The Beautiful Beaches of Helicopter Island and Cadlao Island, El Nido


El Nido, Palawan is arguably one of the best islands in the world – and for many good reasons. It is known for its infinite stretches of limestone-fringed white beaches, many of which are accessible within 30 minutes by boat. Trips to such beaches can be done year-round, and you easily book one from several travel agencies offering Palawan travel packages online.

The 1,006-hectare Cadlao Island, El Nido's largest, is home to many of these beaches, as well as El Nido's highest peak, 640-meter high Cadlao Peak. You can access these beaches with combo Tour C (Dimalucad Island) and Tour D (Cadlao Island). Many skip Tour D because of its proximity to the mainland, but the beaches here might actually surprise you. Along the way you are guaranteed spectacular views of sky-high limestone cliffs, too.

Take a look at some of these beaches below.

  • Dimalucad Island (Helicopter Island)


So called for its helicopter-like shape (when viewed from above), Helicopter Island, or Dimalucad Island, is a cream-colored beach that spans around 300 meters. While it's not part of Cadlao Island, it is a favorite among travelers and often serves as a lunch stop. The island offers shade in one tip, while the other is surrounded by limestone rocks. Apart from its beautiful landscape, Dimalucad Island is also known for its expansive reef system, particularly in the southern end.  

  • Pasandigan Beach


Lined by rows of coconut trees and various shrubs, Pasandigan Beach is a tropical paradise. The beach features fine white sand that slopes gently to shallow, turquoise water. The water is calm and clear, making it suitable for children. Pasandigan Beach is one of lesser visited islands in El Nido, so you will definitely enjoy a peaceful, isolated vibe. There is a hut for picnics, too.

Thrill-seeker? Kayak through Bacuit Bay to Pasandigan Beach for a heart-pumping, across-the-sea adventure!


  • Natnat Beach


Natnat Beach is yet another kid-friendly beach in Cadlao Island. Boasting calm, azure waters; gentle slopes, limestone rocks, and huts, Natnat Beach is perfect for picnics and warm conversations. It is often the last stop for island hopping tours due to its proximity to the port.


  • Cadlao Lagoon



Rich in marine life, Cadlao Lagoon (or Ubugon Cove) at the western face of Cadlao Island, attracts diving and snorkeling enthusiasts. The flat, deep green water is home to diverse fishes and corals, and is beautifully surrounded by sedimentary rocks. If you're lucky, you might also spot a sea turtle or two!  

The entrance to the lagoon is similar to Big Lagoon and the outer lagoon of Coron's Twin Lagoon, with the entire body spanning 10 square kilometers.
  • Paradise Beach


Located in a secluded cove, Paradise Beach its popular with campers. It has a long stretch of chalky sand surrounded by trees and limestone rocks, making it suitable for picnic. If you don't have tents, there are huts at one tip of the island. If you're feeling a little adventurous, explore the cave fronting the beach or make your way to the hidden private cove.


Have you gone to any of these beaches in El Nido? Which one is your favorite?

Gretchen Filart

Gretchen is a freelance travel writer and social media manager. She writes for print and digital publications for work and weaves travel stories on her blog for fun.

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