There’s more to El Nido, Palawan than white sandy beaches and glistening turquoise water. Take Cudugnon Cave, an enormous cavern hidden behind an inconspicuous hole in the limestone wall. This cave holds a lot of cultural significance to the region, believed to have been a Neolithic burial site. Artefacts once found in the cave can be dated back to the Chinese Sung Dynasty of 960 – 1279, and its former inhabitants are believed to have hailed from Borneo, stopping through Palawan on their trade route.
WHERE IS CUDUGNON CAVE
Cudugnon Cave is part of the Palawan mainland, however, it can only be reached via boat. Gone are the days of the famous A, B, C & D El Nido island hopping tours, so 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 CUDUGNON CAVE EL NIDO
Prepare for your trip to Cudugnon 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 AT CUDUGNON CAVE
Claustrophobes aren’t gonna like this one! The entrance to Cudugnon Cave is a tiny hole, which you’ll need to shuffle through before it spits you out into the open cavern. Your guides will lay a life vest down so you don’t get all scratched up from the limestone, but be sure to mind your head.
From the outside, Cudugnon Cave may not seem like much, but from inside you’ll get blown away by how all this can exist through that tiny hole. The rock formations vary from smooth to rough, with nooks and crannies throughout. Cudugnon Cave gives the impression of a cathedral with sloped high ceilings, and a few extra bats.
There are a few different landings where you can climb up to, and one that seemed near impossible to reach until our guide Ricardo effortlessly hopped across. It was a short stop on the tour, but a nice change from days of blazing hot sun and snorkelling.
PIN IT FOR LATER
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.