental rates for an entire day cost way cheaper than shuttle or tricycle service, plus they also have the freedom to go at their own pace and explore other places around Nacpan Beach and the rest of El Nido. As mentioned, some roads leading to Nacpan are still not in great conditions so be extra careful when choosing this transport option.
One would simply agree that island getaways and beach escapades need fully sunny and bright days and calm waters. Given such, it is highly recommended to visit Nacpan Beach during the country’s dry months from November to May. But since this is peak travel season, especially during the summer months of March until May, expect to bump into a crowd of tourists — although it does not get too busy compared to other popular beach destinations in the Philippines.
Exploring the enchanting Nacpan Beach and the rest of El Nido’s magnificent islands during dry months also prove to be a safer choice, because heavy rains, strong winds, and rough seas are most likely to be experienced during the wet season from June to October. The advantages though of traveling during this time are cheaper flights, lower hotel rates, and lesser crowds.
Nacpan Beach is open any time of the day, but it is best to get there early and soak up all of its beauty for the entire day and take advantage of the sun, especially if you plan on getting that golden tan. Stay until late afternoon to witness the glorious sunset here.