For those who have not heard of El Nido, Palawan in the Philippines, you need to put this on your list of places to visit before you die. I made the destination of the Philippines a priority to photograph and El Nido was a must see location for some aerial and landscape photography. El Nido truly is one of the most spectacular places on earth to visit. But I want to give you a tip if you want to photograph these spectacular islands. Tourism in El Nido is always growing and in my experience if you want to beat the tourist crowds and line up that ends up at each location you are best to follow two simple rules.
- Hire your own boat and crew. I hired my own small boat and crew of 2. All inclusive lunch and transport. It was approximately $80-$90 per day to hire my own boat and crew. So this is a bit more then the $20 you might pay for a crowded boat you might share with 20+ people but for me this was completely worth it.
- To the second point and the main reason for hiring my own boat was to beat the crowds. In El Nido the tourist crowds tend to take off from the main town at around 10am. I made sure my crew and I were gone by 7am. This made for some picture perfect locations to photograph that were completely empty for up to 3 hours before any other tourists arrived.
For sure the experience is a little more costly than following the usual tourist route but consider you have travelled all that way to this incredible paradise. Best to make it worth your trip to get the best experience you can get.