As you already know from my previous post Palawan is one of my favorite destinations ever, so I want to share with you another gorgeous spot on the island that is a must see before the inevitable creep of gentrification moves in.
Nacpan beach is about an hour by scooter from El Nido town, or 45 minutes if you are in a proper car. While El Nido has become a very crowded and kind of hellish place to spend time; Nacpan beach for now is still a blissfully quiet and beautiful place with only a handful of guest houses to stay in. We initially went as part of a day trip from where we stayed near the tiny fishing village of Sibaltan and found it so gorgeous we wanted to spend more time there. So a few days later our guest house booked a tricycle to take us to our new guest house, Jack’s Place (which doesn’t have a website so I linked it to their TripAdvisor page instead).
What you need to know if that the road to Nacpan is truly awful, bumpy and full of ruts. We did do it on our rented scooters but it was a nasty experience. Better to leave it to the tricycle drivers; although to be frank, the state of repair of those leave a lot to be desired too. The harrowing journey is worth it though for what you get to experience.
Nacpan beach is in a word, massive. It is white sand, several kilometers long and very wide. When we arrived on a Sunday, there were a few locals near the closest parking lot to the beach, but soon enough the beach becomes very empty, which for me is perfection.
Rumor has it that Jack’s Place was built by a Canadian to give people a simple place to stay and enjoy the beach. For many years it was the only place that you could stay, but development is coming and a few more guest houses have opened up in the last year or so. The road to Nacpan is being paved and they will extend power to this remote beach as well, so it will not stay quiet for long. Curiously, there were signs up and down the beach in front of vacant parcels of land saying “Not for Sale”. Again the gossip around the beach was that some of the parcels had been snapped up by developers who were just waiting for power to reach the beach develop mega hotels or by a good-natured type who bought it to protect the beach from that sort of development; we will see what story turns out to be true.
Jacks place is simple. The cabins are all spread far apart and all have a view of the beach. Again, like many of the simple guest houses on the island there was not power, so generators ran for a few hours in the evening. The rooms were a little dog-eared, but clean, with a simple bed and a small bathroom. A little patio out front gave you shady place to sit and relax. We paid 1800 pesos a night, or just over $50.00 (Canadian) and another $30.00 to $50.00 on food a day; at both Jack’s Place and some of the other restaurants on the beach, so it is still an affordable place to hang out for a few days. If you want to know more about how much we spent in the Philippines check out my post on our SEA trip here.
Like many of the places we went in the Philippines, it was the people we met that made it such a great experience. We had hilarious conversations with a British couple and met other travelers (one Swedish and one Czech) that were so relaxed and cool we ended up traveling with them for a few days back down to Port Barton.
What really made the place amazing for me was the water. It was the temperature of the air and crystal clear and clean. No jelly fish, no seaweed just incredible warm water that you could spend hours swimming in. Another guest told me to walk down towards the far end of the beach away from all the guest houses. Once you walk for 20 minutes you get close to another fishing village (that I didn’t even realize for several days was there, the beach is THAT big). Just before the village, if the enter the water and start to swim out a bit, you find the most incredible water coral; a complete paradise for snorkelers. I literally spent hours swimming there and never got bored.
You do need to watch out for sand flies though. Every paradise has a downside and for me this was it. Morning and evening are by far the worst. Wear bug spray and avoid the beach at those times other wise the “Nik Niks” will get you. They are on every beach in Palawan so you can’t do anything to avoid them, just bring your after-bite and try not to scratch.
This is my kind a paradise and I know that I will return, hopefully to the same place I left behind.