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Cliff Climbing in El Nido

August 21, 2011

While island-hopping and spending time at the beach are the more common activities in El Nido, Palawan, the  scenic limestone cliffs don’t just serve as a backdrop for your photos – they also offer another great activity in the areas – cliff climbing.

Here are some things you should know about cliff climbing in El Nido:

1. Mt. Taraw is the spot for cliff-climbing in El Nido. Taraw is a local term for the towering limestone cliffs. To get there, you will pass through the local community into a pathway leading to a forest and up the mountain trail.

2. Hire a guide to show you the way. No ropes or specialized gear will be used in the climb so be prepared to scale the jagged rocks surface of the cliffs with your bare hands. The rock surface is easy to grip, but some points are quite sharp and can wound you if you’re not careful.

3. Don’t bring a bag. A small belt or sling bag (if you’re bringing an SLR) will do, but a backpack will seriously slow you down.

4. It’s best to head out in the morning (around 8am) because the sun can get harsh around noon. We left around 10 and made our way slowly but surely, arriving at the top around noon drenched in sweat from the heat and effort. There were also a lot of mosquitoes, so I recommend putting some Off lotion before you embark on your trip.

5. Wear closed shoes suitable for hiking. While locals can easily climb up just wearing rubber slippers, those not used to the terrain will find sturdy shoes welcome protection.

6. In some areas, you have to vertically climb the cliff’s walls, twist around tree branches, and balance precariously on jagged pinpoints of the rock surface to get around.

7. Cliff climbing is generally recommended for good hikers. A sense of balance and foolhardiness also helps. I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone who has a fear of heights (or a fear of death by falling).

8. Locals say it takes about 45 minutes to climb up and the same time to get down. This does not count the rest stops, time for photo ops etc,. so budget 3-4 hours for a leisurely climb.

9. Bring a water bottle to keep hydrated. Be sure to bring the empty bottles down and not throw it in the crevices of the rocks like some other visitors apparently do! 😡 Please don’t write your name on the rock surfaces either.

10. The view from the top of the cliffs is simply amazing. You can see the expanse of the town heading towards the nearby islands of Cadlao. Below, tiny boats dot the blue waters while rows of houses line the shores. Pictures do not do the place justice. It’s something you have to see for yourself.

NOTE: At the time of our visit, cliff-climbing cost about P350/a person for guided tours, with a minimum of two people per tour. Inquire at El Nido Boutique and Art Cafe in the town proper or other accredited tour guides. Sometimes cliff climbing tours are not as well-advertised as the island hopping ones, so be sure to ask for the best deals.  We found about it through our boatman, who arranged everything with a local guide.

15 Comments leave one →
  1. August 21, 2011 4:50 am

    Wow. You’re one for the books. First as motorbike queen. Now as cliffclimbing diva! I envy your energy and enthusiasm! Can’t do any of these stuff, so I’d just ‘adventure along’ with ya.

    • August 21, 2011 1:05 pm

      Thanks for the comment Tita Lili. I appreciate it. It was really a great experience and the view from the top was great! 🙂 Too bad it was a little overcast during our trip.

  2. August 21, 2011 5:39 am

    would love to try this when I visit Palawan some time next year! thanks for sharing this! 😀

    • August 21, 2011 1:08 pm

      Hi Ed. You should! Please just don’t do a headstand on the cliffs. I think it’s too dangerous 😉 hehe.

  3. Mel Reyes permalink
    August 21, 2011 5:45 am

    love the photos!!! lovely shots 🙂

    • August 21, 2011 1:09 pm

      Thanks Mel! Punta kayo ni Calvin minsan! It’s a bit far from Puerto Princesa though 🙂

  4. August 21, 2011 7:39 am

    we also climbed Taraw Cliff last Feb..nakakatakot pero worth it dahil ang ganda ng view sa taas.:)

    • August 21, 2011 1:21 pm

      Hi kilrfillr. Nice photos during your trip! The water and the sky look great. Ganda talaga ng view sa taas. Worth the effort 🙂

  5. August 22, 2011 1:25 pm

    Is the climb too hard for a beginner? I want to try that also when I go to El Nido but I slightly have a fear of heights (although I did try ziplining and spelunking once) and my balance isn’t something to be proud of either.

    • August 23, 2011 2:03 pm

      Hi Joan. I think the climb going up is doable for beginners as long as they’re fit, but I would suggest you try indoor wall climbing first and climb down the wall for practice. People mostly get into accidents going down because their knees are weaker and they lose their footing. Climbing down also requires looking down constantly, so the fear of heights may kick in there. Going up, not so much as the adrenaline is still high 🙂 But I say if you want to try it, go for it! 🙂 You can also get a great view during one of the island hopping packages (the island with the shrine) where the climb is pretty easy.

  6. September 7, 2011 2:37 am

    wow! this is new to me. thanks for the heads up. seems like i have something new to do in el nido. iba ka talga kara! panalo.

    asteeeg ng view sa tass

  7. September 28, 2011 5:46 am

    i would include this in my itinerary since il be going to el nido this october.


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