Lio Beach is one of our favourite beaches in El Nido! It’s a stunning expanse of golden sand, coconut trees and some of the best restaurants and resorts in El Nido. We’ve been to Lio Beach countless times, both to stay and to hang out just for the day, and it’s a beach we can definitely keep coming back to.
Our most recent visit in 2021 was a little different, for both good and bad reasons. With the pandemic and lingering lockdowns in the Philippines, a lot of the restaurants and retailers we loved were closed (either temporarily or permanently) but there were still a few open to choose from! So, keep that in mind when you’re visiting. On a more positive note, we were so incredibly lucky to be able to witness and participate in a turtle hatchling release! It was literally a once in a lifetime opportunity.
HOW TO GET TO LIO BEACH EL NIDO
Lio Beach is about a 15-minute drive from the centre of El Nido town. You can get a tricycle there if you’re so inclined, but we recommend renting a scooter for a day as it’ll save you some money. Tricycle drivers charge tourists extortionate prices, and having your own scooter takes the hustle (and hassle) out of the situation. We rented our scooter from Lakwatsero Motorcycles, which you can rent from for ₱500/$10 USD for 24 hours.
WHAT TO BRING TO LIO BEACH EL NIDO
Prepare for your trip to Lio Beach 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)
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)
Snorkel, mask & fins: Cressi Adjustable Mask, Fin & Snorkel Set with Carry Bag (click for price)
If you’re interested in photography and/or videography this is the gear we can’t live without:
To see our complete camera gear read this post here.
WHAT TO EXPECT AT LIO BEACH EL NIDO
Lio Beach is a 4km stretch of beachfront, some of it uninhabited and some of it in front of the resorts and retailers. If you’re looking for a little more peace and quiet, you can keep walking beyond the main beach area. Keep in mind Lio isn’t just a beach, it’s a sustainable beach town, so tourists are to be expected. If you’re into more than just sunbathing and swimming, you can also go trail hiking, kayaking, birdwatching and biking.
One thing Lio Beach has that you won’t get at Nacpan Beach or Duli Beach is a private airport. Expect the whoosh of low flying airplanes coming and going, just off to the side of the main beachfront. It makes for quite the spectacle and photo opportunity. It’s also the reason you absolutely cannot fly drones at Lio Beach without getting express permission from the estate as well as AirSWIFT.
Lio Beach also has a long jetty that’s both a great photo op as well as a nice spot for a stroll. When El Nido is a little more lively, this is where the private boats pick up their passengers from the Lio resorts for island hopping. It was deserted when we last visited so we sat for ages just taking it all in.
TURTLE HATCHING AND RELEASE AT LIO BEACH
The absolute highlight of this particular trip to Lio Beach was the turtle hatch and release. There’s no way to time your trip with a release, we just happened to get very, very lucky. Lio Tourism Estate is the founding member of the El Nido Marine Turtle Conservation Networking, a group of private businesses in El Nido working with the DENR and PCSD to protect marine turtles.
Out of the 7 species of turtles in the world, 5 can be found in Palawan – Green Sea, Hawksbill, Olive Ridley, Loggerhead and Leatherback. Of those 5 species, all except the Loggerhead are known to nest in the Philippines, which makes the Lio Beach conservation efforts incredibly important to their survival. The turtles we released were Olive Ridleys, the most common species found in Palawan.
It was amazing to see the community come together for such a rare and special moment, watching these little guys embark on their journey into the big wide world. Turtles face an uphill battle, well before they’re even born – global warming, beachfront developments, wild animals, plastic pollution, bycatch and poaching – so even just getting from their nest to the water was a huge step (literally) in the right direction towards saving their species.
SAY HI TO THE ELNIDOGS
One of the biggest reasons we love Lio Beach so much is the Elnidogs! Turtles aren’t the only animals Lio Tourism Estate is trying to protect! Elnidogs is an initiative to combat the stray dog problem at Lio Beach. Instead of forcibly removing the dogs, which so many private corporations do, Lio Tourism Estate made them members of their family; vaccinating, sterilising, feeding and homing the resident strays. Zowie met Chuy Chuy a few years back and was so happy to see her again thriving – and even a little chunky!
SUNSET AT LIO BEACH
Lio Beach might not be the sunset beach (that title goes to Las Cabanas Beach), but that doesn’t mean you can’t catch a banger here. If you’re not in a rush – and we sure hope you aren’t in a place like El Nido – then we definitely recommend sticking around to watch the sunset dip below Cadlao Island right in front of Lio Beach.
The colours were explosive and the water was perfectly flat and reflective. It made for an incredible end to a surreal and special day.
READ: LAS CABANAS BEACH GUIDE
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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.
MORE EL NIDO TRAVEL GUIDES
Nacpan Beach, El Nido
Duli Beach, El Nido
Las Cabañas Beach, El Nido
Papaya Beach, El Nido
Seven Commandos Beach, El Nido
Big Lagoon, El Nido
Small Lagoon, El Nido
Entalula Island, El Nido
Shimizu Island, El Nido