A Travel Price Comparison for Philippines Manila vs. El Nido for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Manila or El Nido?

Which city is more affordable and which is best for your travel style? If you're trying to figure out where to go next, comparing the travel costs between Manila and El Nido can help you decide which place is right for you.


A sprawling metropolis that is home to more than 12 million people, Manila is one huge, misunderstood concrete jungle, full of diverse cultures, traffic, pollution, restaurants, shopping malls, noise and nightlife. If you're looking to soak in culture and feel the vibe of a place rather than seeking a city that specifically caters to tourists, Manila is the place to be. Capital of the Philippines, Manila is also the center for education, business, and transportation.

El Nido

El Nido is a coastal destination on the Philippine island of Palawan. It consists of about 45 islands and islets all with beautiful beachfront scenery and plenty of opportunities for experiencing nature above and below the water. Some of the island's best features include limestone karst cliffs, coral reefs, lagoons, coves, and waterfalls.

Which city is cheaper, El Nido or Manila?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Manila is $85, while the average daily cost in El Nido is $36. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each city. Below is a breakdown of travel costs for Manila and El Nido in more detail.


Manila's average price for two people sharing a typical double-occupancy hotel room is $90. A typical place to stay for one person, per day is $45.

An average hotel room with basic furnishings costs about $26 in El Nido For the most convenient locations and nicer amenities you can expect to pay a bit more.

  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Manila $45
    El Nido $13
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Manila $90
    El Nido $26


Manila food costs typically run travelers around $16 per day. Eating every meal in a nicer restaurant will drive the cost up, and grabbing fast food or casual meals will help you save money.

In El Nido travelers spend around $11 a day on food. You can save money by choosing casual restaurants or food stalls, or you can spend plenty more by dining in nicer restaurants at every meal.

  • Food Meals for one day
    Manila $16
    El Nido $11

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Manila

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Manila.

  • Private Filipino cooking class in a local Manila Home: $60
  • Hands-on Cooking Lesson in Learn to Cook in a Local Home: $68
  • Private Market Tour and Filipino Cooking Class in Manila with Isi: $70
  • Private Filipino Dinner with a Historically-Minded Local Host in Quezon City: $86
  • Manila Cultural Dinner Show (Shared Tour): $88

Local Transportation

While taxis and private drivers typically cost much more than public transportation, people usually spend around $21 per day to get around in Manila.

El Nido's transportation costs can vary by the type of transport chosen by visitors. Naturally, taxis and private drivers cost much more than public transportation options. On average, visitors spend $17 per person, per day on transportation in El Nido.

  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Manila $21
    El Nido $17

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Manila

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Manila:

  • Tagaytay-Intramuros one day tour (with** transfers): $215
  • Private Transfer: Manila to Ninoy Aquino International Airport (MNL): $622
  • Private Manila Airport - Manila City Round-Trip Transfer: $33
  • Private Departure Transfer: Manila Hotel to Ninoy Aquino International Airport: $24
  • Private Departure Transfer: Manila City Area to Ninoy Aquino International Airport: $68
  • Private Departure Transfer from Manila City to Manila Airport: $17
  • Private Departure Airport Transfer in Manila Bay and Makati Area: $17
  • Private Arrival Transfer: Ninoy Aquino International Airport to Manila: $68
  • Hotel/Port/City Private Transfer in Manila via Motorcycle for Solo Travelers: $43
  • Discovery Scuba Diving with transfer from Manila: $360

Hired Cars and Shuttles in El Nido

Also for El Nido, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • One Way Sharing Van Transfer El Nido to Puerto Princesa: $10
  • Palawan Transfers between El Nido and Puerto Princesa: $30
  • Private Van Transfer: One way El Nido to Puerto Princesa: $103
  • El Nido to Puerto Princesa - Private Transfer: $115
  • El Nido to Sabang Private Transfer: $140

Is it cheaper to fly into Manila or El Nido?

Prices for flights to both El Nido and Manila change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.


Activities, things to do, and other forms of entertainment usually cost around $18 per person, per day in Manila. This cost includes the price of admission tickets to attractions and museums as well as daily tours.

Sightseeing, admission tickets, things to do, and other entertainment expenses in El Nido can vary widely by price. On average, visitors spend around $4.87 per person, per day on entertainment and sightseeing here.

  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Manila $18
    El Nido $4.87

Tours and Activities in Manila

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Manila are as follows:

  • 3-Day Banaue Heritage Tour from Manila: $1,288
  • 4 Days at Banaue Heritage Tour: $1,600
  • A private daytour to Villa Escudero from Manila: $169
  • Baguio City Sightseeing from Manila (Private Tour): $187
  • Bataan Death March memorial tour: $349
  • Bataan War Memorial Tour: $400
  • Cavite Leisure And Farm Tour: $170
  • Cavite Pilgrimage Tour: $132
  • Full Day Daraitan River Adventure Bike Tour from Makati: $224
  • Full-Day Tagaytay City Tour from Manila: $277
  • Full-day Manila and Tagaytay Tour: $165
  • Guided Tour of the Historic San Sebastian Basilica (Manila): $6.42

Tours and Activities in El Nido

For El Nido, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:

  • Snorkeling/Island Hopping Tour A: $24
  • El Nido Island Hopping Tours(A-D): $25
  • EL Nido Tour A: $26
  • El Nido Island Hopping (Tour A) – Full Day: $28
  • Island Hopping Tour's,private Tours,packages Tours,transportation's: $30
  • El Nido Island Hopping Tour B: $32
  • EL Nido Tour D: $33
  • EL Nido Tour B: $35
  • El Nido Tour A With Big Or Small Lagoon: $39
  • EL Nido Tour C: $40
  • El Nido to Puerto Princesa via Underground River Tour: $49
  • Nacpan El Nido Tour: $50


The average person spends about $9.02 on alcoholic beverages in Manila per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.

Typically, people visiting El Nido spend on average $7.57 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.

  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Manila $9.02
    El Nido $7.57

When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Manila and El Nido, we can see that Manila is more expensive. And not only is El Nido much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to El Nido would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in El Nido and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Manila would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Manila than you might in El Nido.

Budget Your Trip

Budget Your Trip has average travel costs for thousands of cities around the world, all provided by other travelers. You can also register to organize your spending by category and location with graphs, maps, charts, and tables.

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Manila vs. El Nido Travel Comparison

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