PADI Open Water Course in El Nido

Once Peter and I arrived in El Nido, we were driven to the pier in town and whisked off on a boat to El Nido Resorts – Miniloc Island. Since there were no other guests arriving at the same time as us, we had the boat all to ourselves and had the full attention of Box, who organized the resort’s activities.

After we told Box that this was our second time to the resort and El Nido he asked, “So what new activity do you want to do this time?”

Good question, Box.

While Peter and I only had a short stay on our last visit, we packed in a lot of activity and we definitely wouldn’t have minded repeating some of them (in fact we ultimately did), but we still wanted to try something new.

Guide and recommendations for taking the PADI Open Water Course and scuba diving in El Nido, Palawan, The Philippines

All geared up

Bring on the scuba diving.

After Box recommended diving, we immediately thought, why not? Let’s do it!

Peter has been dying to scuba dive for a while, but I had been pretty hesitant and nervous about it up until this point.

Guide and recommendations for taking the PADI Open Water Course and scuba diving in El Nido, Palawan, The Philippines

Setting up our gear before heading out

Luckily I couldn’t have asked for a better place to do my PADI Open Water certification course. Aside from the course being set in the most beautiful location, our instructor, Ronnie, was excellent and the resort’s equipment, organization, and our boat captain Levi were fantastic.

Guide and recommendations for taking the PADI Open Water Course and scuba diving in El Nido, Palawan, The Philippines

With Ronnie, our awesome dive instructor

The first day of our training, Peter and I spent the morning watching the required videos and talking through the lessons with Ronnie. Although this doesn’t sound like an ideal way to spend the first morning of a vacation, it actually went by really quickly and as a first time diver, it was all quite interesting to learn.

Guide and recommendations for taking the PADI Open Water Course and scuba diving in El Nido, Palawan, The Philippines

Just using a small handy dive table

After lunch we headed out on a private boat– just Peter, Ronnie, our captain Levi, and me to our first diving spot.

While many PADI Open Water courses have you do the basic training inside a swimming a pool (calm waters are required), we were able to train right in the crystal clear waters of El Nido. This was excellent because it meant right after a quick training, we were able to do our first real dive underwater to see some lovely coral reefs and fish.

Guide and recommendations for taking the PADI Open Water Course and scuba diving in El Nido, Palawan, The Philippines

We then headed back to the resort to relax before another quick classroom session before dinner.

Guide and recommendations for taking the PADI Open Water Course and scuba diving in El Nido, Palawan, The Philippines

happy hour, bar snacks, and a little bit of homework

The next day of the course was very similar except the classroom portion was much shorter and the dives were longer and more frequent. On days 2, 3 & 4 we did both morning and afternoon dives and since the classroom portion really didn’t take up too much time, Peter and I still had time for a sunrise kayak and other activities at the resort.

Guide and recommendations for taking the PADI Open Water Course and scuba diving in El Nido, Palawan, The Philippines

So happy to share this experience with my fiance

Overall our experience doing the PADI Open Water Course in El Nido was excellent and I’m so glad we were able to take the course just 2 on 1 (Peter and I with the instructor). Peter is a natural at the diving thing, but I needed a bit more help so I was thankful to have Ronnie’s attention!

For anyone traveling to El Nido whose not staying at El Nido Resorts – Miniloc Island who’s looking for an amazing dive instructor/dive master, please contact me for Ronnie’s details. I highly recommend him.

More photos and video on the wonderful things we saw diving in El Nido coming soon!

Yum
  • What a cool experience! I’ve always wanted to go scuba diving but am a little terrified of being so far under the water. I even get anxiety snorkelling but I still do it.

    • I’m not going to lie– I was totally freaked out at first! I still try not to overthink the fact that I’m under the water, but I think the more you dive the more comfortable you become so I’d definitely recommend getting a good instructor and giving it a try!

  • seb

    How much was the course?

    • Hi, I can’t remember the exact figure but it was about US$500 per person for the course, certification, 5 dives, the equipment rental and having our own private instructor, boat and captain. The price for the Open Water Certification varies depending on which PADI dive center you organize the course through. Our course was organized directly through El Nido Resorts, so I imagine it actually was slightly more expensive than if we had booked it in El Nido town, however I was very pleased with the service and training we received and I liked having our own private instructor and captain versus taking the course with a larger group. If you have any other questions please feel free to email me at pristine@newkidonthewok.com