A pure white sand beach, an open bar and island hopping. Sound perfect?
I stayed at the infamous Mad Monkey Hostel on Nacpan Beach in the Philippines, near El Nido, and had the most amazing time. It’s a fab party hostel with great reps who actually want to make friends with you all. There’s a half hour open bar in the evening for predrinks all round and then free shots every hour. The hostel welcomes backpackers from all over the world so it’s a highly social place where you literally do make so many friends. Every night, the bar holds some kind of fun event like a music quiz or something where you get into groups (after the open bar so everyone’s already a bit drunk) and the winning group gets a bottle of spirit! It’s just such a fun happy place and then so chilled in the day. The hostel is literally right on the beautiful beach so sunbathing and day drinking in the sea is the norm.
Nacpan Beach is a really long stretch so you can take a walk up or down the sandy track. Up takes you to the few resorts and restaurants, and down takes you to the locals’ homes and a couple of markets. Due to the terribly bumpy 40 minute journey to the beach from nearest town, El Nido, Nacpan Beach is currently a hidden gem with only a couple of hostels, a few resorts and a few places to eat. The reps were telling me though that as soon as they build a proper road in between here and El Nido, the isolated beach will fill up so fast with tourists and sadly way more resorts will immediately be built. It’s amazing at the moment because it’s so empty and you feel like you and your fellow Mad Monkey friends have the whole place to yourselves. And it’s a beautiful beach – unlike lots of other beaches, the sand in the sea is soft and smooth so you don’t have to worry about stepping on rocks or coral – only the occasional jelly fish...
The main thing to do in El Nido is island hopping because there are soooo many tiny beach islands just off the coastal town. You can choose from tours A, B, C or D but Mad Monkey hostel actually has their own boat tour exclusively for its guests, which is a combination of all the tours put together. It does not disappoint. The chilled tunes are blaring from the boom box and drinks are flowing. There are two snorkelling spots and something like four island stop offs. One stop was particularly memorable because the rep took us into a cave in the sea which we climbed through and explored. Then when we came out and back to the beach, the boat drivers had prepared a huge buffet lunch that they’d just cooked for us on the boat! Such a brilliant memory of eating lunch with all my new pals on a tiny beach island that we had all to ourselves.
The main vibe of Nacpan Beach is party all night and chill out in the day, but if you’re not too hung-over and want a bit more to do, you can either hire a moped or ride a taxi into El Nido town and check out what’s there. There’s the canopy walkway and Taraw Cliff, as well as shops, bars, restaurants and a beach.
Hopefully I’ve given you a good insight into Nacpan Beach and particularly Mad Monkey Hostel for young backpackers. My advice for staying here is to book at least two weeks in advance because they have a full house every night, prepare to be hot hot hot because the rooms only have fans, no air con (the only thing we didn’t like about this place), and finally be open minded and ready to make new friends from literally all over the world!