Arriving in Palawan - Puerto Princesa

Palawan Travel Guide

This travel guide unveils the wonders of Palawan, offering insights into its diverse attractions that make it a must-visit destination.

Palawan Travel Guide

Palawan, often called the “Last Frontier” of the Philippines, is a stunning tropical paradise in the western part of the country. It’s known for its clear waters, pristine beaches, lush landscapes, and diverse marine life. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, an adventurer, or simply looking for a relaxing getaway, a Palawan itinerary has something for everyone. In this guide, we’ll explore the top destinations, how long to stay, entrance fees, and all the essential information for an unforgettable trip.

1. Puerto Princesa City

Puerto Princesa City

Puerto Princesa, the capital city of Palawan Philippines, often serves as the gateway for travelers visiting this island paradise. This charming city is known for its picturesque streets, bustling markets, and welcoming locals. One of the main attractions in Puerto Princesa is the Puerto Princesa Underground River officially known as Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park , a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature. To explore the surrounding beauty, consider embarking on an Island Hopping Tour, a fantastic way to discover the nearby islands and their natural wonders.

Things to Do

Puerto Princesa Underground River

Explore its stunning limestone caves. The entrance fee is approximately $15 per person, which includes a boat transfer and a knowledgeable tour guide.

Honda Bay

This area is home to several beautiful islands with amazing snorkeling spots. Island hopping tours here typically cost around $20-30 per person, depending on the chosen tour package.

Rizal Avenue

Take a stroll along Rizal Avenue to explore the local shops, and restaurants, and soak in the city’s vibrant atmosphere.

How to Get There

You can fly directly to Puerto Princesa International Airport, which is well-connected to major cities in the Philippines.

To Puerto Princesa, Palawan:

From Manila: You can take a domestic flight from Ninoy Aquino International Airport (MNL) in Manila to Puerto Princesa International Airport (PPS). Flight prices can vary depending on the time of booking and airline. On average, a one-way flight can cost between 2,000 PHP to 6,000 PHP (approximately $40 to USD 120).

From Cebu: You can also fly from Mactan-Cebu International Airport (CEB) to Puerto Princesa. Flight prices may range from 2,500 PHP to 6,000 PHP (approximately $50 to $120 USD) for a one-way ticket.

2. El Nido Palawan

El Nido Palawan

El Nido, often described as a slice of paradise on earth, is a must-visit destination in Palawan. It’s renowned for its towering limestone cliffs, hidden lagoons, and white sandy beaches. El Nido is famous for its Island Hopping Tours, where you can explore stunning locations such as Big Lagoon, Small Lagoon, and Secret Beach. The region is a snorkeler’s and diver’s dream come true.

Things to Do

Island hopping

Don’t miss the opportunity to visit breathtaking destinations like Big Lagoon, Small Lagoon, and Secret Beach. The cost for island hopping tours typically ranges from $20 to $30 per person, depending on the tour package.

Bacuit Archipelago

Explore this stunning archipelago to discover secluded beaches and enchanting caves.

Diving and Snorkeling

Witness the vibrant underwater world of El Nido. Rates for diving tours vary depending on the dive site.

How to Get There

You can reach El Nido by taking a domestic flight to El Nido Airport or by ferry from Puerto Princesa.

From Manila: You can take a domestic flight from Ninoy Aquino International Airport (MNL) in Manila to El Nido Airport (ENI). Flight prices can vary, but on average, a one-way flight can cost between 4,000 PHP to 8,000 PHP (approximately $80 to $160 USD).

From Puerto Princesa: You can also reach El Nido by land (4-5 hours) or by taking a ferry from Puerto Princesa to El Nido.

3. Coron Island

Coron Island
https://www.instagram.com/p/BsjmX1Hhj7t/

Coron Town is another gem of Palawan, known for its awe-inspiring landscapes and world-class diving spots. It’s particularly famous for its shipwrecks, making it a paradise for wreck diving enthusiasts. Additionally, don’t miss the opportunity to embark on a unique Underground River Tour in Coron.

Things to Do

Coron Bay

Dive into the clear waters and explore the famous Japanese World War II shipwrecks. Diving rates usually range from $30 to $50 per dive, depending on the chosen dive site.

 

Kayangan Lake

Take a refreshing dip in the enchanting Kayangan Lake, known as the cleanest lake in the Philippines.

 

Maquinit Hot Springs

Visit the Maquinit Hot Springs and soak in its therapeutic waters.

 

How to Get There

You can fly to Francisco B. Reyes Airport in Busuanga or take a ferry from other parts of Palawan.

 

From Manila: You can take a domestic flight from Ninoy Aquino International Airport (MNL) in Manila to Francisco B. Reyes Airport (USU) in Busuanga, which serves Coron. Flight prices vary, but a one-way ticket can cost between 3,000 PHP to 7,000 PHP (approximately $60 to $140).

4. Port Barton

Port Barton

Port Barton is a hidden treasure in Palawan, offering a more laid-back and off-the-beaten-path experience. This coastal town is known for its pristine beaches, rich marine life, and tranquil atmosphere. Enjoy a relaxing Island Hopping Tour to nearby islands like German Island and Exotic Island.

 

Things to Do

 

Island hopping

Explore nearby islands such as German Island and Exotic Island to witness their natural beauty.

The cost of island hopping tours in Port Barton can vary depending on the tour operator, the specific package you choose, and any additional activities included. As of my last update in early 2022, here’s an approximate range for the cost of island hopping tours in Port Barton:

 

Basic Island Hopping Tour: This typically includes visits to German Island and Exotic Island, as well as some snorkeling opportunities. The cost for this basic tour can range from around 1,200 PHP to 1,800 PHP per person, which is approximately $24 to $36 USD.

 

Premium Island Hopping Tour: Some tour operators offer premium or customized island hopping tours that may include additional activities, such as lunch or picnic on the beach, more extensive snorkeling, and exploring other nearby islands. The cost for premium tours can range from 1,800 PHP to 2,500 PHP per person, which is approximately $36 to $50 USD.

 

White Beach

Relax and unwind on the beautiful White Beach or take a refreshing dip in the crystal-clear waters.

 

Snorkeling and Diving

Discover the vibrant coral reefs and marine biodiversity that thrive in the waters around Port Barton. 

 

The cost of snorkeling and diving activities around Port Barton can range from approximately 500 PHP to 2,000 PHP (about $10 to $40 USD) per person, depending on the specific package, duration, and the dive site chosen. Prices may vary between different dive operators and based on individual preferences, such as whether equipment rental and guides are included. Be sure to inquire locally for the most current rates and options.

 

How to Get There

You can travel to Port Barton from Puerto Princesa by land, which takes approximately 4-5 hours, or by hiring a private van.

 

Flight from Manila to Puerto Princesa: Around $40 to $120 USD.

Land transfer from Puerto Princesa to Port Barton: Approximately $10 to $16 USD.

 

Ferry from Manila to El Nido: About $30 to $60 USD.

Land transfer from El Nido to Port Barton: Around $6 to $10 USD.

How Much Time to Spend

Palawan

To fully savor the beauty of Palawan, it is recommended to spend at least 3-4 days in each destination. This will give you ample time to explore the main island attractions and relish the natural wonders that each place has to offer. However, if your schedule allows, consider spending a week or more in Palawan to uncover even more hidden gems and immerse yourself in the island’s unrivaled beauty.

Entrance Costs

Palawan El Nido

Entrance costs for Palawan’s attractions can vary, so it’s crucial to check the latest information and fees before planning your trip. Here’s a rough estimate of entrance costs for the main attractions:

 

Puerto Princesa Underground River: The entrance fee is approximately $15 per person, which includes a boat transfer and a tour guide.

El Nido Island Hopping: Island hopping tours typically cost between $20 and $30 per person, depending on the chosen tour package.

Diving in Coron: Diving rates vary and typically range from $30 to $50 per dive, depending on the chosen dive site.

Port Barton: There are no specific entrance fees for Port Barton, but costs may include boat rentals and tour packages, which can vary.

OTHER BEACHES

Beaches in Palawan

Nacpan Beach

Nacpan Beach, situated in the northern part of Palawan, offers a long stretch of pristine white sand. It’s a less crowded alternative to some of the more popular beaches, providing a tranquil and naturally beautiful escape. Nacpan Beach is about a 45-minute drive from El Nido.

Nacpan Beach

Las Cabanas Beach

Las Cabanas Beach is renowned for its stunning sunset views and relaxed atmosphere. It’s an ideal spot for swimming, sunbathing, and enjoying beachside bars. Las Cabanas Beach is a short drive from El Nido town.

Lacban Beach

Conclusion

Palawan stands as the “Last Frontier” of the Philippines, beckoning travelers with its unparalleled beauty and diverse experiences. From the captivating Puerto Princesa to the pristine beaches of Nacpan and the underwater wonders of Coron, Palawan offers a dreamlike escape for every adventurer. Whether you seek tranquility, adventure, or cultural richness, this tropical paradise promises an unforgettable journey. Plan your itinerary, immerse yourself in the natural wonders, and let Palawan weave its enchanting spell on you.

Common Questions about Palawan Travel Guide

Palawan is generally considered safe for tourists. However, it’s always recommended to take necessary precautions like keeping your belongings secure, being aware of your surroundings, and following local regulations.

The most common way to reach Palawan is by flying to Puerto Princesa International Airport or Francisco B. Reyes Airport in Busuanga. Additionally, there are ferry services available from neighboring islands.

The best time to visit Palawan is during the dry season, which falls between November and May. This period offers the most favorable weather conditions for outdoor activities and exploring the islands.

Most nationalities can enter the Philippines without a visa for a specific period. It’s advisable to check the visa requirements for your country before traveling to Palawan.

Yes, you can find ATMs and currency exchange facilities in major towns and cities in Palawan. However, it’s recommended to carry enough cash with you, especially in more remote areas.

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