Cathedral Cave El Nido is one of a handful of caves you’ll get to explore on your island hopping expedition. Unlike Cudugnon Cave, Cathedral Cave is as much about the underwater experience as it is about the cavernous hole in the wall. There are rumours that Cathedral Cave El Nido is home to sea snakes, which puts a lot of people off exploring its depths, but we’ve been swimming in the cave twice now and the only creatures we saw were stingless jellyfish. So, if you’re on the fence about exploring Cathedral Cave, two words of advice: dive in!
WHERE IS CATHEDRAL CAVE EL NIDO
Cathedral Cave El Nido is on — or in – the small but protruding Pinasil Island in Bacuit Bay. Located not far from Cudugnon Cave and Snake Island, you’ll be able to visit all three on the same El Nido island hopping tour. Gone are the days of the famous A, B, C & D El Nido island hopping tours, now you’ll need to book what’s called the Cave Exploration tour, which includes Cudugnon Cave, Snake Island and Cathedral Cave.
HOW TO BOOK AN EL NIDO ISLAND HOPPING TOUR
We did considerable research before choosing our tour company, and can’t recommend Ape Tours enough. The whole crew was so fun and professional, with the added bonus of being skilled behind a camera. It’s ₱1700 per person which includes lunch, drinks, environmental permit, kayaks and photos! If you want to book with Ape Tours, quote ‘NOPOSTCODE’ to receive 10% off your tour!
PALAWAN TOUR PACKAGES
WHAT TO BRING TO CATHEDRAL CAVE EL NIDO
Prepare for your trip to Cathedral Cave El Nido with our must-have travel essentials.
Waterproof backpack & phone case: Earth Pak 35L or 55L Heavy Duty Backpack, IPX8 Waterproof Phone Case Included (click for price)
Snorkel, mask & fins: Cressi Adjustable Mask, Fin & Snorkel Set with Carry Bag (click for price)
Quick-dry microfiber travel towel: Wise Owl Outfitters Camping Travel Towel (click for price)
Insulated water bottle: Hydro Flask Vacuum Insulated Water Bottle (click for price)
Hiking Sandals: Teva Women’s Hurricane Hiking Sandals (click for price), Teva Men’s Hurricane Hiking Sandals (click for price)
If you’re interested in photography and/or videography this is the gear we can’t live without:
WHAT TO EXPECT AT CATHEDRAL CAVE EL NIDO
The entrance to Cathedral Cave El Nido is a slit in the limestone you might otherwise overlook, that is until the boat gets closer and the cave’s cathedral-like presence becomes more clear. Once your boat drops its anchor as close as it can, it’s bombs away into the water and a short swim to the inside of the cave.
It was a matter of good timing and lighting that resulted in an other-worldly light beam cutting through the water. We swam around and explored underwater for a while, with our guide Ricardo showing off his natural freediving skills. It was eerie but epic below the surface of Cathedral Cave El Nido.
If you need a little break from swimming before heading back to the boat, then you can clamber up the rocks at the very back of the cave to explore above the surface. There are also some shallow rocks you can perch on, just hold on tight when the swell surges in and out of the cave.
PIN IT FOR LATER
MORE EL NIDO TOURIST SPOTS
WHERE TO STAY IN EL NIDO
There’s no shortage of accommodation in El Nido, but having all those options can be a little overwhelming when it comes to choosing the best place to stay. We’ve chosen our top four picks for budget, midscale, boutique and luxury hotels in El Nido to make things easier for you.
BUDGET: DEN’GI INN
If you’re planning on being in El Nido for a while and you’re not looking to break the bank, Den’Gi Inn is our top recommendation. We stayed for two weeks and found it was the best value for money. It’s one of the cheapest properties in El Nido, but offers clean rooms, good amenities and is in a prime location in town.
MIDSCALE: FRENDZ HOSTEL
Frendz Hostel has a million dollar view without the million dollar price tag. It’s right in the centre of town but its height offers unbeatable views of the bay. From private to share rooms, it boasts having a bed for every budget, and its social environment makes it a great place to make new friends.
BOUTIQUE: THE BIRDHOUSE
If you’re looking for something a little different, The Birdhouse is that something. It’s a small five tent glamping hotel with unbeatable sunset views. Their tents are decked out with all the finer things in life, including private bathrooms, and their yoga platform is a destination in its own right.
LUXURY: SEDA LIO
For those with a little more cash to throw around we recommend Seda Lio, one of the biggest luxury beach resorts on the mainland. Housed within the Lio Tourism Estate, Seda Lio offers a haven to escape to after a long day of activities and island hopping.