You’re planning your trip to the Philippines and you want to visit both El Nido AND Boracay and after all, why wouldn’t you, Palawan island where El Nido is, has been named the best island in the world and Boracay has been voted Asia’s best beach on more than one occasion.
However, when you look at Skyscanner (my favourite flight booking site), it seems a little tricky to find El Nido to Boracay flights.
Firstly, Boracay has 2 Airports, neither of which are actually on the island of Boracay.
Secondly, El Nido has an airport but often flights can be expensive from there because it’s a small airport for tourists only, and most of the flights seem to show layovers!
Well, I’m going to tell you the best, quickest and cheapest ways to travel from Boracay to El Nido or El Nido to Boracay by flight and ferry!
Boracay to El Nido / El Nido to Boracay
Before we go into too much information, there are a few things you need to understand about the airports of these 2 most popular places to visit in the Philippines.
The island of Boracay is only very small and doesn’t have an airport. When you type Boracay into Skyscanner, you’ll notice that 2 airports appear – Boracay Caticlan Airport and Boracay Kalibo Airport.
Boracay Caticlan Airport
This airport is the closest airport to Boracay island. After your flight, it is a 10 minute walk or few minute car journey to Caticlan Jetty Port where you get a ferry over to Boracay island.
Boracay Kalibo Airport
This airport is a lot further away in the city of Kalibo and it takes 1 hour 30 minutes to drive from Kalibo Airport to Caticlan Jetty Port where you get a ferry over to Boracay island.
Which Boracay Airport is best??
Caticlan Airport is best to fly in and out of when travelling from El Nido to Boracay because it’s closest to Boracay Island. However, flight prices are generally cheaper to and from Kalibo Airport because it’s further away. From Kalibo Airport it is easy to book a minibus when you get there to Boracay Island, it’s the only reason travellers use this airport.
If you are travelling the Philippines on a budget, I recommend checking for cheaper flights into Boracay Kalibo Airport, if you are short on time, definitely fly into Boracay Caticlan Airport.
Here’s a map of Boracay Island, Boracay Caticlan Airport and Boracay Kalibo Airport so you can see the distances between them.
El Nido’s Airports
El Nido is served by 2 airports, El Nido Lio Airport the most popular airport that is used to get people directly to and from El Nido, and Puerto Princesa International Airport which serves the island of Palawan which is the island El Nido is on.
El Nido Lio Airport
This airport is not directly in the town of El Nido, but it is just a 40-minute drive away.
It’s a very small airport and only 1 airline currently flies to and from it, Air Swift! Their flights are bookable on Skyscanner and they do fly in and out a few times a day.
Puerto Princesa International Airport
This is a main international Airport and therefore has lots of different flights and airlines in and out of it because there are many places to visit on the island of Palawan and Puerto Princesa Airport serves all of these places.
However, it is a 5 hour journey from Puerto Princesa Airport to El Nido and from my experience, not a pleasant journey with a lot of windy roads!
Which El Nido Airport is Best??
El Nido Lio Airport is best because it is only 40 minutes from El Nido, however, because it is a small airport only for tourists going to El Nido and only 1 airline uses it, flights are less frequent and can be on the pricier side.
You are much more likely to find cheap flights in and out of Puerto Princesa Airport when travelling from Boracay to El Nido, but you need to remember the 5 hour journey to El Nido after the plane journey.
Here’s a map of El Nido, El Nido Lio Airport and Puerto Princesa International Airport so you can see the distances between them.
Flights from El Nido to Boracay and Boracay to El Nido.
Ok, now that is clear, let’s look at El Nido to Boracay and Boracay to El Nido flights even more, because unfortunately, flights are not always direct and straight forward!
Be sure to read the top things to do in El Nido to help plan your trip!
Flights from El Nido Airport to Boracay Caticlan Airport
There is a direct flight from El Nido Lio Airport to Boracay Caticlan Airport with Air Swift.
This is the quickest and easiest way to fly between El Nido and Boracay!
However, because both of these airports are small, tourist only airports, this flight could be more expensive than the below options. It’s always worth checking Skyscanner to see though!
The other option is to get a flight to or from El Nido Airport to Boracay Caticlan Airport which has a stopover in Manila.
You will fly with Air Swift from El Nido Lio Airport to Manila and then with a bigger airline from Manila to Boracay Caticlan Airport.
Below, ENI is El Nido Airport MPH is Boracay Caticlan Airport so you can see the 2 options mentioned above on Skyscanner.
Flights from Puerto Princesa to Boracay Caticlan Airport or Boracay Kalibo Airport
The other option for flying from Boracay to El Nido and vice versa requires a stopover in Manila.
If you are on a budget in the Philippines or want to watch your money, the airport you will probably need to use for El Nido is Puerto Princesa.
From here, I suggest looking at flights from Puerto Princesa Airport to both Boracay Caticlan Airport and Boracay Kalibo Airport and see which one works best for you price and timing wise.
The only thing to note with timing is that from Kalibo Airport you will need to add on 1.5-2 hours of travel plus the ferry to Boracay island whereas from Caticlan Airport it’s just the ferry to Boracay island.
Below, PPS is Puerto Princesa Airport. KLO is Kalibo Airport and MPH is Boracay Caticlan Airport. As you can see the total flight times vary but both options offer flights within 4 hours on Skyscanner.
Delayed Flight in The Philippines
In addition to all of the above, the one thing you have to also know is that flights in the Philippines seem to be ALWAYS DELAYED! This is from my experience and the experience of my friends and people I see going on Instagram!
So when you are booking flights with a layover in Manila, it is best to book a flight with a longer layover so that if your first flight is delayed, you will have time to make your second flight!
The best way to look at the layovers is by using and booking your flight on Skyscanner!
The final option and way around not missing your second flight is to have a night or two in Manila city between travelling from El Nido to Boracay, or Boracay to El Nido.
The only thing to note here though is that the traffic in Manila is CRAZY! So be prepared for it to take a few hours from Manila Airport to your Hotel in Manila. Don’t book a late-night flight into Manila and an early morning flight out unless you stay in a hotel by Manila airport as you will spend all night in a taxi!
For all accommodation in Manila, check out Booking.com for great deals and great cancellation terms, in case your plans have to change.
I’d recommend checking out the bus and boat prices and options on 12Go Asia here to help you plan your trip and see which way works best for you!
- More posts to check out:
- 5 Places in the Philippines You Need to Visit!
- Island hopping Boat Tour in Port Barton.
- One Week in Boracay