By Alex Hatton

Last Updated:

October 12, 2023

Where to Stay in El Nido for Scuba Divers in 2024

El Nido is perhaps the most beautiful coastal region in all of the Philippines with epic limestone cliffs and white sand beaches. 

Located in Palawan, it boasts dozens of epic dive sites with superb coral, countless reef fish and even the chance to see sharks and mantas if you’re lucky. 

That said, although there’s many accommodation options – not all have diving facilities or are even close to dive centres!

It’s within the busy El Nido town where you’ll find most hostels and dive centres. This is the cheapest area to stay. 

However; if you have a higher budget you can stay somewhere quieter and more relaxed such as nearby Corong Corong or even on a private island in a luxury dive resort.

Unless of course you want to dive with mantas in which case you’ll need to head all the way to Sibaltan, an hours drive from the tourist infrastructure, resorts, hostels and main dive sites!

To help you choose the best place to stay in El Nido, we’ve compiled this list of the best places to stay in El Nido so you can scuba dive there like a boss

View of El Nido town and bay
Coral reef and colourful fish on a scuba dive at El Nido

How to Use this Guide:

Below we’ve presented the 11 best places to stay in El Nido for divers. We’ve divided these 10 options into 2 sections:

  • 1) Dive Resorts: This is the most luxurious (and expensive) option. El Nido Dive Resorts are within more quiet and secluded areas such as Corong Corong (15 minute drive to El Nido Town) or even on private islands and have many facilities such as in-house dive centres, swimming pools, spas, restaurants, bars and more.
  • 2) Backpacker Hostels: located within the busy El Nido town close to the many dive centres, bars and restaurants. This is the cheapest option – although the quality of dives is still much the same as that offered any dive resorts. Staying at a hostel is also a great bet if you’re looking to vibe and party with other backpackers. 

We’ve also given a couple of options to stay in Sibaltan which is far away from everything but the best place to stay if you want to dive with manta rays.

Use the Quick Answer section directly below to check out our top 5 recommendations on booking.com or dive down / scroll past it to read our full reviews of all 11 options. 

QUICK ANSWER

REVIEWS:

Best El Nido Dive Resorts

1) MOST LUXURIOUS: Cauayan

$$$$
In-house dive centre
Spa, gym, swimming pool, bar, restaurant, private beach
Cauayan Island

2) RUNNER-UP: Panorama Beach Club & Resort

$$$
Outdoor & Indoor swimming pools, restaurant, bar, massage services
10 meters to Tabanka Divers dive centre
Corong Corong

3) Buko Beach Resort

$$$
20 meters to Tabanka Divers
Swimming pool, bar, restaurant, massage services
Corong Corong

4) Maghogany Resort & Spa

$$
1km to Tabanka Divers
Swimming pool, spa, bar, breakfast
Corong Corong

5) CLOSE TO MANTA RAY DIVES: Carmelita Homestay

$
Right next to Dive Sibaltan dive centre
Breakfast, Shared Kitchen
Sibaltan

1. Most Luxurious: Cauayan Island Resort & Spa

Cauayan Resort
  • $$$$

  • In-house dive centre

  • Spa, gym, swimming pool, bar, restaurant, private beach

  • Cavayan Island (close to El Nido Bay)

Located on it’s own private Cavayan Island, along a stunning white-sand beach and amidst a lush backdrop of tropical forest, Cauayan Island Resort & Spa takes luxury and tranquility to the next level. 

Each villa is furnished with a modern interior, flatscreen TV and minibar and offers ocean views from its own private balcony. There are even several water-villas set on stilts and with lounge beds overlooking the sea as well as marble bathtubs. Some villas even feature private swimming pools offering stunning views. 

Cauayan Island Resort & Spa features an in-house dive centre with extremely professional and experienced instructors and top quality rental gear. It is also situated within close distance of many of the best dive sites of El Nido like Dilumacad tunnel.

With an outdoor infinity pool, huge spa and wellness centre, gym, restaurant serving local and international cuisine and bar with fine selection of cocktails, guests staying here can look forward to a truly memorable experience. 

2. Runner Up: Panorama Beach Club & Resort

Panorama Beach Club & Resort
  • $$$

  • 10 meters to Tabanka Divers Centre

  • Indoor & Outdoor swimming pools, bar, restaurant, massage services

  • Corong Corong

Located along the quiet and tranquil beachfront of Corong Corong, Panorama Beach Club & Resort is in a prime location; away from the hustle and bustle of El Nido town yet only an 8 minute drive to it – or a 5 minute drive to the up-market Las Cabanas beach. Better still; it is directly next to Tabanka Divers dive centre from which you can dive the best sites of El Nido.

There is both an indoor and outdoor swimming pool, a restaurant serving American style cuisine as well as a bar and whilst there is no spa; you can arrange various massage services to enjoy from the comfort of your own room. 

Staff are extremely friendly and helpful; they can help you arrange everything you need from dives to tours and trekking.  Each room is fitted with a terrace and view as well as an ensuite bathroom, work-desk (with strong free WiFi) and flat-screen TV. This resort is especially popular among couples!

3. Buko Beach Resort

Buko Beach Resort
  • $$$

  • 20 meters to Tabanka Dive Centre

  • Swimming pool, bar, restaurant, massage services

  • Corong Corong

Also located along the serene beachfront of Corong Corong, Buko Beach Resort is another option set in an ideal location; less than a minute walk to Tabanka Dive Centre and under ten minutes drive to both El Nido beach for the busy nightlife or Las Cabanas beach for more up-market restaurants and bars. 

With native designs, all rooms feature a terrace and outdoor bathroom. Guests can choose between garden or ocean view villas or go for the truly luxurious “Buko Grand Villa” which has a huge infinity pool that offers an epic ocean view. 

There is a 24 hour help desk, strong free WiFi, free parking and a public outdoor swimming pool as well as a stylish bar and restaurant serving a range of delicious cuisine. Guests can bok as an extensive array of massage services to enjoy from their own rooms. 

4. Mahogany Resort & Spa

Mahogany Resort & Spa
  • $$

  • 1km to Tabanka Divers

  • Spa, bar, swimming pool, breakfast

  • Corong Corong

Somewhat less expensive than the previous 3 options, Mahogany Resort & Spa is once again located along the beach of the peaceful Corong Corong beach; within 1km of Tabanka Divers. Although there is no restaurant, there are many dining options within walking distance and guests can still order an exceptional breakfast. 

There is a an exceptional spa and wellness centre on site with highly trained staff as well as an outdoor swimming pool surrounded by lush garden and a chic bar serving just about every kind of drink you can imagine. Down along the beachfront there are tables and chairs with stunning views. 

Guests can choose from an extensive range of room options; ranging from small bungalows to entire villas: most have private balconies or outdoor spaces and a few even boast private jacuzzis. 

5. Close to Manta Ray Diving: Carmelita Homestay

Carmelita Homestay
  • $

  • Right next to Dive Sibaltan

  • Breakfast, shared kitchen

  • Sibaltan

If you want to scuba dive with manta rays in El Nido; you’ll need to drive one hour away from El Nido Beach to Sibaltan; a quiet and undeveloped village close to known manta ray feeding stations. (This does mean you’ll be far from the main dive sites of El Nido such as the reefs and Dilumacad tunnel as well as all tourist infrastructure, Sibaltan is pretty off-grid!). 

Because Sibaltan is somewhat off-the-beaten-track, there’s not a huge amount of places to stay here. However; you have a great option with Carmelita Homestay which is directly next to Dive Sibaltan dive centre who can help you arrange dives to see manta rays!

Situated along the beach, Carmelita Homestay is a serene and tranquil place; with native style huts offering ocean views, ensuite bathrooms, fans and outdoor patios. It is certainly more basic compared to the fancy resorts near El Nido Bay but you’ll have everything you need for a short stay with a shared kitchen and breakfast options. 

(It’s advisable to hire your own transport so you can drive to nearby restaurants and markets).  

Best Hostels in El Nido

6) CHEAPEST DORMS: Happiness Hostel

$
350m to Submariner Dive Centre
Bar, Restaurant, Lounge & Terrace
El Nido Town

7) CHILLEST VIBES: Spin Designer Hostel

$$
Terrace, Games Room, Movie Nights, Work Zone, Shared Kitchen & Barbeque
350 m to Submariner Dive Centre
El Nido Town

8) ROOFTOP POOL: Frendz Hostel

$$
Swimming pool, Restaurant, Bar
350 m to Submariner Dive Centre
El Nido Town

9) PARTAY: Big Paul Hostel

$
700m to Tabanka Divers dive centre
Bar, Lounge, Games, Breakfast, Karaoke
Corong Corong

10) CHEAPEST PRIVATE ROOMS: Bangka Hostels

$
Right next to Submarine Dive Centre
Bar, Beachfront
El Nido Town

11) BONUS OPTION: CHEAP SIBALTAN ACCOM: Tay Delings Place

$
2km from Sibaltan Divers
Bar, Restaurant
Sibaltan

6. Cheapest Dorms: Happiness Hostel

Happiness Hostel
  • $

  • 350 meters to Submariner Dive Centre

  • Bar, Restaurant, Lounge & Terrace

  • El Nido Town

If you’re looking to stay at the cheapest place possible (no doubt to save more money for diving, huhuhu!) Happiness Hostel offers exactly this with dorms starting at roughly $11 a night. Despite the low price, it doesn’t feel cheap at all, being a really nice place to stay with friendly vibes, cool social areas and a killer location. 

Situated within El Nido Town, Happiness Hostel is less than 50 meters walk to the beach and only 350 meters to Submariner Dive Centre as well as within easy walking reach of many other dive centres, bars and restaurants. 

This is very much a backpacker hostel: the bar, restaurant, lounge and terrace are great places to meet and befriend other travellers and things can get pretty lively in the evenings! Dormitories are all mixed and feature aircon; they range from 2 – 8 bed rooms. There’s a 24 hour help desk, free WiFi and super friendly staff who can help you with anything you need. 

7. Chillest Vibes: Spin Designer Hostel

Spin Designer Hostel
  • $$

  • 350 meters to Submariner Dive Centre

  • Terrace, Lounge, Movie Nights, Games Room, Work Zone, Shared Kitchen / Barbeque & Daily Breakfast

  • El Nido Town

Personally, this is my favourite option; it’s the perfect place to socialise without things getting too crazy – meaning you’ll still have enough energy to get up and dive the next morning! Located just 400 meters from El Nido beach and 350 meters from Submariner Dive Centre, the Spin Design Hostel is within easy reach of many restaurants, bars and other dive shops.

What’s really cool is that there are so many fun, yet laid-back activities like movie nights with free popcorn, beer pong and margarita nights. The shared barbecue and kitchen area doubles up as a place to share a beer whilst the dedicated work zone with free WiFi is ideal for digital nomads. There’s also an upstairs terrace with kickass views. 

Guests can choose from 4-bed mixed or female only dorms with aircon or opt for private rooms with mountain views. Free toiletries, bed linens and towels are provided. 

8. Rooftop Bar: Frendz Hostel

Frendz Hostel El Nido
  • $$

  • Swimming Pool, Restaurant, Bar

  • 350 meters to Submariner Dive Centre

  • El Nido Town

Frendz Hostel’s coolest feature is an epic rooftop bar with stunning views; the likes of which you’d normally only expect to find in a luxury resort. This is a truly awesome place to meet and socialise with other travellers. There is also a lively and spacious bar/restaurant area with delicious food, assorted drinks and various chairs, tables and beanbags!

Located a one minute walk from the beach and just two minutes walk from Submariner Dive Centre, it’s in a prime location; close to the various bars, clubs, restaurants and other dive shops of El Nido town – yet still covenantally tucked away from most of the noise!

Room options range from 6-bed mixed or female-only dormitories with aircon to queen rooms with private bathrooms and aircon. The staff are super friendly and outgoing; they can help you arrange tours, dives and trekking. 

9. Partay: Big Paul Hostel

Big Paul Hostel
  • $$

  • 700 meters to Tabanka Dive Centre

  • Bar, lounge, games, breakfast, karaoke

  • Corong Corong

This it it – the most party orientated hostel going! Whilst a few of the El Nido hostels we’ve so far listed have the potential to get pretty lively on certain nights, if you really want to push the boat out (dive-pun intended!), look no further than Big Paul’s Hostel; it provides adults only accommodation and has an extremely lively bar and lounge area that’s packed every night. 

Unlike most other hostels which are situated within El Nido Town, Big Paul’s Hostel is located within Corong Corong, just 100 meters from a quiet beach and within 700 meters of Tabanka Dive Centre. It takes less than ten minutes to ride into El Nido Town via scooter. 

Breakfast is available and there’s a number of restaurants and bars within close walking distance. There’s also games like pingpong and even a karaoke room. The help-desk is open 24 hours with competent and friendly staff.  Guests can choose from cheap, 8-bed mixed dorms with aircon or queen rooms with aircon and ensuite bathrooms. 

10. Cheapest Private Rooms: Bangka Hostels

Bangka Hostels
  • $

  • Right next to Submariner Dive Centre

  • Bar, beachfront

  • El Nido Town

If you’re looking to stay in the cheapest private room possible, look no further than Bangka Hostel which has budget single rooms with fans and shared bathrooms starting out at approximately $18 a night. You can also opt to stay in a 4-bed mixed dorm (which is the same price!) or upgrade to a deluxe double room for around twice the price. 

Situated right along El Nido beach, with kickass ocean views and a cool bar with darts, Bangka Hostel is directly next to Submariner Dive Centre, the number one dive shop in El Nido! There is free parking, free WiFi and room service. 

This is a nice, laid back place to stay with friendly, backpacker vibes, set in a prime location next to many restaurants, dive shops and bars.

11: Bonus: Cheap Sibaltan Accom: Tay Delings Place

Tay Delings Place
  • $

  • 2km from Sibaltan Divers

  • Bar, restaurant

  • Sibaltan

If you want to dive with manta rays, you’ll need to stay in Sibaltan which is about an hour drive away from El Nido town. Sibaltan is a quiet, off-the-beaten-track destination, there’s virtually no tourist infrastructure and limited places to stay. If you do stay there; you’ll be close to the manta ray feeding stations but too far to dive the main El Nido dive sites. 

The cheapest and most convenient place to stay in Sibaltan for divers is Tay Delings Place; it is located along a quiet beach and has it’s own bar and restaurant as well as a spa, free parking and free WiFi. Sibaltan Divers dive centre is just 2km away. 

Despite how much Tay Delings Place has to offer; it’s actually really cheap to stay there! You can stay in a budget single room; which is a small, native style hut on the beach with a fan and mosquito net for around just $9! This is a very calm and serene place to stay. 

What to know about diving El Nido

When it comes to diving and travelling El Nido; there’s a few things that it’s good to know; namely how to get there, when is the best time of year to go and other stuff you can do besides scuba dive! You can read about all of this in the Traveller’s Guide to Diving El Nido. 

Best Places to Stay in El Nido Diving Squad DEBRIEFING:

Looks like you’ve dived all the way down to the Diving Squad dive page on diving El Nido. Great diving job!

Full disclosure: we make an affiliate commission when you book one of these resorts through a booking.com link on this page; however it doesn’t cost you a cent extra. In fact, it’s actually cheaper to book in advance then it is to pay when you get there! Also, because these places are the best of the best; they often book up way in advance! 

Check out similar reads:

View of El Nido town and bay

Written by:

Alex

Alex

Scuba fanatic, travel ecstatic and loveable rogue. A rootless divemaster and perpetual adrenaline-junky, Alex holds the esteemed rank of Grand Admiral of the Diving Squad; a title he most nobly awarded to himself. A scuba-junky since 2014, he's dived much of the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Maldives, Red Sea, Ireland, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Panama. It's hard to say where he'll pop up next for he never settles; forever a leaf on the wind... or perhaps a lone bubble blasted along on the current.